It's 2018 (and the world has woken up). Back in the day, baby names came with a strict format. If it was a boy, the name would be masculine and boyish– Alexander, Jonathan, James, or William were common. If it was a girl, the name would be feminine and girly– Lucy, Katie, Emma, and Jennifer were common.
Gender-neutral names are all the rage. Kendall Jenner's name is gender-neutral. Hilary Duff just named her daughter Banks. Even the name Mason has been chosen for a boy (Kourtney Kardashian) and a girl (Kelsey Grammar). Mila Kunis chose the name Wyatt for her baby girl.
In many ways, new mommies want a name that will show the baby's gender. Some of us still lean towards girly names like Melissa or Jessica (or Jake and Paul for boys). At the same time, sound and meaning are rising to overtake what 2018 moms feel is a small detail– after all, what dictates why a girl "can't" have a boyish name?
Enter the gender-neutral name. These stunning, meaningful, playful, or #Extra names are topping charts like there's no tomorrow. They also make for the best "to keep" lists ever for any mommy-to-be who has chosen to keep the gender a surprise. From the traditional boy's names being rocked by girls to the truly gender-neutral ones that 100% work either way, here are 25 gender-neutral baby names that will be huge in 2019.
Misha is the Russian name that's making huge waves in 2018. Traditionally a boy's name (and the diminutive of Mikhail), Misha is now being chosen by mommies for their girls and boys– and you've got to admit, it's stunning. The name means "who is like God." Mischa Barton has a variant of this name for a girl. Meanwhile, the male dancer Mikhail "Misha" Baryshnikov has this for a boy. Misha is elegant, punchy, and perfect for 2019.
Moms are increasingly turning to nature names that have millennial simplicity and a ton of beauty. Eden dates back to the Bible's Garden of Eden, although the name itself means "place of pleasure" and "delight." This name already ranked 139th as the most chosen name for girls in 2017. We're predicting it will climb even higher. With two "e" letters and a strong finish, Eden is equally light-hearted and it doesn't sound heavy. The name has featured on Heroes and Nip/Tuck.
Super-classy, super-modern, yet classic all at once, Sloan is the gender-neutral name that takes the more traditional Sloane and knocks the "e" off. The name will, of course, bring up images of high fashion (Sloane Street is London's Rodeo Drive), but your baby doesn't need to be wearing Young Versace to rock this name. We've seen Sloan work for girls in Grey's Anatomy, and on the same show for boys (as a last name).
The rapper, Macklemore has named his daughter Sloane Ava.
Remy is the short, playful name that is now being chosen as much for boys as it is for girls. With Latin origins and a meaning of "oarsman," there's also a huge amount of classic depth to this name– after all, how many babies can lift oars? Remy was actually the name of a 5th-century saint, but 2018 moms are eyeing it up as the beautiful, gender-neutral name that it is. Ratatouille had a Remy. So did House of Cards, The Da Vinci Code, and X-Men.
If you're picturing Reese Witherspoon, this is exactly what we're on about. Reese might be a name that pop culture has made us associate with girls, but it's actually a gender-neutral name. This Welsh-originated name means "ardor," but any old-fashioned connotations go straight out the window when you learn it ranked 171st in 2017. Of course, with Reese's peanut butter cups, the name also gets a #CandyCute. The boy's version is an alternate spelling of the Welsh name, Rhys. We love it.
This name is just too cute for words. Perrie is the trendier, alternate spelling of Perry– this name has long been chosen for both boys and girls. It's in 2019 though, that we're likely to see Perrie really rise. The name has Old English origins and a meaning of "dweller near a pear tree," so for a name with an adorable, earthy, unusual meaning, you've found one. The Friends actor, Matthew Perry has this as a last name, but Perry (and Perrie) are rising as first names.
No, we're not talking about the LuMee iPhone case. Lumi is the short, spunky, gender-neutral name that sounds super-modern, thanks to the "i" ending. Lumi actually means "snow." With Finnish origins, this isn't a name that other kids in the class will have (unless you happen to live in Scandinavia). Lumi is still quite rare in countries like the US and UK, but it's definitely rising. If you can picture a bright-faced little baby boy or girl, you need to stick this awesome name on your list.
Talk about a beautiful name. Dakota might be a US state that makes us think of dusty cowboys, but the name is anything but basic. Dakota is a gender-neutral name that doubles up as a state name, a Sioux place name, plus it's just awesome. Dakota Fanning may have made this name famous for girls, but country music stars like Dakota Bradley are rocking this name as guys. Dakota also sounds incredibly beautiful. Definitely one to consider.
Dakota actually means "friendly one."
Kendall wasn't a name that was on anybody's radar before Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Now that the most offbeat Kardashian-Jenner has this name (and Kendall Jenner is the highest-paid model in the world), Kendall is definitely getting noticed. This name works just as well for girls as for boys. The name means "valley of the river Kent," and that's all kinds of beautiful. Kent is known as the "Garden of England" for its greenery. This name also gains points for the super-cute "Kenny" nickname.
When it starts with a "z," you know it's going to be powerful. Zion is the gender-neutral name with Hebrew origins and a meaning of "highest point." Way back in 1997, the singer, Lauryn Hill named her son Zion. While the name has links to the land of Israel, Zion works as a millennial baby name that just sounds so cool. In the Old Testament, Zion referred to Jerusalem. In 2018? Zion has been rocked by Dwayne Wade's son and the American Idol star, Fantasia Barrino's daughter.
Once exclusively a girl's name, Laney is the gender-neutral name that babies can 100% rock in 2019– whether they are boys or girls. With a meaning of "bright, shining one," the diminutive of Elaine sounds like it's from a completely different era. Elaine is still beautiful, but Lainey is way more modern. 90s movie fans will remember Laney Boggs in She's All That. The simplicity of the name is likely what makes it work so well for boys as well as girls.
North used to just be a direction. When the Kardashians choose a baby name though, it becomes huge news. North is a short, but very beautiful baby name that will work perfectly for a girl or a boy. Nobody will ever question its meaning, but you can equally guarantee that the name will be unique. There's an element of purity and strength to North, plus it's strong and powerful.
When Kim Kardashian explained North West's name, she said that North was "their highest point."
We've pretty much reached the point where mommies are going straight for the nickname. Think about it, if you were always going to call Kenneth "Kenny," why not pick the nickname as the actual name? Jamie is the fun, free-spirited, and cheerful gender-neutral name that takes the name James and makes it way brighter. Blake Lively has named her daughter James– that definitely proves that it's gender-neutral. The name means "supplanter," but nobody will be looking at the meaning. #Awesome
Much like Echo or Halo, Arlo is a name where the unique "o" ending makes it perfect for a baby born in 2019. Arlo is actually a place name, as well as being a shortened form of the Hispanic name, Carlo. With a high-profile feature on Justified, Arlo has shot up the charts, and it's working just as well for boys as for girls. Leighton Meester from Gossip Girl named her baby girl Arlo Day. For a name that's unusual but not too wacky, consider this stunning one.
Phoenix is a name that just makes you go "wow." It takes a lot of strength to pull off being called Phoenix, but you can be the judge of whether it's appropriate. If something inside you felt suddenly stronger from pregnancy, then you've 100% got the strength that will be passed onto your baby. Phoenix is both a beautiful animal and a Greek name that means "dark red." The name ranked 363rd for girls in 2017 (and 268th for boys).
Wyatt was once a name solely reserved for boys. Mila Kunis has chosen this Western name for her daughter, though. With an unusual start and a super-snappy "double t" finish, Wyatt is the name that will be huge in 2019. The name was actually once an Old English surname, but the meaning is beyond powerful– "brave in war" is the meaning of Wyatt. Wyatt already ranked as the 25th most chosen baby boy's name of 2017 in the US. It works just as well for girls, though.
River can mean a million things. It can mean a literal river, right through to a river of joy. This gender-neutral name increasingly finds itself on "nature baby name" lists, and it's obvious why. In many ways, the name makes a statement. At the same time though, the flowing water theme evokes an image of peace, the great outdoors, and all the possibilities of life. The name River has worked for both girls and boys in Firefly and Doctor Who, plus Kelly Clarkson named her daughter River.
That's the knowing face of a child who knows that they have a beautiful name. Emerson is an elegant, slightly unusual, but completely beautiful name that is perfect for either a girl or a boy. While the "son of Emery" meaning has German origins, Emerson has proved popular enough in the US to have a 150th-place ranking in 2017. The Desperate Housewives actress, Teri Hatcher named her daughter Emerson. Meanwhile, the boy version features in Pushing Daisies and The 100.
Avery was unheard of as a name– once upon a time. Staggeringly popular (and with good reason), Avery now ranks as the 14th most chosen name for girls. Lower, at #181, is the ranking for boys. Either way though, this name is shooting up the charts. With a beautiful, elf-centric meaning, a popular "a" opening, and lots of wide open vowels, this name sounds as beautiful as its fairy tale meaning. Nashville, American Dad, and 30 Rock have all had an Avery.
Avery means "ruler of the elves."
Something about Russian names is so beautiful. While some are super-long, like Anastasia or Stanislav, others are super-short. Sasha is the Russian diminutive of Alexander– amazing how different it is, right? The meaning might be "defending men," but Sasha is gender-neutral. It sounds energetic, it's got a #Extra edge, but nobody will find it weird. In fact, it'll be the opposite. Other moms will wish that they had chosen this name. Alternate spellings include Sacha. Beyonce even has this name for her alter ego.
Tate could not be more 2019. Snappy and classy, this gender-neutral name is perfect for the upcoming generation– if clothing and iPhones are going to be pared-down and sleek, so are the names. While this name lends itself to famous landmarks like London's Tate Museum, it actually has Norse origins. The meaning is also great– Tate means "cheerful." Boys pull of the swag of Tate, while the understated elegance also works for girls. The former Spice Girl, Emma Bunton named her son Tate.
Sometimes, a mommy just wants one of those easy-going, all-American names. Casey is just that (except for the fact that it's originally Irish). Casey used to be chosen for boys. In 2018? It's being picked by as many mommies to girls as boys. "Brave in battle" is the meaning of this mighty name, but the country sound doesn't feel too fancy. Casey Affleck has this name for a boy, while Caitlyn Jenner's daughter has this for a middle name. Casey is so awesome.
Sometimes, a name just has flair. Mackenzie is definitely one of them. This gender-neutral name is one of the few names that pulls off being long (but it doesn't sound it). Mackenzie has Scottish origins and a meaning of "son of Kenzie." Mommies-to-be aren't eyeing up the meaning of this name, though. We've got our eye on the trendy "Mac" sound, the cheerful and punchy feel, and the fact that Mackenzie has a ton of swag. Alternate spellings include McKenzie and Mackenzi.
We wouldn't recommend naming both babies Blair (on the off-chance you're having twins), but to prove how much this name works, here are two babies who could rock it. Blair means "dweller on the plain." With Scottish origins, an incredibly debonair sound, but not a #Pretentious in sight, it's perfect for a baby who will grow up to be classier than the rest. Gossip Girl picked up on this with Blair Waldorf. For boys? We've seen actors, sports figures, and Olympic champions named Blair.
Robin is a name that used to make us think of old-school Britain– Christopher Robin is the Winne-The-Pooh character who is wise, kind, and keeps Pooh company during his adventures. At the same time, a robin is a beautiful bird. Robin Wright from House of Cards has more than pulled off this name as a girl. For boys? Well, Batman's sidekick is probably the best example there is. Robin is cute, short, modern and traditional all at once, and we love it.
Sources: Name Berry, Baby Center