Jamaican Baby Names
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Jamaican baby names - Aliana Gayle

Jamaican Baby Names
by Nemonie Cassells

We’ve got Keisha, Taneisha, Patricia, Tameika, Sam, Dan, Troy, Roy…YOU NAME IT…Literally! Like our cultural background, the Jamaican baby name is a melting pot of different cultures.

There is no true way of saying “ hmmn, yup! that's a Jamaican baby name right there!” There are however, names that (even though, heard all over the world) are preeetty much common here in Jamdung (Jamaica)!

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Our culture is influenced mostly by European and African backgrounds, however, you will find that the names common here, derive mostly from English (such as Dawn) or even Spanish (such as Nicolas) backgrounds over African names (Maybe because most African names are a mixture of throaty sounds and the clucking of tongues than actual words). Too much work I say, just to address someone!

Growing up in Jamaica, I’ve heard names common to the older folks, that I now would be devastated if my parents were so “short sighted” and made the mistake of giving me one such name.

Lets be honest here, we all had or knew someone who had an Aunty Sonia, Charmaine, June, Sheryl, Suzanne, Betty, Angela, Pat or Marlene.

I won't leave out Uncle Otis, Delroy, Johnny, Joe, Mark or Donovan.

Whenever or where ever you hear one of those names you automatically know that that person is thirty and over and can count at least five Jamaicans that you know personally or know of with that name.

I also find it easier to stereotype the male Jamaican names more than the females (lets face it, how many Delroys do you know that are NOT Ja-maicans)

With the advancement of technology and Jamaicans having more and easier access to the world wide web, new names have been introduced to our culture.

With so many names, from so many different backgrounds to chose from, you find that the very common names of the 70s, 80s and 90s are dying out with the persons who have them (we do have to give it to the die hard names like Tamara, Kimberly, and Matthew.

Those names seem to pop up ever so often on ba-bies nowadays).

American pop culture seem to be the go to for new baby names for a lot of Jamaicans of late. Want a new baby name? Just ask a friend and I guarantee you that you will get at least one (if not all) of the following names:

  • Rihanna
  • Payton
  • Paige
  • Davonte
  • Skyler
  • Paris
  • Destiny

Rules For Choosing Jamaican Baby Names

jamaican girl names

Jamaicans tend to choose their baby names based on these three basic rule:

  1. Can it be pronounced in patois without being totally demolished by the average Jamaican?

    Lets be frank here… Jamaicans do not play when in comes to destroying the pronunciation of a name to the point where they rename your child all together!

    A perfect example of total name destruction is, my sister’s name. I mean how hard is it to pronounce Noelle right? Harder than I thought it seems!

    I've heard people call her, New-ell, No-Hell and  No-Well! Come on people its six letters and two syllables!

    Seriously?? Well, I guess no one sent our Dad the memo about rule #1 huh?

  2. Is it Unique?

    Like all Jamaicans, we want our names to be unique too! One way of ensuring that the name we chose for our babies are unique is putting the parents’ names together to make one!

    Yup, I said it, Ken and Keisha makes Keneisha! (This name is not uncommon outside of Jamaica and I don't think we actually came up with it, but I'm pretty sure that’s how this popular name came about).

    I for one am guilty of doing this to name my baby cousin( young man now). I used the first three letters In his mother’s name and his father’s name(which happens to be just 4 letters long) and came up with his( to date, I have not heard another…yup I'm that gooood!)

  3. Can the child spell it when he/she is at the age of three??

    The true Jamaican knows, nothing tuh wi like a bright pickney (there’s nothing to us like a smart child) and a way of knowing if a child is smart or going to do well in school, is them knowing how to spell their names from a tender age.

    So if the child can't spell Quantae-Tiquana at three years of age, bwoi shi gwine “dunce”!

    To avoid such bad omen from early, most Jamaicans tend to stick to simpler names that can easily be broken down in syllables if it happens to be more than five letters long.

Popular Jamaican Baby Names For The Period 1970 - 2000's

Girls                                                        Boys

Marlene                                                                       Donald

Jennifer                                                                       Donovan

Sonia                                                                          Peter

Beverly                                                                       Mark

Charmaine                                                                   Delroy

Jacqueline                                                                    Gary

Cynthia                                                                        Clive

Sharon                                                                         Nathan

Samantha                                                                     David

Tashana                                                                       Shawn

Kimberly                                                                      Kevin

Tameika                                                                       Paul

Taneisha                                                                      Matthew

Tamara                                                                        Patrick

Teresa                                                                         Courtney

Chantal                                                                        Omar

Shantell                                                                       Marvin

Shanique                                                                     Christopher

Monique                                                                      James

Melissa                                                                        Nigel

Rihanna                                                                       Anthony     

Girls cont.                                                Boys

Payton                                                                         Justin

Olivia                                                                           Joshua

Summer                                                                       Jayden

Maya                                                                           Andrew


Now that I've given you an insight into the how, where and why of Jamaican Baby Names, I'm sure you can appreciate our awesomeness a little more, yes wi irie man!

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