Baby Naming Issue: Can the Name Addison Be Used for Boys?

Andrea writes:

I am due to have our third baby boy this week and my husband and I are STILL having a difficult time coming up with a name. Our first two were named well in advance of their birth, so this difficulty is new to us and being made even more stressful by the daily questions we get on what this baby will be named!

Our first two sons are named Andrew & Alex. Both names were simply names we liked and the two “A”‘s were not intentional by any means. It honestly never occured to me that this could cause a problem in naming future children. We tend to like very traditional/Biblical names and liked the way these two names sounded together. Now with a third boy, we’re facing the challenge of not only coming up with a third boy’s name we love, but one that goes well with Andrew & Alex. We don’t intend on having our kids names be “matchy”, but I can’t get beyond the fact that to use a random non-A name will seem like a misfit to me. We’ve thrown around numerous non-A names for the past few months (Matthew, Christian, Caleb, a few others) but the use of these non-A names just didn’t flow well to me with the other kids’ names.

So as far as A names go, our very favorite name is Addison. We both love this name and if we were to use it we’d probably name him Addison Matthew. I love the way that Andrew, Alex & Addison flow, however, am struggling with its popularity in use these days as a girl’s name. My husband is less concerned about this and points out that these days many names are interchangeable between genders. We know men named: Courtney, Brooke, Blaire, Lindsey, Lynn, etc. We know girls named: Ryan, Tyler, Elliott, etc. I fear that if Addison is a “girl’s” name, our little boy will be teased. My husband is less concerned, saying that kids will always find something to tease about if they’re looking for something.

Anyway, with all of the names and queries you see coming in, I was wondering what your thoughts are on these? Do you think Addison is too much of a girl’s name these days to use for a boy? I’ve read the Social Security statistics and know that Addison has been a top 20 girl’s name for years, while it’s much lower down the line for boys (I think in the 800′s). But from reading your site, I know you’ve pointed out many times that top names aren’t necessarily as common as they were a couple decades ago (meaning that there aren’t likely to be 5 Charlotte’s in a class just because it’s the #1 name).

Between my husband and I, we actually only know one Addison (male or female) and this Addison hapens to be a man.

The other A names on our list right now are: Austin, Ashton and possibly Aiden. But while we like these, we don’t love them the way we love Addison.

Thank you for reading this! I know I may be way too late in the game to hear anything before the birth day but thought I would give it a try!

 

I absolutely would not advise using Addison for a boy at this point. Here are the 2012 numbers from the Social Security site (I included only spellings used more than 20 or so times):

Addison: 8122 girls, 169 boys
Addyson: 1262 girls
Addisyn: 827 girls
Adyson: 234 girls
Adison: 126 girls
Addysen: 84 girls
Adisyn: 82 girls
Addisen: 58 girls
Adysen: 54 girls

That’s a total of 10,849 new little girls named Addison in 2012, and only 169 boys (and that number is falling each year now). Addison is no longer a unisex name; it is now used almost exclusively for girls. And not just “used for girls,” but VERY used for girls: it was #14 in 2012.

Yes, it’s true that popularity isn’t what it used to be, and that’s exactly how I’d be reassuring you if you were concerned that the name Addison was too common for your baby girl, or that the name Matthew was too common for your baby boy. But that is not the question here: in this case we’re wondering if a name is too popular for girls to be used for a boy. The question “Will there be five Charlottes in every classroom?” is quite different than the question “Can I use Charlotte for my baby boy?”

Yes, it’s true that many names can be used for either boys or girls, and Addison hovered in that category for awhile, but now it has flown that particular coop. Yes, it’s true that many men have names that have since become used almost exclusively for girls, but that doesn’t mean it still works just as well to name little boys Courtney and Ashley and Evelyn in 2013. Yes, it’s true that many little girls are given “boy names,” but that doesn’t mean that many little boys are given “girl names”—fair or not. And of course children can always find something to tease about, but that doesn’t mean we should deliberately give a child a name that’s highly likely to cause trouble, any more than we should deliberately give a child a terrible haircut. I think a boy born in 2013 named Addison would be dealing with a considerable hassle his entire life. You and your husband may decide the name is well worth the risk; in that case, I strongly urge you to give him a middle name currently used only for boys (such as your choice of Matthew), and one that goes well with your surname in case he decides to use his middle name as a first name later.

I can completely see how if you know only one Addison, male, the name would feel like it belongs to that range of names that are fine for either boys or girls. It’s similar to the way I can completely see how my friend named her daughter Isabella, thinking it was a very rare name because she had never heard it on a single person; I had never met a single Isabella at that point either. These are the sorts of reasons I find the Social Security’s site so invaluable: it can be startling and helpful to see how our impressions of a name compare to the actual usage. Many, many times I’ve thought, “Pshh, I’ve never heard that name, it can’t be all that common” or “That one’s definitely gone out of style” or “No one is ACTUALLY giving that name to girls”—only to find my own experience of the name doesn’t reflect the actual situation. I can say “But I don’t know any Isabellas” all day long, but that’s completely irrelevant to the fact that approximately 20,000 new ones are born each year; all it means is that my personal sample size is too small to be accurate. We can say that Addison seems like it ought to be for boys and girls, or that the only adult Addison we know is male, but that’s irrelevant to the story the actual numbers are telling us about what is happening with the name: thirty years ago in 1983, there were 36 male Addisons born and 0-5 female Addisons; in 2012, there were 64 female Addisons for every 1 male Addison, and the number of male Addisons was decreasing.

Leaving aside the issue of Addison’s current usage for boys/girls: you say you want traditional/biblical names, and have used two such names so far. The name Addison would be a radical departure from this style—a much bigger departure than breaking the line of A-names. If you love it, I suggest using it as a middle name.

Speaking of A names, are you planning more children after this one? If so, and if you’re having trouble coming up with A names at this point, and if you’d prefer to avoid matchiness, I would certainly quit the A names now. Even if you’re planning to stop at three, I don’t think it’s weird to have two children sharing an initial and the third having a different initial; it’s after three in a row that I feel the pressure is on. It wouldn’t be some “random non-A name”; it would be your favorite boy name for this baby, just as the previous two choices were your favorite boy names for those babies. Some people will notice it when the birth announcements go out (“Oh, I’d thought they might use another A name”) and then everyone will forget about it and those will just be the kids’ names.

Since the first two boys share your initial, perhaps it would be pleasing to everyone if the third child shared your husband’s initial. Or perhaps you could look for a name that shares other sounds in common with Andrew and Alex, and/or is two syllables as they are. Or, try saying the names in a different order to see if it’s only the set-up of the first two names that makes the third stand out: Alex, Caleb, and Andrew, or Alex, Matthew, and Andrew. Or try saying the names in sets of two instead of all in a group: do you like Alex and Caleb together? how about Caleb and Andrew? If you like the pairings, you probably DO like the three names together, but you’re getting misled by a feeling that the first two create a pattern.

One name that comes to my mind is Nicholas. Andrew, Alex, and Nicholas. I think it’s the way the -c- sound of Nicholas echoes part of the -x- of Alex. Patrick would work similarly: Andrew, Alex, and Patrick. Or I like Elliot: Andrew, Alex, and Elliot. Or Daniel, to echo the -an- of Andrew and the -al- of Alex, as well as carrying the -a- sound through all three: Andrew, Alex, and Daniel.

If non-A names continue to seem jarring, I suggest:

Andrew, Alex, and Aaron
Andrew, Alex, and Adam
Andrew, Alex, and Adrian
Andrew, Alex, and Aiden
Andrew, Alex, and Asher

79 thoughts on “Baby Naming Issue: Can the Name Addison Be Used for Boys?

  1. Kelley

    I hardly ever disagree with Swistle, but I work with kids and I know more Addisons who are boys. I have not known any of them to have an issue with teasing. I dislike names becoming popular as unisex names and then being unusable for boys. As long as you are confident that it is a name for boys and girls, it will be fine. It is just something that bugs me. How come girls can have any kind of name and boys can’t? PS My nephew is named Sydney. No one doubts his masculinity.

    Reply
    1. Karma

      I know an adult (20ish) male named Addison. He’s a great guy, and I’d use the name for a boy if it was a name I loved.

      Reply
      1. Averella

        I agree, I know I male Shelby and a male Dana and it’s worked out ok for them, people get used to it.

        Reply
    2. Helena

      No one is questioning the masculinity of a child with any name, but stats are stats and the stats (regardless of your sample size) are that Addison is going to the girls.

      Reply
  2. Kayt

    I have to disagree on this one. I think Addison is fine for a boy, as long as it’s spelled Addison. I know several Addisons. Most of them are older (late teens to mid thirties), and all but one are male. I know that it’s very popular for girls right now, but it still works on a boy. My cousin has a seven month old son named Kourtney, and I think it works just fine. I also have a four year old boy called Jamey, so I feel pretty strongly on this one. Even if he gets a confused look from someone about a boy named Addison, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not like you were naming your son Charlotte, which has always been a female name.

    That being said, Swistle is totally right about not needing to name your third with an A name. Pick something you love, and go with it.

    Reply
  3. juliloquy

    No on Addison.

    I think Asher and Aaron are great. Anton or Anthony are other options. There is a boy named Aspen at my kids’ school—a less traditional name, but really nice.

    Reply
    1. hope t.

      Why no on Addison but yes on Aspen, which is a girl’s name that has no tradition of being used for males?

      Reply
      1. juliloquy

        I didn’t know Aspen was considered a girl’s name. I have only met one Aspen, and he is a boy.
        Maybe it’s one of those names that isn’t popular enough to be thought of as either one?

        Reply
  4. SarahC

    I know a male Kim, Dana, Stacey and Steph and not one of them like having a girl name. These are grown men who have never grown into the name. I wouldn’t name my girl a currently popular boy name like Ethan or Caleb any more than I would name a boy Chloe or Addison. Sorry, I am with Swistle on this one.

    Reply
    1. hope t.

      My real name is one of the first four you list. I dislike having a name that used to be a male name. In fact there was a man with the same name as me ( first AND last) in my town and we would be distinguished by being called Female First Last Name and Male First Last Name. I guess my takeaway from that is that unisex names are a bummer all around.

      Reply
  5. Krista

    Totally agree with Swistle. No on Addison for boys. It’s unfortunate, but why set your son up for that kind of hassle?

    I love the suggestion of Eliot. The soft “e sound fits perfectly with the A’s of your other kids, and “Alex” and “Eliot” tie in so nicely together!

    What about Atticus? It has a similar sound to Addison but is decidedly male. Might be a little unusual for your tastes.

    I happen to LOVE “A” names for boys for some reason so I’ll give you some of my favorites, though they aren’t as traditional: Arlo, Abel, Arden, Archer

    I also like the more traditional Arthur or Amos.

    Good luck!

    Reply
    1. Lindsay A

      This reader pretty much said everything I wanted to…
      No to Addison. (I think those commenters pointing out that they know a male Addison or Ashley or Courtney or what have you are totally missing the point. It was different when those guys were growing up, and maybe the use of those names was more unisex. But the poster is asking about using the name NOW and NOW the name in question is almost exclusively used for females.)

      I agree Elliot is a fabulous suggestion, matching the sound but not the letter. Perfect!

      I also love Atticus and think it’s a GREAT idea for a boy name that’s close in sound to Addison. Good job!

      And I’d like to throw “Adler” onto the list, too. :)

      Reply
      1. Helena

        Exactly! Notice that people are saying they know older boy-Addisons… well, the stats were different in prior years. NOW, it’s a girl’s name.

        Reply
  6. halyn

    I have to join in on the disagree side. You and your husband both really like this name. None of the other names you’ve discussed please you both as much as Addison. It matters what works for you and your family; not what anyone else thinks. The name may be falling in popularity for boys, but it does still exist as a boy’s name, and if people keep using it as a male name, it will become more common as a male name. Give him an unambiguously male name for the middle so he has a fallback if he doesn’t like it, and give him the first name you both like. I was really surprised by Swistle’s numbers– I know two Addisons, both male.

    Reply
  7. Ruthie

    Addison seems completely female to me, to the point that I would be confused if I met a boy Addison. Also, as Swistle said, it seems like a much different style than your boys’ names, even if you were having a girl. I don’t think anyone would blink at a non-A name in a similar style.

    Reply
  8. Katie

    I used to babysit for a family with two children who had “A” names. They gave their last child a name that started with “E” and it wasn’t a big deal at all.

    I’m with Swistle on the Addison issue… It’s a girls name now just like Ashley and Courtney are girls names that used to be unisex. However, I went to school with a guy named Kelly and it really worked on him. He wore it really well and no one teased him about it. So I guess it depends on the situation and the person who has the name.

    Reply
  9. Heather

    I live in the South, names like Addison, Aniston and Emerson are absolutely rampant on girls. I know an Addison, an Addisyn and an Adisyn, all female, in my SIL’s preschool. All of the Addison’s I know go by Addy. To me it is on par with naming your son Madison nowadays. It harkens back to presidents and was once undoubtedly male. But a boy named Madison in 2013 would be a stretch. It would have to be a family name for me to give you the thumbs up.
    I would encourage you to find something else, but I’m also not one to say give up your top favorite of all time because it doesn’t line up with current fashion! Talking yourself out of your top pick is the number one cause of namer’s remorse, so either go for it unabashedly or consider branching into non-A names to save yourself the headache of finding your favorite name that also happens to start with A.
    Might I suggest Anders? Anders Matthew sounds very nice to me.

    Reply
    1. Helena

      I’d ordinarily love Anders but she has a son named Andrew.

      GREAT point on how Madison was a president but now is a girl’s name!

      Reply
  10. J. Ray

    I know an Addison in real life–he is 16 and male. His mother constantly reminds the world that she had no idea that it would be so trendy as a girl’s name. Since you are aware of this shift, I’d encourage you to look at other name options. Plus, the other boys have a natural nickname–Andy and Alex. Addison doesn’t lend itself well to a boyish nickname. Good luck!

    Reply
  11. Lucy

    100% agree with Swistle on this one!! What about Adam? A name, from the Bible, and the same beginning sounds as Addison.

    Reply
  12. C. Charles

    Agree with Swistle. At the risk of sounding sexist, I just want to point out that girls that are “Tom-boys” are more easily accepted than boys that are “girly-boys”. That said, I know a guy that was named Kelly that totally rocked it. I guess it depends on the kid?

    Reply
  13. Abby@AppMtn

    If Addison were a family name, a name you’d always wanted to use, a name with meaning beyond just liking the sound, I’d be shouting “Nevermind the girls called Addasynne! Use it, use it, use it!”

    But I wonder if the attraction to Addison is strong enough to overcome the potential hassles of having Addison mistaken for Alex & Andrew’s little sister?

    I’m more swayed by Swistle’s comment that Addison seems like a style departure for your family. If your boys were James and Edward, Addison would feel like a real outlier. It’s only the letter A that connects the three. If they were Maguire and Tate, I’d have a different take on it.

    So I’d be totally okay – and encouraging – about using Addison on a boy. The question is whether you’re truly okay with using Addison for your son, which is a very different thing.

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    I totally agree with Swistle! What about Ashton? You still have the -on ending and surnamey feel. Ashton Matthew. LOVE! Nickname could be Ash. Andrew, Alex, & Ashton. Or, there is Aston too. Also, I’ve always loved Aaron. Andrew, Alex, & Aaron. Aaron Matthew. Good luck and congrats!

    Reply
  15. Patricia

    I agree with Swistle that Addison has become a girls’ name — and a very popular girls’ name at that. I wouldn’t recommend naming a boy Addison in 2013.

    I think Austin might be the perfect fit for your third son:
    Begins with A
    Classic in that it goes back to the Middle Ages*
    Traditional in that it has always been in the SSA top 1000 from 1880 to the present**
    Saints name***
    A well-liked name, like Andrew and Alex: for me Austin projects a similar image

    *Austin is the Medieval vernacular form of the Latin name ‘Augustinus’, the English form being Augustine. Austin became a surname in medieval England and later was taken up again as a first name. According to The Oxford Dictionary of First Names, “both forms [Austin and Augustine] were used selectively in various regions of England as late as the 17th century and they are found occasionally much later, but the present-day use of this form [Austin] as a given name is normally a reintroduction from its survival as a surname.”

    ** Austin is an “everpresent” name in that it has always been in the SSA Top 1000, just as Andrew and Alex have been. Austin first peaked at #175 in 1881 and stayed below 300 through 1931. Austin bottomed out at #576 in 1969, before being a second popularity climb. The name peaked again in 1996 at #9. It was #58 in 2012, popular but less so than either Alex(anded) or Andrew.

    ***While not a biblical name, Augustine is the name of one of the greatest Christian saints:
    “Augustine of Hippo (/ɔːˈɡʌstɨn/[1][2] or /ˈɔːɡəstɪn/;[2] Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis;[3] 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as St Augustine, St Austin,[4] or St Augoustinos, was a Father of the Church whose writings are considered very influential in the development of Western Christianity and philosophy. He was bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Annaba, Algeria) of the Roman province of Africa.
    According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine “established anew the ancient Faith.”[5]…”

    My other suggestion would be Arthur, but I think Austin matches your older sons’ names better in style:

    Andrew, Alex and Austin

    Reply
  16. craftyashley

    We have a female Addison. And have heard of a stray male Addison. However the common nickname for Addison is Addie. And that seems super feminine to me.

    Reply
  17. Patricia

    PS That should be “Alex(anded)” above. Which got me to wondering if Alex is your second son’s given name. If so, Austin would be similar in that it’s a shortening of a very old and very grand name:

    Alex (ander)
    Au (gu) stin (e)

    Reply
  18. Patricia

    Oh dear, my computer self- “corrected” again to Alex(anded) — when of course I mean Alex ‘ander’ — sorry.

    Another thought: third sons can be challenging to name!
    In my son’s family, first came Christopher (…er) and then Alexander (…er). What to name the third son?! No …er name appealed. I suggested they coordinate with some other qualities of those two names and suggested Nicholas — also a Greek name, also multi-syllables. And that worked for them.

    Best wishes!

    Reply
  19. sarahbee

    I think of deliberately giving a child a name commonly used for the opposite gender as a bit like sending the child to preschool in a shirt about your political affiliation, it says more about you and how you feel about the issue then the child feels about it.

    You may be okay with a son with a girls name, and if you have a particularly cool and confident child maybe they’ll be okay with it too, and never get teased about it. (My third brother is charming and smooth…He could pull it off, maybe your third will be like that too?) but that’s a big gamble. You may get a shy introverted child, who tires quickly of people asking their gender or laughing about their name.

    Additionally, since this is your third son, people may feel like you wanted a girl if you gave him a “girls” name. I’m sure people have probably asked if you are “trying for a girl”, and I’m sure you would never want your third little man to feel like he was anything less than what you wanted.

    For what it’s worth, I live in the South, where the “son” ending is king, and I know 18 girls named Addison and 1 boy (who is 16, and thus older than most of the girls he shares the name with).

    Reply
    1. Helena

      SO well said! I think we all know people with non-standard names that they rock but the counter is having a very self-conscious or shy kid with a name that they feel makes them stick out even more.

      Reply
  20. Anne

    Please don’t give your son a name that is growing in popularity for girls! How about Edison, which sounds very similar. You would also be breaking the A trend, in case you want to have more kids and don’t want to be tied into the A theme.

    Reply
  21. Carolyn

    I think picking a name that started with another vowel, like Oliver, would still sound nice with the A names.

    Reply
  22. hillary

    Addison is really not a gender neutral name any more. Swistle is 100% right about that. It would be like naming a boy Aubrey or Evelyn. Maybe 30, 50, or 100 years ago they were unisex names, but they aren’t any more, and they are not only girl names, but quite popular ones. I think you can find another A name that your son will enjoy having. Perhaps…

    Amos
    Ansel
    Arlo

    Or Swistle’s excellent suggestions of Aaron or Adam. You could even, if you’re feeling a little bit daring, name him Adamson, which fits the surname trend for boys, contains the name Adam, and sounds a whole like like Addison. However, I think as a naming style it doesn’t fit your other two boys, who would feel more natural in a sibset with Adam, Nicholas, or Christopher.

    Reply
  23. K

    No on Addison, and I love the name Nicholas–it sounded familiar to me for some reason, and then I realized that in the children’s book “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Day” the brothers in that story are named Anthony, Nick, and Alexander. Two A-names and Nick, but Nick doesn’t seem to stand out to me in a bad way. I’d go with a non-A name for sure, but I don’t love matching initials for every child, so that’s my personal bias coming through.

    Reply
  24. A

    I do think Addison has “gone to the girls” to the point where I wouldn’t feel comfortable using it on a boy. I also agree that Addison feels like a major style departure. I’d notice the 2 classic named + 1 contemporary name more than I would 2 A names + 1 non-A name. I’ll also add that for me, Addison & Andrew seem too close to use together, especially when I consider the nicknames Addy & Andy.

    For a name that sounds like Addison but without the girl “problem”, I’ll suggest Edison.
    Or for something classic that keeps the A theme, Abe/Abram, Allen, August & Anthony.

    Reply
  25. sarah

    I wouldn’t use Addison for a boy.
    I love the suggestion of Atticus.
    I know a boy named Athan (rhymes with Nathan), I think that would work well with Alex and Andrew.
    How about Angus? Allistair?
    From your list, I like Austin best.
    Good luck!

    Reply
  26. StephLove

    I want to say use Addison because the reason people stop using names for boys once they become unisex (thus causing them to tip to the girl side) is just sexist and stupid. It’s okay for a girl to have a boyish name but not for a boy to have a girlish one. But, that prejudice does exist out there in the world so I also hesitate to advocate anyone name a specific boy a name that’s pretty clearly gone girl, as much as I’d like to change that naming behavior in general. I would advocate continuing to use names for boys that are evenly split or tilting just a little to the girl side. Addison’s not that name.

    I liked the suggestions of Aaron and Asher for you.

    Reply
  27. Kate

    I love a previous commenter’s suggestion of Edison. It’s similar in style to Addison and begins with a vowel as your older sons’ names do, but it is indisputably masculine and has a ready male nickname, which Addison lacks.

    A couple of people have noted that they know boys named Addison (or Kelly, or Lynn, or whathaveyou) who totally make the name work etc etc. I think that’s great! I also think that it is unfair to give a child a name that you know has the potential to make life more difficult for them.

    Reply
  28. Amy K

    I agree with Swistle. It’s silly that a boy with a feminine-leaning name makes many people snicker, but that’s simply the way it is, like it or not. We’ve all known boys named Shannon, or Kelly, or Tracy, or Dana, or Jody, and I’ve never known one that was 100% comfortable with his name.

    Reply
  29. JMS

    What a tough one. I love the name Addison. I thought of it briefly for a girl when I was pregnant, but then had a dream I was having a boy & his name was Addison. My husband never got on board, and we did have a boy. But if you love the name I say go for it. I wouldn’t assume Addison was a girl, I’d probably assume it’s a boy first but wouldn’t be surprised either way. (BTW, I know more Kelley’s that are boys than girls). If you decide not to use Addison, I wouldn’t feel compelled to use an A name if you don’t love any. Just go with your next favorite name. But I also like Adam.

    Reply
  30. kerry

    I like Adrian a lot. Same number of syllables and rhythm as Addison, but more classic like your other two sons’ names.

    Or if it’s the -son ending that you like, what about Ellison or Harrison?

    If you really love Addison, I think it’s worth taking some time to figure out why it feels fine to you & your husband for a boy, and whether or not your son is likely to feel the same way . If you just don’t know enough babies and young children to be in tune with current naming trends, there’s no chance that your son won’t be immersed in the names of his generation. If you just enjoy bucking trends and being a little counter culture, maybe your son will too and maybe he won’t. Or maybe naming trends in your community are just different than for the nation as a whole (read this for a good example: http://appellationmountain.net/baby-name-news-42113/), in which case your son’s experience with elementary school teasing will have a whole lot more to do with what’s normal where you live.

    Reply
    1. Kerry

      Just in case it seems like this is a vote against using Addison for a boy, it’s actually not. I think it could very well be a reasonable decision to make, especially since your husband feels so confident and comfortable with it, and he will probably be the most important factor in helping your little boy figure out what’s “manly.”

      Reply
  31. Summer

    I have to agree with Swistle on this one. To me, Addison is very much a girl’s name. And, personally, I would not name a boy a name that was currently extremely popular on the girl’s name ranking. I’m biased, but my husband was named Morgan at birth. He HATED it growing up, he was constantly teased. By the time he was in third grade, he insisted on being called by his middle name (a traditional male name), and the day after he turned 18 he started the paperwork for legally changing his name.

    Obviously, my husband’s case is rare. And, I don’t mean to scare you out of a top choice name! It’s just I think it can be very difficult for a boy and a man to deal with a feminine name.

    I like the previous suggestions of using another name starting with a vowel. Something like Elijah, Everett, or Isaac doesn’t sound odd or jarring when paired with your other boys’ names.

    Good luck with your pregnancy and name search!

    Reply
  32. Kit

    I usually don’t like the name Addison, but when you mentioned it for a boy it felt refreshing. if you like it, go for it!

    Reply
  33. Heidi J

    I wouldn’t use Addison for a boy. Kids can find a way to tease using any name, but I wouldn’t make it easy for them and this would as this name will be viewed by his peers as very much a girls name. I would encourage you to find a name that you like that doesn’t have to start with an ‘A’. My husband was the third (and last) child and both of his older brothers had names that started with ‘L’. His starts with ‘C.’ This never bothered him or made him feel left out. When I asked him about this, he looked at me like I was silly to even be asking him if it bothered him.

    Reply
  34. A

    I would encourage you not to use Addison for a boy (dispite feeling that, if it were not so popular for girls, I would like it for boys). I see Addison as being as feminine for the current generation as Ashley is to the previous one. I also agree with Swistle that style wise a biblical/classic would be more fitting. I vote for Abel, Asher, Aaron or Abraham or maybe, Arthur. If you want something closer to the surname style of Addison, what about Archer, Abbot or Alder?

    Reply
  35. Cassandra

    Can the name Addison be used for boys? Yes.
    Would I advice someone to use it for a boy? No.
    Any exception? Yes, if it were a family name. But I would probably use it as a middle name.

    Reply
  36. Rayne of Terror

    The only boys named Addison we know have super Cub fan parents. I always wonder why they didn’t choose Clark instead.

    Reply
  37. Megan M.

    I’m torn on this one, but ultimately I have to agree with Swistle because of your naming style. Your older sons’ names are classic and yes, masculine. Addison is a trendy surname. Also, if I heard the three names together, I would assume that Addison was “the girl.”

    However, I used to work in a primary school and there was a boy Addison. He’d be 11-12 now. When I saw his name on the class roster I did expect him to be a girl. That said, after that initial surprise, it just became his name and I didn’t think any more about it. I never heard him getting teased for his name. Also many naming experts have made the point that children are used to hearing names that their parents might think are odd. Children today are a lot less likely to tease based on an unusual name because a lot of children have unusual names.

    I do love the suggestion of Edison. It has virtually the same sound and it’s a surname, but that feminine “Ad” sound is replaced by the very masculine “Ed.” It seems like the perfect solution. If not, any of your three runners-up are fine choices.

    Reply
  38. erin

    Another “no way” vote on Addison for a boy! I’ve never met a male Addison, but have met tons of baby girls named Addison. My first thought was to suggest Adam, because I think it goes perfectly with Andrew and Alex.
    As a former teacher, I once had a class list which included two Madisons (no big surprise for such a popular name). I of course thought they would both be girls, but was surprised to find one was a boy. His mom told me that she had no idea when naming him that it was a popular girl name (although I don’t know how she missed that), and that she considered it a very masculine name. Also, the little boy’s father was named Matt, and according to the mom (I’ve never bothered to check) Madison means “son of Matthew,” and that was enough to convince her it was a solidly masculine choice. (Am I right in thinking Addison means “son of Adam”?) Regardless of her reasons, however, she gave her son a name commonly considered to be a “girl” name right in the midst of the girl Madison boom. I always felt sad for him, and assumed that one day he would choose to go by another name.

    Reply
  39. Kaela

    Unfortunately I have to agree with Swistle on this one…even though Addison sounds masculine to my ear (and I don’t live in an area where it is very popular for either sex), the numbers tell another story. Don’t ignore it! My FIL was born with a now-considered-feminine first name (variant of Kerry) and hated it so much that he has always gone by his middle name and changed it the first year he was able to. You can’t know what kind of personality your son will have… I know another male Kerry who is very laid-back, hippie-ish, and has never had a problem with his name. But my FIL is more the football-playing, hyper-masculine type and he couldn’t stand having a girlish name or being taken for “Miss S…” etc.

    I do empathize with your issues though… I really, really love the name Jocelyn– for a man. My partner and I have a French acquaintance who has this name (though he goes by Joe mostly) and he explained that his mother picked it because in France it has a medieval, knightly flavor. Ever since then I have adored it. But, I don’t think I could do it to an American boy.

    Why not try to think of some non-A names, and use Addison in the middle spot? I like all of the earlier suggestions. I also thought of Jeremy and Nathan as flowing nicely with your other sons’ names.

    Reply
  40. Kaela

    Also at the risk of oversharing…I remember my own brush with a male Dana when I was a small child. He was in my first grade class, we were both about 6, and I remember pestering him over and over as to why he was named “Dana” when that was a “girl name”. It makes me cringe now– I’m sure I made him miserable! poor boy!– but I would not let it drop. I wasn’t teasing so much as genuinely curious and embarrassingly direct. I think I even asked him if his parents thought he was a girl at first and that’s why they made a mistake with his name. Eventually he started avoiding me. Ai yi yi! I feel so bad now.

    Reply
  41. Kemper

    I absolutely think think that children will find something to tease about no matter what.

    I think you should use what you love and to my ear Addison sounds masculine not feminine and I really wish parents would stop using boy names on their girls. Do I sound bitter? Perhaps, but as the mother of 3 little boys myself I find it outrageous that not only do they have the majority of the clothing choices but now they are taking over the names too.

    A popular for boys name that has kind of surprised me in the area we just moved too is Morgan, they range from teenagers on down to little babies. I know that is traditionally a male name but I always think of Morgan Fairchild. So I guess it depends on whom you associate a name with.

    Lastly, I just was going over in my head and it sounds as if the older boys have nicknames and there is not a good nickname for Addison, if that matters…annnnd from your list Ashton seems way more feminine to me. I knew an Ambrose once that went by Ambers, I always liked that name.

    Reply
  42. Caroline

    I know 2 Addisons: one is a male who is a senior in high school and the other is a 5 year old girl. At first, when I met the male Addison, I was confused because I thought it was a girl name, but then I got over it and I don’t care about it anymore. To me, it’s a unisex name.

    Reply
  43. Kelly

    If you were asking about a name like Avery or Riley – still widely used on boys as well as for girls – I would easily give a thumbs up. Likewise if you were asking about a name such as Kelly or Robin – no longer popular for girls and would probably be easier for a boy now than a generation ago when classrooms would’ve had lots of girls with those names. But since Addison is SO popular for girls and so low for boys right now, I’d hesitate on that one unless you have a good reason for using the name. As others have said, Addison is like Ashley or Madison in that the gender ratio is very lopsided to the girls (in contrast to for example Taylor in which although more common for girls the ratio is not as tilted).

    Reply
  44. Brigid

    I love the idea of a male Addison, because it’s such a marvelous masculine name. The strong Ds and that particular A-sound and the flow are so fantastic. But I really don’t think the time is right. A 30-year-old male Addison is different from a newborn Addison–the name-y climate’s not the same.

    Edison or Atticus may work.
    I love Nicholas and Christopher with Andrew and Alex.

    Other ideas:
    Theodore
    Gregory
    Philip
    Mark
    Timothy
    Samuel
    Gideon
    Matthias
    Zachary

    If you use Aidan (a great saint’s name) I hope you spell it with -an instead of -en. Other A options:
    Allen (Alan)
    Adair
    Alden
    Anthony (Anton)
    Or for less common options, August, Adlai, Aubin, Alasdair/Alistair, Amos, Angus.

    If there is ANY CHANCE you will have more than 3 kids and don’t want A’s for all, you may want to pick another letter now. Andrew, Alex and Theo sounds awesome to me. Andrew, Alex, Adair, and Theo is a tiny bit odd. Andrew, Alex, Adair, Alden, Austin and Theo is a definite eyebrow-raiser. But you can stop a pattern at any time, especially if it becomes likely you’ll have 19. Just tell little Theo that you loved his name so much you couldn’t not use it.

    Reply
  45. Lindsay A

    Just for discussions sake…
    What if this poster DID choose Addison for this baby boy, and then later she DID have another child, and it was a GIRL?
    Andrew, Alex, Addison and…
    What then? Is there a girl name that could HELP the potential confusion about Addison’s name? An especially for-sure-for-sure feminine one, like Isabella, maybe? Does that help?

    Hmm. Interesting to think about, I think.

    Reply
    1. Helena

      Ooh, fun! The girl (if we are playing the A-game) would need a for-sure-a-girl name…. I want to say Ashley but that used to be a boys name! Anna? Anastasia? Alyssa?

      Reply
  46. Kacie

    Oh wow, this is so fascinating. I’m with Swistle — don’t give the name Allison to a boy.

    I like the idea of Alistair a LOT for you. It’s so similar to Allison — just the final sound is different. And yet, Alistair is without a doubt a male.

    If Alistair is not your style, I also think it’s perfectly ok to go to a different letter.

    Reply
    1. Kacie

      Ooh and I second a pp’s suggestion of Edison! Also very similar in sound, but will have a completely different reaction.

      Reply
  47. Elizabeth

    I agree with Swistle about not using Addison for a boy; however, I think it might make a nice middle name for a boy.

    I don’t think you need to use another A name, but I like your choice of Aidan if you do.

    Nearly any classic, masculine name will sound very nice with Alex and Andrew:

    Alex, Andrew, and Michael
    Alex, Andrew, and Samuel (Alex, Andy, and Sam! I’m a nickname person and I love this :) )
    Alex, Andrew, and David

    From your list, I like Caleb and Christian.

    Reply
  48. Caitlyn

    My cousin’s name is Addison and HE is a boy. Granted, he is 22 years old now, but I always have thought it was weird when I met a girl named Addison. I never realized it was a girl’s name! Now, however, I think it is a bit odd that it’s a boy’s name. He goes by Addi, which has never been an issue for him.

    Reply
  49. amanda

    Growing up I knew a family with four children – Beau, Blake, Seth and Bliss. Seth is the third son of Adam and Eve, and the parents thought it was a great name for a third son. I always thought that was a neat way to have a biblical name with a story, plus break up a letter pattern. Something like that allows for Addison to be used for a future little girl.

    Reply
  50. s

    I think the real question here is whether or not to give your child another A name. My opinion is no. Choosing names that are similar in style (rather than share the same first letter) will make them feel more cohesive and less matchy/cheesy. Plus you’ll appreciate it if you have another kid, as Swistle notes.

    Reply
  51. Rachael

    Ok, this is a fascinating comment board! I am a little torn but lean towards using Addison for a boy. I understand the popularity for girls now, but I actually think where you live (in America, I assume) is an important factor. In the South (where I’m from), for instance, Addison is popular for girls. However, there are a ton of surname or suname-y first names that have the same style as Addison used for boys. If this is what you truly love and cannot picture it on a girl (which you may end up having 6 boys and -0 girls,) I vote go for it. I don’t think this is nearly as detrimental to a child as say naming a boy Sarah. Also, I love the name Ellison which has historically been a male name. You don’t hear it much any more, but, while I personally like it for a girl, I would not be thrown off at all to see it on a boy. I would actually find it to be a bit refreshing to hear of a boy named Addison or Ellison if it was paired with the right nickname. Addison James, Addison Michael, etc. I do have to say that I agree with Swistle on having 3 kids with the same letter and it being strange to name the 4th with a different first letter. For some reason, 3 is the tipping point for me, too. If in the end, you decide that you just can’t do Addison for a first name, I also suggest Asher, Able, Atticus, Abbot, August, Austin, Ames, and Edison. I also recommend using another vowel so that you have the same feel but not another A name. It seems like Issac would fit well. Or Evan. Lastly, if you do decide to switch letters, I suggest the consonant name Canaan. It’s Biblical but not too different from your current style. Oh- and ALSO, for more points towards using Addison, you already have the one unisex name in Alex, so maybe using another one wouldn’t be too strange to people.

    On another note, I agree on it being completely annoying when people name their daughters names that are typically male, and then it’s practically unusable for boys any more. Not fair!

    Reply
  52. Brynn

    I went to high school with a male Addison (he went by Addy). Nobody ever said anything negative about his name. He was a popular, smart, athletic, kind, very well-liked guy (now in his mid-20s). I actually quite like Addison for a boy, and find it along the same lines as Emerson, Avery, and Emory (all which I think are boring on girls but fresh and exciting on boys).

    Reply
  53. Laurel

    The only Addison that I know is a male in his early 20s. So, to me naming your little boy Addison is not weird at all. However, I do see Swistle’s point that this generation will see a lot more girls named Addison than boys. With that said, I do not think you should feel pressure to continue the A pattern. I would really focus on finding a name that you love. If I was going to choose an A name out of your list of names I would choose Aiden. It sounds the most like Addison.

    Reply
  54. AmiN

    I can sympathize. This is exactly why we used “Emerson” as my 8-year-old son’s middle name, paired with a very male first name. Loved the name, and even now it’s not trendy for girls in our area, but seemed like it was heading in the “trendy girl name” direction. FWIW, son loves his full name—often writes the whole thing on his school work, etc.

    Reply
  55. Kim

    Anderson? I know you have an Andrew though but Addison and Anderson are so similar sounding…nickname, Sonny!

    Reply
  56. Wendy

    How about Addis? We have a family friend who is a rancher named Addis. Although I’ve wondered if it was short for Addison, I’ve never doubted it as a masculine name!

    Reply
  57. Julia

    I know I am far too late for this, but… Who cares what people think? As long as you love it, use it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

    Reply

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