Category: Unisex Baby Names

Naming Baldwin

Benilde Little

by Benilde Little

There weren’t that many names that I considered giving my first-born. Even though I had amniocentesis, we didn’t find out the gender. My husband didn’t want to know and so I let him have his way. I really wanted a girl, but knew I’d be happy with whoever showed up.

Her last name would be the same as my husband’s, which is Virgin. It limits things. We’d agreed that a boy would carry on Cliff’s family name – he’s a III – which gave me the lead in choosing a girl’s name. I had always liked the name Esme. I liked Grace, I also liked Neema (which means Grace in Tanzania—at least that’s what was on the tag attached the African doll we had). None of those names sounded right with Virgin, though. I also wanted a name that meant something, had a connection to someone–a family member or a place or in the case of Baldwin, a favorite writer.

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Girls’ Name? Boys’ Name? Who Cares?

unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

When we named Post-Gender Baby Names as our Number 1 trend for 2016, we were mostly just guessing. Oh sure, the guess was backed up by some strong cultural trends, from marriage equality to trans recognition, as well as a raft of celebrity baby names.

But when The New York Times asked us whether we could back up the trend with, you know, actual statistics, we weren’t entirely positive what we’d find. Baby name prognosticating is as tricky as any other kind of forecasting, relying as much on instinct as on science. Our gut told us that baby names that defied gender categories were on the rise for both girls and boys. But would the numbers bear that out?

Our discovery, as reported in today’s New York Times by Alex Williams: The number of babies with truly unisex names — those most evenly split between the sexes  —  has exploded in the past ten years.  And boys are getting these post-gender names as often as girls, with 60 percent more babies getting gender-neutral names in 2015 than in 2005.

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Modern Virtue Names


By Abby Sandel

Virtue names go way back. The Pilgrims brought them to Plymouth Rock. A handful of classics, like Grace and Hope, have almost always ranked in the US Top 1000.

But there’s a new kind of virtue name in vogue today: the modern virtue. These names are less specifically religious. True, there’s no shortage of names like Miracle and Messiah. But many of the modern virtue choices are word names that carry a great deal of meaning, but aren’t expressly about faith.

Instead, they’re about bravery, achievement, fairness, and peace. It’s easy to imagine any parent hoping their child will embody these qualities. No surprise, then, that these names are very much in use in 2016.

Actor turned director and activist Nate Parker and wife Sarah DiSanto are the latest high profile couple to choose a modern virtue name for their new arrival. Parker’s latest project is The Birth of a Nation, the story of the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. The couple named their daughter Justice.

It’s time for a closer look at the modern virtue names that have become mainstream in recent years.

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boyish nicknames for girls

By Abby Sandel

When it comes to naming a girl in 2016, anything goes. Like your names elaborate, even frilly? Celebrity choices like Elizabella and Arabella might be for you. Prefer something borrowed straight from the boys? Celebs have named their daughters Wyatt and James, and names like Quinn, Logan, and Riley are popular for boys and girls alike.

Both trends represent extremes, but happily there’s a middle ground: the feminine name with a built-in boyish nickname.

Scrubs alum Sarah Chalke recently chose this approach for naming her new daughter with husband Jamie Afifi. They’re already parents to son Charlie Rhodes. Now the couple has welcomed daughter Frances, but they’re calling her Frankie. It’s an honor name, inspired by Sarah’s grandfather.

The mix of classic given name and a casual, gender-neutral nickname makes for a winning combination.

Let’s take a closer look at the name Sarah and Jamie chose, and some other great girl names in the same style.

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Single-Syllable Names for Girls

single-syllable girl name

By Abby Sandel

Last week, we looked at short names for girls, like Iris and Thea, Esme and Ivy. This week, let’s go even shorter and focus on girls’ names with just one syllable.

Single-syllable names for girls solve problems. They make great middle names, balancing out Isabella and Arabella and Evangeline. If your last name is longer and complex, keeping it simple in the first spot works. And, of course, some parents just plain fall in love with the slim, trim style of Bess and Claire, Blue and Lou.

If you’re thinking short and sweet for your daughter’s name, there’s more than one approach. Here are nine types of single-syllables names for girls, ranging from the modern and unexpected to timeless classics.

Let’s take a look a closer look!

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