Friday, June 3, 2011

Male names vs Female names in USA and UK

I've been meaning to write about this topic for a while and was reminded of it again recently when I saw The King's Speech, and the speech therapist, Lionel Logue, calls one of his son's by his name, Laurie. I bet a lot of Americans wondered about that.

Some popular first names for boys in the UK are more likely to be first names for girls in the USA.

Here are a few examples:

Laurie - male name in UK (short for Laurence)
Laurie - female name in USA

Terry - male name in UK (short for Terrence)
Terry - female name in USA

Hilary - male name in UK,
Hilary - female name in USA

Ashley - male name in UK
Ashley - female name in USA

There are also lots of examples of names that are used for both male/female although the female version is usually more popular in the USA:


Some names are quite common in the UK but not in the USA:

Gillian or Jillian is a popular name for girls in the UK
Jill is more common in the USA

I'm sure there are lots more examples that I haven't thought of. If you can think of others, please leave a comment.


  1. I've noticed a lot of names that start out as male names in the U.S., become female names. Many seem to think it is cool to name a girl with a boy's name, but not to name a boy with a girl's name.

  2. Hi Susan, You're right. It does seem to be a trend in the States.