Category: Unisex Baby Names
A lot of people complain about unisex names.
We’d like to spin this controversy to a more positive place and ask which names you think truly work best for both genders. Please name names and let us know why you think your choices go both ways with the most grace.
One of the posts I did last year that I really enjoyed was Unisex Baby Names: Five new entries – a list of those names special enough to simultaneously debut for both girls and boys in 2012. There were just five, and it was interesting to learn about names from cultures I am largely unfamiliar with, plus some word names, celebrity names, and spelling variations I hadn’t considered. So I wanted to do the same for the 2013 names. And the three contenders for 2013 manage to deliver on all of those aspects.
CHIKAMSO – Given to 5 girls and 8 boys in 2013
Showing how much I still have to learn about the world of names, when I first saw Chikamso I thought it might be of Asian origin. I learned however that Chikamso is a Nigerian name from the Igbo (or Ibo) people. For a parent looking for a strong Igbo name that honours God, this could be a good choice, as it means ‘God I follow’ or ‘I am following God’. Possible nicknames include Chi – which is also an Igbo name reportedly meaning ‘God’ or ‘spiritual guardian’ – or the more commonly suggested Kamso. Or dare I suggest Kamzo? Kamso itself has never charted, but seems like it would be a cool and spunky nickname for either gender.
We define unisex names as names given to less than 90 percent of either gender in the U.S. We include the gender split taken from the most recent Social Security figures, which you can view in more detail on the chart on our Unisex Baby Names home page.
Our popularity lists are tabulated by ranking the unique page views each name attracts out of the over 20 million total views of our baby name pages in 2013. Starting in 2014, we’ll be able to calculate the number of views of our names by gender and so will rank names considered unisex with the overall girls’ and boys’ popularity lists.
One trend evident from this list is the unusual predominance of names that start with the letter R, a trend unique to unisex names, with E-starting names in second place. Remy is the name most evenly divided in use between the sexes, with Marlowe the choice used most often for girls and Kai leaning furthest toward the male side.
Our Top 20 Unisex Names for 2013 are:
We’re always adding new names to the Nameberry database, whether new discoveries or expansions of older listings.
Our latest collection includes word names and nicknames, international imports and mythological revivals. We bring you these new entries not as our latest recommendations but as fresh additions to the lexicon.
Here, our 16 newest names:
Alcina is best-known as the name of the beautiful sorceress of the eponymous Handel opera drawn from the Orlando poems. Alcina and her sister Morgana live on an island where Alcina seduces every passing sailor but once their novelty wears off, changes them into plants, rocks, or animals. Alcina comes with modern-sounding short forms Alcie or Alsie, which feel more baby-ready now that names such as Elsie, Elsa, and Isla are becoming popular again.
Bruin is the Old English term for bear, taken from the Dutch word meaning brown. Bruin might be a sports fan’s choice or an animal name in hiding. As a kind of hybrid of Roone and Bruno, it’s definitely got some cool.
Rowan attracted the most views of all the unisex names on the site, defined as names given to at least 10% of the minority gender. Rowan, a Scottish and Irish name meaning “little redhead,” is more evenly unisex than Quinn, ranking 455 for girls and 301 for boys on the U.S. popularity list.
The other big news on our unisex list is the appearance of North, thanks to little North West, daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. While North was used for only 12 boys and fewer than five girls according to the official U.S. tallies for 2012, the current interest is almost entirely as a girls’ name.
The unisex names ranking highest in the 14 million views of our name pages in the first nine months of the year are: