Benedict Cumberbatch thinks his female fans have ''set feminism back a little bit'' by calling themselves Cumberbitches.

The 'Imitation Game' star admits he is not a big fan of the nickname his supporters have given themselves, so much so he hates saying the word and has tried to get his army of followers to come up with a more ''empowering'' way to describe themselves.

He said: ''It's like trying to squeeze a confession out of me getting me to actually say that word, because I squirm a little bit about it.

''I definitely didn't [invent it]. That's part of my problem with it. I just went, 'Ladies, this is wonderful. I'm very flattered, but has this not set feminism back a little bit? Empower yourselves if you're going to get silly about a guy with maybe a little bit more of a sort of, you know, a high-regard, self-regarding name!''

Despite his best efforts, Benedict's supporters refused to budge on their moniker and ensured him they were just having a bit of fun rather than trying to offend any feminists.

Speaking on 'The Ellen Degeneres Show', he added: ''But yeah, they were very sweet. They wrote back and were like, 'Well we didn't mean any harm to feminism! We're just having a little bit of fun with your name.' ''

Benedict is to become a father for the first time as his theatre director fiancee Sophie Hunter is pregnant, but he admitted the couple will ''have to be careful'' when pairing their child's first name with the actor's surname.

Talk show host Ellen jokingly suggested a trio of monikers, Engelbert, Harpsichord and Glockenspiel, he and Sophie might like to call their child.

Benedict didn't seem overjoyed by the suggestions but joked Harpsichord could be a name for a girl or a boy and quipped Glockenspiel sounds like it could be appropriate for ''a German boy in lederhosen, maybe''.

However, when Ellen suggested the pair call their child Carl he just dismissed it, saying: ''I'm not getting [the joke].''