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Unisex Names for Boys

Unisex names are defined as those given to the minority sex at least ten percent of the time. Unisex names for boys encompass those that originated as boy names but now are used for both genders, names that feel gender-neutral but in fact are used mostly for boys, and truly unisex names that work as well for boys as for girls. The names listed here are the Top 100 most common unisex names among baby boys, led by Ryan and Angel.

Along with Ryan and Angel, the Top 10 unisex names for boys includes Jordan, Parker, Sawyer, Rowan, Elliott, Karter, August, and River. Many of the unisex names here also make the list of most popular unisex names for girls. Asa, Kingsley, Miller, and Onyx are among the unisex names that rank on the boys’ list but not the girls’.

This list does not include girl names that are used occasionally for boys, such as Hilary, or once-unisex names that have become predominantly female, such as Ashley or Evelyn. The unisex names here are the most popular for baby boys.

Top Unisex Names for Boys
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RowanHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rowan tree; little redhead"
  • Description:

    Rowan – a strong surname and nature name (it's a tree with red berries) – is deservedly growing in popularity. Some scholars identify Rowan as originally a girls’ name, related to Rowena and Rhonwen, while others say Rowan's always been used for both genders. Sharon Stone chose the Roan spelling, which also relates to the reddish color, for her son, while Brooke Shields used Rowan for her daughter. Yet another increasingly popular spelling is Rowen.

AugustHeart

  • Origin:

    German form of Latin Augustus
  • Meaning:

    "great, magnificent"
  • Description:

    August is THE celebrity baby name of the moment, chosen by both Princess Eugenie and Mandy Moore for their baby boys in early 2021. Before that, August had been heating up in Hollywood – used by Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann, Lena Olin, Dave Matthews and Jeanne Tripplehorn for their sons, and is rapidly becoming the preferred month of the year for boys' names. The month of August was named after the Emperor Augustus.

PhoenixHeart

  • Origin:

    Arizona place-name and Greek
  • Meaning:

    "dark red"
  • Description:

    Phoenix rolls a lot of cool trends into one: it's a place-name and a bird name, it ends in the oh-so-hip letter x, and as the mythic bird that rose from the ashes, it's a symbol of immortality. It's also got celebrity chops, via the acting family that includes Joaquin and the late River, and as the child of an ex-Spice Girl.

EllisHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "benevolent"
  • Description:

    Ellis is one of the less used names in the currently popular El-family. It is a popular Welsh name in its own right, sometimes spelled Elis, and also an English surname derived Elijah, by way of the Greek Elias.

RemyHeart

  • Origin:

    French from Latin
  • Meaning:

    "oarsman"
  • Description:

    The name of a fifth century saint and one of a new generation of French names being discovered in the US, Remy sounds particularly modern and attractive. The name Remy is being revived for both boys and girls, sometimes as Remi. It entered the popularity list in 2009 and has quickly become one of the fastest-rising names on the list.
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RiverHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    River shares the tranquil feeling of all the water names, and seems to have pretty much escaped its past strong association with River Phoenix and his unfortunate fate. Keri Russell and the Taylor Hansons both have sons named River, Natasha Henstridge used it as the middle name of her boy Tristan, and Jason Schwartzman pluralized it for daughter Marlowe Rivers.

RoryHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "red king"
  • Description:

    This spirited Gaelic classic, which became popular in Ireland via the illustrious twelfth century king Rory O'Connor, makes a highly energetic choice, now used for either sex. Rory's gender split is still trending boyward; it's one of the coolest boys' names starting with R.

SawyerHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "woodcutter"
  • Description:

    Sawyer is a surname with a more relaxed and friendly feel than many others, and is one of the hottest occupational names right now, with the Nameberry seal of approval. Sawyer is becoming one of the top unisex names. Both Sara Gilbert and Diane Farr used Sawyer for their daughters, while it was given a boost as a boys' name by the character Sawyer on Lost, an alias for the character really named James Ford.

ElliotHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicization of Elijah or Elias
  • Meaning:

    "Jehovah is God"
  • Description:

    Elliot (which boasts several spellings depending upon how many 'l's or 't's you want to use) is a winner -- it has the ideal quality of being neither too common nor weirdly unique. Elliot had a style boost back in the early 1980s via the young hero of the movie E.T. , who was named Elliot. Since then there have been Elliots on Law & Order: SVU and Mad Men.

RyanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little king"
  • Description:

    Ryan’s use as a given name was inspired by the surname Ryan, a variation of the Irish O’Riain meaning “son of Rían.” Rían is composed of the Irish-Gaelic elements , meaning “king” and an, a diminutive suffix. Ryan is considered a unisex name in the US, where variant spellings Ryann and Ryanne are also valid for girls.
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AriHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Ariel, Hebrew "lion of God"
  • Meaning:

    "lion of God"
  • Description:

    This short form of Ariel (or any other Ari- beginning name, such as Aristotle) stands up better as a boys’ name than its progenitor does. It is also short for Aristotle, as in Onassis, and is a prominent character on TV's Entourage -- the uberagent Ari Gold.

CharlieHeart

  • Origin:

    English, diminutive of Charles
  • Meaning:

    "free man"
  • Description:

    Charlie derives, of course, from the classic name Charles which, in turn, comes from a German word meaning "free man." Charles became very popular in France during the Middle Ages due to the fame of Charles the Great, also known as Charlemagne. Charley is an alternate spelling.

BlakeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired, dark"
  • Description:

    Blake -- an early unisex option -- dropped out of the Top 100 in 2017 for the first time since 1988, but remains a sophisticated choice. And yes, both conflicting meanings of Blake are accurate. It originated as a surname in England derived from a nickname. Much of its masculine image was influenced by the wealthy, silver-haired character Blake Carrington in the massively popular 80s TV series Dynasty. Rosie O'Donnell has a son named Blake.

HaydenHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fire"
  • Description:

    Hayden – a formerly obscure name that's risen to huge popularity – has dipped in this year's ratings. Though Hayden is among the most distinctive of the bunch, it gets lost in the crowd of Jaidens, Bradens, Aidans, and endless variations. Associated with Hayden Christensen, of Star Wars fame.

FinleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired hero"
  • Description:

    Finley is a Scottish royal name (it belonged to Macbeth's father) riding the wave of Finn names. Chris O'Donnell used it for one of his sons, and Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn did a gender switch when they named their daughter Finley.
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EmersonHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "son of Emery"
  • Description:

    Emerson is a dignified, somewhat serious name associated with transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson. Much more popular now for girls since Desperate Housewife Teri Hatcher used it for her daughter, it is definitely still a viable boys name.

AsaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew; Japanese
  • 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.

BellamyHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Irish from French
  • Meaning:

    "fine friend"
  • Description:

    Bellamy is a surname name with an admirable meaning and upbeat rhythm, similar to jovial choices like Rafferty, Barnaby and Willoughby.

ParkerHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "park-keeper"
  • Description:

    One of the first generation of surname names, along with Porter and Morgan, Parker's still one of the most appealing and remains firmly in the Top 100 for boys. About three times as many boys as girls get this occupational name. The association with Charlie Parker gives Parker itself a jazzy edge, and it also has a nature-related meaning. Rosie O'Donnell has a son named Parker.

LennoxHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "elm grove"
  • Description:

    Lennox is an aristocratic and powerful Scottish surname name made truly special by that final x. The worldwide fame of British boxer--World and Olympic champion--Lennox Claudius Lewis brought the name into the spotlight as a first name, while as a last it's tied to Eurythmics singer Annie L.
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SageHeart

  • Origin:

    Herb name and also Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wise and knowing"
  • Description:

    Fits many criteria sought by modern parents: it's short and strong, with intimations of wisdom as well as fragrant herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys.

QuinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendant of Conn, chief leader, intelligence"
  • Description:

    Quinn is an engaging Celtic surname that is on the rise for both genders. Quinn has started leaning decidedly toward the feminine thanks to a female cheerleader character on the television show Glee. It retains some testosterone from "The Mighty Quinn," the name of a movie, a band, and a Bob Dylan song.

OnyxHeart

  • Origin:

    Gem name
  • 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.

FrancisHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "Frenchman or free man"
  • Description:

    Since this was the name chosen by the current Roman Catholic pope, Francis has come into the spotlight.

AmariHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "eternal"
  • 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.
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GreyHeart

  • Origin:

    Color name
  • 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.

SpencerHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "house steward, dispenser of provisions"
  • Description:

    Spencer is a name that has everything: it's both distinguished sounding and accessible, dignified but Spencer Tracy-like friendly. Picked by several celebrities (a couple of times even for a girl), adding up to an enthusiastically recommended choice.

HuxleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "inhospitable place"
  • Description:

    Huxley is definitely rising as a surname name, with its X that makes almost any name cooler. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015. The modern nicknames Hux and Huck certainly don't hurt.

AzariahHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "helped by God"
  • Description:

    Azariah is a rarely used biblical name that moves way beyond Adam and Abraham; its pleasant sound makes it no surprise that parents have discovered it in recent years.

JordanHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "flowing down"
  • Description:

    Jordan became one of the top unisex baby names in the heyday of basketball's Michael Jordan, and is still among the most popular unisex names starting with J. The name was originally given to those baptized in holy water brought back by Crusaders from the River Jordan, the only river in Palestine, and the one in which Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.
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AveryHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "ruler of the elves"
  • Description:

    Avery's a last-name-first-name being used increasingly for girls -- perhaps because of Avery's similarity to Ava and Ivory. It's still well-used for boys and is one of today's most popular unisex names. About 2000 baby boys were named Avery in 2018, compared with about 8000 baby girls.

ShilohHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "tranquil"
  • Description:

    Haunting biblical and Civil War place-name; now unisex—especially after the mega-high-profile Brangelina couple picked it for their daughter. It debuted in the Top 1000 for boys in 2015.

RileyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "courageous"
  • Description:

    Riley -- one of the most popular unisex names -- is rising faster now for girls than boys. Still, there are lots of athletes and other notable real-life namesakes for a boy named Riley, as well as fictional ones in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight: Eclipse.

RemingtonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "place on a riverbank"
  • Description:

    Remington Steele was the perfect name for an upper-crust action hero on 1980s television. Now, Remington is catching fire along with a new generation of predatory baby boy names such as Hunter, Gunner, and Colt. Or you might consider it a unisex namewith a buttoned-up British feel and the friendly short form Rem or Remy.

RobinHeart

  • Origin:

    Bird name; or English, diminutive of Robert
  • Meaning:

    "bright fame"
  • Description:

    Now that it's no longer fashionable for girls, Robin is rising for boys again. Robin Hood, Robin Williams, Christopher Robin, and Robin the Boy Wonder are all male namesakes, after all. It reentered the US Top 1000 boys namesin 2015 for the first time since 1999.
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RylanHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Irish
  • Meaning:

    "island meadow"
  • Description:

    Parents seeking alternatives to the overexposed Ryan have flocked to this soundalike name, which peaked at #146 in 2011.

OakleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "oak wood or clearing"
  • Description:

    As sturdy as Oak, with deeper roots. For males, it's been on the rise in recent years.

QuincyHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "estate of the fifth son"
  • Description:

    Quirky in the way that all Q names are quirky, Quincy was once a buttoned-up, patrician New England name, an image countered in recent years by the talented and ultracool musician Quincy Jones (middle name: Delight; nickname: Q).

DrewHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Andrew
  • Meaning:

    "strong and manly"
  • Description:

    Drew, which projects a polished, somewhat intellectual impression, is rapidly becoming the Andrew nickname of choice, replacing the past favorite, Andy. It is fully capable of standing on its own, which it has for many decades, non-stop since 1942.

LennonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "lover"
  • Description:

    A growing number of high-profile (and other) parents are choosing to honor their musical idols, such as Hendrix, Presley, Jagger, and now Lennon. Lennon first came to notice when Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit used it for their son in 1999, and singer-musician Adam Pascal followed their lead in two years later. Thanks in part to female singer and actress Lennon Stella, it's now more popular for girls than for boys.
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ElliottHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Elliot
  • Meaning:

    "Jehovah is God"
  • Description:

    One of the four perfectly proper spellings of this name ranging from the spare (but poetic) Eliot to the full-blown Elliott.

NoelHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "Christmas"
  • Description:

    Noel is British, fey, and sophisticated, connoting wit and creativity, much like namesake Noel Coward. Noel has also been a character on Felicity and Pretty Little Liars. Thanks to their association with Christmas, Noel and Noelle make ideal names for December babies and names for Christmas babies.

JamieHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of James
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    The cool form of James in the 1970s and '80s for both sexes. Still a more stylish short form than Jimmy, though many parents will want to call James by his entire, not-very-long name.

KoaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "warrior"
  • Description:

    With Noah taking the Number 1 spot in 2013, Koa is attracting more attention than ever.

MorganHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "sea-born, sea-song or sea-circle"
  • Description:

    Morgan, once split evenly between the sexes, is a strong and attractive Welsh favorite, still a common boys’ name in Wales. Morgan is now more often a girls' name in the U.S. – about 2000 girls were given the name in one recent year, vs. 362 boys – though it's one of the most traditional unisex choices. Morgan was actually a Top 200 pick for boys in Victorian Britain!
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EdenHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "place of pleasure, delight"
  • Description:

    This Biblical name was rising dramatically for boys, but has plateaued in recent years. Although it's more popular for girls, it's a delightful unisex choice. Eden is one of the Top 100 Boy Names in France.

SterlingHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "of the highest quality"
  • Description:

    A name with some sterling qualities, most associated with the British currency and silver markets. Sterling has several recent TV associations, with characters Roger Sterling (on Mad Men) and Sterling Archer (on Archer), and actor Sterling K. Brown (on This is Us).

TaylorHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "tailor"
  • Description:

    Taylor was much more popular throughout the 1990s for both genders than it is today. Close to the Top 50 boys' names in the mid-1990s, Taylor recently fell out of the Top 500 for boys and out of the Top 100 for girls, and is predicted to continue on a downward trajectory for both genders. Similar but more stylish baby names today include Sawyer, Sayer and Thayer.

EmoryHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Emery
  • Description:

    Less popular than Emery, this name also attributes to Emory University. Both spellings of the name lean more heavily to the girls' side, but this one is not quite as unbalanced.

BriarHeart

  • Origin:

    American word name and nature name
  • Meaning:

    "a thorny patch"
  • Description:

    This word name entered the US Top 1000 for both genders in 2015, though it premiered a little higher for girls. There are still more baby girls named Briar than baby boys -- 420 vs. 277 in 2018 -- and the name is rising in popularity for both. Briar fits the trend for nature names, and it also offers a fresh option for honoring a Brian.
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