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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1,631

    Gender: What Sways a Name Male or Female?

    I have some name/gender curiosity.

    NOT about James, Charles, and Hal and not about Cathy, Rose, and Sally.

    What I am talking about is names, often surnames or place names or word names, which could be male or female. Names which have not fallen solidly into either the Norman or Elizabeth camps.

    Take Cerulean, for example. A gorgeous sky blue. Will that head solidly male or female and why? Azure and Mazarine seem pretty definitely female at the moment, but maybe it is the -n ending of Cerulean that argues for male use? And yet Mazarine ends with n sound, though it has the feminine e at the end too.

    Harbor and Haven are other examples. Tree names too like Oak, Oakley, Linden.

    Place names as well. Quebec and Boston and Moab sound male to me, whereas England, Havana, and Dresden sound female to me. (I am not concerned if people consider these names or not or like them or not; I am just curious about how they end up one gender or another or both).

    Maybe all it comes down to is the sound of the word, how it ends, with an a or an n or whatever. Maybe it has to do with the prettiness factor (flowers for girls, trees for boys?). I'm interested in all ideas and thoughts.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    England
    Posts
    2,973
    Ooh, this is interesting. I agree, I think it does have a lot to do with the endings of names. A, enne, ette and long ee sounds definitely sound more feminine to me, whereas o, and uhn sounds (and pretty much anything else) seem more masculine. I think that Cerulean is probably headed for the boys, the -lean ending sounds a lot like Leon or Ian to me. But then I always thought Indigo was a boys name (or at least a unisex name), so I was really surprised that it's usually considered a girls name, and only classed as a girls name here on Nameberry!
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  3. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1,631

    Color Names Confusing

    Quote Originally Posted by myosotis View Post
    Ooh, this is interesting. I agree, I think it does have a lot to do with the endings of names. A, enne, ette and long ee sounds definitely sound more feminine to me, whereas o, and uhn sounds (and pretty much anything else) seem more masculine. I think that Cerulean is probably headed for the boys, the -lean ending sounds a lot like Leon or Ian to me. But then I always thought Indigo was a boys name (or at least a unisex name), so I was really surprised that it's usually considered a girls name, and only classed as a girls name here on Nameberry!
    I would picture Indigo as male b/c of the -0 ending, but I think of the Indigo Girls and indigo-colored batik, which feel female.

    I would like to live in a naming environment in which boys can be named after trees, places, colors, even flowering plants, but I don't see much of that yet.

    This is why I am so pleased when I see names appearing on the nameberry male list such as Cedar, Fielding, Harbor, Haven, Oakley, Taliesin, Cordovan, Auburn, Beech, etc.

    And I confess to sighing sadly when I see some of those names soaring for females and diminishing for males. But then again, it is on nameberry, which reflects a far more interesting name scenario than the Social Security list does.

    Oh, for a class of Celadons, Ceruleans, Maizes, and Azures, regardless of gender!

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