Names hold so much power. That's a fact that makes me cringe while also making me feel so hopeful and happy. If words hold power, imagine the magic that is unleashed when a child receives a well-thought-out name. Names are the manifestations of our parents and passed down to us as self-fulfilling prophecies. I wonder if this has anything to do with why we spend so much time considering the names of our children before they're physically in this world. I mean, seriously, I've had names chosen since before I even wanted children.
Whether we view it as inconvenient or unjust, is irrelevant, the reality is that there's so much perceived based through one's name—from the external world to our own internal feelings. Our names should not make us feel more disenfranchised but less so. It should provide us with security, light, and love. Which is why one might consider going with a more gender neutral name for their child. Not to mention, there's something so delightfully (yes, delightful) cute about gender neutral names. This is easier now than ever, as the abstract baby name movement, made it nearly impossible to tie gender to virtually any names. Here are 21 gender neutral baby names to consider if you're in need of a little inspiration.
21 Gender Neutral Baby Names & Their Meanings
Typically the name Ryan means "illustrious" or "little king" and like many of the other names on this list it can serve as a surname with Irish roots or an English-American given name. Per actress and musician Ryan Destiny, we see that the name works beautifully as a unisex name.
Of Arabic origin, this name means "crown". Actor and one of the Mowry clan, Tahj Mowry inspired this addition to the list.
Variations: Ashli, Ashly, Ashely
An English name meaning Ash Tree Meadow, the name Ashley is a friendly reminder that gender norms and knows shift with time. Back in the day, this name was more commonly a name for men. But way, way back, its origin was better known as a place or a surname.
Ashley Walters, known for his role as Dushane in Top Boy, is one of many men given the timeless name. You might also recognize him as Antwan from rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's debut film, Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
Note: this name still seems to be prominent for men in the UK. I found that there were quite a few UK entertainers (athletes, actors, etc) with the name.
The name Tory means "outlaw" in the Irish language. Infamous rapper Tory Lanez is but one famous person with the name. And though it's unfortunate that I couldn't think of another example of a Black man with this name...I find great humor in the irony here.
Variations: Carli, Charley
The name Charlie is of German descent and translates to "free man". Murder Inc. rapper Charli Baltimore, known for her distinct red hair and early aughts lyricisim, is one of the better known women of color that carry the unisex name and do it well.
To be a child simply BORN to the 90s, I probably know of more men named Stacy than meant for my time, as it was in its decline as a unisex name at that point. I owe this revelation in part to the classic movie, The Wood. But it's no secret that what goes around, comes right back round.
The female variant of this name is derived from Anastasia, meaning "resurrection". While the male variant's roots lie in the name Eustace which translates to "steadfast".
Variations: Kelli, Kelleigh, Kelley
Longtime Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland goes by this nickname, a shortening of her full given name Kelendria. Though its origins are an Irish surname, it has more commonly been known for its origin as an English-American given name. The name translates to "church"; "farm by the spring"; "holly"; "warrior"; and "wood".
Variations: Jordyn, Jourdan, Jordain
Finally! A name that is not of Irish origin. Though I'm sure you can guess, the name Jordan has Hebrew roots and simply means "to flow down". The most prominent public figure that comes to mind when thinking of this name is socialite and entrepreneur Jordyn Woods. It's worth noting that this is also a common surname.
While it serves as a surname and a given name, it is the surname that gives meaning to this name. From an Irish background, the name Drew means "descendent of the druid". As a given name, it is more frequently used for boys and often simply the shortened version of Andrew. Rarely do women have the name but inspired by Drew Barrymore and Drew Sidora — a known actress, currently starring in the Real Housewives franchise — it made the cut.
Variations: Aubree, Aubri
Of French origin, it means "elf ruler"...yikes! That will certainly be a conversation piece. Though the name has typically been viewed as more feminine name, I imagine it has rose to popularity quite a bit since actor turned rapper Aubrey Graham A.K.A Drake A.K.A Champagne Papi A.K.A Wheelchair Jimmy stepped on the scene.
Dallas is both a city and a surname of Scottish and English origin. In Old English, the name translates to "valley house", while the Scottish meaning is "meadow dwelling". Award-winning producer and songwriter Dallas Austin, who rose to fame in the 90s, is a masculine-presenting person who was given the name.
Jace is a Hebrew name that translates to "healer" or "the Lord is salvation". It is a relatively common name in American culture. As far as your fave celebs who were given this name...there aren't too many. But I believe that's because this name is still up and coming.
Variations: Jamee, Jaime, Jamey
An English name that means "supplanter", which I'm not exactly sure how that translates. Though his family may know him as Eric Marlon Bishop, the world knows him as triple threat Jamie Foxx. Wonder if he knew what it meant before he changed his name to supplanter.
Variations: Camron, Cameryn, Camaron
Model, dancer, and actress Ariane Andrew better known as WWE stage name Cameron comes to mind. As cute as this name is and I do adore it, the meaning? Not so much! The Scottish name Cameron means "bent" or "crooked nose".
Actor Peyton Alex Smith, known for his roles in TV shows such as Legacies and The Quad is a pretty known entertainer with this name, which means "warrior" or "regal" depending on the origin language. Another interpretation is "fighting-man's estate", whatever the hell that means.
The name has a few translations from "keeper of the keys" to "pure" or "slender". The origin of Kalen can be found in English, Gaelic, and American culture. YouTuber, influencer, and food critic, Kalen Allen was one of the first men that I know of to publicly have the name. Though it is more commonly a girl's name, it is very fitting as a gender neutral name as well.
The name Blair is of Scottish origin and means "plain", "meadow", and/or "field". I know it doesn't mean that kind of plain, but the actor Blair Underwood is anything but plain.
Variations: Kris, Christian
"One who carries Christ" is what this English name means, and is often the nickname for boys named Christopher or both boys and girls named Chirstian. While Christian means "follower of Christ" (also of English origin). Rapper and businessman Chris "Ludacris" Bridges took this name and made one helluva career...or at least a punny one.
Variations: Terri, Teri
Terry is a unisex name with old German origins and it translates to "power of the tribe". Though I can't think of any women celebs with this name, actor/comedian Terry Crews is in an elite group of men with the name.
Variations: Kendal, Kendel, Kendyl
Translating to "Kent river valley", the name Kendall is of Old English origin. Much to my surprise, there were quite a few entertainers with this name; from professional boxer Kendall Holt to rapper Kendall Lake.
Variations: Sean, Shaun
Though traditionally used for little boys, the name Shawn has gained popularity as a gender neutral name. It means "God is gracious" and has English-American roots. I first heard of this name being used as a unisex name when Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter mentioned the gymnast Shawn Johnson in "Already Home" — a track on his Blueprint 3 album. But also there's comedian, actor, and one in a million from the Wayans family—Shawn Wayans.
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