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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Erin Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 12:32 am

THe baby name sweet spot link isn’t working….

Interesting post!

Erin Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 12:47 am

P.S. “Butch” is a hipster name?? Really??

Fifer, Omar, Aideen (what a bad mouth-feel!) and Buddy just don’t do it for me, but I think that you have some pretty good mojo going for the rest.

Jill Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 2:02 am

I’m not so sure about the Hipster label being a negative one, because the names on the Hipster list are elegant and classy, and demonstrate good taste! 🙂 I love the Hipster names, but until now, I never understood what a Hipster was.

Out of curiosity, if someone likes names on the Hispter list, is he or she automatically a Hipster? I’m by no means a Hipster, yet have loved names like Clementine and Georgia (along with the classics) since I was a little girl. Hmm…

I’ve already made the mental switch from Annabelle to Anne, and all is well now. 🙂 I love so many of your ideas, and really enjoyed this blog entry!

Some more alternatives:

Clementine=Cleo or Clea
Dexter=Baxter or Conrad
Iris/Violet=Delphine or Calla
Sullivan=Gulliver or Darby

P.S. I can’t access the link, either!

Jill Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 2:03 am

I just want to add Thaddeus or Edward for Theodore, as both give you Ted/Teddy!

Lola Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 8:46 am

I don’t mind being considered a “Hipster” nor do I want to remove a few of the ones on that list from mine. But then, I don’t care who thinks what of me. I’m happy and that’s what counts, eh? 🙂

Some thoughtd for De-hipsterizing:
Instead of Matilda – Maud/e
Instead of Violet – Dahlia
Instead of Rufus – Remus
Instead of Millie – Polly
Instead of June – May
” ” Lennon – Harrison
Isla – Iona
Hudson – Clyde or Clarence (they’re both rivers as well)
Piper – Harper
Leopold – Leon/Leonard
Flora – Florence
Homer – Cleon or Erasmus
Georgia – Virginia
Daisy – Lilac

I could keep going but I’ll leave some for others.
I’m not taking Clementine or Rufus off my lists and I can’t believe I just suggest my beloved Maud instead of Matilda! 😀

Neat idea Pam & Linda!

Lola Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 8:50 am

Meant to say, the link doesn’ work for me either!

Lin Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

If there was a list I could remove from the site, it would be the hipster list for sure. My son’s name is on the list and while I still love his name and don’t regret the choice, I neither want it to be considered hipster nor do I want people who are intentionally trying to be ‘hipsters’ to choose that name from that list. Oh well! 🙂

Lola Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Alright, I played around a bit and got the link to work:

Apparently, the link doubled, I just erased the repeating half and Viola!

susan Says:

March 12th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I love a bunch of the hipster names, but I love to wear my baggy corduroy pants, and they do not say hipster. They say middle-aged mom that loves Talbots. Love a lot of your alternative names, too! Love Ted so much and thought it was out of style. Love Irene incredibly-means peace in Greek. Will have to put it on my Cool Greek Names List right now. I think Theodore could go on my Greek list, too.

Navi Says:

March 13th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I have an even better idea, instead of trying to be cool by choosing names to fit someone else’s tastes (the author’s), how about accepting that different people like different names, nodoby has the same taste.

Everyone will come upon a hipster name they like, and like Miles, many people like it and It’s popular so you know it can’t really be uncool. Believe me I’m 16, and I know what is and isn’t cool, and none of the names suggested are cool.

(P.S. how does choosing the name Miles mean you are trying to be different if it’s popular?)

peach Says:

March 14th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

My problem with the ‘hipster’ list is that some of the names I thought were unusual and underused may become popular and trendy. It’s not about whether I, or the names, seem/are ‘hip’ it’s that I don’t want my kid to be the third Delilah in her class. It’s okay though, it just makes me more creative and open to more name ideas. It’s good that I know what names are shooting up in popularity so that I come up with more original names. There’s nothing wrong with the classics either!

Emmy Jo Says:

March 15th, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I really think you need to abandon this whole hipster label. Or don’t abandon it completely … just stop obsessing about it. Yes, it’s good to know which formerly unpopular names are climbing the charts. And, yes, it’s good to know that names generally thought uncommon are actually heard rather frequently among the children of educated, urban parents.

As you noted when you said, “I think Basie is probably hipster too but I just like it better,” this is really about personal taste. You know what? I like Miles better. And you know what else? It’s not because I’m looking for a “jazzy” name, so Basie and Lionel aren’t appealing substitutes. I like Miles because it’s a historical Pilgrim name that still is much less common than other boys’ classics (like John, William, or Michael).

Some of your substitutions are good, like Salome for Delilah. Some just don’t appeal at all… are you seriously recommending using Buddy as a given first name? And some have got to be just as “hipster” as the names they are replacing, like Kingsley and Fifer.

Liana Says:

March 17th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I’m sorry, but I think this whole obsession with “hipster” names is kind of stupid. Most of the names on the list aren’t even popular. They aren’t even slightly fashionable. Okay, some of them are climbing up the charts but that doesn’t mean they’re popular or will continue to rise or anything or that people should stop using them. Talullah, Theo, Otis, Minnie, Edie and Butch aren’t even in the top 1000 and Ray and Hugo have lost places compared to last year. Most of the others are rising really slowly. Only 2 names on the list have actually risen a bit faster, but still not as much so you could call them trendy or a future top 100 name. I know that by hipster you don’t necessarily mean common, but come on. If these names were only slightly fashionable they would have at least been on the top 1000 or something.

I also don’t think that parents who use them are trying to be cool or anything. These names are good, nice, normal names with nice meanings and associations and with this article you try to make people think that there’s something wrong with them or that they’re trying too hard to be cool which is definitely not the case. I don’t even like many of the names you listed, but I felt that I needed to speak out for those who considered using these names and are now not sure anymore because of what you wrote. In my opinion the article is just plain silly and looks as if you couldn’t think of anything better to write about. I really love your site and most articles and you’re usually doing a great job but this was just unnecessary.

I mean Butch? Come on how is Butch hipster? As a dogs name, maybe. Ada was the name of Byron’s daughter, the inventor of an early mechanical computer. What a namesake. She was inspiring and a great role model for girls. So why are you trying to tell people there’s something wrong with it? Just because it’s similar to Ava? In my opinion Ada is a strong name and something I’d love to see on a little girl while still being very different from Ava. Aideen isn’t really a great alternative, it sounds like dated Aileen. Delilah is finally losing its bad image which is great.

Maybe you weren’t serious or just needed something to write about but this article was just bad. It could seriously discourage people from using a couple of great names. I also think you did bad research. You didn’t spot some seriously “hipster” ,as you would call them, names such as Miley and Evangeline yet included heaps that aren’t even used like Butch. Some names are also just celeb trendy, but not used otherwise.

Kat Says:

March 17th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I really love you guys. You make me laugh!
Truthfully, I get overwhelmed with the whole “are my baby name choices not too hip/hip enough?” concerns. I finally decided that I would choose what I liked, and leave it at that. I can’t think of anyone in my personal life who would even know what a “hipster name” is, much less accuse me of choosing one to BE hip. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a hopeless theatre/drama geek, regardless of the fact that most of the names I like are on your dreaded hipster list (Eva, Zoe, Clare, Luke, Cole, etc.)!

Thanks for a truly fun website. I love reading it! I have your Baby Name Bible at home and it is dog-eared from so many times through it (also a litle crunchy from being accidentally dropped in the bathtub a couple of times).

Ysa Says:

March 29th, 2009 at 4:14 am

Hugo to Hugh? Lennon to John? …John? Really? Aideen sounds far more trendy than simple Ada. I think it’s rather insensitive to suggest that nobody wants a “hipster” name, or that a parent would be “horrified if they found their favorite names — or worse, their actual children’s names — on our list of hipster names.” Do you really hold your opinions in such great light as to think that future parents would cower in fear from a name one of your own dreaded hipster lists? In truth, “hipster” is just another style of naming, with no less background or meaning than the names you’ve suggested. It all comes down to a matter of taste. After all, you did say that Basie was probably as hipster as Miles, but you preferred it. I think that to covert a name like Hugo to plain Hugh is taking away the character of the name. I would understand if the objective were to take names growing popular in the name nerd community and suggest alternatives, but really, this doesn’t look like what you’re doing.
So stop with the hipster bashing, please? :]

alexis Says:

October 14th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I think making the hipster names un-hip is counterproductive. They just wind up sounding WEIRDO. I guess hipster names are hipster names because they appeal to a wide audience, even if that audience thinks they are being original. The truth is, it seems that trends reveal themselves over years and predictions end up wrong anyway. It is a damn war zone to name your kiddo these days!! How do you know that what you like and think is cool (and mostly just hope is not tragically popular) will not become big after you name your baby?

My first daughter’s name is on the name list of “names that are trendier that you think” though I have never meet another child with her name. I am hoping that is doesn’t appeal to a wide audience and become popular today.

My other issue is that if everyone stops picking hipster names because they are too popular, won’t we all start choosing them again when they are unpopular, making them popular once again? LOL It is a cluster for sure.

I think I would still take a hipster name over a strange, trying-way-too-hard name if given the choice.

OliviaSarah Says:

February 7th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

This is one of the reasons I often can’t stand Nameberry. I would happily name my child a name that I loved despite the fact it had been labelled ‘Hipster’ by some website. Gees – get over yourselves.

Plus I’d rather name my child after a Cartoon Mouse than ‘Minette’ which is a term of sexual endearment in France.

Sorry, I just had to rant. I’m tired of this website being so prejudice.

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