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Abbreviated Names That Work For Boys And Girls

My child has gone through more nicknames in life than birthdays. But as my offspring has gotten older, the name that has begun to stick is “Jay” which is an abbreviation I use as a term of endearment. What I love about both my child’s full name and the shortened moniker, is the fact that it can be used for either a male or a female.

You may be like me and enjoy the versatility of a unisex name. Or it could be that you’re a brave parent who doesn’t care to know your bundle of joy’s gender until delivery. More probably you’re just one of those cool parents who wants your kiddo to have the coolest name in their kindergarten class. Whatever the case might be, if you are looking for a list of abbreviated names that can be used for both boys and girls, look no further.

10 Dee

The great thing about the name Dee is that it can be used as a variation of any name beginning with the letter D. So whether it’s Dan, Dean, Diana or Deidre, you can strip your kiddo’s name to the bare minimum and just call them Dee.

If you’re looking for a unique moniker you’re in luck as the name hasn’t been within the top 1000 most popular names for males since 1965 and for females since 1975. Your child will be in good company with E.T. actress Dee Wallace and curly-haired front man of the metal band Twisted Sister, Dee Snider being famous bearers of the name.  

9 Bray

While the name Bray is usually more common as a surname (it was in the top 1% of last names in a 2000 U.S. demographics record), it is a distinctive abbreviated name for both males and females. While it can be a shortened version of the unisex names Braylen or Brayson, it is also recognized as a male name of Cornish and Old French origin meaning “hill” or “borderland”.

In English, the name is synonymous with the loud, harsh cry of a donkey or mule (which can seem very fitting for some newborns). The most well-known person possessing the name is Bray Poor, an actor best known for his role in Die Hard: With a Vengeance.  

8 Jay

As mentioned before, this name holds a special place in my heart. Like the name Dee, Jay can be used as an abbreviation for many names including Jason, James, Jaylon, Jayce, and many, many more. What I also love about this name are the alternate spellings possible such as Jai, Jae, or Jaye.

While the name originally derived from the surname of one of America’s founding fathers, John Jay, it has grown in popularity over the years, coming in as the 372nd most popular name in the United States in the year 2014. A few possessors of the name include actor/comedian Jay Pharoah, former talk-show host Jay Leno, and 1950’s songstress Jaye P. Morgan.

7 Chris

This name is also quite near and dear to me as it’s a name that I’ve gone by for years. It is typically a shortening of the name Christopher, Christian, Crystal, or Christina (or any variation of the spellings). But more and more often, I’ve seen the name stand on its own. The handle is very popular among men, ranking as the 514th most popular name for males in 2014.

Famous holders of the title include actor Chris Hemsworth, singer Chris Brown, and Republican governor Chris Christie. For females, the name hasn’t ranked within the top 1000 in the United States since 1977. So if you’re looking for a not so common female moniker, Chris may be a nice blast from the past.

6 Sam

For males, the name Sam is typically a shortened name for Samuel. With Hebrew ties, it loosely translates to mean “name of God” or “God has heard.” For females, the name Samantha is often the longer version of the abbreviated name Sam. It is the female form of Samuel, with the suffix ‘antha’ being inspired by the Greek word for flower. For males, the forename remains fairly popular as Sam ranked as the 533rd most prevalent male name in 2014.

For females, the name has not made the top 1000 list of common monikers. In fact, the only well-known females with the name Sam are fictional characters such as the powerful Sam Jones from Sex and the City and the street-smart teen Sam Puckett from the Nickelodeon sitcom Sam and Cat. The name is more common for males with chart topper Sam Smith possessing the nickname.  

5 Alex

If you’re looking for a more common title for either a male or a female, the name Alex is a perfect choice. It is typically abbreviated from Alexander or Alexandra and usually has no variations in spelling. The name Alexander is a Latinized form of the Greek name Alexandros which means “to defend” or “to help.”

Alexandra is of course the female version taken on by several Christian saints and the wife of a Russian czar. In 2014, Alex ranked as the 128th most popular name for males, and 2004 saw the last time the name ranked within the 1000 most popular titles for females. Famous people going by the name include Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, baseball star Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez, and actress Alex Kingston

4 Pat

The abbreviated name Pat is usually an offset of Patrick or Patricia. The male form comes from the Latin name Patricius, which means "nobleman,” and the female form is a variation which was likely not used as an actual name until the 18th century in Scotland.

While the female usage of Pat was extremely popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s (even more popular than the male version), it has not been within the top 1000 most popular names since 1966. The male form faired a bit better, not dropping off of the list until 1974. Famed bearers of the name include former U.S. first lady Pat Nixon, rocker Pat Benatar, and actor Pat Morita, better known as Mr. Miyagi.

3 Max

Usually a shortened version of Maxine, Maxwell or the ever-cool Maximilian, the name Max is a great unisex abbreviation for both boys and girls. The name Maximus of Maximilian has Roman ties and was a popular title for saints, emperors, and generals alike. The female version has only been widely used since the beginning of the 20th century, and has never ranked as a popular name for girls.

For males, it remains current and modern, ranking #112 on the list of top 1000 names in 2014. Well-known possessors of the name include member of the Wanted, Max George, and everyone’s favorite vampire (wayyy before Edward hit the scene) Max Schreck.

While there are currently no famous females named Max that immediately come to mind, that doesn’t mean your kiddo can’t rock the name like a celebrity (or better yet, maybe your child will be that famous Max one day!)

2 Charlie

Short for Charles, Charlene, or Charlotte, the name Charlie is perfect for any bundle of joy-male or female. Charlie is considered both the diminutive and/or feminine for of Charles which comes from the Germanic name Karl which translates to mean “man” (pretty ironic for a female name).

However, some believe the name is derived from the Germanic element hari which means “army” or “warrior.” While the feminine usage had fallen off of the list for over 50 years, it has grown in popularity over the last 10 years and is now ranked #229.

The male usage is slightly higher ranking #225 on the list. Famous (and possibly infamous in this case) Charlies include actors Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Sheen, and Charlie Day. Female actress Charlie Brooks and fictional Disney character Charlie Duncan are prime examples of how fitting the name is for females as well.  

1 Ray

While the last name on the list is typically more masculine, it can also be used as a unique female nickname. The handle Ray can be abbreviated from the masculine Raymond or the feminine Lorraine and can be spelled Ray or Rai. The name Ray coincides with an English word meaning "beam of light," which is a perfect description for any new bundle of joy.

While never “common,” people did utilize Ray in the feminine form up until 1937 when it fell off the list of the 1000 most popular names. In the masculine form, it has remained on the list coming in at #733 on the list. Celebrities known to possess the name include singer Ray Charles, former NFL player Ray Lewis, and actor Ray Liotta.

Famous females claiming the name include the gorgeous actress Rai Quartley and fictional character Lorraine “Ray” Schleine from the film UpTown Girls.

So whether you want your child’s name to be unique and distinctive or common and traditional, hopefully there was something on this list that will suit your little one whether they wear pink or blue (or even a neutral yellow).

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