A true unisex name, Alex is a popular pick for both sexes. As a short form of Alexander or Alexandra, meaning "defender of mankind," Alex retains its classic roots while still being modern and independent.
The response toward the name overall has been conflicting. Some people think it should only be a name for pets. Others think its various associations are too strong (Bailey's Irish Cream, anyone?) While still others kind of find its Old English origins meaning "bailiff or law enforcer" kind of charming. We'll let you be the judge.
Cameron's origins may be slightly off-putting (it derives from the Scottish surname meaning a chieftain with a "crooked nose")—but hey, it sure does add character! The solid unisex name's famous namesakes include Cameron Diaz, Cameron Crowe and—if we're counting surnames—James Cameron. If you're feeling a bit rebellious, you can switch the "C" out for a "K."
We're kind of in love with this name, thanks to the swoon-worthy hero Mr. Darcy from "Pride and Prejudice." The adaptable name can be handsome and irresistable or elegant and graceful, with a bit of aristocratic flair.
A moderately popular name, Erin is a poetic name for Ireland or "the island to the west," making it a favorite for American families with Irish roots.
While Francis is traditionally a male name and Frances a female name, the "I" spelling is making a comeback as a popular option for both genders—probably thanks to the current Roman Catholic pope. Cute nicknames can be Frank or Fran, inspired by Francis Albert Sinatra and Francine Drescher. Or if you're feeling literary, you can just go with F (as in F. Scott Fitzgerald).
While it's unclear whether Glen came about as a surname or given name first, what is clear is that it's not doing so well in the popularity rankings (having peaked in the 1930s). But that's OK—especially if you're looking for a unique but still classic name. You go, Glen Coco!
Hemingway fans can appreciate the name, popularized by his first wife and the novel "The Paris Wife." Other namesakes include fictional characters Hadley Hale (Sookie's cousin in "True Blood") and Remy Hadley (aka Thirteen in "House"). It's also a more sophisticated and modern pick for both boys and girls than Harley and Hayden.
Ira is one of the rare names with deep, classical roots for both genders. Boys can trace the name to one of King David's 30 mighty warriors in the Old Testament, while girls can trace it to the Greek version of Hera, the Queen of the gods. Other famous namesakes include lyricist Ira Gershwin, author Ira Levin and NPR host Ira Glass.
Jesse, Jesse, Jesse: You are everywhere. The once-dominantly male name can be found in the Bible (King David's father), as an outlaw (Jesse James), in TV (Jesse Katsopolis and Jesse Pinkman), as actors (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jesse McCartney) and even in song ("Jesse's Girl"). The name carries its edgy and fierce vibe into the girls' realm, especially as a pet form of the more traditional Jessica, Jean and Janet.
Kelly was once a widely acceptable male name, popularized by the 1960s TV series "I Spy" and Clint Eastwood's character in the war film "Kelly's Heroes." We're not sure how the tides have turned and made it almost exclusively female since then (peaking at No. 10 in the '70s), but now it's hard to bring up the name without thinking of pop culture stars Kelly Clarkson, Kelly Osbourne and Kelly Ripa. Is it time to rescue Kelly for the boys?
Lee is kind of like a jack of all trades—known as a first name (Lee Pace), middle name (Jamie Lee Curtis), last name (Bruce Lee) and also a favorite unisex name. Short and sweet, Lee is an amiable name meaning "pasture."
Traditionally a male Welsh name, Morgan is now used more for girls than boys in the U.S. Meaning "dweller by the sea," Morgan has an undeniably powerful presence, certainly reinforced by famous sorceress Morgan le Fay and actor Morgan Freeman.
Nell means “champion” or “bright, shining one”—great, positive origins for any baby boy or girl. Currently, Nell is more commonly used as a charming, vintage name for girls, slowly pulling away from its ties to traditional names like Helen, Ellen, Eleanor and Penelope.
Orion’s a stellar name for your rising star, climbing the charts since its pretty sudden popularity in the ’90s. Rooted in Greek mythology, the legendary hunter and god of the ocean is also one of the brightest constellations in the night—perhaps baby will shine just as bright!
Parker is on the rise for both genders. Voted the favorite celebrity name of 2013 across the pond, the popular surname turned first name is also making a splash with the stars here in the U.S. (for example, both Rosie O’Donnell’s and Clay Aiken’s sons are named Parker). The name has a jazzy edge (thanks Charlie Parker), an indie vibe (thanks Parker Posey) and even triggers some spidey senses (thanks Spider-Man).
A favorite unisex and traditional Irish surname, Quinn means “descendant of Conn” or “counsel.” Strong, attractive and sharp, the name has been on the rise since the mid-'90s for both females and males, even inching its way into the pop culture domain, like with the “The Mighty Quinn” (film and Bob Dylan song) or the just-as-mighty "Glee" cheerleading queen Quinn Fabray.
If you’re looking for a trendy unisex name, Riley’s your gal—or guy. The hip, upbeat friendly Irish name (meaning “courageous”) is a hot pick, entering the top 10 for the first time only a few years ago. Contemporary, flexible and popular, Riley’s one of the few androgynous names that just click.
While more down-to-earth (and popular) than its “e”-less counterpart, the sky’s the limit with this unisex name. The Scottish place name jumped in popularity in the ‘80s, thanks to multiple soaps such as “All My Children” and “General Hospital.” Skye is now taking a fresher, edgier turn with the millennial hacktivist namesake in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
For parents who favor less-common names, Tory is a cute pick. A diminutive form of Victoria, Torrence or Victor, Tory reached modest height only in the 1970s and has since seen a steep decline.
If you think “Tory” is uncommon, then “Uri” is a rare Pokémon. Although it’s not even in the top 1,000 names, Uri is a short and strong first name with a ton of potential. Meaning “my flame” or “my light,” the Hebrew name can be traced to the Old Testament to the father of artisan Bezalel (who made Moses’ ark of the covenant) and the father of Geber (who provided nourishment for Solomon). Optimistic, kind, unique—what’s not to like?
Vivian (Latin for “life”) seems to have taken a second life, now at its highest ranking since the ‘50s. The classic name stems from the Merlin enchantress and continues to be a legendary and literary favorite. While a more dominantly female name in the U.S., Vivian is still occasionally used abroad in Britain as a male name.
Joining the trends inspired by seasons, nature and gods, Winter is a fresher take than its more traditional Summer and Autumn cousins. Winter’s a great name for parents inspired by baby’s due date, the falling snow and the crisp and cool vibe that comes with the season. It also helps that the W consonant is a super “in” sound—with Weston, Wyatt and Willow being recent favorites.
Love the name “Andy” but still looking for something edgier? This is where adding an “x” to everything comes in. Need I say more?
If you’re looking for a wintery name (that’s not literally Winter) but find Noel or Christmas too conventional, Yule might be a great possibility for your winter solstice baby.
While a more traditionally a masculine name, we think Zane’s hip “Z” vibe can work for girls as well (or even the more unique spelling, Zayne). Its cowboy associations with Western novelist Zane Grey give Zane an appealing, more modest touch to an otherwise zany name.
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