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Are Musical Names for Sissies?

Q1: My husband and I are thinking of naming our son Jazz.  But I can't find any other people naming their boys this, is this too out there?--Mamabear

Q2: I heard of a male musician by the name of Lyric. I am a musician and love music, period. I thought, Wow! What an awesome name! I wanted to name our son Lyric, but my husband thinks it's a sissy name that may cause him to get teased. Other people in my family think it's more suited to a female, too. Thoughts? --Music Lover

As word-based names become ever more popular, I'm often called on to judge whether a word belongs to boys or girls as a name. Does that question even make sense? Can a name really belong to one sex if it's not traditionally a name at all?

I think the answer is clearly yes...sometimes. Certain words set up housekeeping under the M or F column with no controversy whatsoever. Take the modern boy's name Colt. Those four little letters give shout-outs to both animal vigor and firearms, all in a bluntly macho package. Nobody ever writes asking if Colt sounds like a girl. On the other side of the fence, imagine a baby named Azalea. You've probably never met one, but I bet you have no trouble identifying that melodious flower name as all girl.

Most words though, fall somewhere in-between. That means making peace with some level of androgyny. You'd think we'd be used to that, in the age of celebrity couples named Taylor & Taylor. Yet there remains a common fear that androgynous means "out there" or "sissy" for boys. (See: Did I Give My Son a Girl's Name?)

Lyric and Jazz are hardly Azaleas. Most musical names, though, end up on the girl's side: Melody, Cadence, Aria. (Can you think of an all-boy music name?) Lyric tilts that way too, with an assist from Hollywood. Lyric's popularity as a name dates to a 1994 film, Jason's Lyric, in which it was the name of a female character. Yes, there are quite a few boys named Lyric, but girls outnumber them 3 to 1. That doesn't rule the name out for a boy, but it may make it hard to persuade your husband that the name isn't "sissy."

Jazz is a slightly different story. Don't even bother checking the popularity charts on this one. The real action on Jazz is as a nickname, for names like Jasmine, Jasper and James. And when it comes to nicknames, Americans are usually happy to share between boys and girls. All the Samanthas and Alexandras out there haven't hurt the nicknames Sam and Alex for boys. So if you love the name Jazz but can't pull the trigger on something that "out there," consider using it but writing a more traditional full name on the birth certificate.


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April 23, 2012 11:03 AM
By Cate (not verified)

Chord sounds musical and boy to me. I think Jazz would make a cool boys name too.

April 23, 2012 11:08 AM
By Allison (not verified)

I'll second Chord! Very cool.

Lyric sounds girly to me, but I know a boy with the name.
Jazz to me is just a nickname for Jasmine or Jasper. Jasper itself would be very hot with names like Max and Gus being so popular now.

April 23, 2012 1:01 PM
By KF (not verified)

I think that some music names could be quite masculine. Something like Treble, Chorus, Concerto, Forte, and Tempo could work really well for a boy. Or even Fret, or Beat, though those two also have unfortunate meanings in English. Reed is another masculine name. And I can see Octave working for either sex.

Jazz as a given name feels male to me, too, though Lyric does tend to read more female, even though I know that it's given to boys, and there is nothing inherently feminine abut the spelling.

April 23, 2012 1:47 PM
By CP (not verified)

I also know a boy named Lyric but the name sounds female to me as well. Jazz works for either in my opinion. For myself, I would use a more conventional name officially and Jazz for the day-to-day. Partly because I am having a hard time picturing myself taking say, Dr. Jazz or the Honorable Judge Jazz or Principal Jazz Lastname seriously.

April 23, 2012 8:50 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I had a student (girl) in my kindergarten class named Lyric, and the people who owned our house before us had a daughter named Lyric, as well.

April 23, 2012 9:28 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

both seem girly to me, even though i understand how jazz could be masculine but think about it:
President Jazz?
Lyric the lawyer?
Jazz the surgeon?

i don't know about you but i would not want someone named Jazz cutting me open. they are great boys names if your child becomes a musician...but basically not for anything else, remember: your child is going to grow up eventually, and seriously...Grandpa Jazz?

April 24, 2012 12:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Love the idea of Jasper with Jazz as a nickname.

April 24, 2012 12:21 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think all of you who are worried about taking the name "Jazz" seriously need to remember that most names at one time seemed like kid's names, or maybe even "out there."
I bet, when the name "Linda" first started getting popular that people couldn't imagine a "Dr. Linda Lastname" because at the time "Linda" sounded like a little girl's name- not an adult. Of course, it isn't like that any more.
Also, parent's these days are giving their children more and more unique names. So, I don't think that having what is considered an unusual name right now will really affect these children when they are adults. In fact, the names probably won't even sound that weird in 25-30 years. I'm sure there will be exceptions to that rule, but I don't think that "Jazz" is one of them.

April 24, 2012 12:34 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Rock is a masculine music name, and with it being a genre, very similar to Jazz. I actually know a male we call Jazz (though, yes, it is a shorted version of his name and nickname). I might agree that Lyric seems more feminine, though.

April 24, 2012 12:36 PM
By nikki (not verified)

I must be in the minority here, but I think of Lyric as a boys' name.

April 24, 2012 12:46 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I don't care what my doctor's name is as long as they are competent. People don't go by Dr/Honorable/President FirstName anyway.

That said, I don't really like Jazz as a name. I think a named based on your favorite musician is more interesting, if you want something related to jazz.

April 24, 2012 12:50 PM
By Paula (not verified)

Singer-songwriter Paul Overstreet has a son named Chord, another son named Nash (after the city of Nashville), and daughters named Harmony and Summer.

April 24, 2012 12:54 PM
By hyz (not verified)

To me, Jazz sounds masculine, and Lyric feminine.

But I had to post just to note that Colt is the correct noun for a young male horse, its female equivalent being filly (foal--or weanling, yearling, etc.--would be the gender neutral terms). So Colt certainly should sound masculine, just like stallion or bull or rooster. I think something like Bear or Hawk is more interesting, in the sense that people seem to use those as given names or nns only for males, even though a bear or hawk should be about equally likely to be either male or female. Sure, they are big, aggressive, predator animals, and that's what makes them lean male for most people, but that's surely just our own prejudice and gender stereotyping coming out, nothing inherent about the animals or words themselves.

April 24, 2012 12:54 PM
By Tiana (not verified)

Jazz is far too close to Jizz, imo. Kids are ruthless & they will notice that as easily as I did.

That being said, my favorite way to honor music in a name is by using a name from a song, rather than a word name that connotes music.

April 24, 2012 1:00 PM
By AngelaAiea (not verified)

I met a girl named Jazzy once.

April 24, 2012 1:02 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Just don't give word names. Problem solved. Poem/Story/Lyric... what the heck is wrong with people?

April 24, 2012 2:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Tenor (m)
Tambre (f)
Tetra (f)
Treble (f)

Real live siblings, children of musicians. Tenor sounds more male than the others (male voice part), and that's the boy.

April 24, 2012 2:40 PM
By zoerhenne (not verified)

I like Jazz as a nn to Jasper. I think it sounds very masculine. Lyric sounds female to me. Usually with words as names I look toward similar sounds within other actual names. The "Ly-" part of Lyric matches most closely with Lynn, Lyla, and others like that for girls. Although I am aware of the male name Lysander there aren't any others that I can think of for boys.

April 24, 2012 2:50 PM
By Dee (not verified)

I don't think Jazz is very out there myself, but I know a guy named Jazz. I'm not sure if it's his legal name or not, but he uses it professionally and no one seems to bat an eye. Lyric is really quite pretty. I would have never thought to use it as a name but I kinda like it. I'll echo those who say it sounds more feminine, although I imagine it could work nicely as a boy's name.

April 24, 2012 3:35 PM
By <3 sgc <3 (not verified)

Sigh. I agree with Anonymous, who said Colt certainly should sound masculine since it means young male horse. But SHOULD, unfortunately, isn't always DOES. The name "Madison" means son of Matthew, but I would be willing to bet that most Madisons running around out there are neither boys, nor offspring of Matthews.

Jazz sounds very masculine to me. As does Reed. Lyric is more androgynous. It has the pretty, flowy sound of a girl's name, yet echoes the sounds of Eric. It could go either way, but I wouldn't pick that name for a boy. Other musical names that sound masculine to me include Dorian, Tom, and if you want to go a little "out there", then Tenor, Strummer, and Rhythm.

April 24, 2012 8:50 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Here are some music-inspired names - I'll leave it to you to say whether they're M/F or either.

Acoustic, Air, Allegra, Andante, Arabesque, Audio, Ballerina, Banjo, Bard, Basso, Baton, Bell, Bellringer,
Breve, Cadence, Cadenza, Calypso-, Campanologist, Capella, Carillon, Carol, Chant, Chanter, Chanteur, Chanteuse, Charleston, Choir, Chora, Choral, Chord, Chorda, Chordette, Chorus, Clarinet, Clef, Coda, Coloratura, Concert, Concerta, Concerto, Coppelia, Cornet, Crescendo, Cymbal, Descant, Diminuendo, Do-re-mi,
Drummer, Drummonde, Echo, Encore, Fanfare, Fantasia, Finale, Flautist,
Flute, Fluter, Fugue, Gavotte, Giselle, Guitara, Harmonic, Harmonica, Harmonia, Harmonium, Harmony, Harper, Jazz, Jazzra, Karioke, Lark, Lyra, Lyric,
Madrigal, Mandolin, Marimba,
Melodica, Melodious, Melody, Molto,
Music, Musicale, Oboe, Octave, Octavia, Octavian, Odette, Odile, Opera, Operetta, Orchestral, Pianne, Piper,
Pirouette, Pirry, Prelude, Reed, Reprise, Requiem, Rhapsody, Salsa,
Samba, Serenade, Singer, Solo, Sonata,
Songsmith, Songster, Songstress, Stanza, Tabor, Tambourine, Tango, Tarentella, Tempo, Timbre, Tone, Trio,
Troubadour, Tunia, Varia, Versa, Vibrato, Viola, Whistler, Woodstock,
Woodwind, Xylophone, Yodella, Zither

April 25, 2012 1:55 AM
By LeanneHawk (not verified)

My husband and I are thinking of naming our son Jazz. But I can't find any other people naming their boys this, is this too out there?--Mamabear

April 25, 2012 5:54 AM
By VirgieValentin (not verified)

As word-based names become ever more popular, I'm often called on to judge whether a word belongs to boys or

April 25, 2012 9:06 AM
By Rachel (not verified)

I live in the UK and Jazz is either Masculine or Feminine here. For females it is a common nickname for Jasmine as well as Asian names that start with Jas.. This is where it can be masculine too as I have male friend named Jaspinder who goes by Jas / Jaz. Currently on TV here, appearing in the UK version on 'The Voice', there is a male contestant named 'Jazz Ellington'.

April 25, 2012 8:55 PM
By Taylor (not verified)

I used to know a male Jazz, just Jazz, and it fit him perfectly. It's an awesome name and if I were you, I would go for it! Think of it along the likes of Jace; a nice, easy to say one-syllable name.

Lyric I prefer for a girl but I think it can go either way. :) In fact, I rather like it on a boy. It sounds pretty sound and strong to me, IMHO. I don't see how it is "sissy" at all.
What's wrong with boy names that are maybe a little feminine, anyway? I like them. Boys don't have to be so tough all of the time. (I also like Jazz as a nickname to Jasper.)

As for both, I agree with a PP that in the future these names will not seem so weird. Look at the other names these children's generation harbors. ;)


April 26, 2012 1:41 PM
By Joanne (not verified)

Jazz could go either way for me. It works as a name for Jasper etc. but also Jasmine. As a full name it is a bit 'out there' but as another commenter said: names that seem strange now most likely won't in 20-30 years.

As for Lyric, I can see where people are getting girl from because of the 'Ly' (like Lyra) and overall sound of the name, but it reminds me of a mashup of Liam and Rick which is all male, so I think it could work well on the boy, especially when you think that Rick is a nn to fall back on.

April 27, 2012 2:39 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think Lyric makes a great boy name, because of sounding like Eric. I thought "boy" the first time I heard it. It's not very "butch" masculine though.

April 28, 2012 8:01 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I would go for names of musicians or composers rather than music theory terms:


for more jazzy names:


April 30, 2012 1:54 AM
By Tarmie72 (not verified)

I've known only one Jazz, and he was a boy I used to babysit when I was a teenager. :) He was a great kid, and teasing about his name just never came up as far as I'm aware.

Also, am I really the only one who immediately thinks of "Transformers" when they hear the name? Autobot Jazz is, was and always will be one of my top favourite characters in the franchise. ;) I would definitely name my son Jazz and to hell with the haters.

April 30, 2012 8:43 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

You would name your child after a Transformer? That's terribly sad.

May 2, 2012 4:45 AM
By Benita Foote (not verified)

would use a more conventional name officially and Jazz for the day-to-day. Partly because I am having a hard time picturing myself taking say, Dr. Jazz or the Honorable Judge Jazz or Principal Jazz Lastname seriously.

May 4, 2012 6:34 PM
By Azure (not verified)

If you are looking for a jazz tribute name, I had Coltrane on my list.

May 5, 2012 9:27 AM
By Amaryllis (not verified)

My goddaughter's name is Azalea and while she's the only girl I've ever met with that name, there's no denying that it's a GIRLs name through and through.
I agree that Jazz can be for either or, but Lyric sounds like Azalea to me. All girl.

May 10, 2012 6:56 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

i was also thinkingof the name Chord while reading this. Chord Overstreet, musician and actor, got his name because his family is really into music, and he was the 3rd son (there are 3 notes in a chord). I thought that was a very interesting name, and i love it.

May 15, 2012 11:31 PM
By Beth the original (not verified)

Do you think the name Punk sounds sissy?

Just kidding.

May 25, 2012 6:32 AM
By DivaMomCarol (not verified)

I'm going to caution you about teenager/bullies and sexual innuendos they place on names. Jazz is on that list in my opinion. Just sayin'

June 8, 2012 4:46 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know a boy named Jazziah, an alternative of Josiah, as both his parents are musicians. He's usually known as Jazz. But the fact that the musical term jazz comes from slang for semen would put me right off.

June 15, 2012 5:33 PM
By Lemon (not verified)

I think of Lyric as definetely feminine, but Jazz could go either way. I agree to use a more formal name on the birth certificate, so that if he needs to, he can use it to sound more serious. Good ideas though, to use music words as names.

July 4, 2012 2:11 AM
By Inderjeet Singh (not verified)

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