Wesley- for a GIRL!

Hello name lovers! 

My husband and I have had a very hard time agreeing on baby names for girls (If I hear Aurora one more time!!). We both like more unique names though. I always like boys names for girls (Gavyn, Ryan, etc) but is this going too far? My husbands middle name is Wesley and we think that would be very cute for a girl! We'd probably call her "Wes". I know many people get princess bride flashbacks but I was wondering with this wonderful new world of unique and new baby names... Is Wesley too far?

NOTE FROM THE MODS: This question was posted in 2016. It's fine to comment on the general idea of Wesley as a girl's name, but the specific question is no longer active.


July 14, 2016 11:35 PM

Yes.  I think it is going too far.


How about Lesley?  It used to be a boy name, now more common on girls but still androgynous.

Westerly?  Like a westerly wind.... kind of a made-up name, but also kinda nature-y and better on a girl than Wesley.  Elsie also has a lot of the same sounds.


July 15, 2016 12:02 AM

Yes, yes - it is too far. Some people on this site will tell you why and how much. I tend to be fairly liberal on this discussion, but REALLY YOU WANT TO NAME YOUR DAUGHTER WESLEY?!

As a regular on this site says that it wouldn't be so bad if people named their sons feminine names - but they are never named that way.

It's up to you, but I think another boy name gone girl. Do you just not like girls?

Edit: I'm really not trying to be mean. Just think there are boy names. girl names and yes, unisex names. We all have different tastes, but why do people want to name their girls boy names?

July 15, 2016 2:27 AM

I'm generally not a fan of boys names on girls, but I will make an exception for namesakes. I think it is really special for a girl to be named after her dad (and a boy to be named after mom, for that matter). 

That said, I don't love Wesley for a girl. Doing a quick name finder search, Wesleigh and Weslyn both showed up. They hit the unique factor and eases the "my parents wished I was a boy" issue. 

I also found Welles, which really intrigued me. If your username is actually your name, your daughter would combine hubby's Wesley with your Danielle. Its definitely not a common name and it would be so personal to your family. 

July 15, 2016 7:58 AM

I know a girl named Wesley. She's 14. It's not my favorite name on a boy and I especially don't love it on a girl, but at least one family out there has done this and it doesn't seem like she's suffered any ill effects. This board tends to be very conservative in its preference for not giving girls names that are traditionally given to boys, so you might wish to try out a different site to see if you get a more positive reception.

July 15, 2016 8:13 AM

I usually don't like boys-names-on-girls, but I think giving her your husband's middle name is sweet. I second the suggestion Welles to honour both of you.

By Eko
July 15, 2016 8:21 AM

You could feminize it by changing it to Wesla.

July 15, 2016 8:44 AM

The associations for Wesley are 100% masculine, but a lot of other English placenames-turned-surnames ending in -ley have "gone girl" (starting with Shirley, Beverly, Kimberly), so it feels almost inevitable that eventually they'll all become feminine names. At least there's nothing inherently gendered about "western meadow/field/grove", although its attractions as a personal name totally elude me.

I applaud the thought of a cross-gender namesake, but the specifics are... unfortunate. I'm afraid the fact that it's Dad's middle name actually emphasizes the unspoken subtexts of boy-names-on-girls: "we wished for a boy"; "it's bad to be a girl"; "boys are better"....

July 15, 2016 9:32 AM

If I encountered a girl named Wesley, my first thought would be that her parents were devout Methodists, especially since upon meeting, I am unlikely to know her father's middle name.  Being taken, rightly or wrongly, for a Methodist is hardly a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of. For me, the unexpected gender throws the name back to its religious "roots"--all those  John Wesley Whoevers named for the founder of Methodism.

July 15, 2016 11:23 AM

I'm afraid I have to join the "what, do you really wish that much that you had a boy instead of a girl?" chorus. Naming after Dad's middle name is all well and good, but Wesley is Cary Elwes and 100% masculine, sorry.

The traditional way to name girls after their dads is to bestow the feminine version of the name. Wesley, being a placename, doesn't have a feminized version, but the very similar Weslyn reads feminine to me, and doesn't carry the Princess Bride associations.

July 15, 2016 3:40 PM

The Princess Bride character is actually Westley, although I imagine that many people hear Wesley, so the association will be there.

July 18, 2016 6:34 PM

Thanks for posting this, when I first read the topic I was confused because I thought the Princess Bride character was Westley but everyone seemed sure it was Wesley so I thought I must have heard it wrong when watching the film. Either way I guess the association is a valid concern if so many people think it's Wesley in the film.

July 15, 2016 2:48 PM

I actually like boy's names on girls, even though I wouldn't use one for my own daughter. Wesley is a really great name for a boy and I could definitely picture a little girl Wesley. The namesake is awesome, and personal meaning should trump most other things IMO. 

The suggestion of Lesley is great, and I'll also add Waverly. They're still close enough to be considered a namesake and you could call her "Wave" :)

Personally I don't think any names are sexist unless it's something truly awful and with bad intentions. The problem of double standards when naming boys and girls really shouldn't be solved by not giving girls boy names, but rather by starting to give boys girl names. If a girl can be named Wesley, can a boy be named Madison? (Yes, I know Madison is historically male, but it's used almost exclusively for females at this point.) I'd hope to see both of those things in a less gendered future.

I know a family with three girls named Dylan, Owen, and Logan. They wanted gender-neutral names and picked out one name for each baby, whether it was a boy or girl. I agree that all 3 names lean very masculine, but the idea behind it was not at all "I wish my girls were boys." It was "My kids can be anything they want to be".

Not trying to rant here but I see I kind of did, haha. I really am not trying to offend anyone, just saying that if you want to name your daughter Wesley, more power to you, breaking down those gender roles. Although I do love Waverly... and it might be less controversial... So that's also an option... :) 

Good luck!

July 15, 2016 12:36 PM

I don't think there's anything inherently masculine about the name Wesley—the derivation is gender-neutral, and the analogy of Leslie (and also the more modern-sounding Chesley/Chesleigh) suggest the sound is workable for females.

That said, the associations are very heavily male, with both a romantic and a religious hero to trigger the "must be a boy" mental switch. I do think she would pretty regularly be explaining her name and clarifying her gender. Also, as the comments here show, boy-name-on-girl is a hot-button issue for some folks, so you would need to be prepared for some flak and raised eyebrows. Similarly, you should expect to rouse the ire of almost all parents of male Wesleys, who are likely to feel that you are trying to "take away" yet another boy name.

In an ideal world, people would only make assumptions based on names about *namers*, not *namees*, but it doesn't always work that way, so you'd probably also have to prepare your daughter for some of this blow-back.

None of that is a deal-breaker, if this is the name you absolutely love and that just feels right for your daughter. I think, especially if she is not your only child, the "wish we'd had a boy" impression could be mitigated by your other children's names (especially if you have a boy named something like Cameron or named for you, or a girl with a traditionally feminine name).

If you are interested in a "twist" on Wesley, Welsley or Wellesley might be something to consider. While it is another surname-name, its association with Wellesley College, the elite women's school, gives it a solidly feminine vibe to me. It also is waaay less common than Wesley, for either gender, so there should be fewer expectations (and angry parents) to contend with.


February 10, 2018 8:57 AM

I agree about the ire from little boy Wesley parents. It's just outside the top 100 and currently rising so they are likely invested in a not too popular, up and coming name and might feel it is at risk for going girl (more so than the little girls Kyle and Noah in my 2 year olds storytime, which are a slowly dropping from its previous peak and a currently solid #1 boys names... also I'll admit that I probably pay more attention to what they dress their kids in than other conventionally named children -- little Kyle always has a bow or barette in her hair but I've never seen her in anything pink and she was a puppy dog at the Halloween themed storytime...Noah is always super frilly)

February 11, 2018 11:13 AM

Yeah, the funny thing I got from browsing nursery decorations on Apartment Therapy is that often the little girls with gender-neutral or masculine names have pastel pink, frilly nurseries. I'm not sure what is with that, as I would have assumed people went for gender-neutral names because they wanted a tomboy kind of daughter...

By EVie
February 11, 2018 11:10 PM

I get the sense that for a lot of people who like the style, the juxtaposition is exactly what appeals to them... a super-feminine, frilly little girl with a boyish name is "soooooo cute!!1"

(I always feel bad for the kids with the super minimalist nurseries on Apartment Therapy and other design sites. Especially the ones that are all white and sterile. I always hope they have a closet crammed full of toys somewhere that the parents just hid away to maintain their minimalist cred for the photographs). 

(This is an old thread, BTW)

February 12, 2018 7:49 AM

EVie, I used my superpowers to edit you. I changed "threat" to "thread" in that last sentence. Change it back if you did mean to hunt down the the Apartment Therapy parents. ;)

By EVie
February 12, 2018 10:55 AM

Hah, thanks. That's what I get for posting when I really should have been going to bed early. 

By mk
July 15, 2016 2:45 PM

I think it's fine, especailly as a namesake to her Dad. Of course, you could always use it as a middle name instead. But I'm more of a "use whatever name you like best as long as it isn't offensive" and don't really care if a name has been used traditionally as a boy or girl name. I'd love to see some traditional girl names used on boys.

July 15, 2016 4:02 PM

I think it's ok. I don't personally like very masculine names for girls but I don't think Wesley is that masculine, I vastly prefer it to Gavyn-even with the i changed to a y I cannot see that as anything but a boys name. I also prefer just Wesley to all the more "feminine" versions that have been suggested so far.

Honestly I think the main problem with Wesley is that most people's only reference for it is the Princess Bride movie and that's maybe why many people think it's too masculine (without the movie I don't know that I would have assumed Wesley to be a male name on first encountering it). But I think people close to you would not be thinking of the film once they actually met and got to know your daughter and her peers/classmates would know her before they saw the film so it would likely be less of an issue for them anyway. I think the biggest problem you/she would have would be from people who read the name but hadn't met her and will assume her to be male, but you could give her a very feminine middle name (perhaps a name to honour someone important in your lives if there are no girly names you really like) to make it a bit clearer that she's a girl for people reading official forms. 

What I think would be worth considering is if you plan on having more children. If you had a boy next would you wish you could use Wesley for him? If you had another girl would you find it a struggle to match a second girl's name?

July 15, 2016 5:45 PM

My brother's names is Wesley called Wes. So the name is all boy to me. I am also in the camp of not liking boys names for girls. There are great female names out there and you've gotten some good suggestions so far. People on this site are very good with suggestions if there are other names or namesakes you'd like to bounce off of them.


All that being said, if that's what you want to name your daughter, go for it. There will be some confusion probably but she and you will learn how to handle it. 

July 15, 2016 6:21 PM

Yes, I think Wesley for a girl is too far.  I'd suggest a less obvious nod to her father's name.  Perhaps something with similar sounds or letter combinations-Wendy (possibly short for Gwendolyn or Gwenyth) or Waverly.  

If Danielle is really your name & not just an internet name, you could do something that combines part of your name with some of the sound of Wesley.   Daisy comes to mind as an option.  

Another option would be to look for names with similar meanings.  Behind the name says that Wesley derives from a place name meaning "west meadow."  In that case, I think Meadow would be a lovely tribute.

July 18, 2016 6:37 PM

LOVE the idea of Medow as a tribute name to Wesley. That would give her a name of her own (I am actually really not a fan of naming children after people at all) but still with a really cool tie to her dad's name.

July 18, 2016 7:37 PM

Well, there's Meadow Soprano....

July 16, 2016 3:29 AM

Wesley does sound all boy to me. However, as other have said, it's similarity in sound to Lesley, Chesley, Kinsley, Ainsley etc, plus the fact that people are becoming used to calling girls by boys' names, means that I think people will get used to calling your little girl Wesley pretty quickly. However, unlike some other boy-names-turned-girl, Wesley has been well-used as a mens name for a long time, and continues to be so. It's been in the top 200 for at least 150 years. It's also been climbing in popularity, so your daughter is not unlikely to meet male Wesleys her age and younger - it probably won't just be men in their 40s (Wesley last peaked in 1977). That may or may not be a problem for you.

  • For an alternative to Wesley I like the suggestions of Westerly, Wellesley and Waverley. Some other options are: Weatherly, Westby, Westbrook, Westling, Wesling.


  • It sounds like you already have some solid options that you like, but if you're interested in suggestions that aren't frilly but are more often considered female or unisex, here are some ideas:


  • Morven, Tate, Tamsin, Ellis, Paige, Hattie, Vesper, Sutton, Kestrel, Rue, Adair, Arden, Fife, Lark, Kirby, Nesbitt, Hollis/ Holland, Blythe, Perry, Briar, Linnet, Blair, Pfeiffer/ Fifer, Joss, Lyall, Jude, Brogan, Hensley, Lennox, Vale, Rory, Sterling, Marlo/ Marlowe, Arbor, Sailor/ Saylor, Greer, Harlow, Tamar, Camber, Bevan, Aphra, Madden, Larkin, Darby, Tilden, Auden, Dell, Rooney, Finch, Lisbon.


  • If you're after even more names to sift through, there are lots of strong and spunky female names of Nordic/Scandinavian origin, for example:
  • Arven, Elvan, Jolin, Josian, Ketlin, Malin/ Marlin, Mossen, Maren, Mekkin, Norin, Osklin, Silvan, Timian, Astny, Solway, Kolny, Ansko, Ingvor.

July 15, 2016 11:40 PM

I have no issues with girls with boys names. My name is Devyn and when I was little, I hated it but I really like it now. I have no issues with Wesley but I still think of Princess Bride Wesley when I hear it. Below are some other names that you may like. 

Bellamy, Baylor, Bailey, Charlie, Dylan, Darcy, Everly, Elliot, Emmett, Emery, Emerson, Erin, Frances, Greer, Hayden, Hunter, Jordan, Kai, Kenna, Lux, Lark, Lauren, Mikah, Madigan, Parker, Quinn, Quincy, Ramsey, Riley, Ryan, Rory, Rowan, Ripley, River, Shane, Sasha, Shelby, Sawyer, Sidney, Spencer, Sparrow, Wylie, Wren, Waverly

July 17, 2016 9:33 AM

I second the commenter who suggested using Wesley as her middle name. I think it's kind of fun to have a unique middle name and especially a family name.

I tend to agree with the commenters who think boy names used as girls names sends the wrong message but it doesn't need to be the case. If you are coming from a standpoint that you want your girls to be able to be whatever they want to be, and if you talk to your daughter about this, I think it's fine. I also think Wesley has rather a feminine sound, so it would be not hard to imagine calling your daughter Wesley.

I think if you use it as a first name, you should have a relatively feminine middle name, and if she ends up being more feminine, she could go by her full name, like "Wesley Rose" would be cute I think. 

July 17, 2016 4:12 PM

I'm going to have to say yes, that is way too masculine for a girl. There is a growing trend of celebrities with baby girls given traditioal boy names (Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis naming their daughter Wyatt, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds using James for a their daughter, etc.), so if you DO decide this is what you love and go with... At least it is with the trends I guess. 


July 28, 2016 12:57 AM

As someone named Wesley and also being a girl...speaking from experience....I absolutely love my name!! Growing up, especially in the 90's when everyone was named Jessica and Rachel, having a different name that was also considered a boys name, I wasn't too fond of. However now as a grown women, I absolutely love it! And I get called Wes all the time.  It's soft, yet strong and also unexpected...but not uncommon to where it's difficult to pronounce or spell. I wouldn't trade my name for anything!!

July 28, 2016 4:26 PM

In my opinion, yes. 

September 8, 2016 9:22 AM

Hi Danielle- 

I am also a girl (woman rather) in my early 30s named Weslie. Im also named after my father. 

I think you should ignore all of the people who think it is 'a step too far' - though I got unusual looks and a few comments growing up, my name has helped to make me much more individual and as an adult is always commented on in a flattering way by people. If people ask about it, any negative attitude is immediately dispelled by telling them I am named after my dad which people find endearing and unique. 

Unique names are in my opinion much better than run of the mill standard names. As someone pointed out, 'Lesley' was a boys name until the late 70s. Also in the UK 'Ashley' is exclusively a boys name as is 'Rowan'. 

For women, to have a unique and strong name is important as we are moving toward a much more empowered generation. I hope we can all agree that regardless of what name you choose- make it a strong one that your daughter can grow into. 

All the best, 


September 9, 2016 4:53 AM

I like it but would never dare. It makes me think of Wesley from BTVS and Angel. Perhaps Wesleigh, Weslyn, Westlyn..

September 13, 2016 8:06 PM

I love Wesley for a girl and have it on my short list! I have heard of several girls named Wesley, Weslie, Wesleigh and they are all beautiful, adorable  girls who LOVE their names! In additon, maybe you've heard of "tWitch" Boss on the Ellen show... His daughter's name is Weslie. I don't get all the ridiculous and negative comments people have posted about Wesley for a girl. the -ley automatically makes it a more feminine name in my book. And completely doable for a girl. I think it's a beautiful girl's name and you should absolutely go for it! Especially being that it's her dad's name as well! Love, love, love it!!!!


July 27, 2017 6:57 PM

I'm a 18 y/o girl from the Netherlands and my name is Wesley. I can tell you that i'm not satisfied with my name just because everyone thinks it's weird that i"m a girl and i have a "boys name". My whole life everyone kept asking me if it's actually my real name cause it seams so weird.. I would be really happy if people will just stop making it such a big deal because i actually think it's suited for a girl too! It's very unique though..

July 28, 2017 2:26 AM

I think Wesley is super cute for a girl! I have a daughter with a "boy" name, her name is Ramsey. I like uncommon names and i really think it would be cute. However if you decide not too in fear of it being too boyish you could always use it as a middle name :).

February 9, 2018 1:48 PM

I know this was posted several years ago, but recently I asked a question similar to yours. I simply wanted to know how common the name Wesley is for a girl...because I am a girl named Wesley.  It's spelled the normal way.  My middle name is Rose.  When my mom was carrying me she found the name "Wesley" under the "Girls" category of a baby name book.  She loved it. So, that's what she chose. She didn't ask the internet to weigh in on her very personal decision. I am 27 years old and I have always loved my name.  I love when the teacher calls roll and looks around for a boy only to see my hand in the air.  I am always a surprise and always memorable so, I tend to make a lasting impression.  When I was young, sometimes people would say, "Wesley?!  That's a boy's name!" To which I learned to reply, "Not anymore."  You see, my name helped me stand out.  It was my bold first impression that I could follow up with charm and grace. This further cements that I am never what you will expect.  I am a girl. I identify with being a girl, but the type of girl I get to be has no rule book.  I don't have to struggle to stand out among a billion Sarahs and Allisons and Megans.

The commenters below your question don't know *** about what they're talking about. They are judging an idea of a name because their imagination is limited.  I forgive them, though.  It's what Wesleys do.

February 10, 2018 7:46 PM

Your use of profanity in the last paragraph is not a credit to you or other people named Wesley. I have censored the word you used.

This is generally one of the politest places I know of online. Please help keep it that way.

March 12, 2018 6:29 PM

I realize this is from years ago, but I am an 18 year old girl named Wesley. While everyone else seems to think it’s “taking it too far,” I disagree. I Love my name. It’s very unique unlike the million Hannahs or Elizabeths. It makes me stand out a little more. It seema to suit me very well. And actually I would like to add, that the people around me are so accustomed to my name with my character now, that they don’t even think of it as a male name. My mom liked Wesley, so here I am “Wesley Grace,” and I dig it.

November 28, 2018 11:54 PM

i love the name, because it’s mine and i am a female too! many people ask me if i wish that i had a normal name and when i think about it i always get the same answe, NO! i love my name it makes me feel unique, confident, strong, and beautifu! couldn’t imagine myself as anything else!!! :):):)