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Category: uncool baby names


Hipster Baby Names

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.

Instead of Ada, try AIDEEN

Instead of Annabel, try ANNE

Instead of August, try GUSTAV

Instead of Butch, try BUDDY

Instead of Delilah, try SALOME

Instead of Edie, try EDITH

Instead of Hugo, try HUGH

Instead of Iris, try IRENE

Instead of June, try JANE

Instead of Kingston, try KINGSLEY

Instead of Lennon, try JOHN

Instead of Lulu, try LOUISE

Instead of Mae, try MARY

Instead of Miles, try BASIE  (I think Basie is probably pretty hipster too, but I just like it better)

Instead of Minnie, try MINETTE

Instead of Otis, try OMAR

Instead of Piper, try FIFER

Instead of Ray, try RALPH

Instead of Ruby, try RUTH

Instead of Talullah, try TABITHA

Instead of Theo, try TED

Any more bright ideas?  We know you have some…..

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We made waves recently by writing a piece for The Daily Beast about Hipster Names.  Almost universally, the cry went up: Oh no! I’ve given my baby a hipster name!  “I have a one-year-old named Matilda,” one mom wrote.  “I hate you.”

Ooops, sorry.  We love the name Matilda.  Really!  We’re just a little confused about why hipster has become such a dirty word.

Or not.  I mean, we do get it, in a way.  There’s something sneering, something dismissive about branding someone or something “hipster.”  It connotes the feeling that someone (or something) is trying too hard to be cool, which of course is the definition of uncool.

On the other hand, what are you supposed to do: be deliberately uncool?  Call your kid Jennifer, or Jean, or something that thumbs its nose at the entire planet of style?

Would not caring about style lead you to a transcendentally cool name?  Or a thoroughly uncool one?

Insert deep sigh here.

The real question on many parents’ minds: How do you choose a name that’s genuinely stylish and interesting but that’s neither too hipsterish or too uncool?

Let’s play (and for you Message Board fans, this would make a great Name Game):

Hipster: OSCAR

Uncool: ORIN



Too cool: EVA

Uncool: EILEEN



Hipster: ATTICUS

Uncool: JULIUS




Uncool: APRIL



Too cool: LENNON

Uncool: STARR



When it comes to calling the sweet spot, we’re not always that sure of ourselves either — or in agreement.  (After I posted this, Linda emailed me, Estelle?  Really???) We’d love to hear your ideas on which names hit the sweet spot, and why.

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