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Unique Unisex Middle Names

Unique Unisex Middle Names

What’s hot in the middle spot? Unique unisex middle names, of course!

Are Baby Names Getting More Gender Neutral?

Over the past decade, we’ve seen celebrity babies named Wyatt Oliver and Wyatt Isabelle, Babyberries called Harbor Alister and Harbor Aurelia, and unisex options like Skyler and Peyton, Arrow and Linden crossing gender lines in both directions. And the number of babies receiving truly a gender-neutral name (one with at least a 35:65 gender split) is up more than 60% compared to a decade ago.

Unisex Middle Names Are Rising

With all of these unisex first names flying around, you’d think that conventionally gendered middles would be holding firm, if only for practicality’s sake. And you’d be right — to a certain extent, at least. Although the SSA doesn’t record data on middle names, anecdotal evidence tells us that traditional picks like Rose and Elizabeth, James and Michael still reign supreme in the middle spot (although James has recently been creeping into an increasing number of girl birth announcements, too).

But we’ve also seen more adventurous — and ambiguous — options like Fox and Kit, Wilder and Winter, Bellamy and Callahan used for babies of both sexes, both on Nameberry and out in the “real world”.

In many ways, current name trends lend themselves to this. Some of the most fashionable sources of baby name inspiration in recent years — from novel word names to stylish last names as first names to brand new coinages — lack the long-standing gender associations that more conventional choices carry

But it’s also indicative of a broader cultural shift towards deliberately gender-neutral baby naming: after all, spelling variations aside, it looks like Ray/Rae could be both the new James and the new Rose in that historically conservative middle name slot.

Why Choose a Unisex Middle Name?

It’s easy to see the appeal. A unique unisex middle name can add an unexpected twist to a mainstream first name, as in the case of starbabies Penelope Scotland and Jonathan Rosebanks. It can help to tone down the frilliness or machismo of a strongly gendered first name: think Alyssa Milano’s Elizabella Dylan, or Kevin James’ Kannon Valentine. Or it can reinforce the deliberate ambiguity of a truly gender neutral names, like Megan Fox’s Journey River or Alanis Morrissette’s Onyx Solace.

And while one-syllable names — from Ann and John to Wren and Gray — have always ruled in the middle spot, there’s room for more elaborate options, too. It can be fun to pair a short, simple first name with a more dramatic middle, or to balance out a fancy first with a more tailored middle name. This trend is all about thinking outside the box!

Cool Gender Neutral Middle Name Ideas

Here are five of our favorite places to look for fresh inspiration for middle names, plus some of the coolest unisex options in each category.

Place Names

  1. Albany

  2. Avalon

  3. Cairo

  4. Denali

  5. Elim

  6. Everest

  7. Firenze

  8. Galilee

  9. Havana

  10. Holland

  11. Indiana

  12. Jericho

  13. Phoenix

  14. Rio

  15. Rhodes

  16. Salem

  17. Seneca

  18. Shiloh

  19. Tennessee

  20. Zuma

Explore more place names for babies here.

Nature Names

  1. Auburn

  2. Bay

  3. Briar

  4. Caldera

  5. Cedar

  6. Cypress

  7. Dove

  8. Harvest

  9. Indigo

  10. Kestrel

  11. Lumen

  12. Meridian

  13. North

  14. Peregrine

  15. Rue

  16. Sable

  17. Sequoia

  18. Tempest

  19. Yarrow

  20. Zephyr

Browse more nature-inspired baby names here.

Virtue Names

  1. Allegro

  2. Amity

  3. Bliss

  4. Bodhi

  5. Endeavor

  6. Ever

  7. Fidelis

  8. Hero

  9. Honor

  10. Jubilee

  11. Justice

  12. Kindred

  13. Kismet

  14. Marvel

  15. Pax

  16. Sage

  17. Solace

  18. True

  19. Valor

  20. Zen

Discover more virtue names for babies here.

Hero Names

  1. Angelou

  2. Apollinaire

  3. Auden

  4. Austen

  5. Bowie

  6. Darcy

  7. Faraday

  8. Harlow

  9. Lorca

  10. Lovelace

  11. Matisse

  12. Monet

  13. Monroe

  14. Picasso

  15. Poe

  16. Sojourner

  17. Sundance

  18. Varo

  19. Wilde

  20. Zeppelin

Check out our full list of modern hero baby names here.

International Names

  1. Adair

  2. Akira

  3. Ariel

  4. Blaise

  5. Caro

  6. Evren

  7. Fenn

  8. Irie

  9. Marin

  10. Lior

  11. Nico

  12. Noor

  13. Ren

  14. Rumi

  15. Shea

  16. Valentine

  17. Wynn

  18. Yael

  19. Zennor

  20. Zola

Find more cool unique unisex names here.

About the Author

Emma Waterhouse

Emma Waterhouse joined the team in 2017, writing about everything from the baby names to watch in 2022 to how not to choose the next big baby name. As Nameberry's head moderator, she also helps to keep our active forums community ticking. A linguist by background, Emma speaks several languages and lives in England's smallest county with her husband and four young children. You can reach her at emma@nameberry.com.