Boy Names for Girls Reach New Heights

Boy Names for Girls Reach New Heights

We all know about boy names for girls like Madison and Addison, Harper and Avery that were once exclusively male, later to be counted among the most popular girl names.

Then there are the newer names crossing the gender divide toward the girls’ side. These may still be more widely used for boys but have now moved into the Top 1000 for girls: Parker, Sawyer, Logan, Carter, Cameron, Ryan, Lennox and Ezra, to name but a few.

More obscure than these – but far more newsworthy – are the boy names below the Top 1000 that are being used for sizeable numbers of girls.

We don’t mean word names like Rebel and Timber that are not intrinsically gendered, or unisex nicknames such as Billie and Andie that have long been used for girls, or established nonbinary names such as Rowan or Robin.

We’re talking about traditional boy names that are being used, in some cases, for literally hundreds of baby girls.

Traditional Boy Names for Girls

Most fascinating are those gender-shifting names that have been predominantly – or sometimes exclusively – used for boys since Biblical or Roman times… or at least since 1880, when detailed US baby name records began.

In a few cases, there are powerful celebrity influences nudging these boys’ names girlward, such as Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds naming their first daughter James or Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher naming their little girl Wyatt.

Others are moving along the gender spectrum due to their on-trend sound or style, like Gianni, which has been boosted by the recent popularity of Gianna and related names, or Wesley, with its fashionable -ley ending.

Names are given together with the number of girls registered in 2021, the latest year on record.

Gianni, 251

Spencer, 239

Quincy, 218

Scottie, 215

Campbell, 210

Sterling, 182

Joey, 177

Noel, 173

Carson, 170

Miller, 165

Sidney, 162

Austin, 155

Clarke, 150

Lincoln, 144

Bennett, 133

Cooper, 130

Wesley, 130

Jude, 126

Beckett, 124

Walker, 122

Ramsey, 120

Luca, 114

Perry, 108

Baker, 104

Hudson, 103

Asher, 102

Dawson, 99

Anderson, 95

Evan, 90

Francis, 88

Toby, 88

Wyatt, 88

Everett, 84

Levi, 81

Sullivan, 81

Jasper, 80

Rian, 78

Ronnie, 74

Mason, 69

Charleston, 68

Brady, 65

Jameson, 65

Theo, 64

Porter, 63

Bryce, 62

Brooks, 58

Israel, 57

Rhys, 54

Max, 53

Tanner, 51

Modern Boy Names for Girls

The next group are names that have only become widely used for either sex in recent decades. You might correctly argue that these newer names are less tied to any one gender, but until very recently they have been given mostly to boys.

This list includes surname names, since it's difficult to know whether to define choices like Ashton and Grayson as surnames or names. It also includes mythological names that are technically ancient, but only widely used for babies in recent years.

One particularly striking example is Jupiter: the king of the gods in Roman mythology, but now more than twice as popular for baby girls than for boys, thanks to its similarity to the fashionable Juniper. We expect it to rise still further for girls when the 2021 data is released, since actor Ashley Tisdale chose Jupiter for her daughter in March last year.

Kingsley, 224

Atlas, 187

Jayden, 153

Tyler, 146

Zion, 145

Ashton, 137

Bowie, 136

Jupiter, 129

Aries, 111

Maddox, 109

Kyler, 102

Hendrix, 99

Maverick, 97

Arlo, 95

Grayson, 94

Wilder, 87

Hayes, 84

Grey, 83

Layton, 83

Banks, 81

Ren, 79

Jensen, 76

Channing, 75

Paxton, 75

Keegan, 72

Rooney, 68

Cairo, 67

Payson, 63

Kobe, 60

Huxley, 59

Koa, 59

Beau, 57

Bodhi, 53

Easton, 53

Ozzy, 53

Sonny, 53

Unique Boy Names for Girls

If you go below 20 births, you'll find plenty of boy names given to a handful of baby girls. There were reportedly 15 American girls named Henry in 2021, along with ten each named David or Graham, eight named Theodore and five named Lucas.

But to give you an idea of how rare that is, there were roughly the same number of baby girls called Luxury and Tsunami... or boys called Amelia and Penelope.

Plus, due to administrative errors, at least some of the female Henrys and male Penelopes are likely to really be boys or girls whose births were miscoded in the records.

So what does this mean, in the larger sense? We don’t foresee Gianni and Atlas becoming the Addison and Madison of the future, or even advocate that parents of girls rush over to the boys’ list to find fresh and edgy names for their daughters.

But the growing numbers behind this phenomenon demonstrate that gender is becoming as fluid a concept with names as it is in other areas of life. However, it will take hundreds of parents naming their sons Sarah and Serena for us to achieve true gender parity.

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.