Boys Names Sometimes Given to Girls
Mason – 36 boys, 1 girl
Hudson – 32 boys, 1 girl
Riley – 28 boys, 3 girls
Aidan/Aiden – 23 boys, 1 girl
Luca/Luka – 20 boys, 2 girls
Beau/Bo – 17 boys, 1 girl
Harvey – 16 boys, 1 girl
Billy – 17 boys, 1 girl
Lenny – 17 boys, 1 girl
Koby – 13 boys, 1 girl
Elliot – 12 boys, 2 girls
Bailey – 11 boys, 2 girls
Spencer – 11 boys, 2 girls
Alex – 10 boys, 2 girls
Dylan – 8 boys, 2 girls
Parker – 7 boys, 2 girls
Jett – 9 boys, 1 girl
Harley – 8 boys, 1 girl
Finlay/Finley – 6 boys, 1 girl
Micah – 6 boys 1 girl
Oakley – 5 boys, 1 girl
Clancy – 4 boys, 1 girl
Girls Names Sometimes Given to Boys
Harper – 41 girls, 1 boy
Madison/Maddison – 41 girls, 1 boy
Marley – 26 girls, 2 boys
Mackenzie – 16 girls, 1 boy
Frankie – 15 girls, 1 boy
Addison – 8 girls, 1 boy
Emerson – 8 girls, 1 boy
Taylor – 7 girls, 2 boys
Unisex Names More Common for Boys
Charlie – 41 boys, 18 girls
Darcy – 13 boys, 9 girls
Jordan – 12 boys, 4 girls
Lleyton/Leighton – 5 boys, 2 girls
Unisex Names More Common for Girls
Remy/Remi – 13 girls, 5 boys
Eden – 10 girls, 3 boys
Asher – 6 girls, 2 boys
Quinn – 4 girls, 2 boys
Unisex Names Fairly Equally to Both Sexes
Brooklyn – 7 girls, 5 boys
Miller – 3 boys, 2 girls
Casey – 3 boys, 2 girls
Henley – 2 boys, 2 girls
Koa – 2 boys, 2 girls
Blair – 2 boys, 1 girl
Reggie – 2 boys, 1 girl
Cory/Corey – 2 girls, 1 boy
Kalani – 2 girls, 1 boy
Shelby – 2 girls, 1 boy
Sloan/Sloane – 2 girls, 1 boy
Vali – 2 girls, 1 boy
Aspen – 1 girl, 1 boy
Briley – 1 boy, 1 girl
Rocket – 1 girl, 1 boy
Tully – 1 girl, 1 boy
This isn’t a complete list of all unisex names. A few of them are taken, not from the data sheet, but from my original notes to reflect spelling variants.
One of the problems as to deciding whether a name is unisex or not is there is often a differently-spelled version for each sex. For example, I did not include Andie and Andy, because only girls were called Andie, and only boys Andy. Does it it make any difference if your daughter Andie Smith is in the same class as a boy named Andy Smith? I would assume it would be equally confusing (or equally straightforward) as a girl Andie and a boy Andie.
You can see why parents of boys are more likely to get upset over unisex names, as it is more common for a girl to be given a name much more popular for boys than the other way around. They may also be cross to discover that Mackenzie and Emerson are classified as girls’ names, because there are significantly more girls than boys with the names. It certainly doesn’t look like a level playing field, although in all fairness surname names are more likely to be used by both sexes, and these are generally more common for boys.
However, there are still genuinely unisex choices (although they nearly always seem to be names that are rare), and the numbers of girls called Mason and boys called Maddison are very low overall. You may also feel that spelling really does matter, and are therefore unconcerned about all the girls called Charlie (for example), as their name may very well be Charli or Charlee.
There was a slight preference for not choosing a unisex name for a child, with 54% saying they probably wouldn’t, or definitely wouldn’t choose a unisex name – 20% actively hated the idea. 31% were fine with the idea of giving a unisex name to either a boy or a girl, with 13% loving the idea. There was very little difference when it came to giving unisex names to one gender and not the other: 8% would only give a unisex name to a girl, and 7% would only give a unisex name to boy.
The public were fairly evenly divided on whether the spelling of a name made a difference when indicating gender in unisex names. 52% though that the spelling made almost no difference, or very little difference, while 48% were sure that spelling was a major signifier of gender, and saw the masculine and feminine versions as completely separate names.
A bit late on this, but as someone with Brooklyn and Taylor on my boys list who is always told their too feminine for a boy it’s interesting to see how even Brooklyn is since only one person I’ve spoken to said it worked for a boy (she said it was too masculine a Brooklyn would be likely to bash people up as opposed to the be bashed I was expecting).
That said I have Asher and used to have Miller on my boys lists and I wouldn’t use them on a girl at all, I understand why their being used but for me Asher and Miller with those spellings sound like boys names and I’d assume thy were a boy, I would assume Asha and Milla to be girls, same with Jordan and Jordyn, Riley and Rylee and with Bailey, I’d be unsure the only female Bailey I know spells it Bailee and the two male Bailey’s are actually Bayley and Baylee.
I was also slightly surprised to see that Brooklyn is pretty even. I think when I covered the name though I noted that it was climbing for girls in both the US and UK (where Brooklyn used to be primarily a boy’s name), so it seemed like a name that could end up being mostly feminine in the future.
Taylor is probably more common for girls, even though Tayla does skew the data, but still accepted as fine for boys.
In the UK I was surprised to see it falling for boys, rising for girls. I guess since Brooklyn Beckham’s 17 it’s seen as dated for boys maybe? (thats one reason I’m unsure about it, I’m the same age as Brooklyn Beckham it could be considered super dated by the time I get to using it).
Most female Taylor’s I know spell it Taylah or Tayla (as well as one Taylar) and I’ve never known a male Taylor. According to my sister Tay-law sounds masculine and Tay-la sounds feminine, could that logic have led to Taylah being the most popular form over here?
the Mrs. said:
If one is using a “noun name”, it can be difficult to tell one way or the other… Brio could be for a boy or a girl. Same with River, Raven, and Blue.
Is that what you meant?
Otherwise, what about Lucienne vs. Lucien? They are said the same in French. My Swiss friend had a sister named Lucienne; her father had assumed that she was a boy and filled out the birth certificate before even seeing the baby (crazy, I know). When he found out that he, in fact, had a fourth daughter, he simply squeezed in a few extra letters before handing the certificate over to the nun in charge. They are pronounced the same though.
That Swiss sister went on to name one of her boys Johann. It’s pronounced “zjoh-AHN”. If he’d been a girl, his name would have been JoAnn. It said exactly the same.
Yes that’s an interesting point – names that sound identical, but are used by different genders. My original example was going to be Francis and Frances, but I thought I would get opposition from people saying Frances wasn’t a unisex name: it’s almost always given to girls. But you could say the same thing about Maycen and Charlee, so it almost becomes impossible to say what a unisex name actually is.
Unisex names I find it hard not to skew them into either feminine or masculine because I associate my own experiences, a person, a book, show etc
I have 3 names on my list that I consider for either sex Myka/Micah, Quinn and Avery.
Not everyone cup of tea but I do like the trend of skewed names for girls like James, Ryan, Reese and Drew.
So far 25% of people are throwing away their vote ….
Oh bummer, I voted “sometimes” before reading on! Are you looking for a general spelling rule, or an example of a specific name, like Andy and Andie (but even more distinct)? Either way, I’ll have to get back to you…
Yes, a specific example where you can tell that a particular spelling of a name is feminine or masculine, and a specific example where you can’t tell.