Love ’em or hate ’em, you’ve got to respect hipsters for doing things their own way. From their love of all things vintage to their commitment to Whole Foods, hipsters are a unique breed and certainly don’t deserve most of the shade thrown their way. The subculture has had a massive influence on wider trends, helping to bring back vinyl and re-establishing typewriters as a must-have office item.
While there is no consensus on what, exactly, constitutes a hipster name, baby name website Nameberry has gathered baby names from the hipster-saturated cities of Brooklyn, Santa Monica, Austin, and Madison to get an idea of what hipsters are naming their little ones. The data makes it clear that, even when it comes to baby names, hipsters are marching to the beat of their own drums. While the names on this list might be crushingly cool among hipsters, all things must come to an end. These hipster names will probably sound ridiculous in ten years, but there’s no reason we can’t enjoy them for now!
Kai is one of those hip names that has been popping up everywhere lately, but its takeover has been subtle. It has been slowly gaining traction since the late 1970s, and right now it’s one of those excruciatingly cool names — it’s trendy, but not so trendy that it’s become completely mainstream. The best part is that it can be used for both boys and girls, although it’s still more frequently given to little lads.
The moniker has meanings in several languages, giving it some international flair that makes it popular with travel-loving moms and dads. In Hawaiian, it means "sea," in Japanese, it means "forgiveness," in Navajo it means "willow tree," and in Maori it means "food." Sadly, the growing popularity of the name means that, while Kai sounds cool now, it will be another story a decade from now. It’s either going to sound like a name that’s trying way too hard to be "in," or it will have overplayed its hand and become far too common.
An under-appreciated writer during her lifetime, Anaïs Nin never received the acknowledgement she deserved until many years after her death. It makes sense, then, that the writer’s name would be a top pick for hipsters looking for a name with deep significance, but yet is still off the beaten path. Nin, who lived from 1903-1977, has seen a modern resurgence, particularly among the artistic set, and comparisons have been drawn to Lena Dunham, a figure who encapsulates hipsterdom for many.
A French name meaning "grace," Anais (pronounced ah-nah-EES) is derived from the more common name Anne. While it’s a lovely twist on a classic English name, Anais is too hard to pronounce for most people in English-speaking countries. Another hurdle: It’s similar in structure to the plant named "anise," which, given the fact that it sounds an awful lot like "anus," means that this name is doomed before it even gets a proper chance to shine.
Any hipster worth their salt knows their way around a good craft beer, which might be part of the reason that Hopper has become a popular name for baby boys in that crowd. The name was notably given to Hopper Penn, son of actors Sean Penn and Robin Wright, in honor of their friend Dennis Hopper. Like many celeb baby names, Hopper has proven to be unusual enough to not catch on with the masses, but is seeing some popularity among hipsters.
It’s been decades since Hopper Penn was named, so it’s safe to say that if this name hasn’t caught on outside of hipster circles by now, it will never will. It’s far more likely that, given a few more years, it will only continue to decrease in popularity, especially since it’s hard to shake the image of the Easter bunny hopping along. It also sounds like a less-cool variation of the trending name Harper, making it even less likely that future parents will want to jump on board the Hopper train.
Minnie might be an adorable nickname for monikers like Minerva and Wilhelmina, but some hipster parents have adopted it as a first name in its own right. Sure, actress Minnie Driver has helped popularize the name, but her parents actually named her Amelia. The fact that the most popular Minnie is, and will likely always be, Minnie Mouse means that this name sounds kind of childish once the name’s hipster revival dies down. It will likely remain acceptable as a nickname, but most women probably wouldn’t appreciate having to sign the name on documents or have it appear on their passport.
There’s no defeating the power of Disney and, while Mickey’s better half may be a beloved icon, no kid wants to be compared to a mouse. The name just opens itself up to too much teasing for Minnie to ever be viewed with widespread respect as a given name.
While the trend of turning last names into first names has been around for a while, most of them tend to be more common names like Anderson (think: Anderson Cooper) or Harrison (think: Harrison Ford). Hipsters have taken the name trend to a whole new level by turning the fairly obscure last name of Auden into a first name.
W.H. Auden won a Pulitzer prize for The Age of Anxiety in the 1940s, but he’s still far from being famous on the level of, say, Sylvia Plath or Emily Dickinson. The use of Auden as a given name is very rare. While some people may appreciate the literary reference, only the biggest poetry lovers are going to truly understand it. Unless the name miraculously makes a lot of headway, it’s safe to assume that ten years from now, people are going to be scratching their heads at the idea of this moniker ever being used as a given name.
This flowery name is featured in the classic novel The Great Gatsby, which has come to embody the hedonism and glamour of the 1920s. Calling to mind speakeasies, flappers, and all things vintage, it’s no wonder that Daisy has been embraced by hipsters. The name is part of a larger hipster baby naming trend that has helped to revive other nature-inspired names like Iris and Ivy.
While this vintage name is a sweet one and has some strong literary street cred, it’s pretty old-fashioned. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and is a selling point for hipsters who are reclaiming vintage names, but it means that this name has seen its heyday. Daisy, like Iris and Ivy, is a name you might expect your grandmother to have. It may be seeing a brief resurgence now, but we’ll likely see history repeat itself with the name growing more outdated.
Monty is another name that is just way too old to make anything other than the briefest of comebacks. Most common in the early to mid 20th century, it was a fairly obscure name even then. Today, the name Monty has become all but extinct outside of Monty Python references. While it may come pre-packed with a comic legacy, it’s not one that most kids would appreciate.
The name might be seeing a brief spike in popularity, at least among hipsters, but its modern revival is almost certainly going to fall short of the full monty. Ten years from now, the name Monty is going to be once more relegated to the pages of history. While a few babies will probably continue to be given the name each year (most likely in honor of a long-dead ancestor), in ten years it’s likely going to sound pretty old-fashioned.
Hipsters tend to love both vintage things and good music, so a devotion to Elvis Presley makes sense. That being said, there’s a big difference between loving Elvis and naming your kid after him. He may be one of the most popular musical artists of all time, but not even the king of rock and roll could make his unusual name popular.
Sure, the rarity of the name Elvis makes it a prime pick for hipsters, but a kid named Elvis is bound to get teased. Even at the height of Elvis’ popularity, his name didn’t catch on. In fact, the name Presley ranks higher on baby name charts than Elvis does. In ten years, it’s likely that Presley will become a top-ranked baby name, but Elvis will have left the building. The good news is that, while his name won’t live on, Elvis Presley’s music definitely will.
Where’s Waldo? Right now he’s probably tucked away in his vintage, refurbished cradle falling asleep to the strains of indie music playing gently in the background. The name may bring to mind iconic writers, like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ralph Waldo Ellison, but even their parents weren’t hipster enough to give them Waldo as a first name. Naming your little one in honor of not one, but two, literary giants is no doubt a cool (not to mention hipster) thing to do, but it would take a massive amount of work to make this name go mainstream.
The old-fashioned name dates back to the Middle Ages and has been out of common use since WWII, so it’s doubtful that Waldo will ever see any popularity outside of hipster enclaves. A decade from now, the only cool Waldo on the block is going to be the striped-shirt wearing master of hide and seek.
We all know that one person who loves to travel and talks about "finding themself" while on an adventure — even if it’s just someone you follow on Instagram. That jetsetting person tends to be cool, sophisticated, and — dare we say — just a bit of a hipster. It would be no surprise if that jetsetter named their baby girl India – perhaps inspired by a trip to Chennai, or revitalized by the study of yoga.
The name might sound like a hip, modern moniker following in the vein of other trendy place names like Brooklyn and London, but the use of India as a baby name dates way back. In the 1930s, the name India was used in book-turned-movie Gone With the Wind, which is set during the Civil War. While the name has been catching on with celebs who are giving it to their babies, growing concerns over cultural appropriation mean that people ten years from now will probably frown at Westerners naming their babies after the Asian country.
There’s something to be said for giving your child a strong, powerful name that will spur them to success in their life. Some names just have a powerful connotation, and Magnus, which comes from the Latin word meaning "greatness," is certainly one of them. A popular name in Scandinavia, where it was historically given to kings, Magnus has seen a slow rise in popularity in the U.S. thanks to celebs like Will Ferrell and Elizabeth Banks giving it to their kids. Many hipster parents are following suit and bestowing the name Magnus on their little boys, but does the moniker have staying power?
The name may be beloved in Europe, but in the United States it’s likely to remain fairly obscure. It doesn’t help that the name is similar in sound to the word "magnum," which is so closely connected to the popular mega-sized prophylactic that most parents will be unlikely to see past it. Naming your kid after kings is one thing, but naming them after a condom is quite another.
What could be more beautiful than a ruby? This dazzling precious stone has long been considered one of the finest jewels in the world, and is rarer than diamonds (which actually aren’t all that rare). It’s an underrated stone that is universally acknowledged as beautiful, but hasn’t seen the same success in the jewelry world as diamonds. Why not show the name a little love? Just like your baby girl, a ruby is gorgeous and stands out, right?
Unfortunately, Ruby may have already seen its heyday. The name peaked in the early 20th century and, while it is making a bit of a comeback, might just be too antiquated to be enduringly popular. It’s far more likely that in ten years it will have gone the way of Pearl, another precious stone baby name that was popular at the turn of the 20th century but has fallen wildly out of fashion in modern times. Sorry hipsters: diamonds may always be a girl’s best friend.
If you studied English literature in high school, there’s a pretty good chance that you were introduced to the works of Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift as Gulliver’s Travels has proven to be a timeless work of fiction. When it was first published in 1726, it was controversial because of its unflattering descriptions of England and the overall greed of humanity. Not only was it a scathing satire of politics and English customs, but it also helped give rise to the novel format as we know it today. Of course, paying homage to Swift by naming your baby Johnathan might be too subtle, and it isn’t exactly a unique name, so some hipster parents are opting to name their little ones Gulliver.
It’s likely that these parents don’t realize the unfortunate meaning of the name they are saddling their poor babies with. The moniker can be traced back to the Old French word goulafre which means glutton — not exactly the legacy you want for your baby. Fortunately, Gulliver is just too unusual-sounding to last, and it won’t be long before it travels to wherever abandoned baby names go.
Foreign baby names can be a good choice if you’re looking for something a little bit off the beaten path (as hipsters are inclined to do). That said, it can be a challenge to find a name that sounds cosmopolitan and refined, that also won’t have English speakers tripping over their tongues as they try to pronounce it. It’s one thing to pick such a name if you have family ties to that language, but otherwise you might just be setting your baby up for trouble. Ottilie is one of those names that looks pretty on paper, but unless you’re naming your baby girl after your French grandmother, you might want to give it a pass.
The name was popular with the British aristocracy at the end of the 19th century, and is catching on with hipsters who are looking to give their baby a cool and sophisticated name. They might be trying a little too hard, though, because Ottilie is just too tricky to pronounce if you don’t know any French.
There’s nothing like naming your baby after a famous author to show off your love for literature. Not all authors have names that make good baby names, though. Take, for example, J.D. Salinger who wrote The Catcher in the Rye – the one book you probably actually enjoyed reading in high school. The book is frequently banned in school libraries and classrooms because of its swear words and sexual content, which just adds to the intrigue around the novel.
Salinger has been beloved by generations of readers, but that doesn’t mean you have to name your baby after him. As nice of an idea as it is, it’s a pretty long name that doesn’t lend itself well to nicknames other than Sal, which is pretty old fashioned. Sorry hipsters, but this name isn’t going to fare well over the next decade. If you really want to pay homage to Salinger, consider naming your baby after Holden, the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye.
Naming your baby after a mythological character can be a cool idea, but it depends on the character. Some, like Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, might not be the best choice, if only because such names will open your kid up to a world of teasing on the playground.
In Greek mythology, Pandora is remembered as the first woman. That’s not too bad, but she is also accused of unleashing evil and misery upon the world. Leave it up to the ancient Greeks to blame women for everything that is wrong with humanity. While people in modern times might not be too familiar with the story of Pandora, they’ve definitely heard of the music streaming service Pandora. Ten years from now, people might have forgiven the mythological Pandora for bringing evil into the world, but they won’t have gotten over the endless hours of Justin Bieber streamed over the radio website.
Science fiction loving hipsters have a lot wrapped up in the name Orson. It’s the name of the film director Orson Welles, whose radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds was so masterfully brought to life that people listening to it actually thought that aliens were invading Earth. Orson is also the name of author Orson Scott Card, who gave us the beloved science fiction book Ender’s Game and its sequels.
Those are some pretty compelling reasons for naming your baby boy Orson, a Latin name which means "bear cub," but have you actually tried saying the name out loud? It’s not exactly the nicest-sounding of names, and it doesn’t lend itself very well to nicknames, either. Your only possible nicknames are "or" and "son," which is already enough to doom this name before it even gets off the ground. People ten years from now will be happy to leave the name on the page and on the screen.
"Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin,’ oh my darlin’ Clementine… " If that didn’t get this song stuck in your head, then you have either somehow managed to escape the earworm for your entire life, or you’re in some sort of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind scenario and have had the song erased from your memory (and, ironically, the lead character played by Kate Winslet is called Clementine).
Aside from being way too long of a name for any single human being too bear, Clementine is also the name of a variety of orange (the fruit, not the color). While such an unusual baby name might be perfect for hipsters who are looking for an original and underused name for their kid, the vast majority of people will likely continue to stay far away from the name. Ten years from now, that song will likely be the first thing people think of when they hear "Clementine," and no one wants to have their name sung at them all day long.
Traditionally used as a nickname for Raymond, Ray means "wise protector" and was a popular given name at the end of the 19th century. It remained in the top 100 names for boys until 1948, but then was quickly relegated to the ranks of outdated names. Not even the iconic singer/songwriter Ray Charles or the beloved Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury could salvage the name from obscurity.
Hipsters have been trying to lead a comeback of the name Ray, but it just isn’t catching on. In fact, the moniker is still seeing a steady decline in popularity. While it’s possible that the name could be revived in the next decade, it’s pretty unlikely — and babies named Ray today will likely be viewed as having old-fashioned names in ten years. Even more unpopular than Ray is Rae, the feminine version of the name which fell off the list of top-ranked baby names in the 1980s and hasn’t been seen anywhere near it since.
We’re not going to deny that Lulu is an adorable name for a little girl. That being said, it’s one of those name that is perfect for a little girl but doesn’t carry much of a professional ring to it once that little girl grows up. The name was popular at the end of the 19th century, but has been out of fashion for decades. Even more prophetic of the name’s future is that Lulu means "pearl" in Arabic; Pearl is another name that was once wildly popular but has now fallen into obscurity.
While that would be enough to doom the name, there’s another reason that moms and dads of the future will be cringing at the idea of calling their babies Lulu: the popular athletic wear brand Lululemon. It’s one thing to give your kid an old-fashioned name, but when that name also makes people think of yoga pants and sports bras, it’s a different story.
The Romantic era poet Lord Byron was once described as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," which, depending on your interpretation, can either be a good recommendation or a terrible one. While he might be fun to know in college, having an out-of-control kid is every parent’s worst nightmare — why risk a self-fulfilling prophecy? Sure, Byron was an incredibly talented poet who gave us some of the most beautiful works in the English language, but he also had an affair with his half-sister — yikes.
Some people might think that Byron’s work is extraordinary enough to outweigh associations with his wild ways, but we aren’t so convinced that parents are going to agree in ten years. There’s also the fact that the name Byron means "barn for cows" — not exactly poetic. The name is also close enough to Bryan that mainstream parents are probably going to continue to opt for the more traditional name, and we can’t really blame them.