Unique Unisex Names
Many nonbinary names, those free of any intrinsic gender identity and used roughly equally for girls and boys, are unique by any definition. But there are plenty of unique unisex names worth considering that tilt a bit more male or female.
We usually define unisex names as those given to at least 10 percent of the minority gender. And unique names might be rare or uncommon names below the Top 1000 or names that are not traditionally names: nature names and place names for babies, for instance.
This list of unique unisex names includes only those names that fit all those definitions. There are literally thousands of choices in this category, but these are among the best!
Origin:English, diminutive of Christopher
Description:Actor Kit Harington, aka the dreamy Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, has given this nickname-name new style and appeal for boys. Actress Jodie Foster used it for her son. For girls, it's an updated diminutive of Katherine.
Meaning:"healer; born in the morning"
Description:A short but strong biblical name with multicultural appeal, Asa is enjoying new visibility thanks to hot young actor Asa Butterfield of Hugo fame.
Description:Unlike Pearl and Ruby, this is one gem name suited for boys, the final x making it sound strong and virile. Musician Iggy Azalea chose the name Onyx for her son.
Description:Scout, a character nickname from To Kill a Mockingbird (her real name was Jean Louise), became a real-life possibility when Bruce Willis and Demi Moore used it for their now grown middle daughter, followed by Tom Berenger a few years later. A unisex choice that is growing in popularity for both genders -- but given to girls about four times more often than to boys -- it was picked by skater Tai Babilonia for her son and Kerri Walsh for her daughter Scout Margery.
Origin:Latin or Tswana
Meaning:"new or gift"
Description:This nouveau name of Keanu Reeves's character in The Matrix has not enjoyed the same burst of popularity as its female counterpart, Trinity, but it definitely sounds, well, newer. Neo Rauch is an interesting contemporary German artist.
Description:An originally male name also used for girls, mostly because of its soft sound and vowel ending. Related to names and words in a range of languages—Yoruba, Thai, Hebrew—and with a variety of positive meanings.
Description:The girls have Violet and Scarlet and Ruby and Rose, but for the boys there's a much more limited palette of color names. Grey/Gray is one exception, which could make for a soft and evocative—if slightly somber—choice, especially in the middle. Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney named their son Leo Grey.
Description:Fallon is one of several boyish surname names introduced in the over-the-top 1980s nighttime soap Dynasty: they sounded cutting-edge at the time, but no longer.
Description:This name of a character played by Kirsten Dunst in the movie Virgin Suicides, originally a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, is gaining attention, also thanks to the heroine Lux, Lady of Luminosity in the League of Legends games. Luz is the Spanish version.
Description:If Flora and Florence have returned full force, Florian, with its trendy Latinate ending, could also have a chance. Popular in Germany, Austria and Switzerland -- he was the venerated patron saint of those in danger from water and of firefighters -- might sound a tad feminine and floral to English speakers. But as a middle name, Florian could be a great way to honor grandma Florence (or any other flower name).
Origin:English, diminutive of Wilhelmina, Wilma
Description:Billie is a tomboy nickname name, part of the growing trend for using boyish nicknames for girls and now destined for stardom along with its most famous contemporary bearer, music sensation Billie Eilish.
Description:Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn put this name in play as a first name, but David Bowie (born with the considerably less marketable moniker of David Robert Jones) dyed it blond and gave it charisma. He changed his surname in 1965 to avoid confusion with the then popular Davy Jones of The Monkees, and especially since his death, his admirers have seen it as an increasingly viable baby name namesake.
Origin:French form of Latin Julius
Meaning:"youthful; soft, downy"
Description:Though Jules hasn't been on the US popularity list in fifty years, it is a current hit in its native France—where it's currently in the Top 10—and we can definitely see it making a comeback here, being far more romantic than, say, Jim.
Origin:Nature and place-name
Description:As trendy as the chic Colorado ski resort and film festival, Aspen is fast becoming cooler for girls than for boys.
Origin:English word name
Description:Ever's timeless quality would make this evocative word a positive middle name choice for a boy or girl. Alanis Morissette and Souleye named their son Ever Imre.
Ever also seems to have ties to a Scandinavian name meaning "wild as a boar" and a Hebrew name meaning "beyond,"-- a variation of the name Eber.
Description:A spiritual word name used by actor Zoe Saldana for her son.
Meaning:"the stately, dauntless one"
Description:The short but solid Irish surname Shea works for both genders; Kevin James has a daughter named Shea. Shay is another possible spelling.
Origin:English tree name
Meaning:"tree from the genus Quercus"
Description:Oak, a symbol of solidity, strength, and longevity, is joining Cedar and Pine as a viable name, one that would work especially well in the middle.
Origin:English tree name from Latin
Meaning:"piece of cloth"
Description:If Apple and Juniper, Oak and Pine can be baby names, why not Maple? Why not indeed. We've heard Maple starting to be used quietly, but with its lush sound and attractive image, we predict its use as a first name will grow — and its choice by the Jason Batemans — who combined it with the sweet middle name Sylvie — will only accelerate that growth.
Description:A biblical place name with trumpeting verve and strength.
Description:Bryn is an up-and-coming gentle, yet substantial, Welsh name that would also be effective in the middle spot. In Wales it's a traditional boys' name, but it's far more popular for girls now in the US.
Description:Although this is traditionally seen as a female name, via the classical mythological nymph who pined away for Narcissus until all that remalined of her was a disembodied voice--it can also be used for boys. Remember that old song, 'Little sir echo, how do you do?'
Origin:Greek and Coptic place-name
Meaning:"Enduring and beautiful"
Description:A place name with so much history, from Ancient Egypt, where so many pyramids were built, to the US blues southern city. The name also has a great meaning. Although it's being given to babies of both genders, Memphis (unlike most place names) is much more common for boys than girls.
Meaning:"near the holly bushes"
Description:Hollis is a surname-name used quietly for both genders. In 2015, it was given to 176 boys and 106 girls in the US. It has notable connections for both genders: Hollis Thompson is a professional (male) basketball player, while Hollis is an outsized favorite for girls in South Carolina, where Pete Hollis was a community folk hero. On the girls' side, it makes Holly more buttoned-up and distinctive.
Description:Jupiter's partner Juno has entered the mainstream, so it's possible that her divine mate could follow. But not necessarily for boys — Jupiter is over 75% female, thanks to its similarity to Juniper. Actress Ashley Tisdale welcomed a daughter named Jupiter Iris in 2021, which could shift the balance even more towards the girls.
Description:Zephyrus was the Greek god of the west wind, and all names associated with him have a pleasantly gentle, breezy feel.
Description:Indigo is one of the most appealing and evocative of the new generation of color names. Color names have joined flower and jewel names -- in a big way -- and Indigo, a deep blue-purple dye from plants native to India, is particularly striking for both girls and boys. Although most people don't think of it like this, Indigo might also be considered among the most stylish Greek baby names in use today. Some cultural references: The Indigo Girls are a folk duo, 'Mood Indigo' is a classic Duke Ellington jazz composition, and there is a 1970's New Age theory that Indigo children possess special, sometimes supernatural abilities. Indigo is the name of a character in the Ntozake Shange novel Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo, and was used for his daughter by Lou Diamond Phillips.
Description:An imaginative choice with an uptempo Cory/Rory/Tori sound, perfect for the child of a writer — or anyone with a good story to tell. Story has been finding some appreciation among celebs like Minnie Driver and others as a middle name. This is just one of the literary word names that have recently entered the realm of possibility, such as Fable, Sonnet and Poem.
Description:Words are not always easy to translate into baby names, but the implications of being straight and swift lend this one great potential as a name. It also has the popular o-sound ending, which brings it further into the realm of possibility. Rising rock star Aja Volkman pulled a gender switch when she named her daughter Arrow Eve.
Origin:French occupational name
Description:Mercer is an attractive possibility which is an occupational name that doesn't sound like one. Mercer and its cool, sophisticated short form Merce project a super creative image via their artistic namesakes.
Johnny Mercer was a talented and charming songwriter-singer who wrote the lyrics for more than 1,500 songs, including Moon River. Jazz great Duke Ellington named his son Mercer, and he in turn became a respected musician in his own right. Stone Temple Pilot's Scott Weiland used Mercer as the middle name of his son Noah.
Origin:Italian place name or Slavic
Description:As Mila rises for girls, so Milan is becoming a more popular option for boys, especially after singer Shakira chose it for her son. After a 55-year hiatus, it reentered the Top 1000 in 2013 and is heading dramatically upward.
Meaning:"dweller near a pear tree"
Description:It's a long time now since this casual but suave name was linked to velvet-throated, cardigan-sweatered singer Perry (born Pierino, son of Pietro) Como's day...and this could be the moment for a reassessment.
Origin:Hawaiian or Norse
Meaning:"leeward or woman, wife"
Description:Kona is strongly associated with the Kona coffee of Hawaii. The Hawaiian word kona means "leeward" or "dry side of the island," and Kona districts are where Kona coffee is grown. It's a unisex name in Hawaii, with an appealing simple, strong sound.
Origin:Mineral and word name
Description:This super-charged variation of Jett is on the rise -- along with the unlikely newcomer Jetson.
Origin:English from Norse
Description:This ancient name makes an intriguing alternative to River.
Origin:English occupational name
Meaning:"law enforcer, bailiff"
Description:Extremely amiable, open-sounding surname that's gradually being taken over by the girls.
Description:Among the coolest of the cool color names, particularly popular with celebs as a unisex middle name.
Meaning:"rich deep red"
Description:Crimson could be a possible competitor for Scarlett's success, though it's lacking that Gone With the Wind charm.
Origin:French from Latin
Meaning:"estate of the fifth son"
Description:Quincy is a Presidential surname name that actually sounds both cute and strong when used for a girl. While it's still far from making the Top 1000, over 160 baby girls were named Quincy in the US in 2016, up from about 100 a decade before. While there are three times as many boys named Quincy, it has now become a genuinely unisex name.
Meaning:"strip of clearing in the woods"
Description:The name Ripley reflects the powerful character played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien films; it was chosen by actress Thandie Newton for her daughter.
Description:Despite the possibility of gender confusion, the Hero in Greek myth was a woman. Myleene Klass got that when she chose Hero for her daughter, and Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson used it as their daughter's middle--and we wouldn't be surprised to see more girls with this heroic name.
Description:Lovely entry into the tree name genre, joining Maple, Pine, Oak, and Willow.
Description:Keaton is an engaging surname with warmth, energy and a sense of humor, identified with silent comedian Buster Keaton and contemporary actors Michael and Diane Keaton. Although rare as a first name, a young Keaton would fit right in with classmates Keenan and Kellen.
Origin:English word name
Description:Even less subtle than Duke or Earl, this name is leaping up the popularity charts, probably due in part to a boost from the hit Lorde song "Royals."
Origin:Japanese or Choctaw
Description:The Koi is a variety of carp especially popular in ornamental gardens in Japan, where they are a symbol of good fortune. In Buddhist culture, the koi is associated with courage. Being one letter away from trendy Kai boosts its prospects as a cool unisex name.
Description:This is one of the ninety-nine attributes of Allah, deemed by Muhammad to be a recommended name for a male child. In this country, it's been primarily associated with boxing immortal Muhammad Ali, known as "the greatest." But Ali is also one of the most popular unisex names for both boys and girls.
Description:This simple yet evocative French word name was chosen for her daughter by model Niki Taylor. While Ciel may be pronounced in French with two syllables, many will pronounce it as "seal" and there may be confusion with Celia and sister Ceil.