It’s a versatile nickname, likely to bring to mind a fictional daredevil archeologist.
Thanks to Carrie for suggesting her daughter Ingrid’s nickname. Our Baby Name of the Day is Indie.
Indie has never charted in the US Top 1000, but she’s out there. US Census records suggest a cluster of Indies arrived sometime around the year 1900.
It was a good era for ends-in-ie names:
- Amongst the most popular names for girls were Annie, Bessie, Minnie, Elsie, Nellie, Mattie, Carrie, and Hattie, all ranked in the Top 50;
- Between 51 and 100, we find Jessie, Willie, Mamie, Fannie, Jennie, Maggie, Susie, Sadie, Effie, Nettie, Lottie, and Sallie;
- Just beyond the Top 100, there are choices that range from the familiar to the downright surprising, like Lizzie, Katie, Ollie, Rosie, Addie, Goldie, Essie, and Nannie.
But where did Indie come from?
As a girls’ name, the most logical explanation is that Indie is short for India, a name with a longer history of use than you might think. It’s said that British families with a connection to the colony first used the name in the nineteenth century. She appeared in the US Top 500 a few times in the late 1800s, then left rankings after 1911. Today, India has quite the stylish sound, and place names remain fashionable.
Indie could also relate to a few other names:
- Indiana – Despite the -ana ending, intrepid explorer Henry Walton Jones makes this one slightly more masculine. Actors Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix have a son named Indiana August;
- Indigo – The colorful name could be worn by a boy or a girl, though like Indiana, it skews masculine;
- There’s also Indio, a California place name used by Robert Downey, Jr., for his son.
Carrie’s idea of using Indie as a nickname for Ingrid is quite novel. Another possibility might be Indira. In either case, Indie puts a friendly, informal spin on an elegant appellation.
Canada’s YTV line-up features a show called How to Be Indie. The show’s Indie is an Indira, a first generation Indian-Canadian navigating junior high and the considerable cultural differences between her parents and her school friends. The third season is set to debut this summer.
But the instant association is, of course, independence. Specifically, Indie conjures up independent films, record labels and a host of alternative culture staples.
That makes the name appealing, but it also gives me pause. As a given name, Indie might feel like it crosses a boundary. Is naming your kid Indie kind of like naming him Cool?
As a short form, Indie feels just right – breezy and unexpected, but not insubstantial. It’s the kind of gender neutral option that works for boys and girls. Indie spices up the buttoned-down Ingrid or glamorous India, and is exactly in step with unexpected choices like Indiana or Indio.