Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Are These Baby Names Hip, or Hippie?

What do you think of names like Rose Dorinda, Fox Alexandria, and Raven Thalia? They are all girls' names I am considering. I wonder how far I can go with my name themes, because none of the boy names I like go in that direction (Killian Alexander, Ezra Raphael, Aedan Ezekiel). Are my favorite names too hippie/tree-hugger?

–Nature Lover

Trees deserve a hug now and then, don't they? So "tree-hugger" doesn’t have to be a negative. Not all nature names automatically fall into the "hippie" category, anyway. If you love nature, it's only natural that you're drawn to baby names that celebrate flora, fauna, and the outdoors.

Of course, not all nature names are created equal, either. Compare the girls' names Myrtle and Sequoia, or—in your case—Rose and Fox. One comes across as traditional, demure, and old-fashioned. The other is modern and aggressively androgynous. You've paired Fox and Raven with very feminine middles, but unless you plan to use them daily, your girls would need to live with the ambiguity of their first names. That has little to do with the nature qualities you'd like to celebrate, but it is something to consider when using a word name.

As for the boys' names you mentioned, consider why you see them so differently from the girls' names on your list. There's no rule that you need nature names for every child. But consider how you might maintain fairness in sibling names—because that can affect sibling relationships. Aedan, for example, is a nontraditional spelling of a very popular and traditional name for boys, while Fox is only given to a tiny number of girls each year. The contrast could be jarring.

If you choose a more "name-like" nature name (say, Rose, Aurora, Hazel or Sylvia), the list of boys' names that complement it grows longer. If you go for a bold word name (such as Fox, Raven, or Cedar), you may want to consider boys' names that share some of the same qualities. Maybe that means another nature name—but it could also mean another word name, or a shared initial, strong sound (like X or Z) or comparable usage level. Eventually, you'll find a name that's a natural fit!


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

November 13, 2017 12:26 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

A nice middle name can make parents ignore how bad the first name is, so I'll leave the middle names out of my post. When picking out names, try each first name with whatever the baby's surname will be. She'll be Rose Smith every day of her life, with Rose Dorinda Smith used only on birth/marriage announcements and diplomas.

Rose and Ezra are nice names that will serve your child well. Fox is mediocre for a boy, an incredibly tacky burden for a girl. Raven is what a fifteen-year-old goth girl calls herself. Aedan will blend in with all the other Aidan/Aiden/Aydyns. Killian looks violent and Cillian will be mispronounced.

Suggestions: Wolf, Peregrine, Clementine, Wren, Coral, Laurel, Arden, Linden, Briony, Flora, Juniper, Heath, Hawthorne, Zephyr.

November 13, 2017 12:54 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with previous comments that when picking names, you should focus more on first/last. Middles are really the "extra" and don't usually have much influence on people's first impressions when they meet someone.

Rose is lovely. Doesn't read as hippie/tree hugging at all. Paired with most of your boy names, I doubt most people would even have a strong "nature name" association so much as a "traditional/vintage revival" vibe.

Raven is fine. It's NMS, but I've encountered it as a first name often enough that I doubt it would strike most people as odd. Because it has less use as a first name, the nature-association is stronger than with Rose. It is a different style than your boy names. However, lots of families have different style for boys & girls, so I don't really consider this a big deal.

Please do not use Fox as a first name for a girl. There is so much wrong here, I hesitate where to start. I think the Foxy/sexy association & likely comments are not something most young girls (or adult women) want to deal with. We get enough of that without any obvious associations in our name. Just Imagine when the middle school boys start calling her Foxy Smith or something. Just ugh. Is that really what you want for your daughter?
Even without the obvious (and inappropriate) sexual associations of "fox" I suspect this name will strike most people as more masculine. It also has a rather strong fandom association due to Fox Mulder from the X-Files (the X-files are awesome, but I suspect Agent Mulder isn't what you are aiming for with the name).

Your boy names are all fine. However, I will strongly encourage you to use a more standard spelling of Aiden. Nobody wants to go through life with a misspelled name. The headache of the confusion and need for constant explanation/correction just isn't worth it.

November 13, 2017 1:48 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Rose is not hippie. It is a lovely classic name.

Raven is fine; Raven-Symone is probably the most well-known person with the name. Another option is Ravenna, which is a city in Italy.

I know a family with the last name Fox, so that's how I see it. I like it better as a middle or surname for anyone.

The boy's names are fine.

November 20, 2017 5:27 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think there’s a lot of knowledge on the comments. If you’re going for romantic or ethereal or trying to get fantasy style names worked out for a novel, I suggest switching all the middle names with the first to make them a more appealing occurrence for frequent use.

December 7, 2017 12:27 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think nature names sound sophisticated--they've been around a while, they weren't invented in the 60s/70s, no one is going to roll their eyes unless the hippie connection is so obvious it sounds almost naming them Mother Earth, Vegan Goddess, and Savethe Planet. No offense to anyone but I'm pretty sure even the most crunchy reading this don't pick those.

People from all walks of life and political affilations love nature, there's no need to hide your girls from teasing because you took inspiration from something everyone finds lovely.

December 7, 2017 12:29 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

P.S. I think all of the names sound Old World, there is a connection. And you probably noticed Alexandria and Alexander are related.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.