It's true. Since the beginning of the 20th century
, women have slowly been acquiring more and more names that used to be names for men. For a while these names coexist precariously as both male and female names but eventually things get to the point where no self-respecting parents with any trace of pity would dare name their son "Ashley
" or "Meredith
," both formerly names for men. The problem is that men never seem to steal female names. This is one of those gender issues where boys with girls names would be ridiculed and stigmatized, but girls with boys' names are seen as hip and cutting edge. All I can say is that men better strike back and start naming their sons "Sarah
" and "Elizabeth
" or pretty soon we won't have any names left and we'll all be named "John
Here are some names that used to be male, but are now commonly thought of as female:
Alexis - "defending warrior"
Allison - "son of a nobleman"
Andrea - "manly, masculine"
Ashley - "ash tree meadow"
Aubrey - "king of the elves"
Audrey - "powerful king"
Beverly - "beaver meadow"
Brook - "a brook"
Carol - Latin form of "Charles"
Courtney - "short nose"
Dana - "someone from Denmark, a Dane"
Ethel - "Prince"
Evelyn - old Norman surname, meaning uncertain
Gail, Gale - "A Celt"
Glenn - "a glen"
Haley - "hay meadow"
Hillary - "joy, good cheer"
Jocelyn - "a male member of the Gauts (a Germanic tribe)"
Joyce - "joyous"
Kelly - "descendant of Ceallach"
Kelsey - "Cenel's land" (name of an island)
Kimberly - "Cyneburg's meadow"
Lacy - "from the town of Lassy" (in France)
Lauren - "from Laurentum" (in Italy)
Leslie - Scottish place name, meaning uncertain
Lindsey - "island of linden trees"
Lynn - "Lake"
Madison - "son of the mighty warrior"
Marion - "follower of the god of war"
Meredith - "great chief"
Morgan - "bright sea"
Paige - "serving boy"
Robin - a nickname for "Robert"
Shannon - "old, ancient"
Shelley - "sloped meadow"
Shirley - "bright meadow"
Stacy - nickname for "Eustace"
Sydney - "from Saint Denis" (in France)
Taylor - "a tailor"
Tracy - "warlike"
Vivian - "lively" (name of a 5th century French bishop)
Whitney - "wide island"
/msg me if you think of others
Lila points out that this process is not proceeding as quickly in the UK.