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Category: unisex names for girls

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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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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Unisex Baby Names: Going to the boys

unisex baby names

by Pamela Redmond Satran

Unisex baby names, when they begin to veer toward use for one gender more than the other, typically move to the girls’ side.

But not always.  Thanks to the wonderful chart by Steve Ruble that we are delighted to feature on our new unisex baby names home page, we can see how the gender ratio of unisex names morphs over time.  And an increasing number of unisex baby names names are turning decidedly more blue.

The unisex baby names on Steve Ruble’s chart and beyond that are becoming more masculine include:

Amari

The multi-ethnic Amari was two-thirds female in 2000, soon after in entered the U.S. Top 1000, and now has reversed course and is 63% male.

Angel

Angel was used two-thirds of the time for girls in 1972 but by 2012, 83% of the children named Angel were boys, many of them of Hispanic descent.

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rainbowhat

Unisex names and the question of whether a child’s gender should be evident via his or her name is one that comes up frequently on Nameberry.  It’s an issue that’s changed a lot over the years we’ve been writing about baby names and that varies substantially in different cultures.

Starting with the baby boomlet of the 1980s, the first wave of feminist parents gave girls androgynous names like Morgan and Parker to make them more competitive with boys…..while parents of boys abandoned unisex names in favor of more traditional masculine choices.   Next came names that broke away from traditional boy or girl choices — Logan and Lake, Bellamy and Finn — but still somehow held onto a gendered identity.

Despite vast changes in naming practices around the world, some ancient cultures accommodate names that work for either sex — Japan is a notable example — while other countries such as Norway require that names carry gender identity.  Germany changed its naming laws in 2008 to allow the use of unisex names.

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Unisex Names: Would you use one?

qowuni

As more and more names are crossing gender divides, with girls being named Maxwell and Monroe, and boy and girl Eastons and Wests, Sages and Sawyers, we’re not surprised to find that among the most persistent topics on the Nameberry forums are those having to do with gender–with very strong opinions being voiced.  So today’s Question of the Week concerns unisex names:

Would/did you choose a name that’s given almost equally to both girls and boys?

Would/did you give your daughter a name more often used for a boy?

Would/did you give your son a name that has started drifting into the  girls’ column?  Does this matter to you?

Or would you only consider a name that’s distinctly masculine or feminine?

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