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I wasn’t going to do another one of these, but it turned out the list of questions on unisex names could almost be eliminated if I did just one more, so I couldn’t resist doing an end-of-year clean up.

Some names are easy for most of us to assign to Team Pink or Team Blue – for example, a straw poll would probably show strong support for Amelia as a girl’s name, and Archibald as a more masculine moniker. But there are quite a few others that we have to think about a bit more, and some seem to be both feminine and masculine in such equal measure that we could probably call them Team Lavender.

Of course, for practical purposes, all names are unisex, so this is only designating them according to linguistic meaning, historical use, and current popularity.


Sydney as a girl’s name

Sydney is historically a unisex name in Australia, but hasn’t charted at all since the 1960s. I think it’s up for grabs by either gender, and is a definite member of Team Lavender.

Rory girl name popularity Australia

According to the data at hand, the popularity of Rory as a girl’s name in Australia is zero. It’s charted as a boy’s name since the 1940s and is currently #159; it’s never charted as a girl’s name. This makes it (for the purposes of this question) Team Blue.

Is Indiana a girl’s name? (multiple asks)

Yes, historically it is, for the first people named Indiana in the records are female. It’s only since the Indiana Jones movies that the name has widely been seen as potentially masculine – although the movie’s protagonist is named Dr Henry Walton Jones. From Utah rather than the state of Indiana, we learn in The Last Crusade that he took his nickname from the name of the family dog. I’m not sure whether the dog was male or female. Indiana has only ever charted as a girl’s name, and is currently #78 and climbing steeply. I call Team Pink.

Bodhi as a girl’s name

Bodhi is a Sanskrit word meaning “awakened”, referring to the enlightenment of the Buddha. As men and women are equally capable of spiritual enlightenment, I think this is for both boys and girls and can join Team Lavender.

Can Russell be a female name?

The surname Russell simply means “red” or “reddish”, and there’s nothing specifically masculine about it. However, Russell has a reasonable history of acceptance as a male name. Currently it doesn’t chart for either gender, and I think it could be used for a girl’s name. You could also use the vocabulary word Rustle. Maybe a Deep Indigo?

Is Campbell a girl name?

In Australia it is accepted as a male name, and has charted for boys since the 1950s, being now at #384. In the US it is more common as a female name. The surname means “crooked mouth”, which doesn’t sound at all pretty to me, but isn’t technically masculine. In Australia, I think it’s still Team Blue.


Marlo as a boy’s name

Marlo Hoogstraten is a Dutch-born Australian DJ; he works under the name MaRLo. Marlo Stanfield is a character in the TV show, The Wire, who is head of his own drug crew. There seem to be more references to Marlo as a male name than a female one. This may be a pale Blue-Toned Lavender.

Is Riley a boy’s name in Australia?

Yes, it’s charted as a male name only since the 1970s, and is currently #20. Team Blue.

Can Autumn be a boy’s name?

There’s no reason why not, except that it is widely accepted as a female name. In Australia, Autumn is a fairly rare name for either sex, so it might be easier to be a boy named Autumn here than elsewhere. It would be unusual though. A very pale Pink-Toned Lavender.

Boys name Kirra

The town in Queensland is nearly always given as a female name in Australia. Besides sounding similar to girl’s names Keira and Kira, part of the reason may be because in Greek mythology, there are a couple of nymphs named Kirra, giving it a distinctly feminine vibe. I’m assigning this one to Team Pink.

Tahgan boys name

I only know of Taghan as a place name in the Middle East, which sounds unisex to me. It looks similar to boy’s name Teagan and girl’s name Tegan, so I’m calling this for Team Lavender.

Bay as a boy’s name

Although this nature name could be either male or female, in practice I’ve only seen this given to boys in Australia – maybe because it sounds like it could be short for Bailey. I guess it could be seen as Blue-Toned Lavender.


Is Lyndall male or female?

Historically, it’s a girl’s name. Lyndall charted as a female name only from the 1930s to the 1990s. It currently doesn’t chart for either sex. Pink, or at least Pinkish.

Jordan – boys name or girls name?

Jordan has charted as a boy’s name since the 1960s, peaked in the 1990s at #23, and is currently #63. It has charted as a girl’s name since the 1980s, peaked in the 1990s at #85, and is currently #389. So it’s both a boy’s name and a girl’s name, but more boyish, since it’s been used longer as a boy’s name, hit a higher peak as a boy’s name, and is still Top 100 for boys. Deep Blue-Toned Lavender.

Is Jagger more a boy or girl name?

I’d say it’s more of a boy name, just by usage. I have seen people use Jagga or Jaggah for girls though. Blue, at present.

Kayley “unisex name”?

I think technically Kayley is two separate names, one unisex or male, and the other one female. The surname Kayley can be from several origins, and if English or  French, it refers to place names (unisex). On the other hand, if Gaelic, it means “son of Caollaidhe” (male). It’s been overwhelmingly used as a girl’s name though, probably with the idea it’s an elaboration of Kay, a pet form of Katherine. There have been a very few men named Kayley. Confusingly, I think this is Pink, Blue and Lavender all at the same time.


What boy’s name can Gigi be short for?

There’s a few choices. According to Wikipedia, famous men using Gigi as their nickname have Luigi, Luigino, Gianluigi or George as their full name – although my own first thought was Giglio. Another possibility is that in the story Gigi, the protagonist’s full name was Gilberte, so maybe a boy called Gilbert could be a Gigi.

Will people automatically assume someone called Kelly is a girl?

I would probably assume an adult named Kelly to be a woman, but I could easily adjust if it turned out to be a man instead. For a new baby, I wouldn’t assume it was either a boy or girl.

Are guys put off by women with male names?

There are quite a few studies on what names men and women find sexy, but these name-image polls are useless in real life, when you are confronted with a living breathing human being. I don’t believe any man would turn down a beautiful woman because her name was John; conversely, no matter how alluring and feminine your name, if you look and smell like you’ve been living in a sewer, I don’t think you are going to be besieged by suitors. Just from my own observations, I’ve noticed a lot of guys say they are intrigued by girls who have unisex nicknames, like Jamie, Charlie or Teddie.

A good unisex name for a budgie

You could use a nickname that could be short for either a girl or boy name, such as Charlie, Joey or Sam, otherwise I think a nature name would be nice, such as Ash, Blueberry, Midnight, Sky, Sunny, or Snowflake. You could also use a cutesy sort of name such as Pippet, Peep, Peck, Pixel, Tweety, Chirp, Happy, or Fidget. Apparently budgies can’t say words with a hard G sound in them, so avoid Giggles, Goldy or anything like that if you’re hoping to teach it to talk.