Millennials are taking baby names into their own hands—forsaking all of the rigid, old fashioned, gender specific monikers from days of yore; younger, hip parents are giving their children uni-sex names that are not only unique but cool and classic, as well. They are setting the stage for the next generation of littles.
Everyone from celebrities to that cooky couple Blaze and Hawthorn that live down the street-- parents as a collective are shoving the proverbial box to the side and naming their children distinct and trendy names. Finally something we can all agree on!
There are some name trains that I just could not get on board with like the folks that were using fruits and vegetables to give their children “exceptional” designations. (“Celery” is not a good baby name. Neither is Apple, Pomegranate, Potato, or Sprout.) But this uni-sex thing? I’m digging it. Not only does it foster creativity and mix up Kindergarten classes, but it also subtly draws attention to the fact that as a society we are not so held up on “gender norms” any more. Want to name your little girl a boy’s name? Go for it.
Here are 25 uni-sex names to add to your own list…
Pronounced Bay-lee, this name will be a great addition to your family. Bailey is from English heritage is means “berry clearing; bailiff; city fortification”. This name is soft for a girl and yet when placed on a boy it somehow manages to shift and appear strong and valiant.
Bailey is popular especially in the United States, England, Wales and Australia. Yet in the United States, for example, Bailey peaked in 1990’s with 242 million babies named, and although it is still trendy today it is not wildly popular (aka your child will not be one of six in his class).
Another great thing about Bailey is that it goes really well an array of names, so you won’t be limited in your choices for middle name or for their siblings’ names.
Harper is another classic name that is crossing the lines of gender for babies today. It is of English origin and means “harp player”.
Harper had been forgotten about for many until super star couple Victoria and David Beckham named their daughter Harper. It took off in popularity for girls. Currently it sits at #10 for popularity in females, competing against other name players like Emma, Sophia, Ava, Olivia, and Mia.
But it is also a great boys name. It is still fairly unusual but it has a lot of historical and literary significance. Harper Lee, critically acclaimed author of a little book called “To Kill A Mockingbird” is one such entry. I really love when a name has a subtle implication that you can then explain to people if they ask you.
Cameron is Scottish and means “crooked nose”. This is one of those times where you think, “Meaning be damned! I still love that name!”
Cameron has always been a name for both boys and girls, which is rare. Cameron Diaz has made the name famous with her blonde locks, comedic acting skills, and radiant smile. Plus, lovers of the cult class movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” pay homage to the character of Cameron in the movie by naming their sons after him.
Cameron is a great choice for parents who love movies and want to pay tribute to the stars, but do it subtly. For example, if you name your kid Cameron people won’t assume you named it after a celebrity. But if you go and name your kid Beyoncé…
Girl, if I only knew about Dallas before I had my kids this one would be MINE. There is something about the ring of it that just makes me smile. I also cannot decide whether I like it better for a boy or a girl!
Dallas is Irish in origin and means “valley of water”. It is also a very famous city in Texas, USA. Popularity wise it is currently somewhere in the middle-- it is #317 for boys and #373 for girls. These numbers convey that parents are really digging the name but that it has not caught on so strong that every kid at preschool is named Dallas.
Names that draw from places have been gaining momentum like Tennessee, California, Savannah, Charlotte, Aurora, Phoenix, Alexandria, Elizabeth and so on.
Riley was not a common name until about five years ago when is started picking up steam. One of my daughter’s best friends, who is six, holds this moniker. She is full of joy and life and every time that I hear her name I picture a hilarious, witty little girl.
Riley is of Irish origin and it means “courageous”—a beautiful meaning for a child of any gender.
For girls, especially, this is one of the hottest names. It sits pretty at #22 on the popularity list. For boys it is at #225.
I have always liked this name because it is so soft and sweet sounding. I do love male names that are strong, too, but there is something about the gentleness of names like Riley that still pulls me in.
Frankie is classically a boy’s name, as most of us know. But parents today are quirky and the results are fantastic. There seems to be a newfound confidence in people that are naming kids, and it is making for some really unique and different names.
Frankie comes from the name “Frances” or “Frank”.
We have seen a big surge in younger parents dusting off this old gem and putting it on the cherubic faces of their little ones, boys and girls alike! There is something that is magical about a really old fashioned male name like “Frank” that is spiffed up and made more hip with an alternate ending. Clearly I am not alone in this feeling because Frankie is climbing the charts for both male and female popular names lists.
August is from Latin, one of the oldest and most classical languages known to man. Latin can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire in 75 BC and the name that August is derived from Augustus a name that has popped up throughout history.
For example, Augustus was a Roman Emperor—and is considered the first. During his reign he had a long period of peace, known as the Pax Romana. Perhaps it is from this antiquity that this name pulls such a strong connotation.
Boy or girl, August is a great name for parents who are searching for a gender neutral choice that is strong and demanding. August is sharp, trendy and it will bestow upon your little one not only a sense of history of forte.
Drew is a form of the Latin name Andrew, meaning “manly”. Well, apparently Latin did not see Drew Barrymore coming because she is one feminine lady! The English meaning of the name is “wise” which is much better, particularly when we are discussing baby names that are gender neutral.
Drew is another chart topper that parents are loving right now, especially millennials. It is such a sweet name that it is no wonder that people are naming both their baby boys and baby girls this one. I love it!
Although Drew Barrymore does come to mind, the name Drew always reminds me more of the female detective from the novel “Nancy Drew”. She was a hero for me growing up; never bowing down to men and pursuing her cases with vigor.
Amari (pronounced AH- MAR-ee) is of African origin and it means “strength”. I love this name because it is unusual but it is easy to pronounce and easy to spell. Gender neutral names like Amari that are not obviously for a girl or a boy seem to be very popular for today’s parents, probably in part because you are not going against tradition necessarily. You are not naming your daughter something like “John”.
Finding a middle name for such a strong first name can be challenging but worry not—we have compiled a short list to aid in your search! Here are some easy suggestions for both boys and girls.
Suggested boy middle names for Amari: King, Eli, Jackson, Lee, Joseph
Suggested girl middles names for Amari :Anne, Elizabeth, Ainsley, Kay
Kennedy Is from Irish decent and it means “misshapen head”. I am serious. Skip the meaning—let us move on.
Kids being named after Presidents are all of the rage right now! We are seeing Madison, Carter, Jefferson, Clinton, Thomas, James, Monroe, Ford, Harrison, Jackson-- all climbing the lists! And Kennedy is no exception. In the girl’s category, Kennedy sits at #59. For boys, #227.
Kennedy seems to be one of the most popular Presidential names because he was an American hero for many people. For all of his many faults, he did incredible things during his tenure as President including pulling the US out of an economic recession, creating the Peace Corps, avoiding nuclear war, and many social reformation policies. He is widely revered as one of the most influential and favorite presidents.
Easton is of English origin and it means, “from East town”—yeah it is very literal. It is a fabulous name for boys and girls alike, and it probably won’t be long before this one starts climbing the charts. Right now it is still really unique so it is a great one for parents who are looking for something that is different. Moreover, your child will have a matchless name but also he/she will have a name that people can pronounce.
(I had a friend growing up whose name was Ellatrein and no one could say it. Teachers would butcher it, friends called her “E” out of necessity and her name was never used.)
Easton is also a good choice because it goes really well other names—last, middle, and sibling.
Quinn. Sigh. There has never been a time in my life when I have not adored this name. My whole life plan was to name my own child Quinn, regardless of the baby’s gender. It goes with everything—middle names, last names and siblings! But then I met my husband and his brother’s name is Quinn and things got quickly awkward regarding the name. I had to move on—but you do not!
Quinn is of Irish origin and means “decedent of Conn”. It is very popular right now among girls (#79) and for boys, although it is still is well known, it stands at only #330.
If you are looking for classic name that is easy to spell and easy pronounce than you should choose Quinn. Do it for me.
Parker used to only be a boy’s name. I remember this and I was shocked and awed the first time I heard it used on a girl—it is perfection for either gender!
Parker is of English origin and it means “park keeper”. For girls it sits comfortably at #21 7 and will still be unusual. You can guarantee she won’t be the third of her name in Kindergarten. But for boys it comes in at #87 and is holding steady.
Parker is both beautiful and striking, a combination in a name that is hard to find. It is good for parents that are looking for a trending name that has not grown to its full potential as of yet. Moreover, it is so easy to swap it out for a boy or a girl!
Max is diminutive of both the Latin “Maxine” meaning “greatest” and the English “Maxwell” with the same meaning. Max is more popular as a boy’s name (#118 in popularity) but is quickly spreading. It currently ranks for girls at #904 but we have seen an uptick since some celebrities have started falling in love with this name.
Singer Jessica Simpson and her football playing husband Eric Johnson named their daughter Maxwell. In an issue of Elle Simpson explained, "It's nothing shocking and nothing you'll have to add to the dictionary. Still, when people hear it they'll know … why." I don’t exactly know the why still but I don’t care. It is a fantastic name for either a boy or a girl and I love that it is getting the attention it deserves!
Sawyer is derived from English and it means “woodcutter”. It is stylish, trendy name that is gaining momentum but has not caught on to the mass population of parents out there. Sawyer feels masculine at first but once you have seen it on a little girl, you can see how well it plays for both genders.
It is one of those names that feels soft when it is on a girl and gritty when it is on a boy. Maybe because whenever I think of Sawyer I think of the character from “Lost”; he was a real looker. He was a bad boy, had great muscle definition and was so brave. He had that floppy blonde hair that was always getting in his beautiful blue eyes…wait, what were we talking about?
West is very basic and yet at the same time it is quite quixotic sounding. It works well for either a boy or a girl, and it is something that everyone can say and spell. While it hasn’t topped any of the lists yet, it will probably do so in the future.
As you may have guessed, Kenye West and Kim Kardashian West have only helped this name grow in popularity. It is very trendy among celebs to pick out a name for their child that is unique. Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, Shannyn Sossamon named her kid Audio, Beyoncé has Blue Ivy, Marissa Ribisi has Cosimo, Busy Philipps has Cricket, Toni Braxton has Denim, Jessica Alba’s daughter is Honor, Bear Grylls named his son Huckleberry—the list goes on and on.
Ari is from Hebrew and it means “Lion”. This name is definitely gender neutral as well as short and very simple. But as simple as it is, Ari still inspires elegance and class for both sexes.
Ari became well known as a man’s name after the popular show “Entourage” made its debut. In it, the character of Ari Gold is played by the dynamic actor, Jeremy Piven.
But Ari is also a beautiful name for a little girl. Parents from generations past have named their daughters longer versions like Arielle and Arianna but today we seem to be all about the names that are short and sweet. Maybe we have to realize that it is just easier to name our children the nicknames we would eventually end up calling them, instead of beating around the bush.
Emerson stems from Germany and it means “brave; powerful”. I think it is lovely as a boy’s name because it is strong and confident but has a gentle cadence to it. For girls, it is beautiful as is but can also be shortened to the more feminine versions of Em and Emmy.
For those of you old souls out there it will also pull at your heart strings because of the late-great poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson. If literature is your thing and you are looking for something to pay subtle homage to an amazing writer and philosopher, than this is a great way to go!
Kai is from Hawaii and it means “sea”.
For girls it is still flying under the radar—only at #885 on the popular names list. For boys, it much more widely used and rests comfortably at #145. It easy to say and easy to spell, but for all its simplicity it is still a very unique name.
One of the good things about the name Kai is that it was never firmly made to be either a male or female name, so if you are slightly hesitant at breaking a lot of gender barriers, this is a good choice for you. Plus the same is so relaxing that I immediately picture the Big Island of Hawaii when I say it. Of all the things for a name to connote, that is not a bad one!
Stevie is one of those uni-sex names that people either love or they hate. I have never heard someone say, “Eh, I could go either way.” It’s either “I LOVE IT” or “NOOOOOOOOO”.
I always think of Stevie Wonder and Stevie Nicks, so my connotation with the name—for both genders—is good. It is a real pop/musician/famous feel to it that I think a lot of parents will vibe with. Stevie has not gained a lot of popularity with either gender (yet), so if you are looking to be ahead of the game than this a good name for you.
(If anyone is watching the show “Madam Secretary” than you will know the character of Stephanie “Stevie” McCord, which also made me admire this name even more. Also, you should watch this show regardless.)
I had only heard Tanner used as a boy’s name until about a week ago, when I was shocked to discover that it fits great on girls as well! This is a name that really came out of nowhere for me, but really stuck once I heard it. I tend to lean towards the more unusual names myself, so it makes sense.
Tanner is of English origin and it is an occupational surname that means “leather tanner”. Although its meaning may be out-dated, the name itself is far from it. Tanner has only been growing in popularity, probably due to the fact that it checks so many boxes for today’s parents. It’s easy to spell, unique, trendy, feels different, and is gender neutral. What more can a parent ask for?
Ash is a Hebrew name that means “happy”—which to me is just one of the best name meanings you could put on a sweet little baby.
Its older counterparts of Ashley, Ashleigh, Asher, Ashton etc. are being left behind while parents opt instead for a short and sweet version instead.
Although Ash has risen in popularity in the last few years, it is still only #1,888 for boys in United States. For girls it is even further down-- #3,681. So if you are a parent that is looking for a beautiful name but still want your child to stand out in a crowd, Ash is an excellent choice for you. Also if you want your child to grow be in show business, this name just screams out “FAMOUS” to me.
Blake is of Danish origin and it means, “dark, fair”. It is #131 in popular boy’s names in 2018 and #644 in the girls’ category.
Blake was such a boy’s name in the 1900’s but because of a recent surge of parents who said, “I like that for a girl!” we have seen it rise with popularity among girls, as well. (The only Blake I knew growing up was a boy and he had a wicked rat-tail streaming down his back. He braided it. To be fair, it was trendy then.)
It might also help that one of the most gorgeous, famous actress Blake Lively is inspiring parents with her picture-perfect marriage, stellar career, and two beautiful children.
Hint: Her equally as fabulous husband Ryan Reynolds will be discussed further down the list.
Alex stems from the male name Alexander—which means “helper and defender of mankind”. Alex is a strong, capable name that inspires confidence and sounds fierce. It always reminds me a warrior like “Alexander the Great”, which is an awesome image to instill in either your little girl or little boy.
Alexander’s female counterpart, Alexandra, was popular in the early 2000’s but quickly lost its footing. In its place is the new, uni-sex form of both: Alex. Maybe we are a generation that loves nicknames because as you will see as we go down the list, many of these names are short, concise and to the point.
Already in 2018, Alex is ranked #87 among baby boys but it has not caught on so fast with girls—it ranks at only #627.
Ah, another one of my favorite gender neutral names—Elliot! It is spunky, clean, easy to say and yet it is still fairly uncommon. Though traditionally a male’s name, Elliot has begun to pop up with baby girls. Especially within the last decade.
Elliot is a Greek and Hebrew in origin and derives from the name Elijah which means “Jehovah is God”. If you are looking for a name with some religious significance than this is a good choice for you.
My personal love from this name stems from the musician, Elliot Smith. Elliot Smith wrote beautiful, melodic music and was known for his solo performances with just his guitar. Sadly his life was ended too young (at the age of 34), as it seems to go with most talented amongst us.
Sources: Baby Center, Wikipedia, Baby Name Wizard, Brainy Quote, Nameberry
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