You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of the 200 most popular unisex names of all time, and while some are probably the kind of names you don't hear around the playground very often these days, others are in heavier rotation lately. In fact, 20 of the most popular unisex names of all time will probably sound pretty familiar!
For example, in the number one slot on the most popular unisex names of all time list is "Willie," which, well... when was the last time you met a male or female named Willie? Other top rankers are similarly outdated, such as "Terry" at #3. But thanks in part to celeb parents like Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and more than one Kardashian, gender neutral names are perhaps more in vogue than ever, with more versatile options rising up to replace old school-sounding titles.
At the end of the day, of course, there are no rules declaring any name to be "just for boys" or "just for girls," so you're of course entitled to be as creative as you like when it comes to how you assign a given name. But if any of these names are on your list (or your children's social security cards), you definitely aren't alone!
It's probably safe to say that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith started something of a trend when they named their son Jaden back in 1998 (yes, that adorable little boy is 19 years old now!). Under the spelling "Jayden," the name comes in at #28 on the list of most popular unisex names, though it's more popular with boys than girls.
Coming in at #30 on the list, Riley is an Irish name that's almost equally popular with boys and girls (though probably not for the somewhat odd meaning, which is "Descendant of Roghallach").
Another name of Irish origin (meaning "from the hollow"), Logan is ranked at #12 — and while it's popular with both genders, this one is more commonly given to baby boys.
A Hebrew name meaning "to flow down" (like the river, of course), Jordan is all the way up at #4 on the list. Currently a bit more popular with baby boys, this name still attracts plenty of parents of both genders... though it appears to have had a really major moment in the late '80s/early '90s (which must have something to do with Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block, right?).
Ranked at #33, Sydney is a French name that apparently originated as a contraction of St. Denys, interestingly enough. While its popularity with boys has remained fairly consistent through the years, there was a huge spike in baby girls named Sydney in the late '90s and early 2000s.
An English name meaning "from the hay downs" — which makes sense, sort of — Hayden is currently at #49 and has been more popular with both genders than ever before over the past decade (though slightly more so with boys).
Though this Scottish name (ranked at #46) means "son of Kenneth," it's been much more frequently used as girl's name in recent years.
Directly under Jordan at #5 on the list, Taylor is an English name meaning, um, "tailor" (who would've guessed it?). You'll probably come across slightly more female Taylors these days (like a certain celeb pictured above as a kid), but it's still a popular enough boy name.
Coming in at #38, Avery is just a bit more popular with girls than boys, but this English name has one of the coolest meanings ever for either gender: Elf ruler. (Expect this kid to grow up with a taste for Tolkien and Harry Potter.)
An English name meaning "bailiff or steward," Bailey is listed at #51 and is a more common choice for baby girls. Both genders saw a surge in the name's popularity in the late '90s, however, which can obviously be attributed to the Party of Five's "Bailey Salinger" character (as anyone who was a teenage girl in the '90s can tell you).
Ranked at #54, Peyton is almost equally attractive to parents of both genders (a little more in the case of girls) and is a name of English origin meaning "from Pacca's town." (There's got to be some interesting history there!)
This English name (which comes in at #74) means "manly" — but as the above pic of a young Drew Barrymore proves, it clearly works for either gender. (Still, it's technically more commonly used as a name for boys.)
Parker is an English name meaning "park keeper" (again, makes sense) that's ranked at #56, and while it's more common in boys, it's growing steadily more popular with girls, too.
Ranked at #22, Morgan is a name of Welsh origin meaning "great circle," and more parents choose this for girls than boys, though of course there are plenty of male Morgans out there (Morgan Freeman, for one).
Yet another Irish name (this time meaning "valiant in war"), Casey is just a little bit more common in boys. Current ranking among unisex names: #31.
Remember when Dakota Fanning looked like this? Ranked at #52, her name is actually more popular with boys overall, and is of Native American origin (meaning "the allies").
All the way up at #11, Robin (which is of English origin and means "bright fame") is found on more baby girl birth certificates, but that doesn't mean it's not a boy thing, too (Robin Thicke and Batman's sidekick come to mind).
Of Scottish origin, Cameron means "bent nose" and falls at #17. Thanks to Cameron Diaz, you might think of it more as a girl's name, but it's been getting more popular with boys.
At #24, if you assume Adrian is a girl's name, it might have something to do with the movie Rocky ("Adrian!!"). In fact, this unisex name (of Latin origin, meaning "person from Hadria") is more popular with boys.
Thanks to Aubrey Plaza, this traditionally unisex name (#45 on the list) might be more associated with females at the moment, and indeed it started skyrocketing in popularity for girls around 2006. Meaning "noble ruler," Aubrey is of English origin.