Friday, March 28, 2014

Other Types of Girl Names

Yesterday, I wrote about girl names that are the "feminine form of" a male name.  Karen suggested that might happen when parents happily decided to name their soon-to-be son "Harry" and when they found that he was lacking a necessary appendage, called him "Harriet."

Many names are strictly feminine names.  These have no male equivalent.  Hannah, Katherine, Elizabeth, Susan, Wendy, Wanda, Lisette, and many more.

And there are could-be-either names.  Unisex, ambiguous, androgynous....  Call them what you will.

They might be nicknames like Pat (remember Pat from Saturday Night Live?) or Chris or Fran, or a given name like Devon, Robin, Kim, Jan, Morgan, Drew, Shannon, Taylor, Tracy, or Madison, Andrea, Avery, Brook, or Evelyn.

There's another sort-of category.  I started yesterday's post by saying "boy names are boy names (until they aren't)."  There are boy names that were liberated.  Beverly, Hilary, Leslie, Shirley, Marian, and others, used to be strictly boy names.  Then a female baby got hold of it, and once it becomes a girl name it never goes back.  I'm guessing if you looked at the ratio of boys to girls with the names in the "ambiguous" category above, you'd find them drifting towards becoming girl's names. 

(I was also looking for invented names ~ all names were invented, if you think about it ~ and of course came to "Wendy," which everyone knows, was invented by JM Barrie for the book Peter Pan.  Except it probably wasn't, and it was probably a boy's name before that.)

(Another great invented name: Tom Rush was looking for a girl's name that implied a very large woman and decided on "Rotunda."  Somehow, this never caught on as a popular name.)

Of course, this is all background for How Do We Choose Our Names, which will be the next topic, after the weekend funnies.


  1. Billy is a boy's nickname for William, I've been given that name at birth. Now I merely use its feminie version to represent a girl, I'm known as Billie.

  2. My wife's brother had two sons named Corey and Jordan.
    I have a first cousin with two daughters named Corey and Jordan.
    In my case when I first joined Tri-Ess over 20 years ago they asked me for a femme name and I thought fast and simply went with my initials PAT. Pat on SNL works for me. When I became active on the blogs I had an email account and my name just sort of evolved into Pat Scales.

  3. I've always thought that Wendy was short for gwendelyn. love your posts. keep it up.

  4. My female name is Julie, but boy name is Peter. When growing up I had a female friend who I admired. Her name is Julie. We could talk as friends and relate to each other. We still are friends today. She had no idea I took her name in my female Form. Wish I had some way of letting her know. - Julie


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