Looking for the perfect gender-neutral name for the new addition to your family? Although gender reveal parties are a popular way of finding out the sex of a new baby, more and more parents prefer to be surprised on the day the baby is born, rather than in front of their families and friends.
Other times, it may be a family moniker, or maybe you want to help stop sexism or gender stereotypes in your baby's future. Or perhaps you just think they're unique and fun?
Whatever your reason for using them, these unisex names will save a lot of stress and deliberation when you're trying to name your new arrival. We've picked out our favorite names, all of which have fun and interesting origins.
What is a gender-neutral name?
Gender-neutral names, also called unisex names, are given names that aren't gender-specific. They are very popular in English-speaking countries, especially the United States.
The most popular unisex baby names are usually traditional names that can be used for different genders. With that said, nature names and those inspired by places, spelling variations, and surnames are also used.
Popular place names can include London, Brooklyn, Rio, and Sydney. Good examples of commonly used nature names are Rain, Ocean, and Ash.
Many popular gender-neutral names are actually nicknames that have become given baby names in their own right.
Why more people are choosing unisex baby names
Unisex baby names have been around for a while, especially in countries like the United States. However, these names are on the rise, and parents are using them more than ever because of the possibility of gender fluidity in their kids.
Many parents opt to give their daughters gender-neutral names to prevent sexism and gender stereotypes. This is because it's widely believed that masculine names are associated with better work opportunities. Not to mention, lots of gender-neutral baby names just sound downright cool.
When it comes to spelling variations, most unisex baby names can have their spellings changed to make them sound more feminine or masculine. For example, the popular gender-neutral moniker Charlie can be spelled as Charleigh for a girl to give it a more girly feel.
Like most things, baby name trends will continue to change as people's traditions and lifestyles develop. This means that in 50 years' time or so, names that are thought of as traditional for boys could be very popular for girls, and vice versa.
The top gender-neutral baby names of 2021
Our number one pick of gender-neutral names is River. It's of British origin, and although it was once thought of as a bit hippieish, it's now become an incredibly popular gender-neutral baby name.
It derives from the Latin word "ripa", which means riverbank. Although it's generally more popular as a baby boy name, the popularity as a girl's moniker is catching up.
Famous River's include the musician River Jones and the lead singer of Weezer, Rivers Cuomo. Kelly Clarkson also chose this moniker for her daughter, further boosting the popularity of it for girls.
The next unisex name on our list is Alex. Although it was once a nickname, Alex has become a very popular name on its own.
Meaning "defender of the people", Alex is of Greek origin, and it's frequently used by parents that want a gender-neutral name. It can also be the short form for Alexandra or Alexander.
Alex is a compound moniker made up of Alexein, meaning "to help or defend", and Andros, meaning "helper or defender of mankind". The name Alex was upheld by Alexander the Great, a military conqueror and Macedonian king who spread the culture of Greece across India and Egypt.
Another famous historical figure with this name is Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
Our next gender-neutral name is Justice. Although originally popular as a boy's name, it has become more and more common as a girl's name in recent years. It means "righteous, upright, and just". It's a form of Justus, a New Testament Biblical name.
It was originally an occupational moniker that referred to French judges. It derives from justice, meaning "fairness or rightfulness", from the Latin ius, meaning law.
Deriving from the river that flows between Israel and Jordan, this is a traditional Hebrew moniker, meaning "to descend or flow down".
In the New Testament, John the Baptist christen's Jesus in the River Jordan. It became a European moniker after crusaders transported water from Jordan to christen their children.
Jordan may also have been influenced by Jordanes, a Germanic name notably upheld by a Gothic historian from the 6th century. The moniker Jordan did die out in the Middle Ages, but it was brought back during the 19th century.
In the late 20th century, it became increasingly popular in the US and other countries. A famous person who has the surname is legendary former basketball player Michael Jordan.
Many gender-neutral names are actually traditional boy names that are being given to girls more and more frequently. This is commonly done to help combat sexism and so that the moniker doesn't interfere with their gender identity, and Kai is a great example.
The moniker Kai has lots of origins. In the US, it's most commonly known as deriving from Hawaiian, meaning sea.
In Europe, Kai is considered to be of Frisian origin as a diminutive of Kaimbe, which means warrior. Kai is also an independent moniker in Chinese, Turkish, Native American, and African cultures.
Traditionally given to girls, Riley has joined the list of popular contemporary gender-neutral names. The moniker is of Irish and English origin, meaning "courageous, rye clearing". The Irish version of Riley is a variation of Reilly, an Irish surname taken from the given moniker, Raghailleach.
Upbeat, energetic, and friendly, Riley is proving to be incredibly popular for girls and still a strong contender for boys too. Riley is actually one of the most popular girl's names beginning with R. Variations of it include Ryleigh and Rylee, which are also popular.
With English and Scottish origins, Blair means "child of the battlefield, plains, or field". A beautiful and unique moniker, its popularity for boys, peaked in 1953 and for girls in 1988.
This traditional Scottish surname derives from the names of places with the Gaelic element blár, meaning "level field or plain", hence "dweller on the field or plain".
Blair has recently made a comeback for girls, and in 2018 it was ranked 432, very close to its peak at 432 in 1988. Blair Castle is also the moniker of a historical castle located in Blair Atholl, Scotland.
Just like finding the best strollers and cribs, choosing from the many gender-neutral baby names that are available today can be a minefield. Phoenix is typically given to boys, it's of Greek origin, and it derives from Phoinix, which means "dark red".
Phoenix is an incredibly cool moniker as it's not only a place name, but it's also a mythical bird. It also ends in the ultra-hip letter X, and just like the bird that can rise from the ashes, it represents immortality. It's also the surname of the acting family, including Joaquin and his late brother River.
If you're a fan of gender-neutral names and the Big City, you'll love the moniker Brooklyn. A borough in New York City, the gender-neutral Brooklyn has continued to rise in popularity.
It's chic, modern, and contemporary, thanks to its metropolitan roots. It's revived the popular Brooke while boasting the trendy and sought-after -lyn ending.
Brooklyn is of English origin, meaning "beautiful brook". It's derived from an English surname which traditionally meant "the one who lives near a brook".
There are a few spelling variations, such as Brooklynn or Brookelynn, although the original spelling is much more popular. Nicknames can also include Brook or Lyn.
Drew is a Welsh moniker meaning "wise". It was brought to England by the Normans in 1066, around the time of the Conquest. It was first found in the Domesday Book, and another derivation comes from Ó Draoi, which is Irish, meaning "Descendant of the Druid".
As a moniker for boys, Drew is a nickname for Andrew, rapidly replacing the popular Andy. With that said, it's perfect on its own too, which it has been for many years since 1942.
Famous Drews include comedian Drew Carey and American Quarterback Drew Brees. Drew Barrymore also brought the moniker to the girl's side.
The next pick on our list of the best gender-neutral names is Scout. Featuring as a character nickname in To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout is a fun and unique moniker that suits both genders. This gender-neutral baby name has grown in popularity for girls and boys.
It's proved to be a popular option amongst celebrity parents, with Bruce Willis and Demi Moore choosing to call their daughter Scout. World Skating Champion Tai Babilonia also picked it for her son in 1995.
It originates from Old French escouter meaning "to listen". In English, Scout means "one who gathers information quietly". It's a virtuous and honorable option, i.e., a good scout. Although it's not at the top of popularity lists, it's become incredibly mainstream in recent years.
Morgan is a name from Wales that means "circling or traveling the sea, seaborn, or sea-song". Historically, Morgan has been a traditionally male name, a variation of Morcant, deriving from the elements mor, which means "sea" and cant, "circle".
The female version of Morgan comes from the Arthurian legend created by Morgan le Fay, the sorceress and half-sister of King Arthur. Her name derives from Morgen, a name meaning "seas-born" and relates to Muirgen, a moniker originating from Ireland.
For over 100 years, Morgan has been one of the top 1,000 baby names for boys. During the 1970s, it started to gain popularity for girls too and quickly began to rise to the top 100 girls names, reaching 22nd place in 1997. Although it remains popular with both genders, it's typically given more to girls than boys.
Next on our list of fun and unique gender-neutral baby names is Quinn. Originating from England and Ireland, Quinn is a girl's moniker that's the Anglicized version of Ó Cuinn, a surname from Ireland that means "descendant of Conn".
There are two derivations of Conn - cond, which means "intellect", and cenn, "chief". One of the most significant Quinn clans came from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
One of the first unisex names in Ireland, Quinn is a strong and unique choice that's becoming more and more popular with both genders. It started gaining popularity for girls in the 90s, which may have been because of the TV show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Coming to the end of our list of top gender-neutral names is Avery. This was originally a surname but has since become a much-loved first moniker, which means "ruler of the elves". Avery originated from the Middle Ages as a variation of the Anglo-Saxon "Alfred" and Ancient Germanic Alberich.
Avery gets its meaning from the elements aelf, which means "elf", and ric, "ruler". Although it's one of the most popular gender-neutral names, Avery is typically more common for girls than boys.
The last, but by no means least, pick on our list of top gender-neutral names is Sasha. In English, Sasha is a moniker given to girls, and it means "defending men". In Russian, however, it's mainly given to boys, and it's frequently spelled as Sacha or Sascha.
It's an energetic moniker that has become increasingly popular in the United States, being chosen by comedian Jerry Seinfeld and other celebrities. In France, it's popular regardless of gender identity.
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