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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    486

    At what point does a unisex name become a name for one gender only for you?

    I was reading a discussion about whether the name Addison was still usable on a boy today. Although the name purists who argue that the name ends in -son and therefore it must be a boy's name were out in full force, equally vociferous were those who said that a name which ranks at No. 11 for girls and not even in the top 1000 for boys could no longer even be considered unisex.

    It had me wondering, at what point does a name move from being unisex to a "girls" name or a "boys" name? Names like Evelyn have also made this transition in the past. Is it an absence of a name from the boys list for a certain period, or the popularity of the name for girls, for example, that defines that shift, or something else?
    Chelsea
    - Named after the place. A guy named Chelsea, who through his name became fascinated with names.

    Current favorites
    Girls: Alexandra, Cambria, Catrin, Claire, Emma, Gemma, Louise, Kirsty, Sutton, Tess, Zoe

    Boys: Bryn, Brit, Guy, Xavier

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    16
    I'm going to say, for me personally, when I can no longer see a certain name pinned on a certain sex. Like Ashley, I can't see it on a boy. To feminine to me. Names like Aiden and Chris I can not see on a girl but they still are used on a girl. It's probably different for each person though.

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    1,201
    It probably partly depends on your experience... I only know women named Evelyn, no men, so I think of it as a woman's name. Leslie on the other hand... all the women I know named Leslie are my age, whereas the one man I know named Leslie is from a previous generation.. so I think of it as a name that has made the transition to being a woman's name. When I first heard of someone wanting to name their daughter Charly, I was shocked... it was such a guy's name to me; a nn for Charles (and I knew 2 men named Charles/Charly). Now, I've heard of and read of several baby girls named Charly or Charlie, so I'm slowly coming to accept it as a unisex name. I still wouldn't use it for my own daughter though. Other names, like Kelly and Kim -I have known MANY women and girls of all ages with those names, so for me it was a shocker to learn that they were formerly mens' names.

    In summary, I guess it comes down to what you're used to. So, here on NB, there are a lot more unisex names that I would consider only for one gender or the other just because that's what I'm used to.

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Cair Paravel :)
    Posts
    15,122
    I think it's a combination of the two. When a unisex name gets really popular for girls, parents usually stop using it for boys, and thus, it goes to the girls.

    I can usually see 95% of "unisex" names on boys (we're talking Bailey, Avery, Aubrey, Morgan, Riley, Emerson, Meredith, Ashley, etc., here, not to mention the more obscure ones like Parker, Elliot, Logan, etc.), so for me, most aren't just one gender (especially since in the back of my head, I always think of their popularity for girls). I'm not sure what the case would be for others, though...
    Lise
    twenty-something name lover dreaming of adoption.

    Isabelle | Arianne | Olivia | Violet | Catherine | Emmeline | Lillian | Charlotte | Eleni | Anne-Sophie | Tess | Eva | Winter | Hazel
    Caleb | Everett | Jack | Avery | Zane | Samuel | Grant | Declan | Brody | Bailey | Addison | Leo | Grayson

    "Ma patrie, c’est la langue française." - Albert Camus

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,443
    Well here in the South people still use boy-turned-girl names for their sons and nobody bats an eye. To me boy names will always be boy names no matter how many girls have it.
    I have cousins named Ashley, Stacey, Tracey, Shelby, Dominique, Reece, Aubrey, Kelly, Blaire, and so on- all males and their names don't sound a bit girly to me

    I generally don't care for masculine names on girls but I also love the Southern naming tradition of using family surnames.

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