First popular in the 1960s, gender-neutral names have been on the rise since. As parents-to-be carve out ways to give their baby a distinctive name and personality, unisex names have continued to surge in recent years. According to Jennifer Moss, baby
name expert, founder and CEO of babynames.com and author of “The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book,” the past year has shown an uptick in open-gender names. Check out some of her favorite monikers — as well as other unisex names from
the most recent Social Security Administrations (SSA) baby name list.
This past year, there has been a boom in unisex name popularity. Jennifer Moss, baby name expert, founder and CEO of babynames.com and author of “The One-in-a-Million Baby Name Book,” says there has definitely been an uptick in unisex
names over the past year. Here’s a look at Moss’ top five names:
Origin: English; Greek cognate of the Hebrew Elijah (meaning, “Jehovah is God”); also from the Old French surname Elie.
Meaning: The Lord is My God. Elliot is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Elijah. Elliot sits at 217 on the SSA’s baby name list.
Origin: Irish; one of the great heroes of Irish mythology (Finn MacCool or Fionn mac Cuumhaill, legendary Irish third century hero similar to the English Robin Hood).
Meaning: Fair; also a Nordic name meaning "Man from Finland”. A top-10 favorite name in Germany, this iconic name first popped onto the SSA baby name list in 2000 and how sits at number 234.
Origin: English surname
Meaning: From Hadda's Field; from the health-covered meadow. Currently at 99 on the SSA baby name list, Hadley conjures visions of green fields or sun-spotted glens. Hadley is the name of author Ernest Hemingway’s first wife
(born Elizabeth Hadley Richardson).
Origin: English (from the Middle English surname)
Meaning: An occupational surname referring to a harp player. Harper is a far more common surname than given name. Famous people with the name Harper include Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Harper rose to
No. 11 on the SSA baby name list this past year.
Origin: Irish; English form of the Irish surname, Ó Ceallaigh.
Meaning: Bright-headed; warrior. Perched at 431 on the SSA baby name list, Kelly is an Irish surname that became increasingly popular to both genders during the tail-end of the 20th century.
Origin: English (a surname from the city of Lincoln, in northeastern England)
Meaning: An early Roman settlement in England, located at a pool or lakeside. The name Lincoln harkens back to the revered president, Abraham Lincoln; the name currently is No. 87 on the SSA baby name list and is being used more and
more frequently for both boys and girls.
Origin: Irish; Scottish.
Meaning: Descendant of Conn; Gaelic meaning is “Counsel” (referring to wisdom and intelligence). This name has deep, ancient roots as a Scottish and Irish surname and is currently ranked 126 on the SSA baby name list.
A long-favorite boy’s name, the moniker became a unisex favorite in the mid-1990s (possibly due to the TV show “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”), and has continued to be popular.
More Name Ideas
For additional inspiration, check out the following unisex favorites from the SSA’s list of top 100 baby names for the past year: