Is there such thing as a truly unisex baby name?

truthfully, i think we are at a turning point in naming history wherein more and more names will become gender neutral, and be used evenly for boys and girls. arlo, harlow, and marlowe are exploding in popularity on both sides, names like finn & wilder, nature names— sage, sky & juniper most notably. nickname names like bowie, iggy, ozzy and indy. mini multicultural names— koa, noa, etc. word names like brave & merit. even on nameberry, we are leaning so much more towards gender neutral names than i have ever seen before, and i think that says a lot about where we are as a world culture — which is so neat :,)

so to answer your question, yes. there are many “truly unisex” names, and i think they’ll continue to rise in popularity until they become a well assimilated part of “normal.”

today, honestly riley, spellings et al. is the truest gender neutral name. i have seen 15 to 20 students named riley/ryley/ryleigh/rylie and i’d say there’s a pretty even b/g/nb split.

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I’d say they certainly exist! To me, names don’t even have to be a 50/50 split to be unisex, as long as society has the general knowledge that the name could be used for any gender (which to me, regardless of statistics, would be names like [name_u]Avery[/name_u], [name_u]Sidney[/name_u], [name_u]James[/name_u], etc). I do agree with @lumosmaxima that we’re starting to move towards more and more names being considered unisex as well, and that’s a movement I know I’m loving watching develop!!

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I think it’s all about perception. As long as people have opinions, there will never be a name that is truly 100% unisex. For example, I find [name_u]Kit[/name_u] to be an even 50/50, but my mom thinks kit is weird on a boy. This does not, however, make these names unusable for a given gender.

I do think there are fully unisex names – I personally see [name_u]Jordan[/name_u] as 100% unisex … I’m not sure how it splits data-wise but it feels very down-the-middle to me. In general, though, how names are viewed probably varies a ton based on age and location.

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I think the most common unisex names are [name_u]Riley[/name_u], [name_u]Taylor[/name_u], [name_u]Casey[/name_u], [name_u]Cameron[/name_u], & [name_u]Jordan[/name_u]. The most unisex nicknames would be [name_u]Alex[/name_u], [name_u]Charlie[/name_u], and [name_u]Sam[/name_u]. I feel like these are the names that when you hear them, you don’t think “Why do they have a boy/girl name?” Of course there are many more, but those are usually leaning towards a certain gender like if I hear [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] or [name_u]Aubrey[/name_u] I think it’s a girl or [name_u]Parker[/name_u] and [name_u]Dylan[/name_u] and I think it’s a boy.

I think [name_u]Sutton[/name_u], [name_u]Sawyer[/name_u], [name_u]Alex[/name_u], [name_u]Rowan[/name_u], [name_u]Reece[/name_u], and [name_u]Wynn[/name_u] seem truly unisex to me.

I think for me there are only two truly unisex name and that is [name_u]Rowan[/name_u] and [name_u]Sage[/name_u]

Names aren’t really static since people are always having new ideas about what to call their babies and what is in fashion and what’s not. So no I don’t think any popular name will be truly unisex (as in 50/50 split for boys and girls) forever over time. Where you live probably makes a big difference in how people think about the name. I don’t agree that [name_u]Sage[/name_u], [name_u]Oakley[/name_u], and [name_u]Parker[/name_u] are truly unisex at all. [name_u]Sage[/name_u] used to be mostly girls but is now more common for boys. [name_u]Oakley[/name_u] is used for boys?? [name_u]Parker[/name_u] was mostly boys but is now more girls. At least this is how it is where I live.

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I agree that what’s considered unisex is not static. When a unisex name gets popular for girls, oftentimes parents cease to see it as a viable choice for boys and it effectively becomes a feminine name. I don’t know any young men named [name_u]Lesley[/name_u] or [name_u]Lindsay[/name_u], even though they’re both technically unisex names. Likewise, I don’t know any women named [name_u]Christian[/name_u] or [name_u]Julian[/name_u], even though those names were considered unisex in centuries past.

Unisex names are more common in some cultures than others. If I recall correctly, [name_u]Israel[/name_u] has a lot more popular unisex names than what the UK would have.

Y E s

Philosophically I don’t believe there is any such thing as a truly unisex name because we all have our personal associations and perceptions with names, taking them in one direction or another. They can be used for either sex, but we still have our notions.

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Yes to add on to @Addie881, there is definitely discrepancy between a name’s perceived gender from any one person vs the stats of its actual usage. For example, despite Charlie’s usage being basically 50-50, I still associate it as a masculine name.

I also think many unisex names today cease to be truly unisex names and instead are “masculine sounding girl names”. Sometimes this semblance is a result of the name’s actual sound, especially if there are hard consonants such as b, k, and p; and other times the meaning is associated with something stereotypically masculine.

I don’t have a strong opinion personally either way - there are many unisex names I love and some I find a bit strange. But it all comes down to preference.

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It really depends on where you live as well. Here in the UK a lot of unisex names seem to lean masculine. For example [name_u]Ashley[/name_u], [name_u]Charlie[/name_u], [name_u]Morgan[/name_u], [name_u]Riley[/name_u], [name_u]Finley[/name_u] and [name_u]Rowan[/name_u] are all FAR more common for boys than girls in the UK, whereas in the US they are more neutral or girl-leaning. Most gender neutral names I can think of tend to be more used for boys here, but I couldn’t tell you why that is.

I personally think either way if you love a name then you should feel able use it, regardless of whether it’s more popular for another gender or not. You never know how this stuff is going to go - maybe in 20 years the idea of calling a boy [name_u]James[/name_u] will be strange! I mean I doubt it but you catch my drift.

It’s so funny how varied people’s perceptions are. Like for me it feels so weird seeing people say [name_u]Ashley[/name_u] is 100% feminine and irredeemable for boys, when there were three Ashleys in my year at school and all were male… just goes to show you can share a language/name pool and still have a completely different experience haha!

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Well, there are a few names that I know of where I truly don’t assume any gender when I hear them because they’re used for both genders equally. Most of these aren’t used in the UK or US though:

[name_u]Dominique[/name_u]
[name_u]Alix[/name_u]
[name_u]Alexis[/name_u]
[name_m]Léonce[/name_m]
[name_u]Chris[/name_u]
[name_u]Inge[/name_u]
[name_u]Ellis[/name_u]

Those are the ones that come to mind immediately, and they are truly unisex names for me. Other names are unisex in theory, but strongly associated with one gender or the other.

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So interesting to read down this thread and see how different names are viewed in different countries. For instance I’ve met tonnes of Jordan’s in my life and not once has one of them been female- it’s never really occurred to me that it could be a girls name. The one girl I have met with a similar name is called [name_f]Jordanna[/name_f].

If you can’t tell if a person is a male or female by their name than it is a unisex name. [name_u]Leslie[/name_u], [name_u]Riley[/name_u], [name_u]Taylor[/name_u], [name_u]Cameron[/name_u]. I wouldn’t assume, if I came across these names on resume that they were one gender rather than the other. So those are unisex names.

A lot of unisex nicknames.

[name_u]Alex[/name_u] is rarely used as a first name, but is a common nickname for boys and girls.

Chris/Kris is in the same boat, though I’d say as a nickname, it leans more masculine. Still, a female Kristine/Kristen/Krystal nn [name_u]Kris[/name_u] wouldn’t be a shock.

strange — i would think kit weird on a girl :slight_smile:

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i would assume alex to be male, perhaps because the only alexandra i know goes by alexa. and yes — the year the amazon gadget came out was name-hell for her :slight_smile:

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yuck, hardly an original thought but why do parents insist on butchering perfectly lovely names with “k” spellings? crystal already has a y-sound, so why eschew the spelling that’s been decided on for centuries for kool points? eurgh.