A Baby Name Style Brought to Life: The Faces of Andro-Girly names

Apr 4th 2013

Check out this outstanding collection of  "Andro-Girly" female names:


If you're not familiar with this name style, the recipe starts with a masculine/androgynous name, typically a surname. Baby namers then play with the spelling to produce something brightly girlish.

I first described the fast-rising style last fall. It's a highly regionalized name trend, one of several I identified for the new regional naming maps in the upcoming edition of The Baby Name Wizard. (Available May 7. Yay!) If you live in a state like Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee or North Dakota, you might recognize red-hot names like Brynlee, Kynlee, Paityn, Brooklynn and Ryleigh from your state's top-100 names list. If you live in a state like Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California or Vermont, you might say, "Seriously??"

Which brings us to the name list above. In keeping with the regional trend, those names come to us straight from the rodeo. They're names of young cowgirls captured in photographer Ilona Szwarc's pictorial on girls in competitive rodeo, featured in last weekend's New York Times Magazine.

For those of who already know and love Andro-Girly names, the cowgirl pictorial should be an enjoyable celebration of the style and the bold girls it represents. But for those of you who can't fathom the appeal of names like Kynlee and Paityn, this could a rare opportunity.

I often say that a baby name choice represents parents' values, hopes and dreams. Well, here's a chance to walk in someone else's dreams.

Page through the photos of Kenli, Mayson, Chaley and friends. Or for a shorthand version, just click to photo #11 and contemplate six-year-old Konnar with her elaborately tooled saddle, classic ridgetop hat, and fair hair streaming over a western shirt festooned with bright flowers. You still may or may not like the Andro-Girly names, but I'll bet that now you get them.


April 4, 2013 2:38 PM

If you name your cowgirls Mayson, Cooper, Konnar, Carsen, Maddox, Rylee, and Remi... I wonder what you name your cowboys?  Does the hyper-masculine trend (Gunner, Axle, Colt) correlate with these same states?  I also just have to wonder if some of the boy names we currently think of hyper masculine will be given to girls in 10 years.  I also wonder if the map in last fall's article should now include Texas! 

April 5, 2013 9:29 AM

Awhile back I went and calculated the "gender ratio" of several unisex names popular at various points in time in various states; the general trend I've noticed is that although a lot of the states Wattenberg mentions in this post have a reputation for using traditionally masculine names on girls, people in those same regions are also more apt to continue using such names on boys despite also using them for girls. The region most phobic to unisex names for boys is the Northeast (you'll also notice a greater deal of "conformity" with boy's names there compared to the rest of the country, where many "traditional" names that have dropped quite a bit elsewhere are still near the top of the charts). For example, in my home state (one of the ones where the "andro-girly" style is now prevalent) male Kellys (I'm one) are not uncommon, while where Wattenberg lives they are quite rare (with Kelly being one of the classic "Irish-American" names you'd expect more male Kellys there, but the numbers indicate otherwise). West coast states like California (which you'd expect to be the most sexually liberal) come out pretty much neutral in this regard. (If you want to see some actual numbers I have a spreadsheet I prepared a year or two ago with numbers from the SSA's extended state-by-state list.)

April 5, 2013 10:12 AM

KellyXY is spot on -- the "liberal" Northeast is America's most conservative naming region, especially the more urbanized, educated and affluent states. (I live near Boston, and my kids have never had a single classmate with an "Andro-Girly" name. In fact, their class lists often look like a snapshot of a time gone by.)

More on the liberal/conservative naming enigma: http://www.babynamewizard.com/archives/2009/1/red-and-blue-baby-naming-inauguration-2009-edition

April 5, 2013 5:27 PM

Taking an androgynous name and changing y to ee or i doesn't magically  make the name feminine, but it does make it appropriate for a career dancing around a pole.

April 5, 2013 8:27 PM

You know, I'm generally not a fan of the style, but I have a sister called Kelsi (different spelling) who is a 30 something attorney.

Most of us wouldn't blink an eye at girls called Morgan, Kelly, or Lindsay these days in any number of professions.

I will say that many of these names seem not just spunky and masculine but also clearly designed to be creative.

KellyXY's post really made me think, though! I tend to have a snobbish attitude towards boyish names on girls, but maybe moms who would use a name on either gender should really be looking down on me and my old-fashioned gender sterotypes. Thought provoking! Not saying I'd name a girl Konnar....but thought provoking!

April 6, 2013 10:32 AM

"Maybe moms who would use a name on either gender should really be looking down on me and my old-fashioned gender sterotypes" -- yeah, maybe, but only if they're equally willing to name a son Meredith, Kelly, or Evelyn as they are to name a daughter Remi or Mayson. I don't think most such namers would be willing to reverse a trend like that, so I don't think they're following gender stereotypes any less than me -- they're just following "new-fashioned" gender stereotypes instead of my old-fashioned ones.

April 8, 2013 1:39 PM

Wow, really interesting article/post.  You can't make this stuff up, folks.  As for the pole-dancing, I'm not sure which set of names would best fit there. It kind of seems like anything goes nowadays, but that is an interesting suggestion and one that my wife and i talk about.  Setting up a kid for certain career choices by picking a name, or spelling of a name. How many future CEOs are going to be named Tyfphanni, for example... There seems to be a clearer view of "dancer" names from my generation (the age of jennifer), or at least most people i know would probably agree. And at the risk of offending people I'll let them make up their minds as to whether Allison, Melissa, or Candi would be the most likely to "work late".  But I wonder about now, or the future? 

April 8, 2013 8:43 PM

The polar of opposite of  stripper names so-called (and see the hilarious take on those names from the foul-mouthed teddy bear in the movie Ted), I knew several women named Rosary, and they were all, um, devout. I rather wondered if they would have headed straight for the convent, if their names had been, say, Amber or Heather.

April 9, 2013 1:00 PM

I have a grandsons named Aidan and Maddox and their sister is named Melina Kelsey.  We all live in TX, so I guess it's just a matter of preference not residence.

April 10, 2013 2:46 PM

I'm from MN & these names are very popular here, too. If you go on the hospital nursery websites you'll find lots of female names like; Kenley, Tenley, Kinsley, Kinley

And just recently I've seen a lot of females with; Oakleigh/Oakley, Bentley/Bentleigh, Logan

I like the idea of the new "neutral style" names, but even Bentley & Logan for girls is pushing it to me. :P

April 11, 2013 11:29 AM

Last night at the embroidery shop, I took a new name for a baby blanket:  Graycyn Merle.  I immediately thought of this post. 

April 13, 2013 11:07 PM

Naming really is the last bastion of class snobbery, isn't it?  These names give me the fantods.

April 14, 2013 5:47 PM

As I was looking through, I thought Lariat was a pretty classy and intriguing choice: not for me, I like it for a cowgirl! Perhaps a bit close to Larry, but very pretty in itself.

December 19, 2013 6:40 AM

Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work.

The Hillford

December 20, 2013 5:51 PM

I mean, I do know it was my option to read, but I truly thought youd have something fascinating to say

information on condos

December 23, 2013 6:42 AM

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time and you really captured the essence of the subject.

online language tutor

December 25, 2013 1:06 PM


I also benefit from learning the assessments, but learn that alot of people ought to stay on essay to try and add worth in the direction of the authentic weblog release.interview podcasts

December 26, 2013 10:18 AM

Excellent! I admire all the helpful data you've shared in your articles. I'm looking forward for more helpful articles from you. :)

accounts receivable

December 28, 2013 4:23 PM

Very informative article.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic. auto insurance

December 29, 2013 3:34 AM

I love the blog. Great post. It is very true, people must learn how to learn before they can learn. lol i know it sounds funny but its very true. . .

generic cialis

December 29, 2013 4:46 AM

That"s a great attitude, I hope the incoming comments and suggestions are equally positive.

breast growth pills

December 31, 2013 3:27 AM

I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.

hay day cheats

December 31, 2013 1:21 PM

Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely fantastic.

Minecraft updates

February 3, 2014 3:21 AM

You should continue this, Sure plenty of people would agree youve got a great gift..

bubblegum casting

February 3, 2014 4:49 AM

Excellent explanations shown here, would make me more notifiable in future need of this occurrence a noteworthy experience seen before. mykonos villas

February 6, 2014 3:17 AM

Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep up the good work you are doing here.

Riverbank Fernvale

February 6, 2014 4:52 PM

Your website is very chatty. It will be useful for all of us.


February 10, 2014 6:02 AM

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you.


February 10, 2014 8:08 AM

Here is deep description about the article affair which supported me more.

Download manual

February 12, 2014 4:11 PM

The first several months of my site there were no comments; just give it time; now they come in like crazy every day! Thanks.

Melaleuca reviews

February 16, 2014 9:53 AM

You have brought up a very excellent points , appreciate it for the post.

bubblegum casting

February 18, 2014 5:55 PM

Your site is fantastic. I’ve bookmarked your site in my browser; I hope in future days I’ll get more valuable information from your site.

White Horse

February 19, 2014 4:45 PM


This site is excellent and so is how the subject matter was explained. I also like some of the comments too. Waiting for next post.PV cell

March 12, 2014 6:23 AM


Your post is very exciting and informative. I am planning to decide on a career move and this has helped me with one aspect. Thanks man!car dvr

February 25, 2014 5:07 PM

According to Purdue, most cultivars begin to bud when days are less than 12 hours long, but a few renegades form buds in response to summer’s heat.


February 3, 2015 3:59 AM

That is a excellent perspective for different concepts. I will keep this for new upgrade about the confirm track


March 12, 2014 4:17 AM

I think this happened because of technology is much cheaper. They should increase new technology.

backgammon strategy

March 5, 2014 5:22 PM

Number 22 wasted no time reinserting himself into the picture, earning Player of the Game accolades after a four point performance, including a diving goal at the end of regulation to send the Bayhawks into overtime. 


April 17, 2014 7:16 AM

Your site is good Actually, i have seen your post and That was very informative and very entertaining for me.

coffee beans