Boy or girl name? Which is easier to pick?
The Question of the Week:
Do you think it’s easier to name a girl or a boy– and why?
What are the different considerations and issues that arise? Are there certain pressures that apply to one gender more than the other?
Do you think moms and dads have different takes on masculine and feminine names?
In terms of numbers, there are many more male names in the Bible and more female names in the data base–does that have any bearing on the issue?
What do you think?
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on August 25th, 2010 at 1:47 am
We’ve had a harder time naming boys (we have two boys and one girl and didn’t know the genders beforehand).
We had a hard time coming up with boy names that we could both agree on (actually, coming up with boy names that either of us loved, period). Once we found a boy name we liked both times, that was it. We didn’t have to narrow it down at all. With girl names, we had plenty of names we both liked, but had a difficult time narrowing it down.
If our daughter had been a boy, she’d probably still be nameless 20 months later. Joking. Mostly.
on August 25th, 2010 at 1:49 am
For myself and my husband naming our baby girl was harder for us than naming our sons. We named all of our children after family names. Our only problem was that we love classic names and all of the men in both of our families have wonderfully classic mens names. However all of the girls in both of our families are names that were extremely popular years or even decades ago but not anymore. Since both of our sons already had timeless, classic boys names we wanted our daughter to have the same. We ended up picking Mary for our daughter because my Great Grandmother was named Mary. She got my mothers names as her middle name because it is my mothers name and also my husbands mothers middle name. Our sons were name Samuel after my brother and David after my husbands father. So for us picking a girls name was harder than picking boys names.
on August 25th, 2010 at 2:16 am
I’ve found it much harder to find girls names that I love. My main criteria in a name is that it be well-established. To me, most girl names seem made up, boring, or old-lady like. There seem to be many more boys names that are well-established but don’t feel fusty on a baby. I’ve always felt like I was in the minority on this though.
on August 25th, 2010 at 4:25 am
We have two girls and at every stage of each pregnancy we had a name we loved, though the name kept changing.
I am now pregnant with a boy and though we have a shortlist of names we both like, each of them is problematic for a different reason for at least one of us.
Girls are easier for us.
on August 25th, 2010 at 5:46 am
I have 3 more family names for each gender picked out. After that, things get fun for boys and difficult for girls. There’s some more family names I *could* use and some names I like… but mostly I like Biblical names, and that’s why boys are easier. There are so many that I love, and I could always just flip through the Bible, look up meanings, and fall in love with some more if I wanted. But for girls, the selection is limited, and I’m looking at Biblical-inspired names too (Selah, Eden, Pearl, Faith, Trinity).
on August 25th, 2010 at 8:13 am
For us, girls are harder. We like so many girls names and so few boys names. It’s far harder to narrow down to one girl name. With our boys, their names simply fell together almost effortlessly but we argued over girl names until she was almost 12 hours old!
Yep, girls are tougher (for us anyway)! 🙂
on August 25th, 2010 at 8:33 am
Boys are harder. There are fewer boy names (as you, Pam and Linda, have pointed out in your books) because so many boy names get adopted for girls. And once they go girl, they don’t come back to the boy side. Slimmer pickings.
Girls have tons of options. Way easier to name, IMO.
on August 25th, 2010 at 8:36 am
For us, it’s difficult finding a name period. There are a lot of names that I love, but my husband is a very picky man, not to mention that just because I love a name, it doesn’t mean that I would actually give that name to my child. Naming our son was quite a chore. We compromised on Micah. Since we are trying for our second we already have names picked, and these took us a while to agree on. Alexa for a girl and Kole for a boy. That took some stress off us.
on August 25th, 2010 at 8:54 am
For us it was a bit of both. We knew immediately after I found out I was pregnant what our daughter’s first name would be, if she was a girl. When it came to boy names, we had the list narrowed to about 4 or 5, but kept rotating which would be THE ONE. Middle name would definitely be after my husband. He finally said that I could pick whichever of the first names I liked, but his favorite was Ian, if that helped me decide.
It turned out to be a girl, so then we had to settle on a middle name and WOW was that hard. Growing up, I had always said it would be Christine, after me, but once it was a reality, I realized that I didn’t like Christine as much, especially with Anneliese. So we talked and talked and talked some more. Then she was born early and still no middle name! We picked it out the day after she was born, and love our choice, but it was so hard.
on August 25th, 2010 at 8:57 am
DH and I have tons of girls names that we absolutely love and could use any one of them if we need to. Boys names, on the other hand, we’re having a very difficult time with. My sons father had said he wanted to name his first son Maximos when we first saw The Gladiator back in 2000. When I found out I was having a boy 8 years ago I asked him if he wanted to use the name and he said yest so I picked Alexander to go with is because it seemed to flow. These days I have found two names that I love, one being Edward which is tied to a horrible part of my past so I refuse to use it (not to mention that it recently gained fame and additional popularity from the Twilight Saga). I detest ALL of the names DH likes, they are totally opposite of my taste. So, I’d say boys are harder for us.
on August 25th, 2010 at 9:20 am
For us, girls are definitely harder. I don’t know if I can really pinpoint the reason, though. Girl names for the most part seem to either fall into the “over-used” or “too out there” category for me. I feel like there may not be more boy names overall, but that boy names can be pulled from a wider variety of places without sounding too wacky. I guess it’s harder for me to LOVE a girl name. My boy name list stays pretty consistent because there are just a few names I’m rock solid in love with. My girl name list changes constantly because I’m not as devoted to those names.
We don’t specifically try for Bible names, and I really don’t like unisex names or boy names on girls. I think I care more about femininity in girl names, although masculinity is not too important to me in a boy name. And I think the opposite is true for my husband. He couldn’t name our son Rowan when he was born because he thought it sounded too flouncy and girly when it came right down to it, although that was on our very short list by that point. But I don’t think he’d have an issue naming a girl Sloan or Sam the way I would.
on August 25th, 2010 at 9:25 am
I think girl’s names are harder, because there are just so many wonderful ones to choose from! Also, there is the added difficulty of deciding whether a name is one I like for a child, or just one that I’ve always liked personally, you know, a dream name that in an alternate reality would be my name. 😉 I don’t have that problem with boy names!
on August 25th, 2010 at 9:32 am
I don’t know how men feel about this, but I know that for me, it has always been harder to name girls– because there are just so many more choices! I guess I tend to lean towards the more traditional and old-fashioned for boys, and in a sense it was always harder because there weren’t as many I loved–but then that makes it easier, because it’s like, well, I know these are the only two or three names I’m serious about, so I can use them. I just think girls have so many more beautiful choices–which is why I hate how they keep stealing more and more from the boys! Let them have Ashley! And Laurie! (And Dylan and Ryan and Logan and everything else!) I would love to meet a guy named Laurie!!!!
on August 25th, 2010 at 9:34 am
phaedraP: If having fewer boy’s names bothers you, take those names the girls have taken and use them for a boy!
on August 25th, 2010 at 9:44 am
Boys names by far. I find that there are differing expectations with a boys name–they seem to leave less room for whimsy, and are expected to have a bit more gravitas….whereas a girls name leaves room for more experimentation. We are expecting our first and have a long list of girls names that we adore; with the boys names the list is far shorter. We have chosen not to find out the gender, so we’ll see which we have to grapple with in October!
on August 25th, 2010 at 9:56 am
For me personally, boys names are harder because my husband and I have a certain style we like for girls–old-fashioned and feminine with lots of nickname options (i.e. Beatrice, Genevieve, Florence)–but we don’t have a definitive style we like for boys. Our boy list has simple classics like James, family surnames like Landon, and quirky fusty names like Floyd–we just aren’t as consistent in what we like, which makes it more difficult.
on August 25th, 2010 at 10:05 am
Extending from my knowledge on social generational issues, I think there is also a generational component in disagreement on boy vs. girl names. Right now expecting parents are more likely to encounter disagreement with their parents (and in-laws) when it comes to naming a boy. For example, witness the debates here on Nameberry when it comes to using a softer, unisex, or even more unusual name for a boy; younger folks tend to be more open to such ideas than the older generation (who are the ones more likely to prefer classic/established boy names). With girl names, currently there is less likely to be disagreement on those kinds of issue between parents and grandparents-to-be. A generation ago it was the opposite: This was when parents wanted to break old feminine stereotypes with their daughters’ names (which their parents would’ve then preferred more traditional names for their granddaughters but the parent was more likely to pick a more modern or unisex name for daughter-to-be), but was still traditional-names-for-sons.
Of course these are all broad generalizations and may not apply to you.
An example of this is our own Pam’s dilemma when she had her daughter; she wanted to break convention when she had her daughter and thus chose Rory (a boy name) for her. With her sons she was not as daring, choosing Joseph and Owen for them. Now, on Nameberry between her and others of her generation vs. people of her childrens’ generation (like me) there is more of a debate on what kinds of names boys should get (e.g. she’s often disagreed with using a name like Emerson or Reece for a boy) while there is more general agreement on the types (not necessarily individual) names for girls. If you’ve read the authors’ original book (Beyond Jennifer and Jason) vs. the current one (Beyond Ava and Aiden) you can see that they’ve softened their attitude on being daring with naming boys but still show their Baby Boomer redux on issues such as unisex names for boys vs. girls.
on August 25th, 2010 at 10:22 am
I think the second name, regardless of gender, is the tougher name to pick. We had a hard time find boys names that we liked the first time around but eventually found the right name. But the first name makes the second name even tougher because I want them to compliment each other without being too matchy-match.
on August 25th, 2010 at 10:50 am
I don’t have kids yet but me and dh are ttc#1.
I have alot of girls names I like but only a few I love and dh doesn’t like the same style of names I do for girls. For boys I like some names but I don’t really have any I love but me & dh agree mostly on what we like for boys. So far! So I would say girls names will probably be harder for us.
I like Bible names for boys but there just aren’t as many for girls. But I’m not limiting boys names to all Bible names, it would be a plus to be connected to the Bible though.
I have awhile to think about it though!
on August 25th, 2010 at 10:51 am
Personally, I prefer classic male names with history and strong role models. So finding a boys name I love is a much easier prospect, as my goals are more clearly defined.
For girls, I’m all over the place. I like quirky classics, musty antiques, retro nicknames, and even an occasional sophisticated surname. I have a much harder time pinning down the image I want to evoke through my girls’ names.
on August 25th, 2010 at 10:52 am
I could easily come up with 20 girls’ names that I love and would really use. But ask me to narrow it down to just one, and that would be really difficult.
I’m not sure I could come up with 20 boys’ names that I love and would really use. But I could come up with four or five, and settle on one that I was happy with pretty quickly.
In my mind this means boy names are more difficult for me. If for some reason my short list was unusable and I had to start over, it would be really tough for me to find more boys’ names that I liked. But I could compromise much more on a girl’s name and still feel like I had come up with one I loved.
on August 25th, 2010 at 10:59 am
We had a boy for our second and thought it was infinitely harder to name him versus naming our first who is a girl. We like names classic names that are unusual (not heard on the playground) at the same time. It seems that finding a name that fits those parameters for a girl is much easier than finding one for a boy. Most classic boy names are already being used and don’t sound that unusual. Whereas, with girl names, the classics seem to fall in out of use more often than the boy names and it easier to find something that is less common.
on August 25th, 2010 at 11:01 am
I think it is much harder to name boys. Mostly because of my husband though. He nixes every boy name which leaves me feeling very disconnected from the names we have, as they are names that i love, as is the situation with our girls names. And me and hubby do not see eye to eye at all on boys names. I like really strong masculine names, and he likes more exotic names (Leonardo, Eames, ect) that dont fit in with our other children at all.
But i think the hardest thing of naming boys, i dont feel like there are hardly ANY boys names! There are tons and tons of male bibical names, but hubby and i are not religious, and some are just not my taste.
But then ontop of all of that, girls are stealing all the boys names! Uhhh! This is possibly the most irritating, well after my husband. People think they are edgy or strong when they name their daughter Charles or Bradley and it’s just frustrating, there arnt enough boys name, so stop stealing them!
on August 25th, 2010 at 12:00 pm
Also wanted to chime in that the popularity of boys’ names is far less important to me than that of girls’. I would use a name for a son if I knew other children with the name, while I would be tempted to strike a girls’ name from my list if even an acquaintance had a child with the name. I’m sure this says something about my “rigidly defined view of masculinity” or something!
on August 25th, 2010 at 12:01 pm
We’ve had an easy time naming both genders; it just took some work for both. BUT if I had to choose based on conversations with other namers, I would say…
Only because girl namers are constantly taking boys names and making them seem more feminine in our culture. Ashley and Shannon are great examples.
on August 25th, 2010 at 12:27 pm
I think girls names are easier. DH and I had both our girls’ names picked out long before I was ever pregnant with the first. I like it when siblings’ names fit well together, so I think it is a good idea to pick out multiples names when you first start a family if you know you would like to have more than one. I’m kind of glad we never had a boy because our boy name choices might have been considered a little too out there.
on August 25th, 2010 at 12:49 pm
My experience is that girls are much harder to name then boys. The reason being that girls names go in and out of style much faster and their are too many choices when it comes to girls, unisex, frilly, feminine, trendy, dated etc and their seems to be different opinions on names what many will say is a masculine name because of the meaning, many will say the same name is feminine sounding….What I hate most for girls names is that they go in and out of style to fast. Boys names are easier because ususally the goal is a strong masculine name, and alot of times names get carried down through the family for boys names…ex naming son after father.
on August 25th, 2010 at 1:07 pm
In general, I think that there are more “popular”/”loved” girl names than there are “popular”/”loved” boy names…
Going by namenerds (http://www.namenerds.com/uucn/2009xx.html & http://www.namenerds.com/uucn/2009xy.html), the top 23 (variations included) girls names are given to 10,000 or more children in 2009. That is a total of 94 names, variations included – and only one of those names did not have any variations listed. However, the boys had the top 45 (variations included) names that were given to 10,000 or more children in 2009. That is a total of 148 names, variations included – and 15 of them had no variations listed.
I think that the fact that the girls have more variations, with less names listed show just how popular many of these girls names are – We are constantly choosing to use them, but want to make them our own at the same time.
Also, there isn’t as much fluctuation in the popular boys names – Michael, William, Daniel and David (just to name a few) have been timeless classics that have stayed popular throughout the years. Where Isabella, Sophia, Olivia and Emily (just to name a few) have had there ups and downs throughout the years, and fluctuated greatly.
In the end, none of this really matters though. What matters is what names the parent’s can agree on. If your tastes merge on boy names but diverge on girl names, then naming your son will be easier then naming your daughter.
Bella (spotlightstarlit) Said
on August 25th, 2010 at 2:04 pm
I think it is easier to name a boy, that being said, it’s easier to find girls names I would use. I know what I like when it comes to boys names, and they have to age well, there needs to be a sense of masculinity without resorting to Butch or Spike, the name can’t be too out there, but I still want that wow factor. I want strong meanings, Godly meanings and historical foundation. This narrows me down quite a bit. However, for girls I am willing to be a bit ‘weirder’ and the meaning can be simpler. My standard is looking in the mirror and asking if I would like to have that name myself. I think it will be easier for me to name a boy, but it is easiest to find girls names in all.
British American Said
on August 25th, 2010 at 2:14 pm
For my husband & I, it seems to be easier to name a boy.
We had a boy name picked out with our first child before the big ultrasound, but then found out we were having a girl. We named her after she was born.
Our second child is a boy – we also found out at the ultrasound. That time we did have a girl name in mind already. We also didn’t decide on a name until our son was born.
We’re currently expecting number 3 and we’re planning not to find out the gender at the ultrasound. I think we have a boy’s name picked out already. My husband has one boy name on his ‘list’. It’s not my favourite, but I could go for it – plus I pretty much made the final decision on our first two children’s names. I don’t know what we would do if we have a girl this time around. I have a few names that I do like, but my husband isn’t keen on them. He has one name that he likes – which I do like, but it feels that ‘the boat has sailed’ on the name.
Maybe I’m fussier / more stubborn with girl’s names, being female myself. I agree with phoebesmom, that I wanted a less popular name for our daughter, compared to our son. Our daughter’s name was around #350 when we picked it. I did want to avoid the top 100. Yet then we went on to name our son from the top 100.
on August 25th, 2010 at 2:29 pm
for me boys are much harder. I had a list of about 100 girls names and my boys names numbered around 5.
on August 25th, 2010 at 5:02 pm
Oooh, boys are so much harder! We have one son, and we fought over his name almost all pregnancy. Right now, we’re not-not-TTC #2, and we have two girl names that we both love and would be thrilled to use, but still haven’t settled into a boy name. I have a short list of boy names that I love, but hubby hates them all.
on August 25th, 2010 at 6:48 pm
Boys’ names for me, definitely.
on August 25th, 2010 at 7:15 pm
I also wanted to add to a previous comment about names “going girl” and never coming back. I don’t think this is true at all, or at least not completely. There are many names that have “gone girl” that I still hear on males every day. For example, I go to school with boys named Courtney, Addison, McKenna, Kelly, Bailey, Carey, and Shannon (we’re 10th-12th grade). I actually know quite a few male Kellys. I have several male family members named Madison. I’ve also met male Whitneys, Ashleys, Hilarys, Aubreys, Lindsays, Merediths, Emersons, Mackenzies, and Lynns. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that just because a name “goes girl” doesn’t mean it’s no longer an option for a boy. The guys I know with “feminine names” have no problems with their names and never got picked on because of them. People shouldn’t be afraid to use a name on a boy that has been feminized, because at the rate we’re going, in another fifty years or so the only viable options left for boys will be Dick and Testosterone.
on August 25th, 2010 at 8:18 pm
It’s very difficult for me to find boy names that I like – most of the time, I just like the names for girls. (Noah, Aidan, Micah, etc.) However, girl names are difficult because there are SO many that I love. Elodie, Violet, Rosalie, Lia, Hadley, Auden, Sailor, Story, Liberty, and on and on. It’s terrible to try and pick names that sound okay with their siblings.
on August 25th, 2010 at 10:38 pm
For my husband and I, GIRL names were easier. There does seem to be a greater number of exciting options for girls. It was relatively easy to fall in love with a small set of names and rank them after a certain amount of consideration. My husband was immediately agreeable to the girl’s name I had fallen in love with. After struggling to name our two boys, there was quick agreement regarding our daughter’s name.
Naming our two boys was very, very tough. One by one, I had to let go of all my long-standing favorites. Over and over, my husband and I turned down each others’ suggestions. I think my husband is ultra opinionated about what makes a suitable boys’ name. We were lucky to finally come across first names for our two boys that we could agree on. It forced me expand beyond my list of long-standing favorites and take a closer look at names I had not been previously inspired to seriously consider. I discovered a few gems that I had by-passed. In spite of the difficulty with boy names, we are happy with the choices we made.
on August 26th, 2010 at 8:44 am
Boys were a lot harder for us. This was because I am difficult and can’t stand most of the nicknames that go with classic boy names, so ruled some out because of that. Also, we tend to be pickier and more conservative with boy names than with girls. We had girl names almost immediately. Thank goodness we had a girl!
on November 9th, 2010 at 2:29 pm
At least for me, boys’ names have been easier.
I only like a handful of boys’ names, and only have one favorite. Girls’ names, on the other hand… I love too many, and have no favorites.
on January 19th, 2011 at 1:48 am
I have b/g twins. I have one girl’s name I absolutely love and a lot of boy’s names I really really really like a lot. There was also some very specific criteria that ALL had to be satisfied, which both did and didn’t make things easier: 1. had to have some connection to the family, 2. had to be French (our heritage) in origin but workable in English, 3. had to have a Biblical meaning, 4. had to flow well, without being ‘matchy.’ Before knowing the sexes it was a heck of a lot easier to come up with 2 boy names than vice versa, but after we found out it was one of each we had a heck of a time narrowing it down to one boy’s name.
on February 27th, 2011 at 11:01 am
Girls are much harder for me. I love lots of names, but most of them are too lacy for a real child.
on March 28th, 2011 at 4:36 pm
Boy names are harder than girl names for me.
on May 14th, 2011 at 7:36 am
for my husband and i, naming boys is so much easier!! i like classic/old names, such as alexander (our son’s name) or ezra (which he hates) and for a girl catherine or olive.
most of the boys names he likes as they sound “manly” and “strong”, where i pick them based on longevity, history or family ties.
for girls its a totally different ball game, i again pick names based on history or family ties, but he thinks there all too “stuffy” as we’re “not giving birth to an 80 yr old”. for a girl he would pick a much more trendy, pretty name, like shayla, which is pretty don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t exactly my cup of tea. god help us if we ever have a girl!!!!
on May 21st, 2011 at 2:45 pm
Boy names are much easier!
on June 12th, 2011 at 8:16 pm
My husband and I are both having a hard time coming up with boys’ names. I was, then asked him if it was that it’s easier to pick names for your own gender, but he said no, he has an easier time thinking of girls’ names too.
on July 20th, 2011 at 9:36 am
I go through stages at the moment it’s girls that are harder to choose from for potential children than boys. With boys I know that it’ll be either Levi, Jacob or Noah. With girls at the moment even though I suppose I have favourites; Rose, Vivienne, Isabella, Audrey and Imogen there are no names that i’d hundred and ten percent say that I love enough to use whereas with boys I love Levi, Jacob and Noah so much!
on September 30th, 2011 at 8:01 pm
I feel that boys have been harder – but perhaps that is because I am on boy #3 and have had girls’ names picked out before any of my little dears came to be. 🙂 For me, it seems like girls’ names can be more flexible…. they can be quirky, cute, gender neutral, pretty, classic, etc. and all types are easily accepted. For boys there is more a fear of teasing in the quirky, cute & neutral categories, or of the name saying something unintended about them… at least that’s how it feels to me. I also dream of my sons being well-rounded (like their Daddy :)) and finding names that seem like they would fit on the football or soccer field as well as they would in band or art class, international travel and the professional world seems to be more difficult. Maybe though I put too much stock in a name. 🙂 My sons are Jackson Isaiah, Isaac Andrew, and coming in December, Ezra Jude. The girls’ names I love include Olivia Eden, Mila, and Eliza Kate.
on October 15th, 2011 at 1:37 pm
I think that for me it’s easier to find boy names that I like/would use, but since I’m a girl I can never say for sure whether a guy would actually want to be named something, while a girl I can say if a girl would want to have a certain name
on November 30th, 2011 at 8:09 pm
I have definitely found girls names easier. Because there are so many I like. And hubby tends to like at least some of the names I do.
My options narrow a lot with boys, because I want something Celtic that works with our surname… those two criteria are easy enough, but then it has top also be not-too-common, and then hubby has to like it. And those stars are yet to align.
on December 2nd, 2011 at 12:20 pm
I haven’t had the experience of naming yet, but of my nerdy name lists, girls definitely seem harder if I try and imagine bestowing one for life (without change) upon a girl.
Boys names seem to successfully achieve what I want a name to achieve. I have a set few and that’s that.
Girls…I think I’ve found the right one but there’s always some compromise. Maybe all this suggests is that I am fussier in my search for perfection when it comes to girls. Why? Who knows.
The whole girls with boys names: I think this must be American, because it happens rarely here in England as well as rarely in Australasia, where I’m from. Girls tend to have girly names.
on August 12th, 2012 at 10:37 am
Finding names for either wasnt the hard part-narrowing them down was… Once I widdled down my list for boys, the top few never changed and there was always a forerunner…. Girls on the other hand I was constantly changing my mind and the top 5 were never the same for more then a week…. Luckily, he came out a boy;)
I think that girls names are just so over saturated….Too many choices is not good for indecisive people;)
on September 26th, 2012 at 5:35 am
For me I think girls names are harder, despite my boys list being shorter.
I find that once I love a boys name it sticks for a long time, but when it comes to girls names I’m much more fickle; they change probably once every two weeks.
I have a feeling it’ll be hard for me to compromise on names too 😛 Henry has been my favourite boys name for a long time, and I’m determined to name my first son Henry!
on July 16th, 2018 at 9:54 pm
oh boys names for sure. I have 9x as many girl name favourites than boys names
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