Okay, let's get one thing straight before we dive into this post. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing a name for the baby. This is the parents' decision, and no matter how persuasive friends or family might be, at the end of the day, you make the choice for your child. Ignore the 'but that's a bit weird/boring/stupid' comments and go with what your heart is telling you.
Here at BabyGaga, we love nothing more than to help you choose a name for your baby, and we like to make that experience as fun, exciting and diverse as possible. We like to make you think outside of the box and consider things you might never have thought of otherwise.
Down below you will find 50 feminine and masculine alternatives to names which you may never have guessed could have been adapted to fit the gender of your little one. I know that I certainly got some surprises when I was researching and writing! I never knew, for example, there was a masculine alternative for the name Laura! I hope you get as much out of this article, as I did writing it.
The name Charles is Germanic in origin, and while it didn't become popular in England until the 17th Century, it's a name that we tend to associate with British royalty...and stuffiness.
Charlie is a pet form of Charles. While many think Charles too old fashioned, you have to admit that Charlie does have to be one of the friendliest names out there! In the States, Charlie ranks as the 75th most popular name, though in the UK it is way up high at 7!
While I have seen dozens of parents opt for the masculine 'Charlie' for their daughters, the spelling Charley is adorable. In England and Wales in 2015 Charley was ranked as the 487th most popular name for girls, though in the States it stands at 557. (All the more reason to go for it!)
Bob is one of those names that you tend to hear used as a nickname more often than a first name. Dutch in origin, in 2016 Bob was ranked as the 320th most popular name in Holland, though it didn't make a place in the US stats.
I much prefer the feminine alternative of Bobbie (though the spelling of Bobbi is currently more popular.) There's something irresistibly sweet about it. It's intriguing too. In the US in 2015 it was given to 42 girls. It had its peak in the US over 100 years ago!
The masculine alternative Bobby is also a cute option. The sort of boy that comes to mind when I think of the name Bobby, is a happy-go-lucky sort of kid, who is forever friendly. Bobby had its peak in the US back in the 1930's and in 2016 was ranked at 766.
Jessica is one of those timeless names. It's English in origin and was first used by William Shakespeare in his play 'The Merchant Of Venice.' It's timelessness and versatility does, however, make it an especially common choice.
The masculine alternative of Jessica is Jesse, which is Hebrew in origin and means 'gift.' One famous bearer includes Jesse James, the American outlaw who made a living by holding up banks and stagecoaches - don't let this association put you off though! It's such a sweet and lively name. In the US it's the 174th most popular name for boys.
Jessie is stylish and pretty...but it also has a 'don't mess with me' aspect to it. I keep thinking about the brilliant Jessie The Yodelling Cowgirl from Toy Story 2 and 3. It is most definitely overused in the US where it's ranked as the 642nd most popular name for girls.
Anthony plays a big role in my family. It's my dad AND my little brother's name, though they both more often go by the name Tony. This English name dates back to the Roman times when it was a family name - Antonius. Anthony is most popular in the US.
The feminine form on Anthony is Antonia, a name which I've always thought sounded prim and proper, but beautiful on the right person. It's most popular in Chile where, in 2014 it was the 12th most popular name. In the US it's ranked at 992.
The masculine alternative is Anton, again a name which I think sounds very proper, though mysterious at the same time. You can be sure that your son won't be bumping into many Anton's at school, as the name is ranked in the US at 989.
If you need to think about a name that you hear pretty much every day, no matter where you are, I'm in no doubt that Michael will come to mind. It's one of those universal choices. It's actually Hebrew in origin, and means 'who is like God?' (The answer? Nobody.)
I am much more in favour of the Swedish alternative Mikael for a little boy. Pronounced MEE-kah-ell, Mikael it looks and sounds so much more special and unique. It is actually preferred by many people because of its exotic factor. In the US it ranks in at 957.
One of the feminine - and my most favourite - spins on the name Michael is Michaela. German in origin, it ranks as the 472nd most popular name for girls in the US. It's a much more common choice in the Czech Republic, where you'll find it ranked at number 28.
Bill is an English name, though the spelling 'Bill' wasn't actually used until the 19th century. I can't help but associate the name with Victorian London. It's a sturdy, reliable name, though I struggle to picture it on a little baby.
The masculine alternative Billy used to be one of my favourite names when I was young and dreaming about the day that I would have children. I have no idea why I liked it so much. In the US it isn't all that common a choice however, and ranks in at 865.
The feminine alternative of Billie has some real spunk about it. One famous holder of this name that immediately comes to mind is Billie Piper, the English actress known for her roles in Dr Who and Penny Dreadful. The last time this name made it into the top 1,000 in the US was back in 1997.
My brother's name is Anthony Alexander (which I think is a gorgeous combo) so the name Alexander has always been around for me. It's ancient Greek in origin, and has an especially powerful meaning - 'defending men.' It's not as stuffy as Charles or William, though the alternatives are tempting...
Alex is just too cool a name, really. Might have something to do with its sparseness, and the x on the end there, but it has always come across as being strong, albeit a little bit too trendy for my liking. In the US it's ranked as the 147th most popular name for boys.
The feminine alternative of Alexa is, simply put, stunning. It's a hugely popular choice in Mexico, though less so popular in the US where it ranks at number 50 which is still pretty high though, to be honest.
I can't decide quite how I feel about the name Cassidy, but I thought it would be good to mention because, well, it's pretty unique! You don't meet a Cassidy every day, do you? It descends from the Irish surname Ó Caiside.
The masculine alternative for Cassidy is Cass. Unsurprisingly, what with it not being a name that you hear very often at all, it doesn't break into the top 1,000 names. This should only encourage you though! I think it's modern and cool, and can imagine it on an artistic little boy who likes to make people happy.
Cassie, the feminine alternative, is a name you will hear being used in Scotland and Northern Ireland all the time. It's not ranked in the US but in France in 2015 it was at the 259 mark, and in Northern Ireland in the same year, it was the 92nd most popular choice.
Andrew isn't one of those male names that makes you sit up. Though it is especially masculine, isn't it? It's the English form of a Greek name and does actually mean 'masculine.' I do much prefer the two alternative to come...
Andy is friendly and cute and ever so memorable. It's actually surprisingly popular in France where in 2015 it was the 309th most popular name for boys. In the US in 2016 was the 326th most popular name.
All of the Andreas I have met have been so big hearted, kind and supportive. It's not a name that I've always been a fan of, but as I get older, I find that I'm warming to it. In the US in 2016 it was the 128th most popular name for girls.
Ferguson is one of those names that you hear a lot in Scotland, but no really anywhere else...or at least that it what I thought before I found out that in the US its actually ranked at 151! It means 'the son of Fergus' and in Scotland it's used as a surname and as a given name.
The masculine alternative, Fergus, sounds much more manageable for this day and age. The fact that it's that bit quirky is actually it's selling point. It has a strong meaning behind it and means 'man of force.' You'll find it scattered through lots of children's literature and films, including Shrek.
Fergie is the feminine alternative, and it gets cool factor points for being the name of the singer from the Black Eyes Peas. It has a kind of punkish, alternative vibe to it, I think and is a great option in 2017!
Samuel is the name of my other brother (Samuel James) so it's a name I've been hearing all of my life. It's Hebrew in origin and means 'name of God,' or 'God has heard.' It's currently the 21st most popular name in the US.
The masculine alternative is the shortened Sam, which is likely less popular in the US coming in at 579. Despite its shortness, it's a name that many people adore...and even find fascinating. It's sweet and its youthful, and has a real sense of fun about it.
The masculine alternative Sammie is a name which, in my experience, had its peak in the 90's, though I think it works just as well today. While it doesn't have a ranking in the US, in the Netherlands it's the 302nd most popular choice for girls.
The name Thomas was introduced to the English people by the Normans, and has been popular ever since. Not surprising though really, I mean there is something just so likeable about this name. I don't think I have ever met a Thomas who hasn't been lovely.
Thomasina is a name which, in England, we associate with 'the well to do...' or at least we used to. It's actually the medieval feminine form of Thomas. Nowadays when I see the name, I like of a spirited and artistic girl who is always dreaming and creating. It's only been in the top 100 once, back in 1932!
Tommy is such a hugely versatile name, though it isn't all that common in the US where it's ranked at 753. It's a name I tend to associate with 'bad boys...' mostly because of Tommy Lee!
Laura is one of those names that I grew up with in late 80's and early 90's. It has a sweet, pretty and innocent vibe about it. It's origins are actually from Ancient Rome, would you believe, and as an English name, it's been used since the 13th Century.
While Laura is pretty, I am much more in favour of the gorgeous feminine alternative Lora. That unique spelling is just exquisite. Italian in origin and pronounced LAWR-a, it hasn't actually made it into the US top 100 names for girls since 1992.
Lauro is the masculine alternative to Laura, and is Italian in origin. I don't know about you, but for me this name brings to mind a curious, spirited little boy who loves to be outdoors. I haven't been able to find stats on this name, but if you're after something unique, maybe consider Lauro for your list!
There are so many David's in my family and my friend list I have actually lost count! Though it shouldn't be all that surprising - it's popular all over the world. Hebrew in origin, the name David has been used in Britain since the Middle Ages.
I really like the masculine alternative Davy. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I think it's because it stands out of the crowd. While Davy isn't ranked in the US it is the 380th most popular name in the Netherlands.
While I have never actually met a Davina in real life, there is something almost regal about this feminine alternative. It actually originated in Scotland (and sounds really lovely when said with Scottish accent!) It only just made it into the top 100 names in the US in 2016 scoring at 973.
The commonly used feminine name Ashley is actually a lot older than I thought it was. It comes from an English surname and means 'ash tree clearing.' Fascinatingly, up until the 1960's it was more common in the US to meet a boy called Ashley, though nowadays its more often used on girls.
The feminine alternative of Ashlynn, is, in my eyes, much more preferable! And it's actually really quite a popular choice in the grand scheme of things. In the US it's the 426th most popular name for girls.
The name Ash - it can denote the ash tree or the residue that you get from a fire - is the masculine alternative to Ashley...and how masculine it is! I don't know why, but this name is, to me, especially strong. I haven't been able to find stats on this one...but see that as a good thing!
Simon...I have always thought it to be something of a, well, dull name. I'm sorry to say! Most of the Simons I have met in my life have always been rather aloof...This English name is really popular though, and comes in as the 243rd most popular name in the US.
While Simon isn't a favourite, I do really love the feminine alternative of Simone. It sounds so exotic and full of mystery. French in origin, it isn't massively used in the US, but it does make it into the top 100 names at number 757.
The masculine alternative Simen is Norwegian in origin and is, in my opinion, much more preferable! I love it's quirkiness. Like with Simone, there is something about this name that would leave you curious. In Norway, Simen isn't currently ranked. The last time was in 2015.
Francis is a feminine name which I have grown to love. Again, I think it's one of those names which you have to be 'grown up' to fully appreciate. It's actually the English form of the late Latin name Franciscus. In the US it hasn't actually been ranked since 1987!
When it comes to this name, I MUCH prefer the spelling for the feminine alternative Frances. Though it might have something to do with the fact that I have a little bit of an obsession with Frances Bean Cobain...It's ranked as the 446th most popular name for girls in US.
I am fully 100% behind the masculine alternative Françoise. I bloody love this option and I think that, hell, it's 2017 be adventurous! Of course, if you live in France it's not going to be than unusual... In the US however it hasn't been ranked since 1993.
Oliver. I don't know about you but I really enjoy saying this name! It's has a sense of cheekiness and youth about it, which I love. If we are looking way back, its origins are actually Old Norse. But in the Middle Ages it became popular all across Western Europe.
The masculine alternative of Ollie hasn't been ranked in the US since 1972 and I think that's a real shame as it's such a fun choice! It works well in childhood and through into adulthood.
Olivia is another name which I think falls into the 'exotic' category. I hear this used often as a middle name, but I think it works so beautifully as a first name choice. It was actually first used by William Shakespeare in his comedy 'Twelfth Night.' In the US Olivia is actually the 2nd most popular name for girls to have!
Charlotte is such a gentle name and, I think, one of the most feminine that you are going to find. French in origin, it's actually the 7th most popular choice for girls in the US! It was only introduced in England in the 17th Century.
I never met a Lotta when I lived in England. And I was there 29 years. But now I live in Sweden, I meet one practically every day! This feminine alternative is Swedish in origin, and was only actually ranked in the US back in 1892. I am presuming because this is when many Scandinavians emigrated to the States.
The masculine alternative of Charlotte is the strong, sturdy and reliable name Karl. German in origin, the last time that it was ranked in the US was back in 2009.
With its origins in Greece, George has been a popular choice in the US for decades. I am making the assumption that the birth of Prince George into the British Royal Family might have something to do with its continued popularity over the years.
While George is a little bit, well, stuffy, the feminine alternative of Georgina is anything but. While it has been used in England since the 18th Century, it still has massive appeal, in my opinion. Unlike George however, it's hasn't made it into the top 1,000 names since 1992.
Georgie is just too sweet for words. I love this masculine alternative, and prefer it hands down, to George. Fascinatingly though, it's even less common in the US than Georgina, and hasn't been ranked since 1952! Time for it to make a comeback, I think.
Zoe is one of those names that just does not age! It actually has a beautiful meaning - life - and was actually adopted by Hellenized Jews as a translation of Eve. Deep, beautiful AND timeless! A lot of parents love it in the US as it's actually the 35th most popular choice for girls.
I love the modern feminine alternative Zoey. It has a slightly unusual edge to it. This option is actually more popular than its original in the US, and comes in at 26. Who would have thought?!
Zowie is actually quite a rare masculine alternative...but all the more reason to mention it here! I guess that you are hoping to find names that will make you sit up. I haven't been able to find ratings on this name which was famously first used by David Bowie for his son.
The name Leo is derived from the Latin leo which means 'lion.' It is also, of course, the fifth sign of the zodiac. All of the Leos that I have met in my life have been, well, how to I put this...massively hyperactive. But also incredibly intelligent and creative!
The masculine alternative Leon is achingly modern, funky and brimming with potential. It is also rather popular in the US where it ranks as the 276th most popular name for boys. It's also popular in Germany, Scandinavia and The British Isles.
Leona is a gorgeous feminine alternative. When I envisage a Leona, I think of a calm girl, a problem solver, one who likes all to be well in the world. It isn't overly used in the US and comes in at 598.
I have always loved the feminine name Clara and it IS a lot more popular in the US than I thought it would be. It comes in as the 99th most popular choice for girls. It also has one of the loveliest meanings on this entire list - clear, bright.
As much as I love Clara, I love the spelling Klara that bit more. Swedish in origin, it brings to mind a bohemian spirit with a love for the wild outdoors. I haven't actually been able to find any stats from the US but that makes me want to encourage you all the more to use it!
I don't know what you think, but I think the masculine alternative of Clair is actually something pretty special. French in origin, it's not ranked in the US but don't let that stop you from giving it a place on your list.
When I was a kid, I thought that Gabriel was a 'sucky' name. But nowadays, at the age of 31 I can really appreciate just how beautiful it really is. Hebrew in origin, the name wasn't actually used in England until the 12 Century.
The feminine alternative Gabriela is just spectacular. You might think I'm being a bit OTT but really, it's something very special in my eyes. Portuguese in origin, it ranks in at 252. It's a very popular name in Romania though, and comes in at number 8!
Gabe is one of those 'too cool for school' names. I love it! Short, easy to remember, funky pronunciation - just ideal for a little boy born in 2017. And you know something else? It hasn't actually been ranked in the US since...wait for it...1895 making it a brilliantly unique choice.
Stephen has never really done much for me, if I am being honest, but I kneel to the god that is Stephen King! It has actually been a popular choice in the US since 1880! Greek in origin, Stephen means 'crown,' and has been the names of kings in England, Poland and Serbia. It's also been held by no less than 10 popes.
Steve is an excellent masculine alternative if you want your little boy's name to stick to one syllable. One of the most notable Steves in recent years has to be the late Steve Jobs, the co-founder and chairman of Apple. It make it into the top 1,000 US names at 985.
Stephanie has a real air of elegance about it, don't you think? It's light and pretty rolls beautifully off the tongue. In the US it ranks as the 235th most popular name for girls.
Sources: BehindTheName.com, Nameberry.com