Category: Unisex Baby Names

A Girl Named Ezra

boys names for girls

by Pamela Redmond Satran

We all know about the once-male names like Madison and Addison, Harper and Alexis that have become popular girls’ names.

Then there are the newer names crossing the gender divide toward the girls’ side. These may still be more widely-used for boys but have now moved into the Top 1000 for girls: Sawyer, Hunter, Ryan, Dallas, Royal, and Ellis are the most notable.

More obscure than these, but way more newsworthy, are the boys’ names below the Top 1000 that are being used for sizeable numbers of girls.

We don’t mean word names like Rebel and Timber that are not intrinsically gendered or nicknames such as Billie and Joey that have long been used for girls or established unisex names such as Rowan or Robin. We’re talking about deeply traditional boys’ names that are being used, in many cases, for literally hundreds of baby girls.

In a few cases, there are powerful celebrity influences nudging these boys’ names girlward, such as Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds naming their first daughter James or Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher naming their little girl Wyatt. We’ve starred the names that are being used more often for girls thanks to a celebrity.

Most fascinating are those gender-shifting names that have been traditionally used for boys since Biblical or Roman times…or at least since 1880 in the US. Some names in this group may be international choices that have not be widely-used in the US until recently for either gender, but that are conventional male choices in their native cultures. These classically-male names, with the number of girls who were given them in the US in 2015, include:

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More