On May 4, 2020, Elon Musk and his partner, Canadian musician Claire Grimes, welcomed their son, X Æ A-12.
The news of the birth was not as significant as the name Musk and Grimes chose. The name sparked much curiosity and controversy on social media platforms.
On Wednesday, in an interview with Torque News, Musk momentarily forgot his son’s name. The interviewer asked, “How’s X Æ A-12?”. Musk seemed to stumble for a few seconds, not recognizing the name before finally catching himself.
He replied, “Oh, you mean my kid?” Both interviewer and Musk laughed the incident off. Musk continued, “Yeah, he’s great. Uh…I think next time I am going to bring him, maybe come back in a few months and bring him along.”
Many people on Twitter found the incident funny as well, with many tweeting ‘how even his father doesn’t know how to pronounce his complicated name’.
Other responses were empathetic and understanding of the slip-up. Many people attributed the momentary loss of memory to ‘dad brain’. Others asserted Musk ‘had a lot going on’ with his work in Tesla and SpaceX.
As mentioned, his selection of the name raised many eyebrows. According to Twitter reports at the time, he and Grimes chose the name because of the personal significance of the letters.
Grimes tweeted, “X, the unknown variable, Æ, my elven spelling of Ai (love and/or Artificial Intelligence), A-12, the precursor to SR-17”. She also explained his middle name, “A”, which refers to “Archangel”, her favorite song.
Æ is a ligature of a and e, commonly pronounced as ash. It originates from Latin and Old English. However, it fell out of use centuries ago. Now, it more commonly appears in European languages such as Norwegian, Danish, and Icelandic.
Æ has significant personal meaning to Grimes as she has used it in her music before. Her latest album is called 4ÆM.
According to Musk and Grimes, the name is pronounced ‘eks-ash-ay-12’. Although Musk and Grimes altered the name to X Æ A-XII (as California law prohibits names with numbers), the pronunciation remains the same.