Harper Drake



March 12, 2014 11:49 PM

Is that first-middle or first-last?  To me, it sounds really nice, but without context, I wonder about whether you mean for a boy or a girl (Harper is a girl's name, to me, and Drake a boy's). 


March 13, 2014 12:25 AM

Same. I'm really confused if it's a girl or a boy.

March 13, 2014 10:49 AM

Yep.  I wondered the same things.

March 14, 2014 5:46 PM

First+Middle, boy

My husband is pretty fixated on Harper for our little guy, and thinks we should not let its rise as a girl name stop us. I agree with him in loving it for a boy, but I fear it has gotten too popular for girls to make it a wise pick for a boy. I am really torn because it is the only name we both really agree on and I have been searching for fresh ideas but nothing is really sticking. 

March 15, 2014 11:46 PM

Oh, hmm, that would be a pickle.  I think...it can still work on a boy.  When I see the name I assume girl, but I've met a few boy Harpers and it doesn't take more than a second to readjust.  So if you really love it, and it's all you can agree on, might be worth going for.

A name that "feels" similar to me and trends more boy is "River", but dunno if you folks would like that one!

March 25, 2014 8:16 PM

Even though it is skyrocketing for girls, Harper has increased in use for boys over the past decade.

March 16, 2014 6:52 PM

Well it sounds like you are uncomfortable with it so I'd say see if you can't find another name. It will be considered a girl name by most and I think that kind of situation doesn't  work as well if you don't both have confidence in the name. I do think that it's cute on a boy...and there is nothing wrong with using it for a boy in principle... but it's hard to predict how your son will deal with it. Could be doesn't bug him could be he doesn't get teased, could be the opposite. I personally wouldn't use it knowing it might cause problems. Why ask for trouble? It's hard enough to grow up.

By jmay
March 18, 2014 11:22 AM

If you did decide to use Harper I wouldn't use Drake as a middle. I go with something solidly, traditionally, automatically masculine. David, Charles, William... I wouldn't be sure if Harper Drake was a girl or a boy, but Harper David leaves no question. 

March 18, 2014 12:17 PM

I like it. It does seem slightly odd, but also refreshing, seeing Harper for a boy because I've never seen Harper on a boy, but I don't think that should stop you. If you and your husband both like it, go for it. Harper is great and though it currently skews 'girl' for me, I hope I start seeing it on boys and it becomes more unisex.

March 20, 2014 1:13 AM

Harper Drake

I really love this combo. I personally think of Harper as a boy's name. 

Drake, as far as I know, has two meanings. "Dragon," which is very masculine and "male duck," obviously masculine. Although Harper is trendy for girls right now, I don't think it diminishes it's use for boys. Boys' names ARE trendy for girls right now, but they are still BOYS' names. JMO. If he wants to, he can be called Drake.

March 19, 2014 1:11 AM

If you want honest feedback, here it is: Harper is a girls name. Don't use it unless it will be a girl. see if you can find some kind of compromise, like Cooper, or another male name. That's the honest feedback. It does matter what trends are with names in terms of girl/boy names: there was a time when Ashley was a boy's name, but generally it would be considered a girl's name now.

You are asking for thoughts, and that is my honest thought. Talk to your husband concerning an alternative boy's first name.

March 19, 2014 6:10 AM

I would agree that I'd pair Harper on a boy with a very unambigously male given name in the middle slot. Drake isn't used for girls, but it's also unusual enough that it would give people pause - and with the fact that it's also surname, there's the possibility maybe it's a family surname being used for a girl's middle name, which is done not infrequently in these parts (especially a mother's maiden name).

I think Harper is absolutely still usable on a boy (and 414 families made that decision in 2012), but I think you and your husband would need to be going into it realizing that the current usage skews heavily girl, and it's not a name that has been stably established as unisex, so it may tilt further girl in years to come. For example, it was definitely something commented on that the male protagonist of "The Best Man" is named Harper, when the sequel recently came out, in a "my goodness, the time sure have changed since the original movie came out" sort of way. The useage of Harper went from a rare name used slightly more often on boys in the 80s, to being slightly more common for girls in the 90s, and then over the course the noughties the name has really taken off for girls. (Male use has increased also, but more modestly.) I would want to make sure that you and your husband are basing your decision based on the current useage rates, rather than being a decade or so out of date based on older children you currently know or your experiences when you were teenagers babysitting.

However, I think it's not the worst thing in the world to have one presumed to be a girl on paper. I have some anectdotal evidence to support that -- my brother's name in writing is identical to a fairly common English woman's name, though it's pronounced differently. He once got a pageant entry form in the mail and he and his friends had a good laugh about it, and I'm guessing that whenever there was a substitute teacher there was a moment of confusion (he does have an unambiguously male middle name), but it's never bothered him one iota, and I always got the feeling that he was very pleased with his name. That said, this brother is one of those charismatic people who is at ease in pretty much every social situation, and I could see how the girl's-name-situation could potentially have been more troubling for a less confident and universally well-liked person. However, I will say that the longevity of Taylor for boys even after it has been embraced by girls at higher rates has me optimistic that we may have entered into a time where popularity for girls need no longer lead to parents of boys fleeing the name at all costs, which gives me hope for Harper's staying power for boys as well.

March 19, 2014 6:16 AM

I wonder whether the staying power of Taylor for boys has had to do with several good looking very male actors keeping the male association of Taylor alive? In that case, perhaps we can't entirely extrapolate from Taylor to Harper, though the names are otherwise quite similar in style. Still, other names like Riley have remained firmly in the unisex category, and I find that heartening.

(Speaking of girl names on boys, I'm betting that Leto on boys is totally going to go up for boys based on actor Jared Leto's turn in the spotlight, feminine Greek history notwithstanding.)

March 19, 2014 10:47 AM

For Leto as a masculine name, there's also Frank Herbert's Dune books. That was my first exposure to the name, and I was surprised to find it defined as feminine in a baby name book. (It was not one of the good ones that gives actual data and references, so I had to look a bit further to find the Greek mythological association. This was pre-Internet.)

And back to Harper: who knows -- maybe there's a young male Harper out there just waiting for his big break into stardom. Maybe he'll even "pull an Ashton" on his name...

The girls-names-on-boys thing is sort of the Not In My Backyard of baby naming: we all agree that the current situation is Wrong, but most of us seriously balk at changing it using our own children. I'm a fuddy-duddy namer, so Harper, Taylor, Ashley, etc. are not even in the right universe for me, but I did consider Emery for a son. Gender ambiguity never entered my mind when discussing it, though; I was totally unaware of current naming trends. (I was more concerned about nail care implements.)

March 19, 2014 5:47 PM

I feel like I avoided going NIMBY entirely on the issue because the name of my eldest is usually misread as female. We sort of expected as much (gratuitous y! similarity to Jolene!) and decided to go for it anyway, with a traditionally boyish middle name and also an easy nickname option. So within my constraints as a traditional namer, I think I contributed a little bit to addressing the wrongness!

(My concern with Emery would also have been nail-based, alas.)

March 19, 2014 10:48 AM

For the fans of Frank Herbert's Dune novels, Leto is the dynastic name of House Atreides, starting with Duke Leto Atreides.  So for SF aficionados, there is precedent for Leto as a male given name.  Of course, Leto is the mother of Apollo and Artemis, so there's that.

March 19, 2014 5:43 PM

Yep, I'm very familiar with the Dune association, and I'd wondered whether the miniseires was enough to have triggered the first appearance of Leto in the SSA data:


I think it's a nice example of a historical girl's name going boy, even on a very small scale!


March 19, 2014 6:48 PM

I think Harper Drake is fine for both boy and girl. I don't know any Harpers at all and would not be wonder about it or be surprized either way.

If you and your husband both love this name - it's agreed upon! Harper Drake it is!

March 20, 2014 8:27 AM

I second this - I wouldn't have a problem with using Harper for a boy.

March 20, 2014 3:31 PM

Third for this.

FYI - Harper Drake sounds tall, dark, and handsome to me. Very GQ.