One not to call the baby? Half of those with this 'embarrassing' name want to change it to shake off the 'dodgy' reputation'

The baby name that you might want to avoid

mum with a baby
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Half of the women with this 'embarrassing' name have thought about changing it to shake off the 'dodgy' reputation - here's what not to call the baby...

Old-fashioned baby names are making a comeback. But there's one name that is unlikely to make it to the top of the most popular baby name list - but could quite easily be ranked as one of the most unpopular baby names after reports that those who are called it have considered changing their names.

Slapped with a reputation of being a difficult and argumentative woman, nearly half (45%) of Karens in the UK have been forced into considering a name change, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by Paddy Power Games, asked British women what it’s like to live with this moniker of ‘being a Karen’, and some of the respondents were so upset that they might just complain to the manager. 

Nearly a third (31%) of Karens around the country are embarrassed by their name and the reputation it now carries, with three in 10 Karens feeling both self-conscious and misunderstood. And it doesn’t stop there, with a further 24% feeling attacked and 21% feeling humiliated by the association. 

It turns out the popular meme could be playing a role in making the name Karen extinct, with only one baby registered with the name Karen in 2022 according to the Baby Centre. Karens around the country aren’t planning to change that anytime soon as a staggering 79% of women named Karen would never consider giving their baby the same name.

Model Abbey Clancy has even defended her mother who is called Karen. In the new ‘Life with More Chances’  TV ad by Paddy Power Games, which highlights the controversial baby name, Abbey said: “My mum’s called Karen! She’s got so many incredible qualities, but there are a couple of those stereotypical ‘Karen’ qualities in there.”

A quarter of Karens have expressed hurt that people have turned their name into a joke (which does sound like something a ‘Karen’ would say!), with over half (52%) of Karens confirming they would never use the term ‘Karen’ to describe someone. 

The research also showed that those aged 35 to 44 are most likely to feel embarrassed by the implications of their name, whereas 38% of millennials (25-34 year-olds) feel the most self-conscious about giving their name. On the flip side, only 11% of Karens surveyed feel proud of their name, with just one in 10 feeling confident when offering their name to someone for the first time.  

A Paddy Power games spokesperson said: “In recent years the name Karen has become a widespread meme referencing a certain type of person. She demands to speak to the manager and nearly always has a short blond asymmetric bob with thick highlights. Whether that's true, we couldn't possibly comment, but it's interesting to see from our research that the name is dying out and those called Karen are suffering the consequences. 

"Our recent TV advert is all about ‘life with more chances’ and if this research proves anything, it’s that if given another chance, almost half of Karens would consider changing their name.”

baby bump with ultrasound picture

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How Karen's feel about their name

  • I think it's unfair to judge someone based on their name (39%)
  • I feel pre-judged when I tell people my name (30%)
  • The definition of 'a Karen' has spiraled out of control (30%)
  • The definition of 'a Karen' is totally wrong (27%)
  • I'm embarrassed to tell people my name in case they laugh at me (26%)
  • I feel hurt that people have turned my name into a joke (26%)
  • I feel the term is sexist and there wouldn't be a similar term made for a man (15%)

Karens are (rightly or wrongly) feeling misrepresented by their name, with nearly four in 10 (39%) thinking it’s unfair to judge someone based on their name. Nearly a third (30%) admitted they feel pre-judged when they tell people their name and that the definition of ‘being a Karen’ has spiralled out of control.

In other family news, Noah knocked off the top spot as the top baby name in 2024 by this '90s revival, experts predict, and Sam Quek admits ”My daughter's name is a mash-up of our two dogs".

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life and has more than 16 years of experience in newspapers, magazines and online. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings and reality show line-ups including Strictly, Dancing On Ice and The Great British Bake Off, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories from baby names to store closures and product recall warnings. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.