With all of the gender-neutral baby names rising today, we wondered what sorts of middle names parents are pairing with them. To our surprise, parents generally go for more traditional gendered middle names. We think this is for practicality’s sake but we thought it might be appealing to offer gender-neutral middle name options to either pair with the unisex first name (because you buck the trend!) or as pairings for more established, gendered, first names.
A unique unisex middle name can add an unexpected twist to a mainstream first name. Or it can bolster the intended ambiguity of a truly gender-neutral first name choice, like Megan Fox’s Journey River or Alanis Morrissette’s Onyx Solace. The bottom line is you’re the parent and you get to decide how you want to name your baby and what conventions you will take into consideration. We have collected the 25 most agreeable unisex baby names that offer plenty of fun and unparalleled originality. Check out these adventurous options!
Cairo is a beautiful place name that’s beginning to trend with boys appearing in the US top 1000 as a first name favorite in 2015. Cairo is remarkably versatile and works well with both longer and shorter first names. If you like this one, we also urge you to consider Egypt.
In the Bible, the cedar is mentioned in Psalm 92:12: “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” The Lebanon Cedar was used to build King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. Cedar makes for an agreeable middle name with a hint of nature.
Another botanical choice that can work for both genders lies in Rue. The name means “regret” in English and “street” in French. But, the name itself comes from the herb. Rue is fabulous because it is a one-syllable wonder that agrees well with longer first and last name combinations.
Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson used Hero as their daughter’s middle name, which agrees with its mythological history when it belonged to a Greek woman. The name means “demi-god” and we think it works perfectly as a unisex baby name.
With the likes of Wren and Lark highly fashionable right now, Kestrel could make for a fierce, middle option. This name for a bird has only recently emerged as a name option and we are thrilled that new parents are adopting it for both boys and girls.
One of the most usable of the pleasant, newly adopted unisex nature names comes in the form of Bay. Bay refers to a body of water but it was a classically used Latin name that means “berry.” The bay laurel tree has been cherished since ancient times for its medicinal and culinary properties. Like, Rue, this name is a one-syllable, versatile option.
Dove is another bird name that has classically symbolized peace. While this name is not generally associated with little boys, we don’t understand how it ever got tied to baby girls! Dove is a gender-neutral name and a perfect middle option that rhymes with love.
Salem is a top 1000 option for both boys and girls in the US. Salem is a Biblical place name in Canaan, believed to be the same as Jerusalem. The name comes from Arabic and means “safe.” Salem is so gentle and forgiving and will sound great with almost any given name.
Parents have finally returned to using Blake as a given name and middle name for girls after it was overtaken by baby boys starting in the 1980s. Blake is such a brisk and efficient name. It originated as English surname meaning both “fair-haired” and “dark.” So, you can apply which one best suits you.
It took us some time but we have finally warmed to the name Peregrine. In the UK, the name has long been considered an aristocratic choice which could be why we have such mixed feeling about it. The gender-neutral baby name can be traced to Latin in which it means “traveler” or “pilgrim.” In fact, it was given to many baby boys who were born on the Mayflower.
Tempest is one of those names that could be either very good or very bad. Is it a cool, evocative modern word name? Or just asking for trouble? We’re onboard for this English name that means “turbulent” or “stormy.” With new parents choosing names like Storm and Stormy, we don’t see why Tempest does not work.
In the Bible, Elim is an oasis where the Israelites stopped during their Exodus from Egypt. It is a place of plenty representing the natural blessings of God, with twelve springs of fresh water and seventy date palm trees to provide food and shade. This is a criminally underused unisex baby name that we hope parents will consider. It means “place of strong trees.”
The last time North made the US top 1000 baby names was in the 1880s. We love this name but we would understand you waiting on it for now as it could be seen as inspired Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter. Do you.
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Phoenix is a New Age name symbolizing rebirth and immortality. The name has Greek origins that mean “dark red.” It’s currently a top 500 given name for both boys and girls. Phoenix has the attractive -IX ending making it even better in the middle.
Akira is a popular Japanese name for both sexes that’s migrated to the West because of its appearance in manga and video games. Akiro is a related name popular for boys. However you spell it, this is an attractive choice that can mean “bright” and “intelligent.”
Avid readers or Francophiles should be drawn to the name Zola thanks to French writer Emile Zola. This name also has African origins and it can mean “earth” and “calm.” A word of caution, this is one of the fastest-rising names for baby girls right now which may or may not be of import to you.
The town of Shiloh is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. It was where Joshua and the Israelites collected to cast lots for the seven tribes and for many years it was where the Ark of the Covenant resided, becoming a place of pilgrimage. This name has enjoyed a renaissance after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt chose it for one of their children. Shiloh has Hebrew origins and it means “tranquil.”
Nico is considered a short form of Nicola, Nicholas, Niccolo, etc. We think it has an agreeable sound to it and works extremely well as a gender-neutral middle name. Nico has Greek origins and shares its meaning with Nicholas, “people of victory.” A winner, no doubt!
Bliss might strike many new parents as being too sweet, but we think it is appropriate as a middle name, if almost exclusively so. Bliss, of course, is the English word for “intense happiness.” Who would not want that for their little one?
Seneca was both a Roman philosopher-statesman and is a Native American Iroquois tribe. Seneca means “people of the standing rock.” This name sounds both strong and romantic. Unfortunately, it has gone virtually unused, but we see its favor changing in coming years.
Milla Jovovich and Paul Anderson chose the name Ever for their daughter and, we must admit, we are rather fond of this one. Alanis Morissette and Souleye named their son Ever Imre. You can attribute this name to the English word, “at all times,” or its Scandinavian origins meaning “wild as a boar,” or as an alternative form of Eber, a Hebrew name that means “beyond.”
Sage fits many criteria sought by modern parents. It’s short and strong, with hints of wisdom as well as perfumed herbal properties. At this point, Sage is given about a third of the time to boys. The Greeks and Romans wrote that the smoke from burned sage leaves imparted wisdom, and in the tenth century, Arab physicians said that sage brought about immortality, or at the very least, a long and healthy life. Sage comes from a Latin word meaning “wise and knowing.”
Justice is a rare virtue name that’s used for both boys and girls and it has been on new parents’ radars since the 1990s. However, along with all the other virtue names, Justice is more commonly given to girls. We love this one because it conveys a secular idea unlike Faith or Grace.
Pax is a gender-neutral baby name that is on the verge of cracking the top 1000 and we see it exploding in favor after the past several months that we have all endured. Pax is the Latin word for “peaceful.” Another unisex option lies in the Spanish form of this name, Paz, which sounds a touch zestier.
There you go! We hope you enjoyed this list of gender-neutral middle names for your baby. These versatile names will fit with almost any other names and they do not skimp on style. Whether you want to unisex name to match a first name or simply looking for something more interesting in the middle, we think these 25 options are the perfect ones. Happy baby name hunting!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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