Category: hipster names
What are the cool baby names?
That’s the first question most people ask us when they hear we have the unlikely profession of baby name experts. We hear it so often, in fact, that we wrote a book called Cool Names for Babies.
Still, when people ask us the question, we find ourselves stuttering and stammering.
Why? Mostly because cool is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.
Certainly, the websites that have sprung up purporting to direct you to cool baby names do nothing of the sort. They only pop up when you google cool baby names because they’re optimized for that popular search term (one of the hard facts of the rough-and-tumble baby name biz) and not because they know anything about cool….or even baby names, for that matter.
One way to identify cool baby names might be to look at what cool people are naming their babies. For the most part, this dovetails nicely with the names that nameberry visitors like best — yes, of course we’re cool! — and that are most searched for on the site. These tend to have traditional roots but an offbeat feel and include:
Journalist and New York City mom Laura Dunphy reports that the pressure is on for Gotham parents to choose baby names that are more creative, more unusual, cooler than those anyone else is using. But no matter how hard you try, you still might not make it.
That’s because like everything else in NYC, baby naming is intense. If most people think naming children is a pleasant activity, like badminton or a picnic, Manhattanites treat it as a competitive sport, like rugby or bond trading.
When the mother of all hipster mommy bloggers, Heather Armstrong aka Dooce, named her second daughter Marlo, all I could think was…..Marlo? Really? You’d have to work hard to find a less hipsterish name, and Dooce herself has said she was inspired to choose the name by its original bearer, That Girl actress and Free to Be You and Me author Marlo Thomas, not exactly a hipster icon.
So I was thinking about how true hipsters would by definition search for names that were not pegged as hipster, when I came across a nameberry forum launched by the ever-brilliant Susan Chesney, called Outhip the Hipsters.
“What names are even more edgy and nerdy-cool than the Hipster List?,” Susan writes in the introduction to her thread. Rule #1, says Susan: The names on the Outhip the Hipsters list cannot be on the Hipsters list or be enthusiastically endorsed on Nameberry.
Over the next 50 posts, dozens of the nameberry resident geniuses added their own entries to the Outhip the Hipsters list. I’ve reclassified many of the name suggestions below, plus added some of my own.
Here, names that may Outhip the Hipsters:
RISING HIPSTER NAMES
The choices below are rising quickly through the hipster ranks and may soon be so hip they’re not hip anymore.
One thing we learned when we wrote about hipster baby names is that nobody wants one. Many people were horrified if they found their favorite names — or worse, their actual children’s names — on our list of hipster names. No matter how much they’d loved the name before, they immediately went in search of something new, something different, something with a bit less of the whiff of hipsterdom about it.
Well, okay. We can dig grok understand that. It’s intrinsically uncool to be seen as trying hard to be cool, even if you’re doing so by deliberately being uncool. Which, of course, is uncool.
We wrote about this before, in our exploration of names that hit the baby name sweet spot between too cool and not cool enough.
Today we look at how to downshift the hipster factor in some of the prime suspect names. Making a name less hip might mean making it more classic or plainer, but it also might mean making it more unusual, less obviously stylish. If you truly want to pull back from the edge of cool, consider making the following swaps.
Any more bright ideas? We know you have some…..
What are the names that gained the most attention this year, symbolizing how far we’ve come and where we’re heading next? The election, of course, figured heavily in deciding on the most influential names of 2008, as did popular culture and the economy. Here are our top ten picks for the Names of the Year.
1. BARACK – How did an obscure Hebrew/Arabic/Swahili name that means thunderbolt, lightning, and/or blessing come to inspire a wave of baby namesakes? The same way a self-professed “skinny black kid with a funny name” came to be the 44th president of the United States. Barack is exactly the kind of singular, ethnic, family name that the next generation of parents is bound to celebrate.
2. MILEY – It may be Destiny (which was her original given name) that little Miley Cyrus adopted the nickname given to her by her father Billy Ray because she was so smiley, which, thanks to the stupendous success of Hannah Montana, has become one of the fastest rising girl’s names, debuting on the popularity charts at number 278. Over 2,000 baby girls were named Miley, Mylee or Mylie in the last year counted, and boy cousins Milo and Miles are also climbing the charts.
3. JOE – Joe – the Plumber, Six-Pack, and Biden – was 2008’s Everyman, hailed and scorned by candidates on both sides of the election. The ultimate good guy name, Joe is short for Joseph – an important figure in both the Old and New Testaments – which has been among the Top 15 Boy’s Names since the Social Security Administration started keeping records in 1880. It was rarely mentioned that the real Joe the Plumber’s name was actually Sam.
4. RUBY – A new generation of hip mamas and cool dads has given rise to a whole new class of Hipster Baby Names: quirky choices long dormant and only now revived by adventurous baby namers bent on making parenthood and babies stylish. Tops on the hipster favorites list, along with Ruby, are such choices as Oscar, Matilda, Rufus, and Sadie.
5. EDWARD – The alluring vampire hero of Stephenie Myers’ Twilight series has single-handedly turned the slightly awkward, old-fashioned classic Edward into an unlikely candidate for the hottest, edgiest name in town.
6. TRIG — Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was a maverick baby namer, with the choices she made for her five children receiving nearly as much attention as her wardrobe and her televised gaffes. Place names with personal meaning figured heavily in Palin‘s choices, with oldest son Track named for his parents’ love of running, daughters Bristol and Willow named for favorite Alaska places, and Piper chosen because, according to First Dude Todd Palin, “it was a cool name.” Infant son Trig‘s name is Norse for “strength” and middle name Paxson is another Alaska place name.
7. JANUARY- As Betty Draper, the heroine of the TV hit Mad Men set in the early 1960s, gorgeous actress January Jones introduced her own thoroughly modern name that straddles old and new, a perfect choice as we enter a new age of Camelot. January is also representative of a whole calendar-related genre of names, such as Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s little girl Sunday Rose and such newly-stylish choices as May, June, August, and Winter.
8. BRONX- – The Crazy Starbaby Name of the Year Award goes to – no contest — Bronx Mowgli, newborn son of rockers Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz. But Bronx—as opposed to the popular Brooklyn– is about as likely to catch on with non-celebrity baby namers as Kipling-Disney middle name Mowgli.
9. SASHA- Everyone’s making a fuss over the names of older Obama daughter Malia and power-named mom Michelle, but we think Sasha is more worthy of being a Name of the Year. In the second First Daughter’s case, Sasha is short for Natasha. Russian names have quickly gone from heavy-footed to fashionable, thanks to the cadre of long-legged supermodels who’ve imported them to Western Europe and the U.S. Usually a male nickname for Alexander, it was spelled Sascha by Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld, who used it for their daughter.
10. CASH—The economy’s tanked and we’re cutting up our credit cards, so where should we turn but to Cash, the baby name choice of almost a thousand parents last year. It has celebrity cred via Cash (real name) Warren, inamorata of Jessica Alba and baby-daddy of Honor Marie, and as son of actress Annabeth Gish.