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Boy Names for Girls & New Names for Boys

boyish girl names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Once again, a famous couple has chosen a favorite boy’s name for their newborn daughter.  Last Thursday, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher welcomed Wyatt Isabelle.

Some parents of baby boy Wyatts are nervous.  Will Wyatt go girl?  Others who had shortlisted Wyatt for a possible child someday might be rethinking.  No one wants to introduce their child and have another mom respond, “Oh, like Ashton and Mila’s baby?”

The kerfuffle reminds me of singer Michelle Branch.  In 2005, at the height of her success, she married her bass player and had a daughter called Owen Isabelle.  Owen remained a Top 100 choice for boys in the US – gaining more than 20 places since – and is barely a blip for girls.

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New Surname Names for Boys

beckham-and-sons-2

The grooviest type of new names for boys are the surname names, either the real – Carson, Hunter, Porter – or those that simply have a surname look and feel, such as Drake or Deacon.

Okay, okay, I know there are people with the surnames Drake and Deacon, Gunner and Ryder, but I don’t think that’s why those names are popular.  It’s more that they aren’t conventional first names that’s important, I think, than that they fit any other kind of mold.

In terms of names that convey the new masculine image, the huge surnameish trend is interesting because it makes boys’ names in some ways more formal and traditional than they were before.  What sounds more imposing, after all:  Jefferson or JeffJacoby or plain old Jake?

It may be the move away from family names – when’s the last time someone you know named their baby a junior? – as well as from religious and ethnic strictures is what makes these new names for boys so appealing to parents.  Names like Fletcher and Hayden convey the aura of family lineage and power without any of the nasty obligations: no endless Thanksgiving dinners or visiting Uncle Theodore in the nursing home to make sure you sew up your inheritance.

Rather, you can wear these faux family names as lightly as a Ralph Lauren sweater.  And on a similarly shallow note, the surname trend is partly inspired by celebrities and their characters who are often called by their last names: Beckham (a big winner in the 2008 popularity poll), Chandler, and Donovan, for instance.

While these names are all prominent on the 2008 popularity list for boys, many are of course used for girls too.  In the past, once a name crossed to the girls’ side, many parents abandoned it for boys, but that’s not happening as much today — a positive development, we think.  For a closer look on surname names and gender identity, see our blog on unisex names.

REAL SURNAMES

Beckham
Blake
Brennan
Bryson
Carson
Chandler
Clay
Cohen
Cole
Dawson
Donovan
Fisher
Fletcher
Grady
Grayson, Greyson
Griffin
Hayden
Hudson
Hunter
Jackson
Jacoby
Jagger
Kane
Landon
Lennon
Lincoln
Logan
Maddox
Marley
Mason
Nolan
Parker
Pierce
Porter
Quinn
Reid or Reed
Riley
Ronan
Rowan
Tanner
Tucker
Weston

FAUX SURNAMES

Braxton
Brock
Caden, Kaden and bros
Colton and Colten
Corbin
Dallas
Dalton
Dane
Deacon
Devin
Drake
Easton
Gunner
Jaxon
Jett
Kade
Keegan
Kelvin
Kingston
Kobe
Kyler
Maverick
Paxton
Peyton
Reese or Reece (or the Welsh Rhys)
Ryder
Ryker
Rylan
Sage
Slade
Talon
Tate
Trace
Trey
Trip or Tripp
Wade
Zayden et al

Tomorrow, new boys’ names imported from around the world.

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