There was a time when boy names were strong and masculine, often based on historical references and classic characters in history. With names like William, Henry, Thomas and Oscar there is no doubt about the masculinity of a male child. Though some names will forever remain on the masculine side, others have been pulled to the middle into a unisexual area where both male and female children are named. Names like Riley, Tyler, Charlie and Blair – traditionally male names – are not commonly given to female children.
When the unisex movement first started parents pulled male children back into the more masculine name domain, but the edges soon blurred and a softer side emerged. In 2013 there is a growing trend of leaving behind traditionally masculine names with softer, gentler names being given instead.
Characteristics of Softer Sounding Male Names
Two common characteristics of softer sounding boy names are vowel sounds and N sounds. Vowel sounds don’t necessarily mean the name ends in a vowel – rather a soft ending like AH is common.
Popular male names that end in a vowel sound include:
Popular male names that end in the N sound include:
Unisex Names are Being Revived by Parents of Male Children
When the unisex name revolution started parents chose male names for female children. The names could have been left on the female side of the name game, but parents of boys are pulling back harder than ever. Some of the most popular unisex names include:
Some unisex names follow the general rules of softer sounding boy names; they end in soft, vowel sounds thus blurring the lines between girls and boys.
Same Name Different Spellings
One of the longest running trends in softer sounding boy names includes names that sound like girl names, but are spelled differently when given to boys. Popular spelling variations include:
- Erin (G) and Aaron (B)
- Nicki (G) and Nikki (B)
- Gabrielle (G) and Gabriel (B)
- Kelli (G) and Kelly (B)
History is packed with strong names for boys and soft names for girls. Boys were often named based on family members with sons carrying the name of their father, father’s father and so on. Today, parents are choosing boy names for many different reasons, including meaning, how the name sounds with the surname and personal preference. Softer sounding boy names are here to stay and the movement from gender-based names to unisex names is growing.