Bronx Mowgli: Behind Pete and Ashlee Wentz's Name Choice

11/21/2008 at 02:00 PM ET
Paul Warner/WireImage

With many readers expressing their opinions on Ashlee Simpson-Wentz and husband Pete Wentz‘s choice of Bronx Mowgli as the name for their new son, we spoke to Pam Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz of NameBerry, both co-authors of The Baby Name Bible: The Ultimate Guide By America’s Baby-Naming Experts, to get their takes on the monikers and uniqueness of the first and middle names. Pam tell us,

Bronx is definitely a grittier, untouristed choice. The name comes from first settler Jonas Bronck, a Dutch farmer. Mowgli was invented by Rudyard Kipling for the hero of his Jungle Book stories, a boy who was raised by wolves (literally) and became an expert hunter, trapper and denizen of the wild.

Linda agrees, adding,

Since Ashlee was born in Texas and Pete was born in Illinois, I wonder if they had any family connection to the northern NYC borough of the Bronx. The Simpson-Wentzes seem to be following the Jolie-Pitt tradition of boys’ names ending in ‘X’ — Maddox, Pax, Knox. And though Mowgli was created by Kipling, he’s better known to most people via the spunky 10-year-old boy in the 1967 Disneyfied animated film version of The Jungle Book. While Kipling made the name up, in the stories it’s said to mean ‘frog’.

What do you think of cities or characters as names? Would/did you use one for your child?


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Showing 59 comments

Harley on

I don’t mind some cities as names since most cities were named after someone but, that being said, there are some cities whose history are filled with a lot of truly terrible memories and those should not be children’s names.

Some characters names are great and some are not and in my opinion, Mowgli is not.


I love names of places for baby names. I plan once I have kids that one of my kids will be called London…permitting I have a boy. I also want to pop in Brighton as a middle name for a girl.

Character names on the other hand arn’t my thing but I could see someone who loves to read to name their kid a name after a Character.

Aelys on

I don’t have children yet but I’m personally not fond of city names. Character names are OK, depending on the character.
But it’s up to the parents. I personally like ancient Celtic, Greek and Egyptian names which I guess could be weird choices for someone else.

Moore on

Bronck would have been very cute for his first name. Bronx Wentz is just a little much to me.

kate on

Since my grandparents lived in the Bronx, I have a certain amount of affection for the area, but I don’t think I’d name my kid after it! City names, character names, it all gives the kid something to “live up to,” which worries me. We chose a classical name for our daughter with no baggage from either family.
I have to admit that part of me thinks that they’re kidding. Not that this kid will ever be anything but gorgeous, wealthy, and talented, but naming a kid Bronx Wentz seems to be a recipe for torture on the playground.

Nicole on

I just don’t think Bronx Wentz flows well.

Shaunie on

I think it just depends on what the parents of the child consider odd or to extreme.

I personally think some cities & character names, make good names!

Cites: Savannah, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Grayson, London, Austin, Trenton, Dallas, etc.

Characters: Belle (the beauty & the Beast), Ariel & Sebastian(The Little Mermaid), Nala & Kiara(The Lion King), Sulley (Monster Inc),Mulan, Lilo, etc.

Then their are some that would seem strange to me Tallahassee, Chattanooga, Pinocchio!

But to each their own!

Shoez on

On other sites I have read alot of ignorant comments becuase of the names they chose. People have reasons why they name their child(ren) waht they name them. I am a fan of unique names because each person comes into this world as an unidentical individual.

Nikka on

I love Bronx Wentz. I love the word games. I dont think they named the baby after the Bronx borough in NYC (given its repution) Overall i think its a great choice and many many cites and places have beautiful names so why not use those

ariana on

i dunno about the whole bronx part, i think it’s so it can sound blakey, but the mowgli has to be because the baby looks like mowgli from the jungle book, he prolly looks just like daddy

CC on

I wanted to have my son’s middle name be “Bastille” since my husband is French and we met in the Bastille area of Paris. I thought it was a very strong masculine name which tied into our history as well. Husband nixed it – he thought it was too violent.

MissAllisonJenny on

I would not name my kid Bronx Mowgli, Scarlett O’Hara or anything crazy like that. I plan to give my future kids names that wouldn’t cause snickers if they were being sworn in as President.

bethany on

Umm, ok, this didn’t really clear up much, haha. No offense to CBB, of course. I am gonna go out on a limb here and guess that there isn’t much meaning behind the Mowgli name besides to young people saying, “hey, we’re so quirky and unique!” Anyway, not diggin it. It’s kind of doing the kid a disservice in an attempt to look like a cool parent. Is that even a real name, outside of literature? I have never heard or seen it. Anyway, congrats.

Meg on

Bronx, OK. Not bad. Doesn’t sound great with Wentz. MOWGLI… wow. I am a Disney employee and I would never name my kid Mowgli. I hope they say WHY they chose those names to give us an explination and not leave us wondering!

aurora mia on

The things to remember is that babies grow into adults! I am sorry, but Bronx Mowgli is just so silly!

Leene on

My husband and I named our first child after the character Madeline – I have very fond memories of my Mom reading the Madeline books to me before bed each night. My daughter LOVES her name and loves that she’s got books written for her. LOL

n on

Do these parents realize that someday their kids will grow up & have to go to school & go through life being tormented because of their names? I’m all for the freedom of expression but at least give the child a normal middle name he could go by if he didn’t like the first name. It went from bad to worse on this one.

Candice on

I don’t think there’s much to analyze or explain here. It’s a silly name. A very silly name. Assuming there is any significance behind it is giving them too much credit, in my opinion.

Didn’t Pete say the name would fit a senator or a rock star? Missed the mark there, buddy.

Mel on

as someone who has lived in the bronx her entire life, i have mixed feelings.

on the one hand, i’m proud that my often negatively viewed borough is getting some recognition. after all, everyone forgets the positive aspects of the bronx, including the fact that we lay claim to the largest park in nyc (pelham bay park, 3x the size of central park).

on the other hand, however, bronx just doesn’t sound like a person’s name to me. (not to mention, it sounds funny to me without THE in front of it lol)

i’ve always joked with my friends that if i have 2 daughters, i’ll name them brooklyn & harlem =p

Naughty Cal on

I would never name my kid after a city. As for character names, maybe. I am giving serious thought to naming a future son Ryu, after the character from the Street Fighter video games.

Diana on

Terrible name to give a child.

Heather on

My first daughter is named Charlotte – and being from New England, it never even occurred to me til now that she has a “city” name. (Yes, I do know of Charlotte, NC, but it was not even thought of in choosing her name).

Really, sometimes, a name is just a name. Simple as that. People put too much thought into the names of children they don’t even know…

Tiffany on

Call me crazy but I like Bronx Mowgli Wentz after all they could’ve have came up with something worst…like Zuma Nesta Rock (Gwen beat them to it). I was named after the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. I don’t have any children but I want to name my daughters Harlem or Callie (short for California) and I have never been to either place.

R on

I’m so glad she had the baby finally! I’ve been checking in several times a day to see. I’ve never been a fan of either of them but something about them as a couple and expectant family, just clicked with me. I love them together, so funny and “themselves” not Hollywood.

I’m also not sure about the “flow” of the name but I wondered if Pete picked one of the names and Ashlee picked the other. I’ve known several families that have done this and the names almost never “flow” together! But the child will always have a bit of his parent’s personality with him.I honestly think if they had been any other non-famous couple, they still would have picked this name out. It’s just them!

Stella on

I’m not a fan of the name either, and while I think STRANGERS should respect parents’ choice of name for their child, I do not agree with what a lot of people on this site are saying regarding “all that matters is if the parents like it/it means something to them”. It DOES NOT just matter what the parents think…it matters what THE CHILD will think when he is older. My parents thought it would be “cute” to name me after a relative who happens to have a very outdated/old-fashioned name and I spent years and years miserable. Once I became 12, I started introducing myself as my middle name, and when I became 15 I just started using a name I preferred. Once I turned 18, I legally changed it to the name I preferred. Now, I CRINGE at the thought of the older name, and even though I love my parents to death, I resent them for having chosen that name. I can tell you that children with unusual names get made fun of (as can be seen from posts about Bronx), and it can cause self-esteem issues. Putting aside the oddity of the names, Bronx Mogli Wentz doesn’t even “sound” nice imo. That child won’t be happy…

Lauchis on

I don’t think they’re following the Jolie-Pitt tradition, since they only have one kid whose name ends with an X…

babyboopie on

I wanted to orginally name my baby if it was a girl, Madeleine Florence after the city Florence in Italy because it was where me and Francis met but if it was a boy, we wanted the name David (after David Beckham because I have always loved him.)Florenzo Francis 🙂 but as it turns out, our son is just simply Pierre David Francis.

Ivey on

I think Bronx as a middle name would have been a better choice, Maybe there is some good memories for them as a couple in the Bronx, but I agree Bronx Wentz is a tongue twister, but he is a famous baby so I think the ‘being teased on the playground’ rules are a little different in celebrity-land. I suppose Bronx is better than Queens 🙂

stephanie on


Barack Obama said people often ask him where he got his “funny name”, look where he is now 😉

Sarita on

I don’t like the place names as baby names. Of course Charlotte is okay, but Egypt, Paris, Bronx etc. no not for me.

I think the name Bronx Mowgli just screams: Look how cool and orginal we are. They didn’t think of their child in chosing this name.

One more thing, I don’t think you needed name experts to write this post.

Dianne on

There are sure some silly celeb names lately, but this takes the cake, even over Zuma Nesta Rock. If Bronx doesn’t like his first name, he sure isn’t going to like his middle! And he can’t go by initials either-BM-no, no!
He’s going to get Bronx honks or bronchitis. Poor kid.

Dianne on

But Allison, Barack went by Barry most of his life. He couldn’t help his last name, but he could have used his grandparent’s name.

Tricia on

Stephanie, yes–but our President-elect has, in a way, had to “overcome” his name. Lots of potentially inflammatory things, based on his Arabic-sounding name, were said of him during his campaign. He lightened things up at a dinner a few weeks ago (which was also attended by John McCain), when he said he got the name “Barack” from his father, and his “middle name (Hussein) from someone who apparently never thought I’d run for President”.
His folks probably never thought his “foreign” name would be an issue; yet how many celebrities, in the public eye, seem to go out of their way to choose crazy names for their children, with no thought as to how those kids will handle it? It’s quite possible their kids just may not turn out as cool and capable as the parents.

Amanda on

I love city names…my baby girl is named Brooklyn. We also considered the names London and Savannah.

So I’m okay with Bronx…but Mowgli??? Seriously?

melissa on

I have a “normal”(Melissa) name, and I went through school being called Pissa or Smelissa because it rhymes. My daughter’s name is Bella and she gets called belly button at school. I don’t think it matters if you have a “normal” or uncommon name, people will find a way to make fun of it.

Dori on

I wonder if his initials have any signifigance? BMW… I have a cousin with those initials and everyone calls him Beemer.

eva on

I don’t care for place names, they usually end up coming across as quite trashy.

Florence and Adelaide are the exception, two I really love.
The cities were named after people.

Jess on

Bronx, yes. With the last name Wentz – doesn’t flow. As for city names for babies, it really depends on two factors 1) middle name and 2) last name.

As for characters, hmm. I’m not too sure. Mowgli sounds silly, its nearly as bad as calling your child Tinkerbell or something. I’m not a fan of the middle name.

If it had been Bronx Henry Wentz or Bronx Joshua Wentz – something more “normal” for a middle name – perhaps it would flow and be more suitable for a little one’s name.

I wouldn’t name my own son Bronx Mowgli, because there’s no doubt he will be bullied for his middle name in later life but its Pete and Ashlee’s choice so…

Good luck and congratulations to them! =)

Kate on

Bronx Wentz… if you ask me, it’s a pretty tough name to get your tongue around. i’m afraid the poor kid isn’t going to be able to pronounce his own name!

but usually, i ike city names. if i’m ever blessed with a daughter, i’d love to name her Vienna.

sleekraven on

Shouldn’t the parents who gave the baby his name be asked why they gave him that name instead of some talking head who doesn’t have a clue and is just guessing and coming up with the silliest things they can come up with?

Another silly person was asked why a kid was named Sunday Rose and came up with the fact that it was close to Suri, a taunt at scientology and that the Rose part was simply because it was the name du jour. It turns out that this person was just speaking out of ignorance on that one.

Dianne on

I did comment already, but I was thinking if they would just drop the ‘x’ off the first name it sounds rather nice with the last. I worked at a daycare center and there was a boy named Bron at the time. I like that much better. Last night, Conan O’ Brien even commented on how sad the name choices were. My one friend don’t forget Frank Zappa kind of started it with naming his kids Dweezil and Moon Unit.

Katee on

I seriously don’t think that Bronx Mowgli actually is the kid’s name. I think they’ve given out a fake name, cause if you REALLY think about it, it’s a jab at other famous people’s kid’s names. Bronx – Brooklyn, Mowgli – just about anything silly.

ally on

I just think that they are trying to go with the whole cool baby names fad. But this just seems like it’s too cool. Like really, if they really liked the name, and they really love the kid, why don’t they just change thgeir names to Bronx Mowgli?

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kate on

The Bronx isn’t a place I’d want to visit, musch less name my child after!

Pencils on

Using place names as personal names isn’t new. For example, Florence Nightingale was named after the city, and St Francis was named in honor of the country of France. That said, I think “Bronx” isn’t a great choice, it’s not exactly a euphonious name, and I don’t believe either parent has any association with the borough. besides, the name is THE Bronx. The article is part of the name, it’s never said without it.

And I like the idea of naming a child after a character you admire, although I think “Mowgli” is kind of a silly name. And a bit too Disney, but I’m not one to talk, my daughter is named Aurora, but NOT because of the Disney princess–we didn’t think of that association until later. To me she’s Aurora Rhododactylos, not some silly princess waiting for her prince’s kiss. (Yes, I know I’m mixing my languages.)

Chiara on

Mel mentioned this already, but I’m a little insulted by all the comments trashing the borough of the Bronx here. If all the connotations you have with the Bronx are negative, then frankly you’re ignorant. It’s a lovely borough with a great deal of history and culture. As the northernmost borough in New York, it was the last settled; much of it was farmland as recently as the mid-20th century and parts are still very lush and beautiful (and, in terms of residency, upscale). It’s home to the Yankees and a lot of wonderful ethnic neighborhoods, and plenty of people grow up with almost suburban idyllic childhoods there.

Yes, there’s crime and poverty like any city, but it’s hardly the cesspool that some people are painting it to be here. It’s very diverse and has quite a unique personality.

MissAllisonJenny on

Just to clarify, when I said President, that was not a reference to Obama’s name. I was talking about names like Audio Science that obviously don’t have a connection to one’s heritage.

Chiara on

Also, while the article “the” is always used in front of it as common vernacular, “Bronx” does not always have an article in front of it. If you live there, your address is Bronx, New York. It’s Bronx County, not the Bronx County.

Kathryn on

I don’t think they would name their child Bronx with an “x” simply because the Jolie-Pitts have that trend going among their own children. My daughter’s middle name is Beatrix, and the Jolie-Pitt clan never even crossed my mind while naming her. People also always ask if I named her after Beatrix Potter, whom I had never even heard of. In actuality, we named her from a baby name book…boring, yes, but we liked the name we chose and there was no big story, meaning or tradition behind it. We just simply liked the name, and maybe they just simply like theirs.

By the way, how is Mowgli pronounced?

Sarita on

Kathryn, it’s like Mow (as in mowing the lawn) glee. I think Beatrix isn’t like the Jolie Pitts because it’s a classic name that’s been well known for a long time. Names like Knox, Bronx and Pax are not so known as first names. I do feel it fits in that Jolie Pitt trend.

Meg on

Katee, good thinking! Wouldn’t it just be Pete’s style to send out a fake name. Although Jessica commented on it (she said something about being happy, but IDK if she said anything about the name… it would awesome if they had actually had a girl and named her Sarah or something. 🙂 If not, then… yeah. Yikes.

Helen on

Ashlee looks great. I read here ( about her diet&workout plan which will help her get back in shape in a blink of an eye and, wow, how about those special exercises?

Keis on

Chiara- Thank You. I for one was getting tired of all the ignorant comments about the Bronx.

SouthernBelle on

I recently read that there was an incident in a country outside the US (Australia, I think) where a judge forbade the parents of a certain child to name him/her the ridiculous name they had picked out (I can’t remember if the child was a boy or girl and don’t remember the name, but DO remember it was awful!) I think it’s cruel to saddle a child with a name that could cause a lifetime of torment. I know a few people, who are so caught up in their own persona of “being cool,” that they have come up with some horrendous names to be different and then get angry when people consider the name different! Can’t have it both ways. It’s like dying your hair blue to stand out and have people notice you, then saying “What are you looking at?” when people do look and notice you are different! On a side note: There are some nice-sounding place names, but I am just not personally into naming a child for a place. And character names, well that would depend on the character…I would tend to migrate toward a character in a classic book or play than a Disney or other animated character.

melanie on

A little girl in my daughters daycare is named Nash and has siblings named Louis, Shelby, and a new baby Knox ironically.
I’m not sure but I think they’re all cities in TN and KY. Like Louisville, Shelbyville, Knoxville, and Nashville.
I think it’s cute the way she did it!

Karol on

People, people please just stop I would have to agree with Melissa on this one. It doesn’t matter at all where in the light u r standing. You could be an author and have it thrown at you on every book cover, or a news anchor and hear it every single day on the news (except the ones who don’t live in that state or city unless it’s Anderson Cooper…example and look who his mother is). you can be just as not so famous as everyone on this blog and you will still get name called….Hello to all the newbies or way too oldies if you didn’t get called names by someone who disliked you (or liked you ;} biginning from Kindergarten because they couldn’t find something to rhyme it with; you eventually got a name by JHS once the “GARBAGE PAIL KIDS” came out. Everyone had a name. I was called Carol Burnett, Carol Barrel nad thanks to the gabage pail kids CACTUS carol! I didn’t care and you eventually grow out of it. So let them be for now. They might feel for the child “that’s if they don’t already feel stupid” and have it secretly changed…..And like i said every gets named called. please find a name that can’t be made fun of.

Karrol on

Nice…. “Pencils” :}

Hannah on

Southern Belle….the name you are refering to about the Australian parents was 4real. They were ruled against naming their child this because a name can’t contain a digit or something. So, in the end, they named him Superman or something similar.