100+ Gender-Neutral Names (With Meanings) and Why It Matters
Understand why more parents are adopting gender-neutral names and browse the most popular picks.
Some years back, parenting resource BabyCenter named 2015 "the year of the gender-neutral baby." The following year, The New York Times established that the number of unisex baby names had risen by 88 percent since 1985. A couple of years after that, the non-binary hit "Harper" managed to squeeze "Abigail" out of Nameberry's list of the top female names in the country—that was the first time the name had lost its rank in 17 years. If it hasn't already been made obvious, let's make it clear: More parents are turning their backs on names traditionally associated with masculinity and femininity, and the reasons for doing so vary. Read on below to learn more and discover some of the most popular gender-neutral names in circulation today.
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What Are Gender-Neutral Names and Why Are They Important?
Gender-neutral baby names cover a wide umbrella of possibilities that are not bound to any one sex. As opposed to traditional "girl names" and "boy names," these options aren't intended to clue others into the baby's identity as it relates to their gender.
While some gravitate toward gender-natural names (also known as unisex, agender, or nonbinary names) simply because of how they look and sound, others are looking toward a more specific motivation.
New data collected by the Williams Institute at UCLA finds that there are about 300,000 individuals aged 13-17 who identify as transgender within the United States. Increases in individuals who identify as nonbinary or gender-flexible have also been noted.
Research suggests a majority of this group will eventually adopt more affirming titles—a move which has been shown to dramatically reduce symptoms of severe depression among this demographic. While certain pockets of society are becoming more open to these kinds of changes, other areas aren't quite there yet.
A gender-neutral pick might just save your kid the spectacle of having to make a change down the line. Or, if you're a non-binary person looking to make a change from the name you were given by your parents, this list of gender-neutral names could serve as inspiration.
Popular Unisex Baby Names, With Meanings
Check out our original list of gender-neutral names below. We've included some of the country's most popular options along with a few unusual unisex names, just to mix things up.
- Adair: A Gaelic name meaning "happy spear" or "lord of the oaks"
- Aidan: An Irish name meaning "little fire."
- Alexis: A unisex name of Latin origin meaning "helper" or "defender."
- Angel: Derived from the Greek name Angelos, meaning "messenger of God."
- Ariel: A Hebrew name meaning "lion of God."
- Arrow: This name has British origins and refers to the projectiles fired from a bow.
- Ash: A gender-neutral name of English origin, referring to the verdant ash tree.
- Avalon: A Welsh name meaning "island of paradise."
- Avery: A name of British origin meaning "ruler of elves."
- Baylor: A popular name for boys and girls meaning "one who delivers goods."
- Bellamy: A gender-neutral name of French origin that means "good friend."
- Billie: A German name meaning "high protector."
- Blair: A Scottish name meaning "field" or "meadow."
- Blake: A name for one of the 14 Tribes of Galway in Ireland.
- Blythe: Originally adopted as a British surname, this name means "cheerful" or "joyous."
- Briar: A popular baby name for all genders meaning "a thorny patch."
- Bronte: Derived from the Greek word for "thunder."
- Brooklyn: Some parents use this name to honor the New York City borough; others regard it as a combination of the name "Brooke" and the suffix "lyn."
- Cameron: Believed to have come from the Gaelic word cam sron, which means "crooked nose" or "crooked river."
- Cary: A gender-neutral name of Welsh origin meaning "pure."
- Casey: Taken from the Irish Gaelic word cathasaigh, meaning "vigilant" or "watchful."
- Chandler: A popular unisex name of French origin. It was traditionally used as an occupational name, stemming from the French word chandelier, meaning "candle-maker" or seller."
- Chardon: A name born out of the Native American culture meaning "sand bar."
- Charlie: A popular unisex name from the Old English word ceorl, meaning "free man."
- Cheyenne: A gender-neutral name of Sioux origin, meaning "people of a different language."
- Coby: Derived from the Hebrew name Ya'aqov which means "supplanter." Today, it is used as a popular nickname for Jacob.
- Dakota: A Native American word meaning "friend" or "ally."
- Darcey: A popular name among both sexes meaning "dark" or "from the fortress."
- Deavon: A British name meaning "deep valley dweller" or "defender."
- Dylan: A Welsh name meaning "son of the sea."
- Eden: A Hebrew word meaning "paradise" or "place of pleasure."
- Ellington: A name of British origin used to refer to "someone from Ellis's town," though others may associate it with jazz legend Duke Ellington.
- Elliot: A Hebrew name meaning "The Lord is my God."
- Ember: A modern English name taken from the word meaning "lump of hot coal."
- Emerson: Of German origin, meaning "brave" or "powerful."
- Emery: A British name meaning "industrious" or "powerful."
- Evelyn: An English name meaning "desired" or "island."
- Fallon: An Irish name meaning "superior" or "descended from a ruler."
- Gael: A Welsh term originally used to describe people who spoke Gaelic.
- Grey: A modern name that translates to "grey-haired" but is often celebrated for being cool, hip, and edgy.
- Harlow: Of British origin; originally used as a surname, meaning "rock hill" or "army hill."
- Harper: Though traditionally reserved for a baby girl, this has become an increasingly popular gender-neutral pick. The occupational name comes the England tradition and was originally used to refer to someone who plays the harp.
- Hayden: An Old English word meaning "hedged valley."
- Hunter: Originally used in England to identify professional hunters, making it the perfect name for a baby on the prowl.
- Indiana: An American name used to denote Indian territory.
- Indigo: Taken from the Greek word Indikon, which translates to "Indian dye" or "from India."
- Jaime: A gender-neutral name of Spanish origin.
- James: A biblical name meaning "supplanter" or "replacer."
- Jayden: A Hebrew name meaning "thankful" or "God will judge."
- Jesse: A name with English, Dutch, and Hebrew origins meaning "God's gift" or "king." Can also be used as a diminutive for Jessica.
- Jordan: A Hebrew name meaning "to flow down" or "to descend
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- Kai: This name can be found across cultures and possess multiple meanings. In German, it means "warrior." In Hebrew, it means "holiness of the land of Israel." In Hawaiian, it means "ocean" or "sea."
- Kendall: Originally used as a surname in England meaning used to describe those who lived in the Kent river valley.
- Kennedy: Taken from the Gaelic name Ó Cinnéide, meaning "helmet."
- Kentucky: A Native American name meaning "land or tomorrow."
- Kirby: A name with Norse roots that has also become popular in England and Ireland. It means "settlement by a church."
- Kyle: A name of Scottish and Irish origin. Taken from the Gaelic word caol, which means a narrow, strait, or sound.
- Lawson: A British name meaning "son of Lawrence."
- Lennon: An Irish name meaning "lover." Many parents also identify this name with the late John Lennon.
- Logan: A Scottish name that comes from the Gaelic word lagan, which means "hollow."
- London: While the etymology behind this name is unclear, some suspect that the name London comes from the Latin word Londinium—a term used during the Roman Empire.
- Mackenzie: A unisex name of Scottish origin meaning "son of Coinneach" or "son of the bright one."
- Madison: Originally used as an English surname, meaning "son of Matthew."
- Marley: A British name meaning "marshy meadow."
- Mercer: An occupational name derived from the French word merchier, or "merchant."
- Monroe: An Irish name meaning "mouth of the River Roe." Some parents also associate this name with the late Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe.
- Morgan: A Welsh name meaning "sea-born" or "sea-strong."
- Noah: A biblical name likely of Babylonian origin from the word nukhu meaning "repose" or "rest."
- Omid: A Persian name meaning "hope."
- Page: An Old English name meaning "attendant."
- Parker: Originally used as an occupational surname meaning "park keeper."
- Peyton: In the English tradition, this name means "fighting man's estate." In Ireland, it is considered a variant of Patrick.
- Presley: This name is derived from the Old English word preost, meaning "priest." Some parents also use this name to honor Elvis Presley, the king of rock 'n' roll.
- Quinn: A Scottish/Irish surname meaning "descendent of Conn."
- Raine: A name of Sanskrit origin meaning "she is singing."
- Reagan: An Irish name meaning "kingly" or "little king."
- Rebel: A variant of the French word rebelle used to describe someone with little respect for authority.
- Reese: An anglicized spelling of the Welsh name Rhys.
- Reign: An American-inspired name meaning "sovereign" or "rule."
- Ricki: A name of German origin meaning "powerful" and "brave."
- Riley: Of Irish and Gaelic origin meaning "valiant" or "rye meadow."
- Robin: A derivative of the boy's name Robert meaning "bright" or "shining."
- Rory: A Gaelic name meaning "red king."
- Rowan: In Ireland, it is a traditionally masculine given name and surname. In Arabic, it reads as a feminine name referring to a river in paradise.
- Rumi: A name of Japanese origin meaning "peaceful" or "flow."
- Ryan: Derived from the Old Irish name Rian. While its original meaning is unknown, modern sources suggest it means "little king" or illustrious."
- Seneca: The name of an Iroquois tribe meaning "people of the standing rock."
- Sidney: From the Old English word sidan, meaning "island in a river" or "riverside meadow."
- Simone: The French derivation of Simon, a Hebrew name meaning "heartbreaking."
- Sinclair: Taken from the St. Claire surname, which was taken from the Latin clarus, meaning "pure," renowned," or "illustrious."
- Skylar: A variant of the Dutch surname Schuyler, meaning "scholar."
- Sloane: An Irish name meaning "raider" or "warrior."
- Stevie: Derived from the Greek word stéphanos, meaning "crown."
- Taegan: A gender-neutral Irish name meaning "little poet"
- Taryn: An Irish name originally used to describe "the hills of Ireland."
- Tatum: Of Old English origin, meaning "Tata's homestead."
- Taylor: Taken from an English family name meaning "cutter of cloth."
- Teo: A Spanish name and derivative of the Greek name Theo, meaning "divine gift."
- Toby: A shortened form of the Hebrew name Tobias, meaning "God is good."
- Whitney: A gender-neutral baby name of British origin meaning "white island."
- Wyatt: Of British origin and derived from the medieval word wyot, meaning "war strength" or "brave warrior."
- Zephyr: A Greek name meaning "west wind."
- Zyon: A variation of the Hebrew name Zion, meaning "highest point."
What are the 10 most popular gender-neutral names?
Names trends have shifted dramatically over the past couple of decades. Gender neutrality is now a major consideration among parents. Some of the most popular unisex baby names include:
What are the rarest unisex baby names?
The names below made it onto the Social Security Administration's most recent catalog of the top 1,000 popular baby names, though they remain among the least popular gender-neutral names on the list.