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I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."
Johnny Cash, A Boy Named Sue

Most of the time, one can guess somebody's gender by reading his/her first name. Most first names have a well-defined gender, such as Alice or Robert.

...Well, most.

Sometimes the only name you get is an ambiguous abbreviation, such as Sam. Or a gender-neutral name, such as Dominique or Claude in French. Or worse, a name whose "default gender" changes from a country to another (or even over time in the same country!), like "Andrea" which is typically female in the U.S. but typically male in Italy and Greece (And in Greek it means "manly"). And let's not forget the names that must be written down to determine the gender, such as Tony/Toni or Francis/Frances.

Titles and initials can be misleading too, since many are assumed to be male.

... And last, there are names which have no cultural ambiguity, but were chosen for the sole purpose of being the opposite gender. Usually played for laughs, but not always.

A frequent variation occurs when writers who Did Not Do the Research as to a foreign culture's naming conventions inadvertently gives a woman a masculine name or (less commonly) a man a feminine name. Russian characters are particularly vulnerable to this.

If a character is fated to become a permanent Wholesome Crossdresser or the victim of a Gender Bender accident they will typically have had names like this, because Fate is just funny like that.

Can sometimes be considered the Embarrassing First Name or the Embarrassing Middle Name.

Tomboyish Name is a Sub-Trope.

Examples of Gender Blender Name include:


Chosen on Purpose

  • The Butt Monkey main character in Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan name is Sakura which means "Cherry Blossom". But there are rare cases on which it's a guy's name.
  • The journalist Dicky Chapelle (she of the pearl earrings) ... chosen over her original name of Georgette...
  • Bridget from the Guilty Gear Video Games. Chosen because he was raised as a girl, due to a superstition of twin boys being unlucky.
  • Edward from Cowboy Bebop. Part of a ridiculously long name which Ed chose for herself because she thought it sounded cool.It was Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV. Even though her real name is just Francoise Appledelhi.
  • "A Boy Named Sue", from the Johnny Cash song of the same name. Chosen intentionally to get other kids to tease him, to toughen him up.
    • Culminating in an epic fight when he finally tracked down his dad, which ends with reconciliation between the two (though he does make it a point to say he'd name his own son "any damn thing but Sue! I still hate that name!").
    • A male character in the movie Swingers is named Sue. Apparently his parents were inspired by this song.
  • Nancy Drew has a friend named George, although it's always made clear that she's a girl. At least one spinoff series has attributed this to her real name being "Georgia" and her being a tomboy.
  • The Wayside School series has two characters named Nancy and Mac who eventually swap names to fit their corresponding genders. Nancy was named after his aunt, and Mac's mother named her after a dog.
  • On Dexter's Laboratory, Mandark's hippy-dippy parents gave him the name Susan.
  • Elliot from Scrubs, her parents were expecting a boy.
    • Also from "Scrubs," Jennifer Dylan Cox - Dylan comes from a Welsh sea god. But Jordan named her after JD just to screw with Cox. Jordan herself has an ambiguous name, and there was a running joke that all the women JD slept with for the first few seasons had unisex names.
  • Jayne from Firefly has an ironic name in contrast with his vicious, mercenary nature. However, Jayne is actually a real, though uncommon, male name. Characters on the show have teased him about his name.
    • Whether or not Jayne's father was a Johnny Cash fan remains frustratingly unclear, however.
    • There's also Mal and Zoe's old war buddy, Tracey Smith.
  • Holly on Red Dwarf starts out as a balding middle aged man, and only in series 3 becomes a blonde woman. Curiously in a parallel universe, Holly's female counterpart, whose likeness he later copies, is called 'Hilly'. Strictly speaking, as a computer, 'he' doesn't have a gender, and the name is partly influenced by HAL ('HAB' was used in a prototype radio play). Not that it matters as 'Holly' is a unisex name anyway, it's simply more commonly seen as a woman's name than a man's which is why it doesn't matter that Holly was originally supposed to be a girl. The writers were blown away by Normal Lovett's preformance, and cast him instead.
  • The AI 'Ziggy' in Quantum Leap turned out to have a female voice after yeas of referring to it as "he."
  • Real Life example: Billie Piper, her mother decided that either way she was going to be called Billie before she was born. She was registered on her birth certificate as Lianne but her parents changed their minds back and always called her Billie. And her middle name is Paul.
    • It's debatable whether her first name (at least) is actually a gender bender, as "Billie" was a common girl's nickname at one point. Billie Jean King and Billie Holiday are perhaps the two best-known examples.
  • Alex, from the webcomic Aoi House. is a guy... But it's short for Alexis, which is in the Country-dependent list.
    • Alex from Building 12, on the other hand, is a girl...though everyone in the house pretends otherwise at her request. It's...complicated
  • Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach - the typical translation of his name is "strawberry"! His father tells him it means "the one who protects", but it was probably the mother who chose his name. Just don't try to bring this up in front of him. It's spelled with the kanji for "one" and "guardian", but still sounds like "strawberry".
  • The two more "masculine"-acting soldiers among the Sailor Senshi of Sailor Moon are named Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter) and Haruka Tenoh (Sailor Uranus); the former is a Huge Schoolgirl who loves martial arts, while the latter is a Butch Lesbian. Both names are traditionally male boys' names; however, in recent years, the name "Haruka" has become more of a unisex name.
  • Pat from Saturday Night Live was a Running Gag based on this trope. And then someone had the bright idea to make a movie revolving around that one joke.
  • Not really on purpose, but George Parley of Gunnerkrigg Court (above) is a girl. As mentioned above, her father was a psychic who filled out the birth certificate in advance.

 Andrew: They fixed her gender [on the birth certificate], but left her name as George because everyone thought it was hilarious.

  • Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson most likely chose their stage names with the intention of being edgy. Cooper states he got the name (which originally baptized his whole band) from an ouija board. Manson's whole group combined female model names with serial killer last names.
    • Manson's name is only a stage name, his real name being Brian Hugh Warner. Cooper legally changed his name from Vincent Damon Furnier.
  • In Catholic countries, it is somewhat common to name boys "Maria" or some variation thereof as a middle name, or as a composite first name. Prominent examples include the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke and French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen.
    • Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front, although it is only his middle name
    • In fact Jean-Marie Le Pen (full) real name is Jean Louis Marie Le Pen, making this a straight example. Jean-Marie is a nickname he started to use on the advice of his (now ex) wife in order to sound more Catholic, a traditional target for what passes for the far right parties in France.
    • Likewise, Joseph sometimes turns up as a girl's middle name or as the second part of a composite first name.
    • Maria José and José María are not uncommon names in Mexican history (sometimes get even a Jesus in the combination!!!) but most cases the first name matches the gender, as the Josés are mostly men and the Marías women.
    • In France, at least until the 18th century, "Anne" also was used as a first name for boys. A prime example would be Anne, Duc de Montmorency (1493-1567), Constable of France and one of the great Catholic military leaders of the Wars of Religion.
    • In Scotland, where family surnames are common as middle names (but not first names) girls often end up with middle names that sound pretty masculine. Or just plain unfortunate, such as "Duff".
    • "Mariya" from Maria Holic seems to be example of this particular instance.
  • Ukyo Kuonji has a few problems related to gender identity throughout her childhood in Ranma ½; then again, in that series, it's not exactly unusual. Still, "Ukyo" is reserved for manlier folk.
  • There is also Ryunosuke and Nagisa from Urusei Yatsura. They also both fall under Wholesome Crossdresser and are engaged to each other.
  • Novelist Anne Rice's legal given name is Howard Allen O'Brien, because her parents thought it would be cute to name a girl Howard. Apparently, she didn't agree; on her first day of kindergarten, the teacher asked her name. She answered "Anne". Remarkably quick thinking for a five-year old.
  • In the movie The Producers it's said that Adolf Hitler middle name was Elizabeth, which also turn out to be the middle name of the trasvestite director.
  • And Fay Weldon's parents named her Franklin Birkinshaw (but started calling her Fay almost immediately). One can kind of see the -lin ending might work as a female name, were it not for the connotations.
  • The poet Stevie Smith was female (originally named Florence). It's also been known as a shortening for Stephanie, as in Stevie Nicks.
  • Stacey/Stacy is a common female name and uncommon male name.
    • In Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, Stacey is the main character's brother.
    • Stacy Keach's first name is actually Walter, but he chose to go by his middle name, Stacy, perhaps in honor of his father, Stacy Keach Sr., who was also an actor.
  • The first President of Mexico was Guadalupe Victoria, as in the Guadalupe Virgin, the country's protector Saint. He picked it himself.
  • From the book Chartbreak, Finch (last name) and Christie. The former's a girl, the latter's a guy.
  • Douglas Hofstadter of Godel, Escher, Bach fame wrote at least one dialogue where all three characters had gender-ambiguous names.
  • One Encyclopedia Brown story featured a Gender Bender Name as the key to solving the case (a male doctor named Vivian).
  • Vyvyan from The Young Ones. His mum never did explain why she gave him a girl's name. It is a unisex name, but It's more commonly used for men in the UK, though.
  • Actor Mandy Patinkin, whose name is a shortened form of Mandel. Usually when you hear "Mandy", it's for a woman, and short for Amanda.
  • United States President Barack Obama's mother was named Stanley Dunham, after her father, but went by her middle name, Ann.
  • The wife of Irish poet William Butler Yeats was named George.
  • Claire Stanfield from Baccano. It doesn't help that he's also a murderous psychopath. No wonder he prefers to go by nicknames. This is lampshaded in the Light Novels, where Isaac points out that it's not too uncommon for men to have feminine names, "and who knows what sort of name a *monster* would have."
  • Miyuki Tezuka, a.k.a. Kamen Rider Raia from Kamen Rider Ryuki, is a guy. It only goes unnoticed because everyone only uses "Tezuka" to refer to him, but that's the character's official name.
  • Rapper Tramar Dillard must not have cared that Flo was short for Florence, traditionally a female name, when taking Flo Rida as his stage name. And, yes, that is his home state.
  • Actress Michael Learned of The Waltons. To avoid confusion, she's often billed as "Miss Michael Learned".
  • Adrian Andrews from the second and third games of Ace Attorney, which is important because her name sounds masculine (and her last name literally is). This helps derail Shelly de Killer's argument that Adrian is his client, since he states that he physically met Adrian to make the deal, but refers to her as male because he hasn't actually met her.
  • Kamille Bidan of Zeta Gundam. It might be a country-dependent choice given his French-sounding last name, but Kamille's sensitivity about his name causes all sorts of things to happen in this series. Indeed, there may not even have been a Zeta Gundam if he were named Bob.
  • Subverted in the book Beyond Rejection - a former man whose personality has been transferred to a female body asks to be called "Patricia", aiming at this trope. The therapist points this out and starts calling her "Trish".
    • Also subverted in Robert Heinlein's book I Will Fear No Evil, character Johann Sebastian Bach Smith has his brain transplanted into the body of a young female murder victim named Eunice Branca. Johann then chooses the name Joan Eunice Smith. He states that if "Joan" is pronounced as two syllables, it sounds a lot like 'Johann.'
  • Harold Belserius from Tales of Destiny 2. Remembered as a brilliant male scientist. Or rather a brilliant female scientist who wanted to be remembered as a man just for the lulz.
  • The gynecologist brothers from Dead Ringers are named Elliot and Beverly. It's implied that their parents gave Bev a girl's name to help set their identical twins' childhood experiences apart from one another.
    • "Beverly" was originally a male name that became a mostly female name
  • Dr Rodney McKay from Stargate: Atlantis. Rodney is his middle name. His first name is Meredith. He does get teased for it.
    • Meredith was originally a boys' name, and later became a unisex name (much like Jordan, Sydney, Riley, etc.) before becoming pretty much exclusively a girls' name.
      • Exclusive outside its native country, perhaps. In its native country (it's a Welsh name properly spelled Maredudd) it's still the boy's name that it always was. On this side of the Pond, Rodney's name completely normal.
  • In Gateway, the main character is Robinette Broadhead, a man. He usually goes by Robin or Bob. Still, being saddled with a woman's name is one of the things he talks about during his extensive therapy sessions.
  • Sapphire: Not only does Claude sound rather feminine in English, it is a gender-neutral name in his native French. Rather fitting for a French-born Bishounen, eh?
  • Kahn Jr. in King of the Hill. Naturally, she prefers to go by 'Connie'. She explained she was named after her father because he wanted a son.
    • The episode, "Uncool Customer" has the birthday girl name Michael.
  • Sissel of Ghost Trick is quite male even if he's not human, but has a female name. This is because he's named after Yomiel's fiancee.
  • Bioshock has the class of Big Daddy known as "Rosie" (after Rosie the Riveter, because he carries a rivet gun). They are still very much male.
    • As is Subject Delta, another Big Daddy and the protagonist of the sequel. He is actually addressed as simply "Delta" on at least one occasion. Not a common proper name, but a female character from Luann has it.
    • One of the Little Sisters' random lines in the original was "That's a lady's name. Not a boy's name!" It's especially funny when she's traveling with a Rosie.
  • The Soldier in Team Fortress 2 is apparently named Jane Doe. Probably due to this, he insists on a note on his door that he should be addressed Mister Jane Doe to avoid gender confusion by the name.
  • Jack AKA "Subject Zero" in Mass Effect 2, named apparently solely to have a Samus Is a Girl moment...for everyone who avoided seeing the several trailers she appears in.
    • Not to mention that all in-game mention prior to first meeting Subject Zero conspicuously neglects any sort of gender identifying pronoun.
  • Bryan Fuller likes to do this to his female characters. In Wonderfalls the main female character is named Jaye, which is a little ambiguous. Dead Like Me made this habit blatant, with the main female character George(tte) and her sister Reggie (Regina). Ned's love interest in Pushing Daisies is Charlotte... but goes by Chuck.
  • The trope is used in the 16th century madrigal "Of all the birds that I do know", which is ostensibly about a pet sparrow named Philip, but which is always referenced with female pronouns. There is probably some sort of Double Entendre that hasn't survived for 400 years, but the song is still beautiful. Can be found here.
  • Superhero Mr. Mighty from Everyday Heroes is named Marion. (His two brothers are Michael and Morrison; their parents were big fans of John Wayne.)
    • Mr. Sir's real name Marion Sirvino. "It is a boy's name!"
  • Lucia Raregroove, the ultimate Big Bad of Rave Master. Yes, he has a girl's name. Since he's the embodiment of darkness, his name also means light. His stepbrother's name isn't much better.
  • African-American heart surgeon Vivien Thomas, whose parents thought they were having a girl and really liked the name. Also has a nephew named Koco.
  • Tohru from Fruits Basket explains that her father gave her a typically masculine name in order to emphasize her femininity, comparing it to adding a little salt to something sweet to enhance the flavor.
    • Ayame and Yuki can both be female names
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name. It didn't stop Hanna's parents naming him that. He doesn't know why they named him Hanna.
  • Although Edith, a male character from Ghost Dad, claims his first name is a boy's name, he also explains he was named after his grandmother.

 Sir Edith Moser: It's pronounced edd-ith!

  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, the Tsuruya family doctor is called Sakura. Yes, he's male.
  • Bullet-Proof Monk actress James King wanted to defy naming conventions, but apparently switched to Jamie to avoid confusion.
  • Ruby and Sapphire from Pokémon Special, considering the protagonists are named after each game. Ruby from Pocket Monsters counts too.
    • Sapphire is typically a female name, so that doesn't count. Pearl (who's male) definitely does, though, and maybe Diamond. Platinum might count; while it's not a real name, it doesn't really sound feminine, which caused the creation of the fan name "Platina".
  • Bobby from the eponymous Bollywood film.
  • A few Vivians (variously spelled) so far, but no mention of Vivian Stanshall (born Victor Anthony), the Bonzo Dog Band frontman, among other things, who embraced the christened name of his father (who hated it and prefered to be called Victor).
  • Merideth in Dreamsnake, whose gender is left entirely up to the reader.
  • Tyler Rodney Clark from the little-known novel Ghostland had her name chosen because her mother was part of the Women's Liberation Movement. However, it barely matches her personality, her only tomboyish trait being her male friends.
  • Sisters Teddy and Charlie in Good Luck Charlie had "masculine" names chosen (allegedly) to attract more boys to the show.
  • Abe from Spice and Wolf. It's not her birth name, but being a female merchant has its difficulties, so it's better for business. She also calls herself "ore".
  • Where to categorize this is a mystery, due to limited character information, but it really ought to be known that somewhere in the Star Wars universe lurks a grizzled genocidal maniac named Danetta, who is, as far as anyone can tell, a man. Did his parents give him a girl's name? Is the suffix -etta somehow a masculine additive, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away? Is he hiding more than one terrible secret? The world will probably never know, because his creators have most likely forgotten that he exists, as it the fate of many Star Wars EU characters.
  • Similar to Dr. Vivien Thomas above, the mother of NFL player Danieal Manning liked the name "Danielle", but had a boy instead. Perhaps she didn't like "Daniel" quite as much.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Rico and Claes are given male names by their handlers, who are somewhat uncomfortable working with brainwashed underaged girl killers, so the names help to disassociate them.
  • Charlie from Khaos Komix is a male-to-female Transsexual. Her name can be gender-neutral, however it's rare as an actual name for a girl (it's typically a nickname).
  • Gary, the owner of the shoe store where Al Bundy works in Married... with Children, is a woman.
    • Mary, the maker of the Bundys' couch, is a man. He insists that his name is a male name and emphasized on the last syllable whereas the usual female version is emphasized on the first syllable.
  • In Duck Dodgers episode "Back to the Academy", Duck Dodgers was evaluated by a drill sergeant named Emily Dickinson Jones. Emily got this name because people's names in the 24th and a half century aren't choosen with basis on their gender and his mother was a fan of classic poetry.
  • Julia gets quite a shock in Date Movie when Grant's "best man" Andy turns out to be an extremely attractive woman.
  • Tiffany (a boy) and Gary the Mermaid Queen (a female) from Adventure Time.
  • Community had Troy dating a person name Randi. He very quickly points out "Randi can be a girl's name" to avoid any confusion.
  • In "We Will Rock You", Britney Spears is the very male "...the biggest, baddest, meanest, nastiest, ugliest, most raging, rapping, rock'n'roll, sick, punk, heavy metal psycho bastard that ever got get-down funky." And Meat Loaf is his girlfriend, who is called Ozzy in some versions.
  • Dr. Edward Bunnigus from Schlock Mercenary. Her parents were considered too stupid to breed under eugenics laws so they commissioned a Designer Baby from scratch. When she arrived, they (being idiots) interpreted the "ED" (which stands for "Exotic Dancer", her genetic template) in her medical bracelet as the lab having named the baby for them. They didn't think Ed was "pretty enough" so they called her "Edward".
  • The titular character in The Little Devil is a little devil who possessed an Italian lady named Giuditta. He liked her name, so after his exorcism, he decided to keep it as his own.
  • In Little Shop of Horrors, the main character gets a bizarre-looking plant and names it "Audrey II", after Audrey, the girl he likes. The plant gets loosely referred to as female by the characters, but when it starts to talk, it sounds and acts very male. Since plants sometimes are hermaphrodites and this particular plant is also an alien the gender distinction thing gets weird if you think about it too hard.
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War gives us Claude, a male Bishop ; and Eve, Eva and Alva, who are male Same Sex Triplets. Alva can actually be a male name (see Thomas Edison, whose middle name is Alva), but Eve and Eva are decidedly feminine.
  • Kevin from Up was apparantly so-called because Russell actually thought that "she" was male until Dug corrected him, telling Russell that Kevin is looking for "her" babies.
  • Mary Palorocini of Limozeen.
  • The mother in FoxTrot is almost always referred to as "Andy" (short for Andrea).
  • Beth Metatronim in Burying the Shadow is a man. This is not considered strange or embarrassing in canon.
  • Country Music singer Gus Hardin was a female. (Her real name was Carolyn Ann Blankenship.)
  • A more common example is singer Charly McClain (short for Charlotte).
  • In the NBC Television series "Sisters," the five sisters have female names but are given male nicknames by their father, who always wanted sons. Thus Alexandra, Theodora, Georgiana, Francesca, and Charlotte are called Alex, Teddy, Georgie, Frankie, and Charlie. Alex's daughter is named Reed, which is also typically a male name.
  • Megumi Kitaniji, a major antagonist in The World Ends With You, has a very feminine first name. According to the manga, he was teased as a child because of it.
  • Jessica Simpson named her daughter Maxwell.
  • An episode of The Loony Toons Show has Bugs and Daffy at a spa, getting massages. Daffy sees that he's scheduled to get a massage from "Joe", while Bugs is going to get one from "Leslie". Daffy swaps the signs, so of course Joe turns out to be a beautiful woman named Josephine, while Leslie is a big, hairy man who twists Daffy into a pretzel.


Country-Dependent

  • Adrian is almost always a masculine name in the United Kingdom, but occasionally a feminine name in the United States (and can be confused with the feminine form Adrienne).
  • Alexis, Nikita and Sasha are actually masculine names of Greek origin. Alexis is the common French spelling of "Alexios", in Russian it is usually "Aleksej" or "Alexey" depending on how you transliterate it, "Nikita" derives from "Niketas", and Sasha is a common diminutive of "Aleksandr", and a common boy's name in both Russia and Germany (hence Sasha Nein) where it can also be given to females. And to make it nice and confusing for all, we have an American and a Brit: Sasha Cohen, and Sacha Baron Cohen. Two similar names, but one is a female figure skater, and the other is a male comedian.
  • As for Nikita, you have Khrushchev (Russian Prime Minister) and Koloff (Russian sounding stage name for an American pro wrestler), and Nikita from La Femme Nikita.
  • Nikita is a male's name in Russia (think Khrushchev) and Finland, but female elsewhere. Like France. (La Femme of the same name).
  • Andrew, derived from the Greek root "andr", meaning "male" has cognates in most European languages. Andrea is often used as a feminine form (see above) that is spelled exactly like the Italian version of the male name. It is usually pronounced slightly differently. The English version with a long "e" (AN-dree-ah), the Italian with the "e" as a long "a" (An-DRAY-ah). Can still cause much confusion.
    • Ah, but the pronunciation wouldn't excuse Spanish, where Andrea is also used a female name and it's pronounced much the same as in Italian, except for the accent. The male version of the name in Spanish is "Andrés" (as in baseball player Galarraga).
    • The cruise liner Andrea Doria was named for a man (16th Century Admiral).
    • Andrea Stavros from The Guns of Navarone is a man.
    • One of the women in a couple of James Bond films is named Andrea Anders.
    • In MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unwed, Betsy throws Sinclair's opera CDs from his car in revenge. Leading to (paraphrased):

  Betsy: Andrea Bocelli? Who the hell is she?

    • Comic book artist Andrea DiVito, Italian, was once frequently mistaken for a woman. Ironically, female artist Nicola Scott is still frequently mistaken for a man.
    • The (female) Survival of the Fittest character Andrea Vanlandingham.
    • The female sprite AndrAIa in Re Boot is given the Italian pronunciation because of the capital letters in the middle of her name.
    • Many other Italian male names may fall into this category, especially if they are the "Hebrew-descent-angel-names-finished-in-el", among them Daniele (Daniel), Michele (Michael) and Gabriele (Gabriel). What sets them apart from English is that, when such names are used for girls, they are usually spelt with LL's (and thus, treated as feminine versions of the respective names), but some languages (Brazilian Portuguese prominently) admit the use of a single L.
  • Likewise, the name Simon has identical or unambiguous cognates in most other European languages...except Italian. The masculine Italian version is Simone (even though it's pronounced "see-MAW-neh", unlike the feminine English and French Simone, which sounds like "sea-MOAN"). The Italian female version is Simona, if you were wondering. The reverse happens in Spanish: the masculine version, Simón, is spelled exactly like in English save for the accent, but is pronounced more like the female version.
  • Angel is gender-neutral in English, but specifically male in, at least, Spain. Oh Dear.
  • The same goes for the Italian and American versions of the name Luca - some were confused about Suzanne Vega singing "My name is Luka (I live on the second floor...)".
    • The song, though sung by a woman, is written to be from the perspective of a little boy named Luka.
    • But what floor did Teen Genius Lucca from Chrono Trigger live on?
  • Anne, although a female name in most languages, is traditionally a male name in Frisian. Pronounched something like Oh-one-eh, but more fluent.
    • Anna is commonly female as well. But then there's this activist guy from India: Anna Hazare.
  • If a person is unfamiliar with Armenian names, the endings of the names frequently leave the gender to the imagination.
  • Artemis is the name of a Greek goddess.
    • One should have told that to Artemis Fowl. Granted, he is told in one of the books.
      • And takes it all in stride just like a good little criminal with the highest IQ in Europe would. In the end of the book he answers to this insult from the antagonist: "Every now and then a male comes along with such a talent for hunting that he earns the right to use that name. I am that male. Artemis the hunter. I hunted you." Ba-zing!
        • Even better is that the phrase Artemis the Hunter is the signal to his allies to unleash hell.
    • And the Robert Rankin character Hugo Artemis Solon Saturnicus Reginald Arthur Rune.
    • And Artemis Entreri, of R.A. Salvatore fame.
    • In Codename: Sailor V, the manga that led to Sailor Moon, Minako calls Artemis a "transsexual cat", teasing him for having the name of a goddess. He's at the same time upset and impressed with her knowledge of Greek mythology... until she tells him she learned it from a video game.
    • It should be noted that the name Artemis is unisex in Greek. The female version is pronounced with stress on the first syllable and the male version with stress on the second (ART-teh-miss vs art-TEH-miss). But basically it's the same name.
      • There is also an anglicinized male-only version of the name, Artemus. Fairly rare today, but was somewhat popular in the US during the second half of the 19th century. Fictional bearers of the name include Artemus Gordon from The Wild Wild West and the Keeper Elder Artemus from the Thief game series.
  • Blaise, a masculine name in most of Europe, has been used as a feminine name in the United States.
    • Blaise Zabini from Harry Potter is male. Some fans had assumed that the name, mentioned in passing, belonged to a female character, until JKR clarified it.
      • Much to the amusement of those of us who assumed him to be male all along, including Europeans and people from elsewhere who (correctly) assumed that a European writer would follow European naming conventions.
  • Deri. A Welsh male name meaning 'oaks', can now be found as a female name.
  • In Spanish-speaking countries, Jaime is a male name pronounced "Hi May", however in America, Jaime is typically a female spelling of Jamie. Other than that, the trope is largely averted in this language, due to it distinguishing names and words by gender.
  • Jan is a Germanic male name -- or an American female one. Both are pronounced differently like the male version is pronounced (yan), but on paper it can leave you uncertain. (Both Jans are originally Hebrew, forms of "John" and "Joan", respectively).
    • Although back in the 1960s there was the singing duet of Jan and Dean, who sang "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" and "Dead Man's Curve".
    • Don't forget the (male) American actor Jan Michael Vincent and the comedian Jan Murray.
  • The Teutonic male name Djalma, in Brazil, went into this case.
  • Doris may once have been a male name.
  • Flo is short for the male name Florian in Germany, but for Florence in anglophone countries.
  • The men's name Jean is apparently commonly assumed by American mailers and telemarketers to be female (presumedly the Scottish "ˈdʒiːn" pronunciation), even when appended as in French naming conventions to more plainly masculine names such as Joseph or Pierre. It's actually a French equivalent to John.
    • A rare German variant of "John" is "Joan", pronounced "YO-unn".
    • "Joan" is also the Catalan equivalent of "John", as in artist Joan Miró.
  • Kari is another name that is male in Finland, and female in some other parts of the world.
    • Thus, when the American version of the first Digimon movie was brought to Finland, they tried to fix it by calling Kari 'Kaari'. Doesn't really help, because that word means 'arch' in Finnish.
      • It is, however, better than Kari. At least Kaari, though rare, is used as a female name in Finland. Case in point: Kaari Utrio, a writer.
      • Kaari is also used as a Finnish surname; in fact, my grandmother's maiden name is Kaari.
      • Keeping in mind Kari's name was originally 'Hikari' (Hee-kah-ree for all you English speakers), which means "Light" in Japanese, and helps explain a bit of why she was the Digidestined of Light as that's what her name meant.
      • Kari's name was actually Hikari in the first season, but changed to Kaari in second season and the movies - figures, because in Finnish, "hikari" is short for "hikipinko", Finnish for (school) nerd.
  • The main character of John Masefield's children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights is called Kay. He's a boy. So (unsurprisingly) is King Arthur's foster-brother, Sir Kay. In the early twentieth century, Kay came to be an alternative shortening of Katherine.
  • Kim, which at least in English tends to be feminine, while in Nordic countries it is masculine. Also Kimi (as in Räikkönen).
    • However, we can point out at least two male English Kims: author Kim Newman and Rudyard Kipling's Kim. (There's also the spy Kim Philby, but in his case "Kim" was just a nickname, after the Kipling character, and his actual given name was Harold.)
    • It is also masculine in the former Soviet Union, being one of the numerous "revolutionary" names that were invented after the Red October. It stands for "Kommunistichesky Internatsional Molodyozhy" ("the Communist International of the Youth", the youth branch of the Comintern). Most of these names have lost popularity, for obvious reasons.
    • The fact that Kim is the single most common Korean family name just adds another layer of confusion.
    • There's also the male Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, who is American, but of Indian descent.
  • Mika is a fairly common name among females in Japan, but in Finnish it's distinctly male. Even so, several websites listing names from around the world claim it to be a girl's name in both Japan and Finland. Of course, some know better.
    • Senko no Ronde, despite being a Japanese game, gets it right: the main character, Mika Mikli, is a guy.
    • A similar bit of confusion starts off Eurotrip when the main character discovers that his German IM friend is not a guy named "Mike" but a gorgeous girl named "Mieke" (pr. Mee-ke).
      • The actual name is Meike, but we'll let it slide for a movie that basically parodied Did Not Do the Research. (If it wasn't intended a parody, keep quiet and leave the Europeans that comfortable illusion.)
  • Noah, generally considered to be a masculine name in English, is actually a feminine name in Hebrew. The man people are trying to name their sons after has a name ending in a sound that English doesn't have, so when The Bible was translated, they both got the same name. But they're spelled and pronounced differently in Hebrew (Compare nun-ayin-hey for the girl's name and nun-chet for the boy's name.) So yes, her name is actually fine.
    • "Noa" is also recently gaining popularity as a feminine name in Japan.
    • Similarly, Shelah is a Biblical name that can go both ways but was most commonly on men. Now it's most common on women.
    • The name Micaiah is used for both women and men in the Bible, though a variant is traditionally used for the female version in translations to reduce confusion.
  • In English, Ringo is usually more a nickname than a normal first name, but mainly given to guys. On the other hand, in Japanese the name Ringo is more usually a female name.
    • In Air Gear we have a girl named Ringo, but this is also an example of Theme Naming, since she and her sisters were all named after fruits ("ringo" means "apple" in Japanese).
  • Robin was originally a diminutive form of Robert, but now can be given to either sex. According to Wikipedia, it is more popular as a boy's name in the United Kingdom and more popular as a girl's name in the United States, but it's not rare to have American boys or British girls called Robin (Robin Williams is American, mind you).
    • To make the gender clear, the name has gained alternate spellings over time: e.g. Robyn (like the - female - Swedish pop singer), Robynne.
      • Even that has become less clear, as the spelling Robyn is sometimes used for males.
    • And while Robin may now be a gender neutral name in English-speaking countries, in other countries (such as France) it is still pretty much a boys-only name.
  • Rowan used to be gender-neutral in Scotland (and in England, though less used there) but the popularity of Rowan Atkinson has pretty well cemented its status as a male name. It's pronounced with a long "ow" sound when female.
  • Taylor was once a boy's name, but has slowly shifted to being predominantly a female name. Tyler seems to slowly be moving in that direction as well.
  • Yuri is masculine in Russia, but feminine in Japan.
    • Yuri Hyuga from Shadow Hearts is half-Russian and half-Japanese, so one assumes his Russian mother named him. It's still better than "Urnmaf", mind you.
    • Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia was mistaken for a woman a lot by fans before the game's release, although that probably has to do more with his design than his name.
      • There's also a male Karol in the same game, and a male Jade in one of the earlier names. The Tales series must enjoy putting names in the blender.
    • Most Japanese media render the Russian version as Yu-ri (to simulate the stress on the first syllable) and the Japanese version as Yuri. Still a bit confusing, though.
    • As an interesting note, those names are pronounced and spelled differently in Russian. The Russian name is actualy Yuriy with Y like in "May", but this is usualy skipped in translation.
  • Laurence is feminine in French-speaking countries (as a female form of Laurent), masculine in English-speaking ones.
  • Alison is masculine in Brazil, and feminine everywhere else.
  • Gillian Seed from Snatcher, whose given name is usually considered a female name. However the Japanese pronunciation of his name is actually Girian (ギリアン), which is closer to the surname Gilliam, than the female name Gillian (ジリアン, Jirian in Japanese).
    • Incidentally, "Girian" is about as close as Japanese can get to the name "Gideon". (The "di" spot is taken up by a "ji", and r and d are phonetically closer than you'd think.)
  • American Kelly Slater is male.
    • It's often a male name in NZ.
  • Marion Cobretti, Stallone's character in the film Cobra.
  • Elis, Kai and Terje are feminine names in Estonia, but masculine in most other countries.
  • Vanya is a diminutive of Ivan in Russia: a male name. In Brazil it became a girl's name.
  • The Irish name Conor, sometimes spelt Connor (although thats usually reserved for surnames). It's unquestionably a mans name in its native Ireland and the neighboring UK. However it's apparently found some use as a female name in the United States. Americans not knowing its origins and simply liking the name is one thing, but there are seemingly some Irish Americans who have forgotten this too.
  • While more common as a female name, in Mexico Guadalupe can also be male. Shortened to Lupe in both cases.
  • Kida is a masculine name in Japan, but a feminine name in Atlantis.
  • On Disney/Lilo andStitch, Pleakley's real first name turns out to be "Wendy." It apparently means "Great Warrior" in his home language, but even he seems embarrassed to use it on Earth.
  • Carol/Karol vs. Carole. The former is often male in English-speaking and Slavic countries (as attested by the late Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła); while the latter is feminine at least in French. Note that Carole is a recent construction, both a variant of Caroline and a modernization of the German "karl" root; this very root actually means "manly", by the way.
  • In America, you probably can't get away with naming your son Chocolove and not expect to get slapped. (Not to mention it's also the name of an AKB48 member, and they're all female.) Keep in mind the show's an anime and was made in Japan.

Cultural transformation

  • The long list of names which were originally male but have morphed into female because folks give girls "boy" names, but then don't like giving boys names that have been used for girls: Beverley, Courtney, Shirley, Laverne, Evelyn, Dana, Gail, Jocelyn (yes, really), Lesley (note the spelling), Lindsey, Stacy, Tracy, Morgan... Ashley and Sidney seem to be headed in this direction.
    • And is the reason one Badass in the Evil Dead series goes by the name "Ash."
    • Ash Crimson, from King of Fighters is called Ashley, probably due to his French origin. Maybe his true name generated the whole fruity behavior he has. Fitting.
    • Ashley Winchester of Wild Arms 2 fame.
    • "Ashleigh", a male variant of "Ashley," has evolved, as in the case of author Ashleigh Brilliant.
      • The "-ley/-leigh" names - including "Leigh" itself - were originally surnames (it refers to a meadow, or clearing), so gender-neutral. It's just a Double Standard.
    • There was a pro football player named Ashley (Ambrose) a few years back. Appropriately enough, he played for Atlanta (cue sports anchors doing their best Scarlet O'Hara, "Ashley!")
      • There's Ashley Cole too. That black English footballer guy who plays for Chelsea, for those unfamiliar.
    • Ashley is a great (and seemingly popular) example because it wasn't used for girls until The Seventies, so it's in the midst of the switch (as noted above). Interestingly, as women co-opt male names, they abandon "old" sounding names like Dorothy and Margaret.
    • Irish people always felt it sounded like a girls name because it sounded very similar to a locally common girls name, Aisling.
    • Not to mention the famed author Evelyn Waugh, who was a dude (and whose first wife was also named Evelyn), or Marion Morrison, who later became known as the ultimate man's man John Wayne.
      • And another famous male author, Beverley Nichols. Interesting also in that his surname is one form of a Latin name which started out as male (Nicola), but in its male version has been anglicised to "Nic(h)olas".
    • Shawn is another name that's going this direction, at least in the US (Sean is still pretty exclusively male, but Shawn has about a 50/50 chance of being a female).
    • Leslie Lynch King, Jr., named after his father, would change his name to Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (after his stepfather) when he was 19.
    • The baccarat expert from Casino Royale 1967 goes by the name of Evelyn Tremble, that is, until he is recruited by the Secret Service and renamed James Bond 007.
    • In 1974, Fleetwood Mac were reinforced by a couple named Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The former is the guy.
    • Wasn't always a Double Standard, way, way back, Phillip and Philip were girl's names.
      • How far back? Alexander the Great's father was Philip of Macedon. The name was more or less abandoned in the West, but some Russians liked it, and western Europe re-borrowed it from them.
  • Hayden, only recently having become extremely popular as a male name (along with Jaden, Aiden, etc.), is becoming a female name. A quick check of US Social Security records shows that the first significant use of Hayden for girls coincides with ... Hayden Panettiere's breakout role.
  • The 1944 film Laura stars Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney. Guess which actor is male and which one is female.
  • In Philip José Farmer's Science Fiction novel Dayworld, (set many centuries in the future) the custom of men's and women's names has died out. Several male characters have female names and vice versa.
  • In Duck Dodgers, the eponymous duck meets a very masculine-looking drill sergeant called Emily Dickinson Jones, and when he remarks on that is told "we've left behind such concepts as names being for males or females". And his mother liked Emily Dickinson.
  • Ariel is Hebrew for "Lion of God" and was exclusively male until Disney appropriated it for their mermaid and it become popular.
    • As well as Niko's mentor on Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. Charming, elderly lady with a thing for orchids and a fondness for Alice in Wonderland. She specializes in illusions and tricks.
    • Ariel in The Tempest is genderless, and in modern productions is typically played by a woman.
    • Actually, this is backwards. Disney picked the name because it was already an up-and-coming girl's name: in 1986, the year before production started on The Little Mermaid, female Ariel's outnumbered males by a little more than 2:1 among U.S. births, a list of famous Ariel's going back to 1862 shows female Ariel's outnumbering males as far back as the late 1800's.
    • The Hebrew version is pronounced R-E-L, while the female version is usually Air-E-L.
  • One of the interesting backcurrents in John Varley's Eight Worlds stories and novels is the effect that Easy Sex Change (and easy name change) has had on gender-based naming conventions. Some change names when they change sexes, some don't, some adopt gender-neutral names, others prefer nicknames, etc.
  • Tyson was previously exclusively a boy's name, but has started to be used as a girl's name in the past couple decades.
  • MacKenzie(son of Kenneth) was originally a Scottish surname, then a masculine first name, but now is mostly feminine.
  • Gabriel, another once-male Hebrew name, is occasionally used for girls (as opposed to Gabrielle).
  • Meredith was an old-fashioned boy's name, gained life as a girl's name, and is now aged in that life too, depending who you ask.
  • A probably accidental occurrence in Dragon Age 2: Petrice is actually a French form of Patrick. Not the sort of name you'd give to a scheming lying fanatic of a priestess.


Diminutives

  • Alex - Alexander, Alexandre, Alexis (see below), Alexandria, Alexandra
  • Aly/Ali/Alli/Ally - Alison, Alistair, Alicia
  • Andy/Andie/Andi - Andrew, Andrea
  • Angel - Angela, Angeline, Angelo, Angelina, Angelica. Strangely enough, "Angel" by itself is quite gender-neutral in the US and the Philippines.
    • To quote Cordelia from Angel, on Wesley pretending to be the title character - "If I thought that was going to work, I could have been Angel, 'cos lets face it, it's kind of a girly name."
    • Angel is full of this trope, what with Fred, Lindsey, Francis (Doyle), Harry, and Angel himself.
  • Annie - Anakin, Antigone, Anne, Annica, Anders
  • Bob (or Bobby/Bobbie) - Robert, Roberta. This means that "Me & Bobby McGee" can be (and is) sung about a man and his girlfriend (the original version), or a woman and her boyfriend.
  • Candy - of the Latin name "Candido" (male) or Candace (female). Thus, "I Want Candy" can be sung by both the Bow Wow Wow (with a female lead singer) and by Aaron Carter.
  • Cam - Cameron (itself pretty gender neutral)/Camilla
    • Cameron is also an example of Country Dependant/Cultural Transformation. Originally a Celtic warrior's name, and was a masculine name when it originally transplanted to America, where it gradually became unisex.
  • Charlie/Charley/Chaz/Chas - Charles, Charlotte, Charlene (this one oddly enough, means "male")
    • Chaz/Chas can also be short for "Chastity", as with Transsexual activist Chaz Bono.
      • There's an alternative theory that it might also be derived from the german word for "mighty" or "warrior," which, while those are still rather masculine concepts, is better than outright naming your girl "man."
  • C(h)ris/Kris - Kristopher, Crystal, Christine (And any one of them can be spelled a half-dozen ways, too.)
    • This was used in a Batman Episode where Poison Ivy had two stepsons name Chris and Kelly. the real Chris and Kelly were girls.
  • Connie can be short for Cornelius, Conrad, Constantine, or Constance; however, you're not likely to find a male Connie these days (possibly because Cornelius isn't a popular name anymore). Connie Mack is probably the best-known male Connie.
  • Danni/Danny - Daniel, Danielle, Daniella
  • Dave - though one doesn't usually come across a Davina who goes by Dave, it's still a possibility.
    • In Scotland, it was common for a child born after the father's death to be given his name.
  • Denny - Dennis, Denzel, Denise
  • Dom - Dominic,Dominique
  • Don - Donald, Donna
  • Felix can be short for Felicity
  • Frankie - Frank, Francis, Frances, Francine, Francesca
  • Fred - Fredrick, Fredrika, Alfred, Wilfred, Winifred
    • The last one giving us Fred from Angel.
      • And the Carol Burnett vehicle Once Upon A Mattress.

 I'm in love with a girl named "Fred"!

        • Oh lord, Once Upon A Mattress.

 Fred: My name is Winifred, but you can call me by my nickname.

Dauntless: Winnie?

Fred: NO! Fred!

  • George/Georgie - George, Georgina, Georgette, Georgia
  • Harry - Harold, Harriet
  • Jo(e) - Joseph, Jocelyn, Josette, Josephine, Joanne, Joanna, Jodie
    • Jo March from Little Women. It's stated in the book that this diminutive is one of the things that add to her image as a tomboy. In the sequels, her sister Meg has a daughter named after Jo, but they call her Josie to distinguish between them.
    • In one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will gets a part on a soap opera. He gets his script and rehearses having to kiss someone named Jodie who he assumes is a woman. When he starts shooting, it turns out that Jodie is a man.
  • Ken - Kenneth, Kendall, Kendra.
  • Kim - Kimberley, Kimball
  • Lulu
    • In Code Geass, the main character was named Lelouch, an extremely uncommon name, even in French - in which it could be translated as "The Deceit", if you ignore grammar - and unheard of everywhere else. He is a man. Due to the Japanese language, it was pronounced "lulushu". The one character who kept using it suffered constant romantic setbacks, despite Lelouch barely paying any attention to it. Or her, really.
  • Mackenzie was originally a boy's name (son of Kenneth), but is now mostly a girl's name.
  • Max - Maximilian, Maximilliana, Maxine, Maximus, Maxwell, Maxim, Maximum
  • Mel - Melvin, Melanie, Amelia
  • Mickie/Mickey - Michelle, Michael
  • Nic/Nick/Nicki/Nicky - Nicole, Nicola, Nicholas... Phoenix? or possibly a full name. Also, Dominique..
  • Pat - Patrick and Patricia. This was the name of an SNL character whose whole joke was that nobody could tell whether the character was a male or a female.
    • Also in the case of "Patty." St. Patrick's Day is known as St. Patty's, especially in the United States.
      • Paddy is a perfectly fine diminutive of Patrick. "Patty" is used for girls called Patricia. Getting this spelling wrong isn't looked on very kindly by the people with these names.
    • Used in the manual for Fallout 2. Because the gender and sexual orientation of the first game's protagonist is not determined, his/her journal entry simply refers to his/her significant other as "Pat".
  • Reg/Reggie - Regina, Reginald
  • Ronnie/Ronny - Ronald, Veronica
  • Rosie - A fine girl's name on its own, or it can be short for Roosevelt (incidentally, Dutch for "Rose field"), as in Mr. Rosey Greer.
  • Sam - Samuel, Samantha
    • One notorious example is Samantha Carter, from Stargate SG-1.
    • Another notorious example is in John Scalzi's The Android's Dream, since Sam's sex is deliberately never mentioned in the book. The author noticed he hadn't mentioned Sam's sex after a few chapters, and ran with it.
  • Sandy - Cassandra, Sandra, Alexander, Alexandra (say these last two aloud and you'll see why)
    • Embarassing parents are those in NZ who proudly call their baby boys Alexandra because they are illiterate.
      • And those in Belfast who write 'Alexander' on their baby girl's birth certificate, because the two names are homophones in that accent.
    • There's also Alasdair, which is based on Alexander.
    • Joked with on Scrubs.

 Dr. Cox: Sandy!

JD: You know, Sandy isn't necessarily a girl's name.

Dr. Cox: It's short for Sandra.

  • Sasha - Alexander/Alexandra, in Russian. More typically used with males.
  • Steve - Steven/Stephen, Stephanie
  • Ted/Teddy/Teddi/Teddie - Theodore, Theodora, Edward
  • Terry/Teri - Terrance, Terissa
  • Tommy - Thomas, Thomasina (though admittedly not a very common girls' name often now)
  • Tony/Toni - Anthony, Antoinette, Antonio, Antonia--but could also be a full name.
  • Valya - Valentin, Valentina (from Russia).
  • Vic/Vicki/Vicky - Victor, Victoria
  • Wil(l) - Generally William, but can also be Wilma, Wilhemina, and as Buffy fans know, Willow.
  • Zhenya - Eugene/Eugenia (from Russia).


Gender-Neutral

  • English:
    • Alex
    • Angel
    • Ashley/Ashleigh/Ashlie/aScHl3y
    • Avery
    • Billy (for a male)/Billie (for a female)
    • Blair: McDonough, Underwood (m), Chenoweth, Waldorf (f)
    • Blake: Lively (f), Shelton (Country Singer) (m)
    • Brett(e): Butler (Baseball Player and Actress)
    • Brook(e)(s)
    • Bryce
    • Cameron: Crowe (m), Diaz (f)
    • Carol(l) (mostly anglicised to Charles, but Carol is still a common boys' name in Cornwall) (unless one's last name is Shelby)
      • See also the Country-Dependent files, for the French and feminine Carole.
    • Carlin
    • Carson (McCullers, author of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter)
    • Casey (Lynch)
    • Cassidy
    • Cat/Kat/Katt
    • Cayman: Mitchell (m), Ilika (f)
    • Chase
    • Cody
      • Dakota/Koda
    • Dana (Carvey)
    • Darren/Daryn
    • Daryl (Gates, former LAPD chief, and Hannah, actress)
    • Devin/Devon/Devonne (My So-Called Life had both actor Devon Gummersall and actress Devon Odessa)
    • Drew: Barrymore (f), Carey (m), Saturday (f), Pickles (m)
    • Drew Carey's middle name is actually Allison
    • From the -son ending, it sounds as if Al(l)ison was originally a boys' name (son of... Alexander?)
    • Alison (one L) is a medieval diminutive of Alice. Allison is a last name.
    • For males, "Drew" can be short for "Andrew."
    • Evan
    • Gale (Sayers)
    • Haley/Hayley/Hailey etc. On the masculine side, we have actor Haley Joel Osment; on the feminine side, we have actress Hayley Mills, as well as Haley Starshine from Order of the Stick.
    • Harley
    • Harper (Beckham, daughter of David and Victoria)
    • Jade
    • James (King)
    • Jamie (Lee Curtis and Foxx)
    • Jaren/Jaryn
    • Jerry
    • Jesse/Jessie
    • Jo/Joe
    • Jordan (Season 16 of The Amazing Race featured both a male and a female Jordan.)
    • Kay
    • Kelly (In fact, check out this article, in which a Kelly Hildebrandt marries a Kelly Hildebrandt: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/31994977/ns/today-today_people/?GT 1=43001)
      • Ever wondered how to pronounce Ceallach's name from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones? Guess how the male form of Kelly is derived.
    • Kelsey
    • Kendall
    • Kimball
    • Kimberly
    • Lee/Leigh
    • Leslie/Lesley
    • Logan
    • Loren/Lauren
    • Marion
    • Marty/Marti
    • Mason
    • Mischa
    • Morgan (Fairchild and Freeman)
    • Page
    • Randy/Randi
    • Reese (Witherspoon)
      • Reese Witherspoon isn't the greatest example as Reese is her mother's maiden name. Her real first name is Laura. That doesn't stop people from naming their daughters Reese, however.
    • Riley/Reilly
    • River (Phoenix and Tam)
    • Robin/Robyn (Williams and Curtis)
      • And Robyn Miller, co-developer of Myst
    • Rowan
    • Ryan
    • Sam
    • Shannon (Hoon, the late frontman of Blind Melon)
    • Shaun (Alexander), Shawn (Christopher), and even Sean (Young)
    • Shelby
    • Sidney/Sydney
    • Spencer
    • Stacey
    • Stevie (Wonder and Nicks)
    • Tanner
    • Taylor (Swift and Lautner, who dated each other for a while.)
    • Tegan
    • Terry/Terri
    • Tony/Toni
    • Trac(e)y
    • Tyson
    • Vernon
    • Whitney
  • French:
    • Ange
    • Camille
    • Céleste
    • Clarence
    • Claude
    • Dani
    • Dominique
    • Eden
    • Erwan (Typical Breton name)
    • Hyacinthe
    • Jasmin
    • Louison
    • Mal(l)aury, Mallory
    • Maxence
    • Maxime
    • Nolwenn (Typical Breton name)
    • Philippe used to be gender-neutral but is nowadays primarily male.
    • Sacha
    • Stéphane, though Stéphanie also exists for women.
    • Swann (Typical Breton name)
    • Térence
    • Yann (Typical Breton name)
    • Yannick (Typical Breton name)
  • Irish:
    • Caoilte (pronounced Queel-sha)
    • Saoirse (although mostly female. Pronounced Seer-sha)
  • Japanese (Note, that anime/manga/otherwise fictional characters tend to have more extravagant names than RL people so take everything on this list with a huge grain of salt. Also, the kanji usually makes the gender obvious.)
  • Swedish:
    • Kim
    • Robin/Robyn
  • Arabic:
    • Nur
  • Sikh:
    • Most of them, such as Harpreet, Inderpal. You can tell a person's gender by whether they have a Singh (male) or Kaur (female) as their middle name or surname.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: Because in Brazil everyone can name their offspring any wanted name. This may lead to confusion in case of amerindian-language-origined names, such as Darcy and Jacy (Moon).
    • Darcy
    • Ivanir
    • Iranir
    • Jacy
  • In Polish the noun usually have clearly denoted gender by ending but there is one exception
    • Maria (eng. Mary) as second name
  • Fiction


Homophones

(some of these may not be homophones in certain accents)

  • Aaron and Erin (in accents with the Mary-marry-merry merger)
  • Adrian and Adrienne (in English, slightly more distinct in French)
  • Carey and Carrie (in accents with the Mary-marry-merry merger)
  • Carroll and Carol (in accents with the Mary-marry-merry merger)
  • Daniel and Danièle (in French) and Danielle (in English)
  • Don and Dawn (in accents with the cot-caught merger)
  • Francis and Frances
  • Frédéric and Frédérique (in French)
  • Gabriel and Gabrièle (in French) and Gabrielle (in English)
  • Gene and Jean/Jeanne (in English)
  • Pascale and Pascal (in French)
  • Joe and Jo
  • Karol (Polish) and Carol (English) / Carole (French)
    • Of course, Karol is the Polish version of Carol/Charles, just as Karel (as in playwright Karel Čapek) is the Czech version.
  • Kevin and Kevyn
  • Michel and Michèle (in French) and Michelle (in English)
  • Vivian and Vivien/Vivienne (the first spelling is gender-neutral)
  • Peter and Peta (in non-rhotic accents)
    • A woman (think she's a dress designer) in NZ is named Peter.
  • Natan and Natane. The former is primarily male, the latter is primarily female.
  • Noël and Noëlle, but only in French. In other languages, Noel is gender-neutral.
    • The name Noel is sometimes pronounced in English to rhyme with Joel.
  • Randy and Randi.
  • René and Renée (in both French and English)
  • Emmanuel and Emmanuelle
  • Ian and Anne
    • How is that possible that they can be homophones, really?
  • Virtually any male name (or nickname) ending with "-y" (Bobby, Andy, Teddy, Tony, Danny, Johnny, Ricky) can become feminine by spelling it "-i" or "-ie".
    • And Sandy is the reverse, as it's normally short for Cassandra (see above) but can also be used as a male name on its own, or as a shortening of Alexander.
    • Names that don't end this way can change, too (Scott->Scottie)
  • Claire and Clare, leading to the male character in Baccano! having the feminine spelling of the name, while the female protagonists of Claymore uses the masculine spelling.
  • Valer(i)y/Valerie: The former is a masculine Russian name.
  • Ivan (Russian) and Yvonne/Ivonne (in English accents with the father-bother merger)
  • Elisha and Alicia (averted if the former is pronounced like Elijah)


Titles

  • See also She Is the King.
  • Ser Cauthrien is a female knight in Dragon Age: Origins.
    • Ser is clearly a gender-neutral title in Thedas.
    • As is Serah, a more informal variant used in Dragon Age 2.
    • Sebastian suggests Hawke as a candidate for Viscount, but he still uses the male form instead of Viscountess for female Hawke.
  • Dr. J. Langer [Jenny], from the film The Giant Spider Invasion, which was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. This lead to a painful sequence where the character who came to see her kept assuming "Dr. Langer" was a male relative, to which Servo quipped, "Humor of the 1840s!"
    • A book about sci-fi B Movies said this was a virtual cliche of the genre, even in movies which didn't have a Samus Is a Girl scene. They might have simply been copying from Them! which has a female scientist with a male first name.
  • When James Bond first meets Dr. Goodhead [Holly] in Moonraker, his reaction is a surprised "A woman!" Her response is quick and sarcastic. Note that by this point (in 1979), Bond has met any number of capable women in positions of (relative) power. Humor of the 1840s, indeed.
    • Just goes to show you how Genre Blind Mr. Bond can be.
  • An episode of All in The Family revolved around the following puzzle: "A young man is seriously injured in a car accident. When he's taken to the hospital, the surgeon cries, 'I can't operate on this man! He's my son!' Yet the surgeon is not the young man's father. How can this be?" It took the entire half hour for the characters to figure it out (the surgeon was his mother), and when the answer was finally given at the end of the show the live studio audience gasped in surprise. 1840s indeed.
    • Same riddle was used on The Cosby Show, you know the one with a the wife character being a powerful attorney. Sadly this puzzle still continues to work nowadays.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, Naomi assumes reclusive genius Dr. Clark was a man. It's not until Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots that we learn it was Para-Medic, a female character that was introduced in Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater.
  • In an episode of Get Smart, Max meets up with an invisible doctor. Knowing that there are KAOS agents guarding the entrance to the restaurant where they met, Max and the doctor have to sneak out another way. Max suggests sneaking out through the men's room, when finally the doctor says that that won't work... In a woman's voice.
  • Sir Integra is a woman. A very scary woman who will kill you at a moments notice, hence the commanding name of "Sir", but a woman nonetheless.
    • Actually, she is Sir Integra not because she's crazy tough, but because she is a knight.
      • When females are knighted, their title is "Dame", i.e. "Dame Integra". Her using the masculine title fits the trope.
        • Another page on This Very Wiki states that she's legally a man as a requirement for holding her position. "Dame Integra" would therefore be legally incorrect.
      • Another reason is the the writer did not understand the British peerage system and used 'Sir' since it is more common for government officials.
  • The Tentei or "Heavenly Emperor" in Fist of the North Star is actually Lin's twin sister, Lui.
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