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Ranked: The Most Popular Gender-Neutral Names in 2022

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Gender reveals have increased in popularity in recent years, but if you’re still planning on keeping the sex of your baby a secret (even from yourself) or simply want something that doesn’t specifically register as a boy or girl name, you might want to consider something a little more gender-neutral. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular options.

See also: These 20 baby names are going to be huge in 2022.

20. Amari

Meaning: various, with roots in several languages

Amari as a name not only transcends gender, but also language and nationality. In Japan, it’s a surname meaning “surplus,” referring to an old census practice. As a first name, it also derives from the Sanskrit for “eternal” or “immortal.” It can come from the Arabic word for “virtuous” or “pious.” Or even from the Latin for “to be loved”  and Yoruba for “strength” or “strong builder.”

Related: The most popular baby names in Canada, broken down by province

19. August

Meaning: “to increase” or “esteemed”

August is a variant of the Latin name Augustus, which comes from the Latin word “augere.” This means “to increase,” but Roman emperors also had the title “Augustus” similar to how we would refer to people as “the esteemed” or “the venerable.” It’s a common surname, especially in the United States and South Africa. The countries with the most people who have August as a first name are Germany, Austria and the US. Several German nobles were called August; it’s also the name Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank gave to their son.

Related: The most beautiful royal wedding gowns and what they cost.

18. Elliot

Meaning: “with strength and right”, “bravely and truly”, “boldly and rightly” or “Jehovah is my god”

Elliot is another common gender-neutral name. What the moniker actually means depends on the source you consult, but what is certain is that the name dates back to medieval Scotland, England and France. Today, the countries with the most people who have Elliot as their first name are the US, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Of course, we Canadian’s hear the name and immediately think of homegrown actor Elliot Page.


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17. Elliott

Meaning: “with strength and right”, “bravely and truly”, “boldly and rightly” or “Jehovah is my god”

Elliott with two Ts is a variant of Elliot with one T. An old rhyme says, “For double L and double T, the Scots should look across the sea!” This is because the two-T version of the name became very common in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Victorian era. Today, the countries with the most people who have Elliott as their first name are the US, the UK and Canada.

Related: The most popular baby names coming out of quarantine.

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16. Emerson

Meaning: “son of Emar” or “son of Emery”

Emerson as a surname can either be from the Anglo-Saxon “son of Emar” or from the Old French for “son of Emery.” The former is an ancient city in Syria while the latter is a variation of the name Aymeri, a legendary French hero during the Middle Ages. Many Brazilian soccer players have Emerson as a first name, so it’s no wonder that Brazil is the country with by far the most people called Emerson. It’s also a popular moniker in the Philippines, Mozambique, the US and a host of soccer-mad countries. We also associate the name with Canadian country band Emerson Drive.

See also: We debunk the most common pregnancy myths.


15. Blake

Meaning: “fair-haired” or “dark”

The name Blake comes from Old English, but experts aren’t not quite sure what it actually means. It could come from the nickname “blac”, for someone with a dark hair, or it could come from the nickname “blaac”, for someone with light hair: someone like the original Gossip Girl Blake Lively. The countries with the most people who have Blake as their first name are the US, Canada and Australia.

Related: Gossip Girl fashion cues we’re taking from the 2021 reboot.

14. Hayden

Meaning: “heathen”

The name Hayden comes from the Old High German word “heidano,” which means “heathen.” It was often given as a first name in honour of composer Franz Joseph Haydn. While it used to be primarily a name for boys, it has become a very popular girl’s name too in recent years. As far as cool non-binary names go, this one reminds us of badass pop culture characters: think Anakin Skywalker — played by Vancouver native Hayden Christensen — and Claire Bennet, the cheerleader superhero in Heroes, played by Hayden Panettiere. The countries with the most people called Hayden are the US, Australia and New Zealand.

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13. Peyton

Meaning: varies, depending on the source

Peyton — a variant of Payton — comes from Old English and can either mean “fighting man’s estate” or refer to a place name. It’s another of those modern gender-neutral names that are surnames too. The country with by far the most people named Peyton is the US, but the name is gaining traction in Canada too.

Related: How much pregnancy can actually cost you in Canada.

12. Quinn

Meaning: “descendant of Conn”


Quinn comes from the Irish surname Ó Coinn or Ó Cuinn, or its variants McQuinn or MacQuinn. It’s popular as both first name and surname. Then there’s Canada’s history-making Olympic gold medalist soccer player who uses the name as neither — or both: they go by simply Quinn. The countries with the most people using Quinn as their first name are the US, Canada and the Philippines.

See also: Meet WNBA’s first openly non-binary transgender athlete Layshia Clarendon.

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11. Charlie

Meaning: “free man,” “free spirit” or “free thinker”

Traditionally a nickname for Charles — from a French name derived from a Proto-Germanic name meaning “free man” — and its feminine forms Charlotte and Charlene, Charlie has become a popular gender-neutral name in its own right. The countries with the most people named Charlie are the US, the Philippines and the UK.

Related: How much adoption actually costs in Canada.

10. River

Meaning: “river”

River as a first name is fast shaking off its hippie connotations to become a beautiful gender-neutral name. One of the celebrity babies born in 2020 was Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara’s son River, named after Joaquin’s older brother, the late River Phoenix. Surprisingly — or maybe not, considering it’s home to the world’s longest river — the country with the most people named River is Egypt, where it’s mostly a girl’s name. In second place is the US, where River is still mostly a name given to boys.

See also: 10 things to never say to someone with infertility (and what to say instead).

9. Rowan

Meaning: varies, depending on the source

Rowan has various different origins. It can come from the Irish surname Ó Rhuadháin, which means “little red one.” It can refer to the rowan tree with its red berries. Or it’s a popular Arabic name that refers to a river in paradise. The country with by far the most people named Rowan is Egypt. In second and third places are Australia and Israel. When we hear the name Rowan, we think of sitcom stars Rowan Atkinson — one of the richest sitcom actors in history — and Rowan Blanchard.

You may also like: 20 adorable baby names inspired by nature.


8. Sawyer

Meaning: “one who saws”

An Anglo-Saxon name derived from the Middle English “saghier,” Sawyer was given as a surname to describe the person’s occupation: sawing wood. More recent Sawyers include actors and writers, journalists and politicians. People with the first name Sawyer include 2015’s The Voice winner Sawyer Fredericks. The country with by far the most people using Sawyer as their first name is the US.

Related: The best baby names from your favourite movies.

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7. Jordan

Meaning: refers to the River Jordan or “to go down”

Jordan is the English form of the Hebrew name Yarden, which means “to go down” and refers to the River Jordan that flows into the Dead Sea. The name lost popularity after the Middle Ages, but it’s made something of a comeback in the 19th century, becoming one of those gender-neutral Victorian names that stood the test of time. The US is the country with by far the most people using Jordan as their first name. The Philippines and Canada are in second and third place, although in both these countries the name is mostly given to boys.

See also: Say goodbye to gender reveals: here’s how to have a zodiac party instead.

6. Angel

Meaning: “angel” or “messenger”

The English name Angel comes from the Latin name Angelus — or “angel” — which in turn came from the Greek word “angelos” meaning “messenger.” Its Spanish form, Ángel, is usually a boy’s name and is common throughout Spain and Latin America. The English pronunciation tends to be more common amongst girls and is becoming more popular in the US, although the country with the most girls named Angel is the French-speaking Democratic Republic of Congo.

Related: 20 unusual celebrity baby names we wish we thought of first.


5. Cameron

Meaning: “crooked nose,” “crooked river” or referring to a place

Cameron has become so ubiquitous that it doesn’t really count among the unique gender-neutral names anymore. Just a few of the Camerons you may know of: Cameron Crowe, Cameron Dallas, Cameron Monaghan, Cameron Talbot, Cameron Russell, Cameron Bright, Cameron Clayton — better known as drag queen Farrah Moan — and of course Cameron Diaz, who is one of the richest actresses in film. The name comes from the Scottish surname Cameron, which could come from the Scots Gaelic “cam sròn” or “crooked nose”, cam abhainn or “crooked river” or several place names in Scotland. Today, the countries with the most Camerons are the US, Australia and Canada.

See also: Celebs who have been real about their struggles with infertility.

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4. Parker

Meaning: “park keeper”

Parker is another occupational surname that became a popular gender-neutral first name in Victorian times, fell out of fashion and is now making a comeback. It comes from the Old English for “park keeper.” Today, the name is most common in the US and Canada, where it is mostly a boy’s name. The country with the third most people using Parker as a first name — and where it’s used almost exclusively for girls — is Ghana.

Related: Celeb moms who welcomed babies using a surrogate.

3. Ryan

Meaning: Unknown, possibly “little king”

Ryan is an Irish name that’s so old people forgot what it meant even before they started keeping records (although some sources say it translates to “little king” or “descendant of the king.” The name fell out of favour until the late 1960s, just as actor Ryan O’Neal started setting hearts a-racing with his star turn in Love Story. Since then, it’s been dropping in the name charts again, largely thanks to the two Canadian Ryans (Reynolds and Gosling), and has become increasing popular as a gender-neutral moniker. Today, the countries with the most people using Ryan as their first name are the US and the Philippines.

See also: 29 famous childfree women who chose not to have kids.


2. Riley

Meaning: “wood clearing” or “courageous”

Riley can either be derived from the Old English “ryge leah,” which means “wood clearing,” or from the Irish “Raghallaigh” — Reilly — which means “courageous.” Originally a boy’s name, it’s becoming increasingly popular for girls: think Riley Keogh, actress and granddaughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. The countries with the most people using Riley as a first name are the US, Canada and Australia.

Related: Celebs who welcomed babies after age 44.

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1. Avery

Meaning: “elf counsel” or “elf king”

Back in the day, Avery was an Old English surname derived from the Old French version of Alfred, which in turn was an Anglo-Saxon name meaning “elf counsel.” Alternatively, the name dates back to the 16th century and comes from the Old English “aelf ric”:  meaning “elf king.” Today, the country with the most people using Avery as a first name is the US. Canada, while lagging far behind, is in second place. While still predominantly a boy’s name, it’s becoming more popular for girls as well: think TV journalist Avery Haines or Canadian body positive lingerie company boss and model Avery Barsony.

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