THE NEW GEN­DER-NEU­TRAL

These are the unisex names cur­rently topping the pop­u­lar­ity stakes

Mother & Baby - - BUMP TO BIRTH -

Ri­ley

Bri­tain’s most pop­u­lar gen­derneu­tral name means ‘valiant’. Though more com­monly en­coun­tered as a sur­name, de­signer Stella Mc­Cart­ney named her daugh­ter Rei­ley in 2010, and it has since rock­eted in pop­u­lar­ity. Last year, just un­der two-thirds of ba­bies reg­is­tered with the name Ri­ley were boys, and just over a third girls.

Frankie

Once con­sid­ered just a nick­name for boys named Fran­cis and girls called Frances, Frankie is now hav­ing a mo­ment in its own right. Though its orig­i­nal mean­ing is ‘french­man’, just un­der two-thirds of the Frankies born in 2017 were girls, and just over a third were boys.

Har­ley

De­riv­ing from the Old English words for ‘hare’ and ‘meadow’ (and so trans­lat­ing roughly as ‘Hare’s Meadow’), Har­ley last year proved the name with the most even gen­der-split: 51 per cent of ba­bies named Har­ley were boys, and 49 per cent girls.

Blake

Thought to have orig­i­nated as an Old English nick­name for those who were ei­ther very dark or very pale in com­plex­ion, 67 per cent of last year’s Blakes were boys, while 33 per cent were girls.

Quinn

An­a­lysts sug­gest that the surge in this name’s pop­u­lar­ity, and that of Har­ley as well, was linked to su­per­hero film Sui­cide Squad and its su­per- vil­lain Har­ley Quinn. Last year, 32 per cent of ba­bies with the name were boys, 68 per cent were girls.

Rowan

In the UK, the name has tra­di­tion­ally been associated with men – think comic Rowan Atkin­son. But the name, sugges­tive of the red-berry bear­ing Rowan tree, has re­cently been ap­pro­pri­ated by girls too. Thir­tythree per cent of last year’s ba­bies named Rowan were girls.

River

Jamie and Jools Oliver may have sparked the trend for this one, nam­ing their son River Rocket in 2016. The bal­ance has now tipped, how­ever, as 65 per cent of ba­bies given the name last year were girls.

Sai

De­rived from an In­dian word mean­ing ‘divine’, this name was split al­most 50/50 be­tween the sexes last year – 48 per cent were boys and 52 per cent girls.

Mar­ley

An English name that means ‘pleas­ant wood’ or ‘meadow’, most of the fa­mous Mar­leys have had theirs as a sur­name. Think Bob Mar­ley, and Ja­cob Mar­ley in Charles Dick­ens’ A Christ­mas Carol. Last year, how­ever, it was most pop­u­lar for girls (70 per cent).

Bai­ley

This name orig­i­nated as an Old English sur­name, mean­ing ‘bailiff’. Now it’s be­come one of the UK’s favourite gen­der-neu­tral first names: 58 per cent of ba­bies named Bai­ley are boys, and 42 per cent girls.

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