At a standstill - think we have the name, but some reservations

My husband and I are in the last few weeks of our pregnancy and hoping to finalize the name for our first, a girl, before going into the hospital.

Everything he likes (Kennedy, McKenzie, Riley, Livia, Avery & Harper) I'm just okay with. Everything I like, he pretty much doesn't (Stella, Isla, Tatum, Sophie).

We both really liked Sloan, but recently decided against it in favor of Elliott (Ellie, Elle). Hubby has some reservations about using the name Elliott for a girl. He's a little worried that she'll have to deal with a lifetime of being mistaken for a boy, however, we both like masculine & surname-type names for girls. We're also not too excited about making the spelling feminine (e.g., Elliette).

I've been reading everyone's advice for months - and it's been great! Would love to have you weigh in on our dilemma.


July 5, 2013 10:39 AM

My first reaction is that Elliot is a boy's name. But saying it a few times thinking 'girl' ... it really does sound pretty!! I almost would want to respell it, but when you gave that example it just didn't look right. So keeping it the same spelling will probably be fine.

I think people will get confused, but there are so many boy names that have been used as girl names, become popular, then even start to sound strange on a boy. I don't think it's as bad when it's a girl... it would be tougher for a boy with a girl's name. 

July 5, 2013 11:18 AM

Thanks Rbrtuh! I agree it does seem like one of the more feminine "boy" names!

July 5, 2013 11:08 AM

Despite all the surname as first names, I don't think it's a great idea to name a girl with a straight up boys name. It will cause her no end of headache and confusion. How about Elia? Or just Elle? 

July 5, 2013 11:21 AM

Hadn't thought about Elia, but Elle is one alternative we've discussed ... but we keep going back to if Elliott is the full name, we could call her Elle or Ellie too ... 

July 5, 2013 11:58 AM

My three-year-old grandSON Elliott just met a little girl his age named Ellery.  My son reported that Elliott liked her name--and her.

July 5, 2013 6:11 PM

Hadn't thought of Ellery ... I quite like it, but wonder if people will have trouble pronouncing it. I question whether I'm saying it correctly. Thanks for the suggestion!

July 5, 2013 12:20 PM

I have to say I'm just not a fan of boy's names on girls. It's not that I hate the name Elliot for a girl, it's just that I hate to see boys "lose" their names to the girls' side. Once a name goes girl, it rarely goes back, so in a decade I see boys named Elliot being teased for having a girls' name (probably how many boy Ashleys once were).

I do love Miriam's mention of Ellery for you. It's originally a surname that is still very uncommon as a first name. I do know one 2-year old girl Ellery.  It has some historical use for boys, but since it's largely unknown as a first name (not in the top 1000 for either gender), no one gender has laid claim to it yet.

By Coll
July 6, 2013 10:54 PM

Yes, I concur. I say this despite having a female friend named Elliott. But my friend always goes by her traditionally female middle name and has since she was born. And she was given the name Elliott because it was her mother's maiden name. And she's frequently assumed to be a man in official capacities when she has to use her legal name. I don't have a problem with surname-boys names on girls if there's a real reason for it (like Jessica Simpson's Maxwell) but I'm not a fan otherwise. But I'm in the minority on this one (not on this site, just in general).

July 8, 2013 11:39 AM


I also find myself irritated at a common argument I hear from some people who like using boy names on girls-"I want her to have a strong name" I think it just devalues girls.  Traditionally feminine names can convey strength, it's not a male-only quality.  Not saying you are thinking along these lines, just that it's something I do hear.

I also love the suggestion of Ellery for you and I don't think it's difficult at all to say.  Ell-er-ee (rhymes with celery).  I also love the more classic Ellen for that "elle" sound.  Of all the "elle" names, I think Ellen is the one currently getting very little use.

July 5, 2013 1:47 PM

I don't think that his concerns are unfounded. However, that being said, we live in the age of unisex names. Yes, Elliott is traditionally masculine, but so were Ashley, Shirley, Madison, Harper, Mason/Maison. If you guys LOVE the name, then use it. I don't think it will be too difficult for people to adjust. 

That being said, I'm not particularly fond of the idea of Elliott on a girl. I agree with Emerald Bee, I hate to see the boy names go to the girls. However, if you're into the surnames and you want the nicknames Ellie or Elle, have you considered Ellis? It isn't as popular as Elliott as a first name, and is also traditionally masculine. Plus, you have the added bonus of a literary connection: Emily Brontë wrote under the pen name Ellis Bell. 

July 5, 2013 6:12 PM

I LOVE the name Ellis - for a boy! :) I hadn't considered it for a girl, but it could definitely grow on me. It's a great name.

July 5, 2013 2:46 PM

As an expecting momma, I don't know a ton of young kids. Still getting used to all the girls named Dillon, Bryce and Andy! But of the young parents I know, I doubt any would bat an eyelash at Elliott. Ellie and Elle are very lovely nns.

I'm naming a boy and it is pretty darned hard guessing what won't be *only* for girls in ten years =) 

Will you use a middle to lean more neutral or more feminine?

July 5, 2013 6:15 PM

I agree boy names are even harder! We were leaning toward Noah when we didn't know and I'm finding through my 'masculine girl name' searches that Noah is being used on girls these days too!

We'd definitely want the middle name to be feminine - right now we're thinking Elizabeth.

Good luck finding a name you love!

July 5, 2013 10:41 PM

Noa is a feminine biblical name.  In the original Hebrew it is spelled and pronounced differently from the masculine name Noah.  In English the two names are spelled differently but pronounced the same.  This may cause confusion in some quarters.  I do know a family where the Noa spelling was used for several generations of males though.

July 5, 2013 6:21 PM

Elliott is a very trendy name for boys in my area, so I would assume a little Elliott was a boy.  That said, I wouldn't be floored if I met a girl Elliott.  As someone else said, androgynous names - especially when it's a surname or a boy's name on a girl - are pretty common these days.  I think Sloan is considered more of a female name between the characters in Ferris Bueller and Entourage, but I don't think Elliott - especially if you use Ellie or Elle as nns - is terrible.

July 5, 2013 6:42 PM

Like others, I'm just not a fan of boys' names on girls.

We also know quite a few Ellies and Ellas.

Just Elle (L) seems a bit unexpected, and I'd think might hit the sweet spot you're both looking for.

I think there will be occasional confusion with her name, but it's one I wouldn't be surprised to see on either gender, so if that's all that's keeping you from it, go for it.

As you both like surname/first names, but you seem to prefer a dollop of old Hollywood glamour with yours, I will just suggest Greer.


July 7, 2013 8:44 PM

Elle is a bit unexpected - I like that about it too ... We're starting to move away from Ellie - too common/cutesy.

And I love Greer! Great suggestion!

July 6, 2013 11:12 AM

The name Elliot surfaced as a girl's name for me through the TV show Scrubs. I still think of it as a boys name, but I don't think it is terrible as a girl's name and does lend itself to cute girly nicknames. 

I also know an Ellery and really like the name. She's in high school so I can see it aging past childhood well. 

July 7, 2013 2:25 AM

We had names on our list from both of yours, so I dont think your lists are  too far apart!

From your husbands lst I like Livia and Kennedy.  Kennedy mostly because it is historical and I love JFK.  Livia is the most like your list and it is a great name.  Nicknames could be Liv or Livvy.

On your list I like Stella and Isla.  Sophie is cute but too popular for me.  I think Stella and Isla are not far from Livia as far as style.

I would narrow to Livia, Stella and Isla.   Others you may like are Luna, Mina, Julia, Sadie, Fiona, Skylar, Estella, and Phoebe.

July 7, 2013 8:46 PM

I really like Estella! Even though it's close to Stella, it hadn't even crossed my mind!

July 8, 2013 11:40 AM

Some suggestions considering your / his favs:

McKenna / Kenna, Lillian, Sadie, Welles, Saiah (said like Isaiah but without I), Harlow, Emery

July 10, 2013 9:45 PM

thanks for the suggestions - it's nice to get fresh ideas! we feel we've been mulling over the same names for the past 9 months.

July 9, 2013 5:34 PM

I know a girl Elliott. At first I thought it was a little strange, having only heard of boy Elliotts. But it suits her so much! And the more I hear it, I love it.

I think as long you balance the Elliott with an obviously feminine name there shouldn't be a problem.

July 12, 2013 12:34 PM

Elliette is cute. 

Don't name your kid Harper. To harp on someone means to screech and shout. Also Harper is the last name of the Canadian Primeminister and he's really hated. Harper is a trend, and it isn't pretty. Avery and Livia are nice. Tatum doesn't flow. Isla is cute. 


Just not Harper.Dear god.

July 12, 2013 10:15 PM

So your vote is for Harper?

:) just kidding. I love your post - it made me smile. I'm not a fan of Harper for two reasons ... it's on my younger sister's "list" and it's quite popular right now.

July 12, 2013 12:59 PM

I know a baby girl named Elliot and it works. I think they occasionally call her "Elle" or "Ellie", but I know they also call her by the full name. It seemed like an odd, but interesting, choice to me at first, but it really does work as a girl's name. If we didn't have the association with it as a boy's name, phonetically it could absolutely be a girl's name - a concept that is being applied (and accepted) more and more these days.

Good luck!

By hyz
July 12, 2013 4:17 PM

I will add to the chorus that I am not a fan of boy's names on girls, so I don't like Elliott for a girl.  I have known one girl named Elliette (pronunciation almost indistinguishable from Elliott), which I guess is ok, but I still don't personally care for it (I like altered spellings only a little better than boys' names on girls).  I like a lot of your other ideas, like Stella, Isla, Livia, and even Avery and Harper.  If you like Estella or Estelle, I think those are also perfectly nice.  The only Ellery I've known was a man, about 50 years old, so it seems masculine to me, but certainly not as much as Elliott does.  I could see Ellery or Ellis on a girl. 

Since your husband seems to like the gender neutral options, have you considered Quinn, Morgan, Merritt, or Adair?  Or maybe a girl's name with a boyish nn, like Charlotte/Charlie, Theodora/Teddy, Katherine/Kit, Josephine/Jo or Josie, Danielle/Dani, Georgia/Georgie, Frances or Fancisca/Frankie, etc.  Or if it is the crisp -t ending of Elliott, any love for Juliet, Violet, Scarlett, Charlotte, Harriet, Bridgit, Bernadette, Yvette, Lisette, etc.?    

July 12, 2013 10:17 PM

LOVE LOVE LOVE Estelle and calling her Elle. Hubby doesn't. Love Ellis too. Hubby doesn't. Charlie was on our list at some point too. Thanks for all the suggestions - they are great!

July 12, 2013 5:14 PM

I'm going to go against the grain and say that girls should be able to use surnames as first names just as much as boys.  Afterall, woman have worn these surnames too, not just men.

You could change the spellingi to Eliot and say that you got the name from female writer George Eliot.

Of course, you'd have to accept the fact the strangers would assume that she was a boy at first.  If you don't have a problem with that, then Elliot is a fine name.

Other Elle/Ellie names are Eliana, Eloise, Elodie and Ellis.  I think Ellerie is bit more feminine than Ellery.

July 13, 2013 4:20 PM

I have always thought of Elliot as a unisex name. It sounds good and is classy. I'd go for it, if that's the name that speaks to you. What middle names are you considering? If you give your daughter a very feminine middle name, that might alay any concerns.

Best of luck and congratulations!