names and gender

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Is Love For This Name All I Need?

What do you think of the name Lennon for a girl? I really love it, but I'm getting more negative feedback then positive and it's killing my dreams.

-- Lennon Lover

It seems like you're asking two different questions here, Lennon Lover. The first: Do I, the annointed Name Lady, think your favorite name is okay for girls? And the second: Should you let a name dream die when it meets with overwhelming disapproval?

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Is This Name Allowed For Girls?

Can I use Camden as a girl name?

- Cautious Mama

Your choice of the word "can" in your question speaks volumes. On the simplest level, for course you "can" choose the name Camden for your daughter. In the U.S. and most of the English-speaking world, there are no lists of approved names; no rules. You can choose absolutely any name you want.

But that's not a satisfactory answer, is it? Your question "Can I" shows that you sense there are unspoken rules to the wild and woolly name game. Perhaps you're really asking...

- DOES anybody use Camden as a girl's name?

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Is This Name Off-Limits for Boys?

We are thinking about naming our son Reece Christian, but we're being told the name Reese is solidly thought of as a girl's name now. Is this the case?
- Reece Fan

It used to be that androgyny was the touch of death for boys' names. As soon as a name started to tip toward the girls' side, parents of boys would abandon it.

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Are Ghosts Male or Female?

Is Phantom a boy or girl name?
- The Phantom Parent

Strictly speaking, it could be said that Phantom isn't either. It's a common English word that is pretty much never used as a name. Most parents prefer names with, one might say, more "substance." Yet Phantom does have a certain eye-catching flair, like the Rolls Royce Phantom luxury car.

So I will attempt a little naming magic trick. I will tell you the real-world gender of a non-existent name.

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Are Musical Names for Sissies?

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

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Quick, Boy or Girl?

Is Ashton a boy name or girl name?
- Jo

Jo, your question is the shortest The Name Lady has ever published. I’m answering it because it speaks volumes...not only what you asked, but what you took for granted and didn't ask. You’ve taken for granted that a name is either male or female.

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But This Name Means So Much To Me!

My best friend died in a car crash when we were teenagers, and I vowed I would name my daughter Jamie Julie after her. A few years after that I found out that I couldn't have children. Now I'm pregnant, and it's a miracle! I just found out that I'm having a son. I was thinking of naming him Jamie Julian, but my husband thinks Jamie is "just a girls name". How can I convince him how much this name means to me and that Jamie is not "just a girls name"? - Best Friend

Dear Best Friend,

It's clear to me how much your naming vow means to you. Naming a child after someone who was important to you is one of the most heartfelt ways to honor that person's memory. The fact that your pregnancy is a wonderful miracle must add to your feeling of obligation to that long-ago vow. You've made your feelings movingly clear to me...so I have to assume you've communicated them just as effectively to your husband. "Convincing him how much the name means" to you, then, is probably not the real issue.

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Charles, And Other Boy's Names on Girls

Charles, And Other Boy's Names on Girls

Poring through the new entries on Namipedia this morning, a user-submitted name caught our eye: Charles. Really? we thought. Seriously? 

Because Charles was there as a girl's name. 

But the more we thought about it, the more it made sense. Girl's names for boys are one of the hottest name trends. But they are also controversial.

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Hugh+ette= A Girl Named Huguette?

Hugh+ette= A Girl Named Huguette?

Heiress Huguette Clark passed away this week in New York City at age 104. Though we're pretty sure the name Huguette is not going to catch on any time soon, we do think it's an interesting name. Take the traditional French name Hugh or Hugo, add the feminine suffix -ette, and there you go: Automatic girl's name!

Creating opposite-gender names from related names is a common practice in namesakes, as noted by Laura Wattenberg on our sister site, BabyNameWizard.com. Some names easily switch gender:Charlie becomes CharleneMartin can be MartinaJoseph is Josephine. But what if you want to name a daughter after Grandpa Aaron? 

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How Do I Choose a Girl's Name When I Wanted a Boy?

I was really hoping for another boy, so when we found out we were having a girl, I feel horrible to say I was disappointed. I have finally warmed up to the idea of a girl, but my husband and I can't agree on a name.

I want a name for my girl so badly, in hopes of making it a bit easier to accept that I am having a girl. (I feel horrible for saying that, too.) All suggestions that I get, I just go silent or get mad that I can't accept anything. How can I learn to love a name in the 10 days till I'm due?
- AnxiousExpectant

Please don't beat yourself up about this. Your feelings are much more common than you'd imagine.

Lots of expectant parents hope for one sex or the other. Sometimes they don't even realize they've been hoping "F" until the ultrasound comes up "M" and disappointment sets in. It doesn't mean they won't love their babies with their whole hearts. It just means that they had spent countless hours dreaming of a particular baby and a particular future family, and they have to let that dream go. That can be a painful separation -- and as often as not, names are wrapped up in it.

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