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10 Most Popular Boy Names for Girls

New Baby Name Trend


Updated January 11, 2012

During the late 80s to early 90s, the United States embraced a new baby name trend. Not simply unisex names, but using traditional boys names for a baby girl became increasingly popular. It is a trend that has been sticking around since. Here are some of the most popular boy names for girls currently being used.

See also: Boys' Names and Baby Girls - History and Opinions

1. Madison and Addison

I've grouped these two names together due to how similar they are and the similar pattern they have followed. The names Madison and Addison actually mean "son of Maude" and “son of Adam” respectively. Madison hit the girls' charts first (see link below as to what triggered its popularity), and it would seem that Addison road along on Madison's coattails.

Both Madison and Addison had long been on the Social Security Popular Baby Name Charts for baby boys- in fact as far back as those charts go - 1880. Each waned in popularity from the period of 1935 to 1985, but began climbing the boys' charts during the mid 80s. Since that time, Addison was the more popular of the two boy names. However, since Addison started appearing on name charts for girls in 1994, the name is slowly dropping off the boy’s list.

2. Riley

Like Madison and Addison, Riley was taken from a surname. In England, Riley means "place of a rye clearing." In Ireland, Riley is more commonly spelled Reilly.

Riley has consistently been on the name charts for boys for the past 130 years. Granted it's never been in the top 10, but it has consistently made the charts. Using Riley (or any of the many spelling variants of it) on girls only began in 1990, and the new-found girl name has been a fast climber in popularity. When grouping the spellings together (Riley, Ryley, Ryliegh, Rylee) the name soars into the top 20 names for girls from this past year.

3. Avery

Honestly, I hear the name Avery, and I automatically think of Fern's mean older brother from Charlotte's Web. Avery has always been on the boy charts, though never exceptionally popular. Avery used on girls didn't make an appearance until 1989 and caught on like wildfire. In 2010, it reached its highest rank for girls in the #23 slot.

4. Taylor

Seeing a trend here? Taylor also was birthed from a last name; one which referred to the occupation of a tailor. Again, it has always appeared on the name charts for boys, reaching its peak on the boy name charts in the early 1990s.

Taylor first appeared on the name charts for girls way back in 1979, though it barely made the top 1000 names for that year. It began booming in popularity, and as it reached its peak in the top 10 for girls during the mid to late 90s, Taylor fell drastically from the boy charts and continues to drop steadily in popularity. Interestingly enough, in England, Taylor remains a solid boy's name.

5. Morgan

Yes, yes another name that came from a last name. And yet again, a name that was a solid boy's name for nearly a century before it began appearing on the girls' charts. For girls, Morgan has clung in the top 100 names since 1987, reaching its height in popularity in 1997. However, since that time it has been consistently dropping about as quickly as it rose in popularity. Morgan also is nearly exclusively used as a boy's name in other countries such as England and France.

6. Charlie

So finally, a name on the list that was not a surname. This one is a bit interesting as well. Charlie has always been a popular name for boys, particularly so from the 1880s through the 1930s. It began dropping in popularity since then, reaching its lowest point in popularity in the mid 1990s. It's been climbing as a boy's name once again, though definitely not to its dominance in the top 100 baby names seen at the turn of the century. The more formal name, Charles, has a solid place in the top 100 names for boys however.

On girls, Charlie was actually used during the first half of the 20th century, though never at all very popular. From 1950 to 2004, the name no longer even made the top 1000 list. However, in the past 5 years, Charlie for a girl's name has become more popular than it ever has been.

7. Reese

I think we can thank Miss Witherspoon for the rise in popularity of Reese as a girl's name. Interesting bit of trivia - Reese is not Reese's first name, but rather her mother's maiden name. Her given name is actually Laura.

So Reese on girls didn't start appearing on the charts until 2000, and she has been steadily creeping up the ranks ever since. Let's contrast that to its usage as a male name, Reese, which is actually an anglicized version of the Welsh first name Rhys. The boy's name Reese has appeared on and off the charts since 1880. Since 1985 it has appeared on the boy's chart every year. The boy's name crested in popularity in 2003, but is falling rather quickly back down the chart, just as the girl's name Reese rises in popularity.

8. Ryan

I find this example particularly interesting. Ryan had a brief blip of an appearance on male name charts way back in 1906. It didn't resurrect again until 1946 and surged up the charts with persistence. From 1976 to the present, it has remained in the top 25 most popular names for boys in the United States.

So unlike the other names above, Ryan has been an exceptionally popular name for boys in recent years. On girls, Ryan didn't begin making the charts until 1974. It has been on the girls' charts ever since, though seemed to peak in popularity for girls during the mid 90s. It has been dropping in rank ever since.

9. Harley

For me, you say Harley, I say, motorcycles. As a given name, it is from an Old English surname meaning "hare clearing." Harley has appeared on popular boy name charts every year since 1880, but only began appearing on girl name charts as of 1991. It seems to have peaked in popularity in 2003, and now, like several of the other examples above, seems to be falling back down the charts with the same speed as it rose. Similar to the names Taylor and Morgan, in England this name has only appeared on boy name charts.

10. Logan

Logan is from a Scottish last name, meaning "little hollow." It has appeared on and off the boy name charts (more on than off, however) since 1880. The early 1990s is when the name for boys began to take off, and for the past several years has landed itself in the top 20 names for boys.

On girls, it is a different story. It didn't appear on the charts until the late 1980s, peaked in popularity in 1999, and again is backsliding the charts rather quickly.

Looking for even more suggestions? Read a thorough listing of unisex and gender crossover names.

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