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Unisex Names That Switched From Boy to Girl
Unisex Names That Switched From Boy to Girl
Apr 19, 2024 4:49 AM

  It’s hard to imagine Lauren, Lindsay, Madison and Sydney as anything other than girl names. But rewind 100 years and they were used mainly — or even exclusively — for boys. So were a lot of other names that are now more female.

  Unisex names are rarely perfectly gender-balanced. They’re usually given more to one gender or the other, and the balance changes over time.

  Sometimes it just takes one famous namesake to tip the name over to the opposite sex. In the 1940s, Hollywood star Lauren Bacall (real name Betty Joan Perske) had an astronomical impact on a rare-but-mostly-male name. More recent influencers turning boy names into girl names include Reese Witherspoon, Sutton Foster, and Madison the mermaid (played by Daryl Hannah) in Splash.

  Meanwhile, some names switch gender because of a gradual change in fashionable sounds. Emery, and later Avery, became more viable as girl names with the rise in popularity of Emily, Emma, and Ava.

  Here, we take a look at names that were once 100% male, but are now mainly female, using the USA’s most popular baby names 2022.

  

Names Now All Female

These names used to be all male, but are now 100% female. They were given to 0-4 boys in 2022, so they aren’t on the charts. Most are somewhat dated for girls, too:

  HeartBeverlyChevron - RightHeartHilaryChevron - RightHeartLesleyChevron - RightHeartLindsayChevron - RightHeartMeredithChevron - RightHeartShellyChevron - Right

  Some names on this list are still unisex in use, like Emerson and Finley, while others are now almost exclusively given to girls, like Addison and Hadley. Most names here are surnames and place names, a style that is particularly gender-fluid.

  Here, some of the most popular girl names that were once 100% male, along with the year they moved permanently to a girl majority.

  

Unisex Names That Changed from Boy to Girl

A to D

Addison: 98% female in 2022. More female since 1996.

  Alexis: 57% female in 2022. More female since 1942, but trending more unisex again.

  Allison: 99.7% female in 2022. More female since 1942.

  Arden: 61% female in 2022. More female since 1989.

  Ashley: 98% female in 2022. More female since 1965.

  Aubrey: 96% female in 2022. More female since 1974.

  Avery: 79% female in 2022. More female since 2018.

  Bailey: 93% female in 2022. More female since 1980.

  Beverly: 100% female in 2022. More female since 1898.

  Billie: 98% female in 2022. More female since 1890.

  Blair: 93% female in 2022. More female science 1981.

  Blakely: 99% female in 2022. More female since 1991.

  Briar: 63% female in 2022. More female since 2015.

  Brook: 74% female in 2022. More female since 1972.

  Cassidy: 93% female in 2022. More female since 1972.

  Charley: 83% female in 2022. More female since 1987. (The Charlie spelling has only been more female since 2016, and is now 53% female.)

  Charleston: 60% female in 2022. More female since 2015.

  Dana: 93% female in 2022. More female since 1956.

  Darcy: 94% female in 2022. More female since 1941. (In Australia, Darcy is still more popular for boys.)

  Delaney: 99.6% female in 2022. More female since 1981.

  Diamond: 71% female in 2022. More female since 1976, but trending back toward gender-neutral.

  

E to K

Eden: 75% female in 2022. More female since 1946.

  Emerson: 58% female in 2022. More female since 2003.

  Emery: 89% female in 2022. More female since 1998.

  Finley: 53% female in 2022. More female since 2004.

  Hadley: 99% female in 2022. More female since 1969.

  Harley: 80% female in 2022. More female since 1994.

  Harlow: 88% female in 2022. More female since 2002 (and much more so since 2008, thanks to Nicole Ritchie’s daughter).

  Harper: 98% female in 2022. Consistently more female since 1991. (It switched sides several times in the 1970s and 80s.)

  Haven: 90% female in 2022. More female since 1980.

  Hilary: 100% female in 2022. More female since 1944.

  Jodie: 83% female in 2022. Consistently more female since 1946.

  Jupiter: 68% female in 2022. More female since 2015.

  Kelley: 59% female in 2022. More female since 1954.

  Kelly: 74% female in 2022. More female since 1957. (The spelling Kelley is a little more unisex, with 59% female in 2022.)

  Kelsey: 95% female in 2022. More female since 1972.

  Kendall: 84% female in 2022. More female since 1993.

  Kennedy: 97% female in 2022. More female since 1993.

  Kenzie: 99% female in 2022. More female since 1970.

  Kim: 80% female in 2022. More female since 1955.

  Kinley: 99% female in 2022. More female since 1979.

  Kit: 55% female in 2022. More female since 2022 — Kit has just taken a leap up for girls.

  

L to Q

Larkin: 62% female in 2022. More female since 1949.

  Lauren: 99% female in 2022. More female since 1945.

  Leigh: 87% female in 2022. More female since 1947.

  Leighton: 74% female in 2022. More female since 2008.

  Lennon: 76% female in 2022. More female since 2015.

  Lesley: 100% female in 2022. More female since 1941. (The Leslie spelling has always been used for both sexes; in 2022 it was 93% female.)

  Lindsay: 100% female in 2022. More female since 1966.

  London: 83% female in 2022. More female since 1990.

  Madison: 99.5% female in 2022. More female since 1985 (the year after the movie Splash made it famous).

  Marley: 86% female in 2022. More female since 1962.

  Mckenzie: 99% female in 2022. More female since 1976.

  Mckinley: 90% female in 2022. More female since 1998.

  Meredith: 100% female in 2022. More female since 1921.

  Merritt: 64% female in 2022. More female since 2014.

  Michele: 83% female in 2022. More female since 1931.

  Monroe: 83% female in 2022. More female since 2009.

  Morgan: 71% female in 2022. More female since 1980, but trending back towards a gender balance.

  Oakley: 70% female in 2022. More female since 2016.

  Palmer: 84% female in 2022. More female since 2012.

  Paris: 91% female in 2022. More female since 1983.

  Payton: 89% female in 2022. More female since 1992. (The Peyton spelling was 81% female in 2022, and also more female since 1992.)

  Presley: 91% female in 2022. More female since 1990.

  Quinn: 82% female in 2022. More female since 2010 (thanks to a Glee character).

  

R to Z

Reagan: 93% female in 2022. More female since 1973 (inspired by The Exorcist’s Regan, and perhaps also Ronald, who was then Governor of California).

  Reese: 80% female in 2022. More female since 2003 (the Witherspoon effect), but trending back towards gender-neutral.

  Remi: 75% female in 2022. More female since 1990.

  Riley: 75% female in 2022. More female since 2003.

  Robin: 50.5% female in 2022. More female since 1940.

  Sandy: 86% female in 2022. More female since 1937.

  Shannon: 72% female in 2022. More female since 1937,

  Shelby: 92% female in 2022. More female since 1936.

  Shelly: 100% female in 2022. More female since 1937.

  Skylar: 95% female in 2022. More female since 1994. (Skyler also started out male, and didn’t switch to a girl majority until 2014.)

  Sol: 66% female in 2022. More female since 1995.

  Stacy: 90% female in 2022. More female since 1952.

  Stevie: 98% female in 2022. More female since 1983.

  Sutton: 71% female in 2022. More female since 2012.

  Sydney: 98% female in 2022. More female since 1940.

  Taylor: 75% female in 2022. More female since 1990, but the gender gap is closing again.

  Whitney: 94% female in 2022. More female since 1962 (the year before Whitney Houston was born).

  Read our complete guide to unisex namesChevron - Right

  

About the Author

  

Clare Green

  Clare Green has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, covering everything from names peaking right now to feminist baby names, and keeping up-to-date with international baby name rankings. Her work has featured in publications such as The Independent and HuffPost. Clare has a background in linguistics and librarianship, and recently completed an MA dissertation researching names in multilingual families. She lives in England with her husband and son. You can reach her at clare@nameberry.com

  View all of Clare Green's articlesChevron - Right

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