This article investigates whether first names do have constitutive and directive meaning, and hence influence the future of their bearers. It does so with regard to the effects of the first name on educational achievement. The research pertains to Flanders (Dutch speaking region of Belgium) and is based on a sample of 6,974 pupil-parent pairs. There is a strong relationship between the parents' level of education, and cultural tastes and practices on the one hand, the first names they select for their children on the other. As a consequence first names and educational achievement of the children are also strongly related. In an exploratory study of 589 first year university students, more than 40% was convinced that their first name had exerted an influence on their lives, many of them referring to labelling practices. This paper investigates whether social labelling based on first names, does influence educational achievement. After controlling for the parents' level of education and socio-economic status, as well as for their cultural tastes and practices, direct effects of the meanings of the first name on educational achievement remain, supporting the applicability of labelling theory. Yet, when also controlling for the cultural tastes and practices of the pupils themselves, these effects become much weaker and statically insignificant, suggesting that the labelling experienced by the pupils does not so much concern their first names as the strong association between cultural tastes and practices on the one hand, the social meaning of first names on the other.