8 Unisex Baby Names You’ll Want to Steal
These sweet, inspired baby name picks will be sure to fit your family’s newest addition—no matter if you’re expecting a girl or a boy.
If you’re searching for unisex baby names and clicked on this article—congratulations!—you’re most likely expecting a baby girl in the next couple of months. Though unisex and androgynous baby names have become trendy, the names are mostly given to little girls, according to Laura Wattenberg, baby name expert and the author of The Baby Name Wizard.
“There remains a huge stigma against feminine names for boys,” Wattenberg tells RealSimple.com. “If you think of it in fashion terms, parents are happy to dress little girls in almost any type of clothes today, but you’re still unlikely to see them buy dresses for boys.”
Additionally, the unisex naming “trend” might not be that at all—but a subset of a larger trend of parents choosing “fresh” names, or those without cultural context already attached. “The real story isn’t that parents are choosing the names Phoenix and Lennon for both boys and girls,” Wattenberg says. “It’s that they’re choosing Phoenix and Lennon instead of John and Mary, or Jason and Jessica.”
That being said, it doesn’t mean that choosing a so-called unisex baby name is a bad choice—most of the time, a unisex name is chosen simply because the parents like the sound of them. Other times, parents feel that a masculine-styled name sounds “stronger” or will help protect against the effects of sexism. Wattenberg notes that there has been research suggesting feminine-sounding names pose disadvantages in academia and the workplace.
A unisex name still on the top of your list for your family’s newest edition? We combed through the Social Security Administration’s 2016 list of registered baby names to find some unique unisex picks that appeared on both gendered lists. See our editor's picks below:
According to Nameberry, this solid English name means “worker in stone.” Though 87 females were named Mason in 2016, it is an overwhelmingly popular pick for boys. It was the fourth most popular name given to boys in the United States in 2016. Celebrities who have picked this name include Cuba Gooding Jr., who named his son Mason in 1994, and Kelsey Grammer, who named his daughter Mason in 2001.
This name takes on a different meaning depending on gender: for girls it means “heather-grown hill” and for boys it means “fire.” Though the meanings seem pretty gendered, the name is given pretty evenly to boys and girls: 2,373 boys and 1,569 girls received this name in 2016. Notable females with this name include Nashville actress Hayden Panettiere and famous males include Star Wars actor Hayden Christensen.
This Irish name meaning “courageous” is becoming more popular for girls overtime, peaking at 22nd most popular in 2016. However, it’s, in turn, becoming less popular for boys—only 1,706 boys were named Riley in 2016. Thinking of Riley for your newest family member? They’re in good company: Famous Rileys include Blues musician Riley B. King (B.B. King) and the female protagonist from Pixar’s Inside Out.
Apart from being the eighth month of the year, August is a strong unisex name meaning “great” and “magnificent” for boys and “majestic” and “venerable” for girls. Though the moniker has become more popular for males overtime, it still remains a rare—but solid—choice for females, too. Celebrities on top of this trend include Garth Brooks, who named his daughter August in 1994, and Mariska Hargitay, who named her son August in 2006.
This English name meaning “fighting-man’s estate,” was the 81st most popular name for girls in 2016, and the 209th most popular for boys. Famous males with this name include retired football star Manning and Ant Man and The Break-Up director Reed. Famous females include Mad Men actress Peyton List as well as the fictional One Tree Hill character Peyton Sawyer.
Looking for a pleasant-sounding choice that incorporates a less-than-average letter? Why not try Quinn? This name is becoming more popular for both genders, though it’s still more common to be named for a girl. In 2016, it was the 79th most popular name for girls, while only the 330th most popular name for boys. Sharon Stone picked this Irish moniker for her son, born in 2006.
This Sioux name meaning “friendly one” is nearly just as popular for boys as it is for girls—it was the 378th most popular name for boys and the 226th most popular for girls in 2016. Popular female Dakotas include actress Fanning and Johnson, as well as Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter.
If you’re looking for a more unusual unisex choice for your newest addition, Rowan’s a good pick. It’s more popular for boys (the 182nd most popular in 2016), though is becoming more popular each year for girls—in 2016 it was the 239th most popular pick. The name means “little redhead,” though the most famous Rowans are both brunettes—comedic actor Rowan Atkinson and Girl Meets World actress Rowan Blanchard.