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Aspen Name Meaning: Origin, Popularity & Nicknames

Learn about the name Aspen including the meaning, gender, origin, popularity, and more.

Aspen Overview

  • Meaning: The name Aspen means “quaking tree” or “shaking poplar.”
  • Gender: Aspen is a feminine name.
  • Origin: The use of Aspen as a name started as a toponymic surname or a family name taken from their residential area’s features.
  • Pronunciation: “as-pen” or “AS-puhn.”
  • Popularity: Aspen is a popular name that has grown tremendously in the last 20 years.
  • Nicknames: Ace, Aspie, Penny.
  • Variations: Alamo (Brazilian Portuguese), Espe (German), Happa (Finnish), Jasika (Croatian).
  • Namesakes: Aspen Ladd (American mixed-martial artist), Aspen Mays (American artist).

What Does Aspen Mean?

The name Aspen means “quaking tree” or “shaking poplar.”

It is the name of a species of poplar tree known for its heart-shaped leaves that dangle from very delicate stalks. These leaves tremble in even the slightest breeze (1).

Aspen is also the name of a luxury ski resort in Colorado.

What Is the Origin of the Name Aspen?

The etymology of the name Aspen begins with the Proto-Indo-European name for poplar trees, apsa, thought to be an onomatopoeic word for the sound aspen branches make as they “tremble.”

Over time, “apsa” became the proto-Germanic word “aspō,” adopted by Old English and transformed into “æspe.”

As Middle English developed, the word changed to “aspe,” with alternative spellings “aspyn,” “aspin,” and “espyn” noted in texts from the time. Eventually, the modern English spelling emerged.

The use of Aspen for people started as a toponymic surname or a family name taken from a residential area’s features, such as a forest, river, or hill (2).

The 11th Century English settlement of Aspinwall near Lancashire took its name from the fact that it featured an aspen grove next to a river. It was eventually adopted as the surname of a prominent family in the area.

How Popular Is the Name Aspen?

Aspen is a popular name in the United States, particularly in the last five years. It rose abruptly from the 329th most popular name in 2018 to being 201st in 2021 (3).

It’s also a relatively new name in the US, with the first recorded instance in 1973.

How Do I Pronounce Aspen?

There are two standard pronunciations for the name Aspen.

The first is “as-pen,” which maintains the soft “e” sound in the second syllable.

Alternatively, some pronounce it with an emphasis on the first syllable and a soft “u” in the second syllable: “AS-puhn.”

Is Aspen a Boy or Girl Name?

Aspen is a feminine name, though it can work for any gender.

In the United States, it has never broken into the top 1000 names for boys but has been consistently in the top 700 for girls for the last 20 years.

Variations of Aspen

Because Aspen is the name of one of the most globally present tree species, many languages have their dialectical names for the poplar.

These variations of Aspen aren’t often names in their own right but rather a translation of the English word:

  • Aethnenni (Welsh)
  • Alamo (Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Apsak (Altai)
  • Asp (Danish)
  • Aspak (Kumandu)
  • Critheann (Scots Gaelic)
  • Espe (German)
  • Haapa (Finnish)
  • Jasika (Croatian)
  • Osika (Czech)
  • Trèmol (Catalan)
  • Tʼiisbai (Navajo/Diné)

Nicknames for Aspen

Aspen doesn’t offer a vast range of nicknames, but these charming endearments may inspire your creativity:

  • Ace
  • Appy
  • Asa
  • Ash
  • Asp
  • Aspie
  • Epps
  • Penny
  • Spin

Similar Names to Aspen

If you’re a fan of the name Aspen, these similar names also pay homage to other types of foliage:

Middle Names for Aspen

Aspen is short and modern, so it can stand out next to a longer, more traditional middle name, such as:

Sibling Names for Aspen

Aspen is an excellent choice for those who prefer to spend their time in the great outdoors, so a sibling name that shares natural origins is ideal:

For a Sister:

For a Brother:

Famous People Named Aspen

While the name Aspen is not prominent amongst stars on stage and screen, it is seeing some traction on platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok due to its greater use among Millenials and Gen Z:

  • Aspen Franks: American Tik Tok star known for her beauty videos.
  • Aspen Ladd: American mixed-martial artist and bodybuilder.
  • Aspen Mansfield: American model and Instagram fashion star.
  • Aspen Mays: American artist known for exhibitions including “Every leaf on a tree” and “From the Office of Scientists.”
  • Aspen Vincent: American Broadway performer, singer, and voice actress.

Aspen in Popular Culture

There are not too many pop culture characters with the name, as Aspen is unique and has only recently seen a significant increase in popularity:

  • Aspen: Employee of the Nottingham Hotel in the Disney film “Bedtime Stories.”
  • Aspen Heitz: Minor character in the “Trolls” films. He has an orange body and blue or green hair.
  • Aspen Leger: One of the primary protagonists in “The Selection” book series.
  • Aspen Matthews: Heroine in the “Fathom” comic book series whose powers include total water manipulation.

Aspen FAQs

Still not sure if the name Aspen is right for your newest addition? These frequently asked questions can shed more insight on this outdoorsy moniker.

Is Aspen a Biblical Name?

Aspen is not a biblical name, though it does have a rich cultural history.

What Does the Aspen Tree Symbolize?

In Greek mythology, aspen wood was associated with safe passage through the underworld.

This legend originated thanks to the story of Leuce, a nymph abducted by Hades. Upon her death, the god of the underworld turned her into white aspen, then planted her in the Elysian Fields (4).

The aspen gained further traction as a protector and a symbol of heroism after Heracles donned a crown of aspen following his safe return from the realm of Hades.

Is Aspen a Cute Name?

Aspen is an adorable, feminine name that brings peaceful forests and gentle breezes to mind.

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