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Boy Names for Girls

Some of the coolest baby girl names are not girls' names at all but boys' names -- many of which have officially become unisex names. We're seeing more and more formerly 100% boy names being used for girls, from nicknames like Sam and Charlie (now 50-50 by gender!), to occupational or surnames such as Sawyer or McKinley to formerly masculine names such as Quincy and Jude that have become truly unisex.

Celebrity parents Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds broke the gender barrier in a new way when they named their daughter James. Many parents followed suit, sometimes using James as a middle name.

The trendy Arlo is one recently boy name that's moving to the girls' side. Australian actress Asher Keddie is proof that Asher might be a good alternative to the dated Ashley. Ezra is a Biblical name that is increasingly being used for girls as well as boys.

Some people think it's wrong to use boy names for girls unless the practice also works in the opposite direction. While statistics show that more parents are giving their sons unisex names, we are not seeing boys given decidedly feminine names in the same way that baby girls are being given formerly masculine names.

In case anyone thinks this is just another wacky name theory, statistics bear out that girls are being given all the names on this list in significant numbers. There were more than 50 baby girls in the US last year named Max and Maxwell, for instance, as well as Maverick, Landon, Chase, Auden, and Atlas.

Here, some boy names that can work for girls.
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KaiHeart

  • Origin:

    Hawaiian
  • Meaning:

    "sea"
  • Description:

    This appealing multi-cultural name, pronounced KYE, is beginning to be used for girls as well as boys. Among its many derivations and meanings: "sea" in Hawaiian, "forgiveness" in Japanese, "willow tree" in Navajo, "food" in Maori, and "earth" in Scandinavian. For girls, it debuted on the US Top 1000 in 2010.

BlakeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired, dark"
  • Description:

    The unisex Blake, which indeed has two conflicting meanings, has a briskly efficient image when used for a girl.

EzraHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "help"
  • Description:

    Ezra, the Biblical name that has recently risen into the boys' Top 100, makes it onto the girls' side with more than 200 baby girls given the name in the US in 2015. That puts Ezra in line to move into the girls' Top 1000. While traditionally male, Ezra's vowel ending may make it feel more girl-ready to parents than some other traditional biblical names. We like the name but its centuries-old male identity make it forever a boys' name to us.

ArloHeart

  • Origin:

    Place name and literary name
  • Description:

    Arlo, an unexpectedly popular name for boys these days, is also finding new life as a girls' name. The first name Arlo may be rooted in the surname Arlow or the place name Aherlow, meaning "between two highlands". As a surname, it also has roots in a place name meaning "rocky hill". Arlo is a name with several unexpected lives thanks to celebrity associations. It was first known as the name of folksinger Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody; then it was revived by television's "Justified" character Arlo Givens. Now it's been spun again as a girl's name first by actor Johnny Knoxville and then by celebrity couple Leighton Meester and Adam Brody, who chose it for their daughters. And since Arlo sounds so much like hot girl names Harlow and Marlowe, we say why not?

SawyerHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "woodcutter"
  • Description:

    Sawyer is one of the top unisex names, used for their daughters by such parents as Sara Gilbert, co-host of The Talk and former actress on Roseanne, currently on The Conners. Sawyer is is one of those newly-stylish occupational names that can work for either gender. If you want something with less brawn and more brains than Sawyer, try Sayer.
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CollinsHeart

  • Origin:

    Surname derived from Nicholas or Colin
  • Description:

    Collins is a surname name that has made the girls' Top 1000 thanks to its use for the daughter of the real-life Blind Side heroine. This derivation of the Greek Nicholas—which means "people of victory"—or the Irish and Scottish Colin—which may itself be a Nicholas derivation or an Anglicization of the word for pup—has a stylish feel made more so by that final s.

JamesHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "supplanter"
  • Description:

    James for a girl? Believe it or not, this is one of the boy names for girls" gaining a lot of attention these days, since Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds shocked the world by choosing it for their eldest daughter in 2014 (after his late father).

ElliotHeart

  • Origin:

    Anglicization of Elijah or Elias
  • Meaning:

    "Jehovah is God"
  • Description:

    Elliot is another traditional boy name used for girls", a trend led by political commentator George Stephanopoulos and his actress wife Ali Wentworth.

HarleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "the long field"
  • Description:

    Once a macho biker name, Harley is now showing its softer side. In the UK, Harley is predominantly masculine, but it's currently more popular for girls than boys in the US.

AugustHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "majestic, venerable"
  • Description:

    Though associated traditionally (and fashionably) with boys, it has been used occasionally for girls as well – by Garth Brooks and by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, for example. But August is used significantly more often for girls these days than traditional feminine variations Augusta and Augustina, and makes for a fresh twist on traditional month names like April and May, as well as an updated spin on season name Autumn.
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EllisHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "benevolent"
  • Description:

    Ellis, a surname used sparingly as a first in the Wallace/Morris period, sounds new now for girls, as an ambisexual alternative to Ella. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015.

JudeHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Judith or variation of Judah
  • Meaning:

    "praised"
  • Description:

    Jude may be a rising boys' name, thanks to Jude Law, but it's also a new way to spin Judy or Judith as well as a name that's long been used quietly for girls as well as boys. Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha, named her daughter Jude and Jessica Lange plays Sister Jude on American Horror Story.

AtlasHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology
  • Meaning:

    "bearer of the heavens"
  • Description:

    While Atlas is a decidedly male god and this name is in the US Top 300 for boys, it is used for an increasingly significant number of baby girls in the US. And undeniably, it's a name that imparts strength to any child.

NoahHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "motion"
  • Description:

    Okay, this is going to be confusing...

RyanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little king"
  • Description:

    This ultrapopular boys' name is rapidly becoming a hot name for girls; admired for its buoyant Irish spirit.
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FinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "white, fair"
  • Description:

    The most enduringly popular hero of Irish myth was Finn McCool, whose name is one of the coolest ever. When used for the female protagonist of How to Make an American Quilt, it established its hipness for girls as well.

LucaHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian variation of Luke
  • Description:

    Very much a boy's name in Italy, it's beginning to be seen as a unisex possibility here: actress Jennie Garth used it for her daughter. Also spelled Lucca as in the Italian city, it can also be considered one of the place names along with Venezia, Roma, and Milana that make great Italian names for girls.

AsherHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "fortunate, blessed, happy one"
  • Description:

    Asher is of course a very popular Biblical boys' name, but Australian actress Asher Keddie puts this in the girls' column too. Nearly 70 baby girls were named Asher in one recent year, about 1 percent of the total babies given the name. But if you've always loved Ashley and fear that now it's outdated, you might look to Asher as a worthy substitute.

LoganHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish surname
  • Meaning:

    "little hollow"
  • Description:

    Logan, with its appealing Scottish burr, is a very hot boys' name—it's in the national Top 10 and heading for Number 1 in some states—and can also make a rich and resonant choice for a girl. Jason and Jordan Mewes have a daughter named Logan Lee.

BodhiHeart

  • Origin:

    Sanskrit
  • Meaning:

    "awakening; enlightenment"
  • Description:

    Bodhi relates to the Buddhist concept of enlightenment and has been a hot baby name in recent years.
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OrionHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek mythology name
  • Description:

    The Greek mythological hunter who was turned into a constellation is much more often used for boys.

IraHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "watchful one"
  • Description:

    Ira for a girl. Yes, we consider it a good candidate for a gender switch, in light of tonal similarities with girl's names like Tyra and Keira. Annette Bening and Warren Beatty broke the ice by using this Old Testament male standard as the middle name of their daughter Isabel. Caveat: It does have that retirement fund connection.

LaneHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "a small roadway or path"
  • Description:

    Lane is a unisex name equally accessible to boys and girls. As a common surname, Lane is attached to such celebrities as Diane and Nathan.

SpencerHeart

  • Origin:

    French
  • Meaning:

    "keeper of provisions"
  • Description:

    Yes, Spencer makes a plausible and powerful female choice these days, though still thought of as primarily for boys. Kelsey Grammer used it for his daughter in the 1980's. Spencer made its first appearance on the girls' Top 1000 in 2017.

QuincyHeart

  • 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.
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JasperHeart

  • Origin:

    Persian
  • Meaning:

    "bringer of treasure"
  • Description:

    The ancient boys' name Jasper is popular internationally in a range of forms, including Casper and Gaspard, and now Jasper is beginning to be used for girls in the US.

HunterHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "one who hunts"
  • Description:

    This surname gained momentum in the 1990s, when it was particularly in vogue for males. However, it seems to be experiencing a surge for females—it was one of the fastest-rising names of 2013, jumping 266 spots back into the Top 1000.

MiloHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin and Old German
  • Meaning:

    "soldier or merciful"
  • Description:

    Milo is one of the top names for boys on Nameberry, and now it's used for an increasing number of baby girls too.

BowieHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "blond"
  • Description:

    Music legend David Bowie lends his adopted surname considerable charisma to this stylish Scottish name for girls and boys. Born David Robert Jones, he changed his name to avoid confusion with The Monkees' Davy Jones.

TheoHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Theodora
  • Meaning:

    "divine gift"
  • Description:

    Theo has a girls' name is used for only a handful of babies today. As a short form of Theodora, Theo is used much less frequently than Thea or even Teddi. One notable appearance was as the younger daughter in Sofia Coppola's film On the Rocks in 2020. Not so in the half century from 1880 till 1930, when Theo was in the Top 1000 for girls. Nicknames given as full names were stylish then, as were boyish nicknames such as Billie and Tommie for girls. Theo fits this old-school trend, but these days, Theo -- on its own and as a nickname for Theodore -- is much more popular for bouys.
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MaxHeart

  • Origin:

    Diminutive of Maxine
  • Meaning:

    "greatest"
  • Description:

    If Sam can make it as a girl's name, why not Max?

EverettHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "brave boar"
  • Description:

    Everett is a male name that's a prime crossover candidate, much like Eliot and Ellery. Its newfound popularity for boys stems from its similarity to trendy sisters Eva and Evelyn.

WilderHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name and surname
  • Description:

    The name Wilder is still used more than 90 percent of the time for boys, but it's being used quietly for girls too. Along with the rest of the Wild and Wiley family, it's one of the hottest baby names starting with W. Certainly giving your child of either gender such a, ahem, wilder name is setting them up for a certain kind of character and future.

AudenHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "old friend"
  • Description:

    A softly poetic surname name, associated with poet W.H., Auden is enjoying quiet but marked fashion status. It was chosen for his daughter by Noah Wyle and is definitely one to watch.

NicoHeart

  • Origin:

    Italian, diminutive of Nicola
  • Meaning:

    "people of victory"
  • Description:

    A much more dynamic nickname than Nicky for any of the Nic-names Nico was chosen by Thandie Newton for her daughter.
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SterlingHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "of the highest quality"
  • Description:

    One of those names, like Tiffany or Cash, that's infused with money, but doesn't necessarily convey class.

BlaiseHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "one who stutters"
  • Description:

    Blaze with a French accent.

FlynnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the red-haired one"
  • Description:

    A winning last-name-first Celtic choice, Flynn is still mostly used for boys, such as the son of Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr. Though Flynn is definitely one of the Irish surname names, from Quinn to Flannery to Makenna, that makes one of the trendy boy names for girls".

OwenHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "young warrior; well-born"
  • Description:

    We hate to include this on the girls' list, since one of us has a son named Owen, but since singer Michelle Branch gave it to her daughter, it's on crossover alert along with other male hotties like Aidan and Jalen.

LeviHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "joined, attached"
  • Description:

    Levi consistently is given to approximately 50 baby girls each year, but we could see that number increasing as unisex names become more widespread.
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WinslowHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "friend's hill or burial mound"
  • Description:

    Winslow's most famous reference may be male painter Winslow Homer, but as a name it's beginning to be on the rise for girls. Adorable nickname Winnie may be the reason. Other unusual painterly possibilities for either sex: O'Keeffe, Hopper, and just plain Painter.

TateHeart

  • Origin:

    Norse
  • Meaning:

    "cheerful"
  • Description:

    Though Tate is used almost exclusively for boys, we can see Tate as a stronger surname alternative to Kate or a clipped form of Tatum.

ClarkeHeart

  • Origin:

    Variation of Clark
  • Description:

    Though the original is unequivocally male, adding the E makes it viable for girls too.

WyattHeart

  • Origin:

    English surname
  • Meaning:

    "brave in war"
  • Description:

    Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher named their daughter Wyatt in 2014, making it a viable option for girls. It hasn’t gained widespread traction though — at most it has been given to 107 baby girls in a single year.

AidanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little and fiery"
  • Description:

    Aidan is an ancient Irish saint's name with a fire meaning that's mega popular for boys, most often spelled as Aiden. The name is occasionally used for girls, sometimes as Aidyn or Ayden, as well. Aidan was the name of a famous seventh-century Irish saint, and is related to the Irish word for fire.
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TristanHeart

  • Origin:

    Celtic
  • Meaning:

    "noise or sorrowful"
  • Description:

    Though Tristan was the male figure in the romantic legend and his name has become trendy for boys, it's used now for girls, too: About 15 percent of the baby Tristans are female. And about three times as many girls are named Tristan as are named Isolde, Tristan's mythical female counterpart. There are also feminizations of Tristan, such as Tristana and Tristine, but these are much more rare than the original.

EliHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "ascended, uplifted, high"
  • Description:

    More than 50 baby girls were named Eli last year. Some of those were deliberately given the Biblical name in the US Top 100 for boys, though for others Eli might be a variant spelling of Ellie.

AustinHeart

  • Origin:

    English, shortened version of Augustine
  • Meaning:

    "great, magnificent"
  • Description:

    More often used as a boys' name, parents have also been choosing Austin for their little girls - as the 151 female Austins born in the US in 2015 demonstrate. May we suggest the literary version "Austen" for girls, as a well-deserved homage to the famed English author Jane Austen?

KillianHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "war strife or church"
  • Description:

    Yes, another surname, turned boys' name, turned unisex name. But we think this one has a bit more going for it than Logan or Mason, given its similarity in sound to very traditional feminine names Gillian and Lillian.
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