The New Generation of Boys’ Names

Gender identity takes a turn for the middle

By Pamela Redmond

Many of today’s most fashionable boys’ names carry a gender identity that’s decidedly masculine but not conventionally so, softer than macho but stronger than unisex. These boys’ names fall right in the middle on the gender scale, in contrast to their stylish female counterparts, which tend to be ultra-feminine (Arabella, Ophelia) or frankly boyish (Hayden, Frankie).

Many of these hot new boys’ names carry sounds that are soft and/or traditionally connected to girls’ names, such as vowel endings, and so depart from the classic male names once dominant. These stylish boys’ names with a fresh gender identity include:

Asher and Ezra

The hottest new Biblical boys’ names share vowel-heavy sounds and warm, positive meanings (happy and help), but for most of the 20th century, these two Old Testament names went almost completely unused in America. Both have climbed into very solid positions in the Top 100, and look to rise even higher.

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7 Responses to “The New Generation of Boys’ Names”

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CocoaPuff Says:

August 11th, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Since when is Jacob a girl’s name?

Liz Kent Says:

August 11th, 2017 at 1:54 pm

I love Jacob Thaddeus

QuirkFlower Says:

August 11th, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Sooooo many of my favorites make this list. I definitely have a “type.”

Kate4hisglory Says:

August 11th, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Um, why does it say that gender identity takes a turn? These are all decidedly male names. If someone decides to use them for a girl, that doesn’t automatically make it a unisex name. And just because they share sounds with girl names doesn’t make them any less masculine. I get it, gender equality is a big issue. But can we not be so equal that it takes away what is special and unique about our genders? Don’t try to emasculate these names, please.

beynotce Says:

August 12th, 2017 at 9:23 am

Interesting that nearly half of these “new generation” names are Biblical. I’m not sure if this speaks more to the conservativism of even the most stylish trends in boy names or to the rich variety of male names found in the Bible.

southern.maple Says:

August 12th, 2017 at 11:09 am

This post is utter nonsense and fails in its attempted argument. Kylo is the only “new” name here. Kai and Rowan are legitimate unisex names. Every other name you’ve listed is a conventionally masculine choice with an established history in the English-speaking world. Occasional usage on girls, similarity to popular girl names, and soft consonant sounds do not make a name unisex.

Penguinkin Says:

August 12th, 2017 at 4:08 pm

I found the collection of names interesting but would have liked to see graphical representation of the name usage to back up any ‘trend’.

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