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Hipster Baby Names

Hipster Baby Names
Hipster baby names are names that are favored by hip, stylish parents, none of whom want to be accused of using hipster names for their children. That makes hipster names a moving target — as soon as a name becomes identifiably hipster, hip parents start to avoid it.

What qualities are shared by hipster names? They're usually conventional names but never popular ones. They are quirky and edgy but may also have deep roots. Old-fashioned nickname-names, such as Sally and Sonny, often strike a hipster vibe, as do mythological names and boys' names used for girls. The letters O, Q, X, and Z are often found in hipster names, including Opal and Io, Zelma and Ziggy.

Along with Opal and Sonny, other hipster names in the US Top 1000 include Cleo, Eugene, Florence, Ira, Langston, Rudy, Stanley, and Zelda. Former hipster names that are now mainstream include Matilda and Clementine for girls, Arlo and Otto for boys.

Below, the hipster baby names most often heard around Brooklyn, Austin and Madison these days (though we can't resist pointing out that the names Brooklyn, Austin and Madison are nowhere among them).
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OttilieHeart

  • Origin:

    Feminine variation of German OTTO,
  • Meaning:

    "prosperous in battle"
  • Description:

    Ottilie and its diminutive Ottiline are a pair of names heard among the British upper crust, but have rarely been seen here since the 1880's. Though it has German roots via Otto, Ottilie has a distinctively delicate French feel.

FlorenceHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "flourishing, prosperous"
  • Description:

    Florence is back, returning to the US Top 1000 girl names in 2017 after a nearly 40 year absence. Other English-speaking countries have been quicker to welcome Florence back into fashion.

KitHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Christopher
  • Description:

    Actor Kit Harington, aka the dreamy Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, has given this nickname-name new style and appeal for boys. Actress Jodie Foster used it for her son. For girls, it's an updated diminutive of Katherine.

AlistairHeart

  • Origin:

    English spelling of Alasdair, Scottish version of Alexander
  • Meaning:

    "defending men"
  • Description:

    With many British names invading the Yankee name pool, the sophisticated Alistair could and should be part of the next wave. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2016. You have a triple choice with this name--the British spell it Alistair or Alastair, while the Scots prefer Alasdair--but they're all suave Gaelic versions of Alexander. Adopted by the lowland Scots by the seventeenth century, the name didn't become popular outside Scotland and Ireland until the twentieth century.

AmbroseHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "immortal"
  • Description:

    A favorite of British novelists including Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse, Ambrose has an air of blooming well-being and upper-class erudition. It comes from the same Greek root as 'ambrosia', the food of the gods, said to confer immortality.
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CleoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "glory"
  • Description:

    Cleo, one of the few girls' names to boast the cool-yet-lively o ending, is of course short for Cleopatra, the name of one of the most powerful women in history.

CloverHeart

  • Origin:

    Flower name, from Old English
  • Meaning:

    "key"
  • Description:

    Clover is a charming, perky choice if you want to move beyond hothouse blooms like Rose and Lily, and it's recently become a new celeb favorite, chosen by both Neal McDonough and Natasha Gregson Wagner, who used it to honor her mother, Natalie Wood, one of whose most iconic films was Inside Daisy Clover.

CasperHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch form of Jasper, Persian
  • Meaning:

    "bringer of treasure"
  • Description:

    This ancient name, also spelled Caspar, is finally shedding its ghostly image and moving into the 21st century. Popular in the Netherlands and Scandinavia, where it's sometimes shortened to Cas, Casper could ride the style coattails of cousin Jasper. Casper was one of the Three Magi who brought gifts to the infant Jesus along with Melchior and Balthasar.

IdaHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "industrious one"
  • Description:

    Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.

CosmoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, Italian, English
  • Meaning:

    "order, beauty"
  • Description:

    We all heard it on Seinfeld as the long-concealed first name of Kramer, then considered a punchline. Now some pioneering parents are embracing this expansive Greek name, which makes a creative and cool choice for a baby. Influential celebrity couple Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost chose it for their son, born in 2021, which will likely drive Cosmo up in popularity. In the UK, it currently ranks within the Top 1000 boy names and is trending upwards.
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NyxHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Meaning:

    "night"
  • Description:

    In Greek mythology, Nyx was a powerful goddess and the embodiment of the night, but when spoken, its negative meaning can't be ignored.

OdetteHeart

  • Origin:

    French, from German
  • Meaning:

    "wealthy"
  • Description:

    Odette is the good swan in Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake, a role for which Natalie Portman won an Oscar ---and it would make a particularly soigne, sophisticated yet upbeat choice, unlike some of the more dated other 'ette'-ending names.

IsoldeHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "ice ruler"
  • Description:

    Now that Tristan has been rediscovered, maybe it's time for his fabled lover in the Arthurian romances and Wagnerian opera, a beautiful Irish princess, to be brought back into the light as well.

AndromedaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Meaning:

    "advising like a man"
  • Description:

    One of the stellar unique baby names from mythology, Andromeda was the beautiful daughter of Cassiopeia who, like her mother, literally became a star--the constellation that bears her name.The Bohemian Andromeda makes a dramatic and adventurous choice in a time when four-syllable mythological names are gradually making their way into the mainstream.

MarigoldHeart

  • Origin:

    Flower name, from English
  • Meaning:

    "golden flower"
  • Description:

    Marigold, once found almost exclusively in English novels and aristocratic nurseries, is beginning to be talked about and considered here. It has a sweet, sunny, quirky feel. The marigold was the symbol of the Virgin Mary.
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ScoutHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Scout, a character nickname from To Kill a Mockingbird (her real name was Jean Louise), became a real-life possibility when Bruce Willis and Demi Moore used it for their now grown middle daughter, followed by Tom Berenger a few years later. A unisex choice that is growing in popularity for both genders -- but given to girls about four times more often than to boys -- it was picked by skater Tai Babilonia for her son and Kerri Walsh for her daughter Scout Margery.

WinifredHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "blessed peacemaking"
  • Description:

    One of the few remaining unrestored vintage gems, with a choice of two winning nicknames--the girlish Winnie and the tomboyish Freddie--as well as the slight stretch Freda. Winifred, the name of a legendary Welsh saint, was a Top 200 name into the mid-1920's.

SoleilHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "sun"
  • Description:

    An attractive French word name known here via former child TV star Soleil Moon Frye, aka Punky Brewster. It started to be lightly used in the U.S. in the 1920s and is now attracting some attention as both a sunny nature and an international word name. It's currently in the Nameberry Top 500.

SybilHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "prophetess"
  • Description:

    The image of the lovely Lady Sybil, tragic youngest daughter of the Crawley family on Downton Abbey is likely to go a long way towards reviving this almost forgotten name, off the list since 1966 and most popular in the 1920s and '30s. Sybil is currently Number 253 on Nameberry;

AlfieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Alfred, English
  • Meaning:

    "wise counselor"
  • Description:

    Alfie is a Top 20 name throughout the British Isles, where retro nickname names are mega-popular, but it hasn't really been picked up in the US yet. Both Alfie and rising star Archie are spunky nickname possibilities with a bit of an English accent.
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AgnesHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "pure, virginal"
  • Description:

    Agnes is the Latin variation of the name Hagne, which itself derived from the Greek word hagnos, meaning "chaste." In medieval times, St. Agnes was a very popular saint, leading to its popularity as a girl's name. Agnes Grey is the title of one of the two novels written by Anne Brontë.

BirdieHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "bird"
  • Description:

    Birdie was until recently a middle-aged Ladies' Club member wearing a bird-decorated hat --but now it's just the kind of vintage nickname (think Hattie, Josie, Mamie, Millie) that's coming back into style in a big way. Actress Busy Philipps named her baby Birdie (inspired by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson), as did soap star Maura West.

IraHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "watchful one"
  • Description:

    Ira is one of the shortest, non-biblical sounding Old Testament names, belonging to one of King David's thirty 'mighty warriors.' It was widely used in the US from the 1880s to the early 1930s (it was Number 57 on the Social Security list in 1881), but fell off completely in 1993. Although Ira is also a retirement-account acronym, it's back on the table for those seeking a short biblical name for their sons, and reentered the US Top 1000 in 2016. A musical namesake is lyricist Ira Gershwin (born Israel), a literary one is Ira Levin, and there are two prominent Iras hosting NPR radio shows..

OrsonHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin and English
  • Meaning:

    "bear cub"
  • Description:

    Orson has had in the past a rotund teddy-bear image, a la Orson Welles, who early on dropped his common given name of George in favor of his more distinctive middle one, and who seemed to own it during his lifetime. No longer a single-person signature, it's now an interesting possibility for any parent seeking an unusual yet solid name. It's started to appear to the celeb set--both Paz Vega and Lauren Ambrose have little Orsons.

LazarusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latinized Greek variation of Hebrew Eleazar
  • Meaning:

    "God is my helper"
  • Description:

    Lazarus is a name that looks as if it could possibly be raised from the dead, just like its biblical bearer. Look for it in the next wave of Old Testament revivals that transcend their long-bearded images, the way Noah, Moses, and Abraham have for this generation.
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HarrietHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of French Henriette
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Harriet has long been considered a stylish, upscale name in England, but it's still waiting to be revived in the US—though some parents seeking a solid, serious semi-classic are beginning to consider it.

WolfHeart

  • Origin:

    Animal name or diminutive of Wolfgang
  • Meaning:

    "traveling wolf"
  • Description:

    Wolf is a name with a split personality. It can be seen as one of the fierce animal names, like Fox and Bear and Puma, with a touch of the werewolf, or it can be viewed as a quieter, Wolf Blitzer kind of name, fairly common in German (where is pronounced Vulf) and Jewish families, sometimes as a short form of Wolfgang.

InesHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, Portuguese, Slovene and Croatian variation of Agnes
  • Meaning:

    "pure, virginal"
  • Description:

    This form of Agnes, Ines has always been popular since the true story of the thwarted lovers Queen Ines of Castro and King Peter of Portugal. This has to be one of the most heartbreaking and bloody true romances in history!

AnselHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "with divine protection"
  • Description:

    Ansel, primarily associated with the great western photographer Ansel Adams, famed for his magnificent photographs of the Yosemite Valley, could make a creative artist-hero choice. For Adams it was a family name – he was named after his uncle, Ansel Easton. And, in turn, Adams was the namesake of young heartthrob Ansel Elgort, son of a photographer.

RufusHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "red-head"
  • Description:

    Rufus is a rumpled, redheaded (it was the nickname for red-haired King William) ancient Roman name popular with saints and singers (e.g. Rufus Wainwright); now, Rufus is on the cutting edge of cool.
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CocoHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish and French pet name
  • Description:

    Coco came to prominence as the nickname of the legendary French designer Chanel (born Gabrielle) and has lately become a starbaby favorite, initially chosen by Courteney Cox for her daughter Coco Riley in 2004. At first it was the kind of name that the press loves to ridicule, but we predict Coco's heading for more broad acceptance and even popularity.

ZiggyHeart

  • Origin:

    German, diminutive of Siegfried and Sigmund
  • Description:

    The ultimate nicknamey name, à la Ziggy Stardust or the comic-strip character Ziggy. Then again, there's Ziggy Marley, and most anything Marley is cool. Originally named David, his father Bob Marley gave him the nickname "Ziggy" due to the soccer move of the same name.

GusHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Augustus, Angus, Gustave, Augustin, Augusten, Augustine, August
  • Description:

    Gus is a homey grandpa nickname name that can work as a short form for any of the above or stand on its own as a cutting-edge replacement for Max and Jake--though it was off the Top 1000 from 1978 until 2016, when it squeaked in at Number 999.

ConstanceHeart

  • Origin:

    English version of Latin Constantia
  • Meaning:

    "steadfastness"
  • Description:

    Constance is one of the more subtle of the virtue baby names, but still has quite a prim and proper image. One impediment to its revival has been the decidedly dated nickname Connie, though modern parents might well opt for using the strong and dignified name in full.

ChesterHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "fortress, walled town,"
  • Description:

    Chester is a comfortable, little-used teddy-bear of a name that suddenly sounds both quirky and cuddly.
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PhineasHeart

  • Origin:

    English, Egyptian
  • Meaning:

    "the Nubian"
  • Description:

    Phineas is the English variation of Phinehas, a Hebrew name likely derived from the Egyptian name Pa-nehasi. Pa-nehasi, meaning “the Nubian” can also be translated as “the bronze-colored one.” The Egyptians distinguished themselves from their Nubian neighbors through differences in skin tone.

ThaddeusHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic, meaning unclear, possibly from Theodore
  • Meaning:

    "gift of God"
  • Description:

    Thaddeus, a distinguished, long-neglected name, has several areas of appeal: a solid New Testament legacy, a nice antique feel, and the choice of several more modern nicknames and international variations.

IndigoHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "Indian dye"
  • Description:

    Indigo is one of the most appealing and evocative of the new generation of color names. Color names have joined flower and jewel names -- in a big way -- and Indigo, a deep blue-purple dye from plants native to India, is particularly striking for both girls and boys. Indigo is the name of a character in the Ntozake Shange novel Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and was used for his daughter by Lou Diamond Phillips.

LavenderHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "flower and color name"
  • Description:

    Lavender lags far behind sweet-smelling purple-hued sister names Violet and Lilac, but is starting to get some enthusiastic attention from cutting-edge namers. It does have a history as a name, going back to the eighteenth century, when it was also used for boys. But its recent attention comes from Lavender Brown, a witch character in the Harry Potter saga – though Lavender had also been previously featured as a best friend character in Roald Dahl's Matilda.

SonnyHeart

  • Origin:

    Nickname for "son"
  • Meaning:

    "son"
  • Description:

    Sonny is one of the generic boy nickname names making a surprise reappearance, and it was recently used by actor Jason Lee. Another surprise: It's been on the US Top 1000 list every year since 1927, reaching a peak in 1975, when it hit Number 428.
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BillieHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Wilhelmina, Wilma
  • Meaning:

    "resolute protection"
  • Description:

    Billie is a tomboy nickname name, part of the growing trend for using boyish nicknames for girls and now destined for stardom along with its most famous contemporary bearer, music sensation Billie Eilish.

MontyHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Montague, Montgomery
  • Description:

    Monty, a name with a World War II feel, is rarely used on its own. But we're hearing rumblings of a comeback and think that Monty, whatever it's short for, is an adorable vintage nickname name of the future.

FernHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Of all the botanicals, Fern has been one of the slowest to move back from the front parlor into the nursery, despite the appealing girl character in the children's classic Charlotte's Web. Fern was most popular from the turn of the last century through the 1940s, reaching a high of #152 in 1916. We can certainly see her rejoining the long list of popular greenery names.

PetraHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "rock, stone"
  • Description:

    A strong Greek name with pan-European charm, Petra is a relatively recent feminization of Peter, though it relates back to an incredible ancient city in Jordan that was rediscovered in the early nineteenth century.

MinervaHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "of the mind, intellect"
  • Description:

    Minerva is the long-neglected name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, the arts and martial strength, one of the mythology names for girls that might appeal to adventurous feminist parents.
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ThorHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "thunder"
  • Description:

    Thor, the powerful name of the Norse god of thunder, strength and rain, would make a bold statement. Long a comic book staple, Thor has now invaded the big screen, and could land on birth certificates as well.

ZeldaHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Griselda
  • Meaning:

    "gray fighting maid"
  • Description:

    Classified as an early beauty, Zelda has long and often been used as such for characters in books and films. Since 1986, Zelda has been a prime Nintendo name, as in the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

AshaHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit; Swahili
  • Meaning:

    "hope; life"
  • Description:

    Asha is an Indian name that comes from the Sanskrit word for hope or desire, but it is also a Swahili name derived from Aisha, meaning life. Since the ascendance of Ashley through the 1980s and 90s, all baby names Ash-related have been used in the U.S. for both girls and boys, from Ashlyn to Ashby, Ashton to Asher. Despite its separate roots, Asha is part of this group. Asha is finding new life through its Game of Thrones connections.

WilburHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "resolute, brilliant"
  • Description:

    Wilbur is a stylish name in the UK whose merits are just starting to be discovered in the US. Wilbur, the loveable pig who Charlotte of the Web called Some Pig, is an inspirational hero. And Wilbur and Orville Wright were early aviationists.

ZoraHeart

  • Origin:

    Serbo-Croatian
  • Meaning:

    "dawn"
  • Description:

    Zora is a meaningful literary heroine name honoring Zora Neale Hurston, an important black writer and leader of the Harlem Renaissance.
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