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Category: boys’ names for girls

family names

Let’s say right up front that we don’t advise naming your daughter Davette to honor Grandpa Dave, or any of the other similarly awkward cross-gender namesake names.

So how do you, did you, can you best choose a name for your baby that honors a relative or friend or hero of the opposite gender?

Some parents simply use the name, as Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard did when they named their daughter Lincoln or several celebrities recently have in giving their daughters the middle name James.  But this cross-gender appropriation happens most often when giving male names to girls, which may be inherently sexist — though even the most feminist parent may stop short of naming a son Mary or Patricia, even in the middle place.

So what do you do then, use the name Patrick?  Or choose a name that’s more conventionally gender-identified that starts with the same first letter?  Or maybe appropriate Grandma Mary‘s maiden name as a first?

There are all kinds of ways of approaches and beliefs on this subject, and we’d like to hear yours.

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unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Some unisex baby names start as female choices and shift over time to become more boyish, but many more begin as all-boy names and over the decades cross to the girls’ side.

The baby names here are extreme cases.  Most started life, back when the US government began recording babies’ names, as 100% male choices, and now have become mostly girls’ names.

While we were tempted to narrow the field to only those dozen names that went from 100% male to 100% female, the entire list proved just too interesting to cut.

The baby names that have morphed from blue to pink – and when they made their big switch – include:

Addison

100% male in 1880, 98% female in 2012

Jumped to 55% female in 1996

Alexis

100% male in 1882, 77% female in 2012

In 1942, Alexis leaped to 69% female from 42%

Allison

100% male in 1880, 100% female in 2012

From 1942-1948 it jumped from 52% to 80% female

Ashley

100% male in 1880, 100% female in 2012

Crossed the line in 1965 to become 64% female

Aubrey

100% male in 1880, 98% female in 2012

In 1974, tipped to 52% female

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unisex names

Unisex names most popular among Nameberry’s visitors include those that lean girlward and those more favored for boys.  To qualify as a unisex name for this list, a name needs to be given to at least 10 percent of the minority gender.

Check out the graphic on our new Unisex Names home page to get more specific statistics on how these names divide along gender lines.  Our Number 1 unisex name Quinn, for instance, is now 68 percent female, a dramatic swing toward the girls’ side thanks to its starring role on television’s Glee.  Number 2 Rowan, meanwhile, is 63 percent male.

Names such as Sawyer and Kai are predominantly male, edging toward our 90% cutoff, while choices such as Avery and Emery are more than 80% female.

This is a fascinating list, including names such as Charlie and Elliot that were long traditional male names and other choices such as Reese (Witherspoon) and Peyton (Manning) that are heavily identified with celebrities of one gender but are still used for babies of the other.

If you’re interested in these or other unisex names for your baby, be sure to check the gender progression over time on the chart on our Unisex Names page.

The Top 20 Unisex Names so far this year on Nameberry are:

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posted by: NameFreak! View all posts by this author
girlish boy

by Kelli Brady at namefreak!

As I go through the Top 100 girl names from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, I notice that quite a few are the feminine form of male names. It’s noticeable because it is such a big difference from the current trend of unisex names. Most feminine form names have disappeared from the top in favor of names that either are unisex or were originally male names. Take a look:

Top 100 from 1880-1930
Twist on Male Names            Male/Unisex Names Given to Girls
Caroline                                              Billie
Charlotte                                            Carol
Georgia                                               Marion
Geraldine                                            Ollie
Jacqueline                                           Willie
Josephine
Leona
Louise
Maxine
Norma
Patricia
Pauline
Roberta

Top 100 from 2012
Twist on Male Names           Male/Unisex Names Given to Girls
Brianna                                                Ashley
Caroline                                               Aubrey
Charlotte                                             Avery
Makayla                                               Bailey
.                                                           Brooklyn
.                                                           Harper
.                                                           Kennedy
.                                                           Mackenzie
.                                                           Morgan
.                                                           Peyton
.                                                           Reagan
.                                                           Riley
.                                                           Skylar
.                                                           Sydney
.                                                           Taylor

It’s interesting to see the “masculine” preference change from a form of a masculine name to the actual masculine (or unisex) name.

How do you feel about the change in preference? Are there any feminine form names you wish would return to the Top 100?

Originally posted at NameFreak! on May 22, 2013 and revised for Nameberry.

Kelli Brady is a stay at home mom of two who needed an outlet for her name obsession. She found it at NameFreak!, a blog dedicated to a wide variety of name-related whims and fancies. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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celebrity baby names

Not that this is something completely new.  After all, way back when, Diane Keaton named her daughter Dexter Dean, Kelsey Grammer had girls called Spencer and Mason, and Miley Cyrus’s parents named their next daughter Noah.  But lately the trend of celebrities giving their female offspring completely male— not unisex— names has been wildly escalating.  Here are some of the most extreme gender-benders. (And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our great new graphic showing just where every unisex name stands on the boy-girl spectrum.)

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