Veruca is the bratty kid who meets a bad end in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Thanks to Maren for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.


British children’s author Roald Dahl penned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 1964, introducing the world to eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.

In the story, Wonka creates some of the world’s favorite candy bars and confections, but his factory has remained mysteriously shuttered for ages. Until now, when Wonka announces that he’ll open it to five lucky children who find a golden ticket tucked into a Wonka bar.

Charlie Bucket is one of those children – tragically poor, almost unbelievably good in spirit.

The other four? Not so much.

Veruca Salt is among the lucky winners. Her father’s immense fortune bought Wonka bars by the crate, and he set his factory workers to opening them, until they had a ticket in hand.

 From the very first, the character redefines spoiled.

The book has become a movie twice – in 1971 and 2005. Both versions make the character British. In the 2005 Tim Burton version, the Salt family lives in a huge stately home outside of London. It really exists – it’s called Hatfield House, which you can tour.

Veruca’s demands and tantrums are just plain fun in the story. But she’s a cautionary tale in child form, destined to be sung about by Oompa Loompas.


It’s easy to imagine Veruca fitting right in with girls’ names beginning with V, a slightly less common alternative to Veronica.

Except Roald Dahl takes the character’s name from verruca – a Latin word meaning wart.

More broadly, verruca can refer to a growth, or even just a flaw or failing.  It’s obscure in the US, but more familiar in British English.

It’s a pitch perfect choice for Miss Salt. But it feels problematic for a real girl.

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Has any one ever dared to use Veruca for a child’s name?

US Census records hint at a few, but those could be spelling errors.

In 2023, the name failed to appear in the data at all. But in 2016, the baby name Veruca debuted in the US popularity data, with five births. That suggests that a tiny number of girls have received the name over the years.

Are they named for the fictional character?



In 1999, season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer introduced a female werewolf named Veruca. She’s unapologetic about her wild side, causing all sorts of problems for Buffy and her friends. (Which, at the time, include a more responsible werewolf called Oz.) Veruca is also a musician.

That last bit suggests that the fictional werewolf’s name might’ve been inspired by 1990s alt rock/grunge band Veruca Salt. Formed in Chicago in 1992, founding members Louise Post and Nina Gordon borrowed the name from Dahl’s character.

You’ve probably heard their biggest hit: 1994’s “Seether.”

None of this makes the baby name Veruca more wearable necessarily. But the band, at least, means that some parents’ first thought isn’t necessarily a spoiled little rich girl who wants a Golden Goose.

Overall, Veruca isn’t an option likely to make many parents’ shortlists, but it’s an intriguing, delightful kind of rarity anyway.

What do you think of the baby name Veruca?

First published on July 24, 2015, this post was revised on June 9, 2024.


Roald Dahl character

Borrowed from a word meaning “wart” for a spoiled rich girl in a Roald Dahl story, this name sounds promising – but might be more problematic than wearable.


unranked; given to fewer than five girls in 2023


holding steady


from the Latin verruca, wart

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. My daughter’s name is Veruca. It’s Slavic and means vivacious and strong willed, which is totally fitting for her! The Latin word for wart is spelled Verruca (with 2 R’s), and isn’t a name, and since we’re not in the UK and haven’t ever heard of the Latin use we weren’t deterred by that. I love it, she loves it, and it’s very unique! We also use the nicknames Ruca or Ru.

  2. My daughter is named Varuka (I changed the spelling). I was obsessed with the character growing up. Although she is only 3 months, I have spent a great time explaining to people where I found this name and why I chose it.

    1. LOVE! You totally made my day! And I do think changing the spelling sidesteps the most problematic issues with the name.

    2. I named my daughter Veruka with a K (another woman said this too, is this true?? I thought my daughter was the only one!!) I named her that specifically after the Chocolate Factory character (yes thats right and my daughter collects Veruca Salt memorabilia, even got her an authentic golden ticket for Christmas one year!) my daughter is a very happy 14 yr old popular cheerleader and everyone LOVES her name despite me receiving actual death threats back in 2005 online when I told a baby name message board what I had named her. I think the name is unique and beautiful xoxo

      1. DEATH THREATS?!? Oh my, that’s just crazytown.

        I’m so glad to hear it’s wearing well. In the remake of the movie, they used a historic home as the Salt family manor for the opening scene – the ones where they interviewed the Golden Ticket winners. I actually got to visit a few years ago – not exactly planned, but a thrill when I realized where I was standing!

        Looking at the data, Veruka doesn’t register. BUT that doesn’t mean no girls have the name (obviously!) It just means it’s never been given to five girls in a single calendar year. For privacy purposes, the Social Security Administration considers those too rare to share.

  3. Yeah, not for me. I can’t shake the bratty character or the wart issue. It does have a lovely sound; it reminds me a bit of Fairuza, which has a lovely meaning– turquoise.

    I would maybe use it for a pet. It could be fitting for a bird, cat, or goat. 🙂

    This has been a great week. Happy birthday and have a lovely weekend!

  4. Great choices this week and I love that you featured Veruca! It’s a guilty pleasure of mine too. I really think we should be real life BFF’s. 🙂

    Veruka Nine is on the first page of my name journal. (I keep a journal of all the fabulous (at least to me) names I’ve found/heard about over the years).

    I found another Veruka recently and look for her in upcoming Names4Real post – Veruka Avery.

    Happy Birthday!


  5. Don’t do it!!!! 😛

    The name does remind me of my childhood in the UK – specifically that we had to wear “veruca socks” in swimming class at school, so that you didn’t spread the wart virus. These plastic socks were hard to get on and off.

    Fast forward to the US today and my daughter has a nasty wart on her foot that we left alone too long. So now she’s had several visits to the dermatologist and he has to freeze it off her foot and she cries and it costs us hundreds of dollars. I hate warts right now! I was looking at the paperwork this week and it does have the word “veruca” listed right there under diagnosis. So it is still currently used. Not that the Dr has used the word with my daughter, so I don’t think she’s heard it. We just call it her wart. But all the same, it is the more official medical term.

    Roald Dahl’s story is such a classic too and the negative character is another bad association.

    Sound alone it is nice with the V and I do like “ends in A” names for girls. Definitely better in the middle name spot if you adore the name despite the negative associations.

  6. I’m with you, it’s too bad the meaning of this name is so unpleasant. On sound and looks, it’s a great name.

    You’ve profiled great names for your birthday week!

  7. Abby – I am so glad you wrote up Veruca during your birthday week! You have mentioned its appeal to you in the past so it’s only right to feature it. As for using it – nah.