Avery – Girl Name or Boy Name?

avery girl name or boy name

Since posting about Peyton a few months back, I’ve kept my eye out for evolving unisex names. I think I’ve got another: Avery.

Historically speaking, Avery is a male name. It has ranked among the top 1,000 baby boy names in the U.S. since 1880 (when data was first collected). It’s been a top-1,000 baby girl name since only 1989.

But in 1998, Avery ranked higher for girls (245th) than for boys (247th) for the first time. And this slight lead has since become much more pronounced: Avery ranked 66th for girls and 215th for boys in 2005.

Notably, Avery’s gender re-assignment hasn’t caused the name to become less popular for boys. In fact, its rank for boys in 2005 was its highest ever.

So, what do you think–is Avery a girl name, a boy name, or one of those rare names that works for either gender?

UPDATE: Here’s how Avery has been used (raw numbers and rankings) since I first published this post…

  • 2012: 8272 girls (13th) & 1,998 boys (187th)
  • 2011: 7,320 girls (18th) & 1,785 boys (201st)
  • 2010: 6,667 girls (23rd) & 1,694 boys (211th)
  • 2009: 6,292 girls (32nd) & 1,627 boys (223rd)
  • 2008: 5,828 girls (38th) & 1,746 boys (216th)
  • 2007: 5,379 girls (48th) & 1,740 boys (221st)
  • 2006: 5,247 girls (52nd) & 1,791 boys (211th)

Click here for Avery’s popularity graph.

204 Responses to Avery – Girl Name or Boy Name?

  1. Although Avery is traditionally a male name, I’ve noticed it has become a unisex name over the past decade. Personally, I feel it sounds more female than male and don’t particularly care for it on a male. That’s my opinion. I think it is a cool, pretty and spunky name for a girl. It continues to rise on the yearly Top 100 names of each year — in 2006 it was in the top 50. It is very popular for girls where I live. In fact, I have only ever met one male Avery in my area. My daughter’s name is Avery Kate. We call her “Ave” or “Ava” as a nickname.

  2. My son’s middle name is Avery. We found Avery is derived from Alfred which happens to be my husband’s middle name and my father-in-law’s first name. We thought this was a fitting alternative. Thus Samuel Avery was born. I have found both girls and boys named Avery and have encountered more males with the name, in the past, than females. To each his own. I think it is a great name no matter who wears it.

  3. Our named our 2nd son, born in May 2006, Avery. We loved the name, but were a little worried that it would come to be considered a girls-only name. I charted the social security data and saw the rocket-like rise of Avery as a girl’s name starting from nowhere in 1989.

    We asked around and found that plenty of boys in our area were still being named Avery, and few people around here seemed to think of it as a girls-only name. Even so, we gave our son an unequivocally masculine middle name — James, as well as useable initials, A.J., so he has options.

    Since then, I’ve gotten comfortable with Avery as an androgynous name that I like very much for either gender. Even so, I’ll probably be checking each year’s new social security data for Avery for a while.

    BTW, what happened to make Avery so suddenly popular as a girl’s name was the TV show Murphy Brown. The main character’s mother was named Avery, which may be it’s first known use as a girl’s name. The actress who played that Avery won two awards for her excellent portrayal of that character. Then, she died while the show was still going, and the character Murphy named her baby (boy) after her.

    The social security data shows a downward trend in Avery until bottoming out in 1949, then a spike in the 1950’s, and a general upward trend since then (and since 1993 it has been more popular as a boy’s name than it ever was before 1993). In 1952, the very popular book Charlotte’s Web was published, in which a minor character, Fern’s little brother, is named Avery.

    So to answer the question — I think Avery is a great name for both boys and girls.

  4. Babyblue, Ushi and Greg – Thanks so much for the comments! (Thanks especially to Greg for info on Murphy Brown. I hadn’t been aware of the connection.)

  5. Thanks (belatedly) for the “Avery” info! My sister’s name is Avery, she was born in 1986, and I’ve had an ongoing argument with our mother ever since. I’ve always contended that Avery, like my own name, was a traditionally male name. Interestingly, looking at the other reader’s comments, I always used Charlotte’s Web’s Avery (male) as an example of my side of the argument, and my mom always referenced Murphy Brown! :)

  6. Thanks, Jamie :)

  7. My son is 9 years old and his name is Avery. I had no idea the name was unisex, had I known I would probably have not used it!!! I usually do not care for unisex names, sometimes when I am on the phone talking about my son people wityh out knowing refer to him as a girl ugh!

  8. I’ve decided to name my baby girl Avery, and almost everyone i know has been complaining that it’s a boy name. Having no prior knowledge of anyone with this name though, i think that it’s a great name for either sex. Also, something different.

  9. Two of my daughters are Avery Daniella and Peyton Elizabeth. They both love their names and get compliments on them. As they were uniex names, more male, we went for feminine middle names. I love the names and so do they so that is all that counts!

  10. I had boy/girl twins October 2006 I wanted names that started with “A”. We named our twins Avery Jack and Arianna Faith. I have always thought of Avery being a boys name.

  11. We’re naming our unborn daughter Avery Jean. We are expecting her in about 5 weeks. I like the name Avery for a boy or a girl, but it sounds more feminine to me. I get mixed reviews when sharing our name choice. Most ‘younger’ (early 30’s or younger) people love the name for a girl. Most ‘older’ folks think its strictly a boy name.

    We wanted an A name as soon as we find out we were having a girl. We like the name Avery because it’s different. I also think it will grow with her and has just the right amount of sex appeal. Some girl names tend to sound so juvenile, so when they’re starting their careers, they may not be taken seriously enough. Jean as a middle name has been in my family for many generations as the first girl middle name. Twas only fitting to pass this on to our first child/first girl.

    Our little Avery will be beautiful and blond unless something crazy happens. ;o)

  12. My son’s name is Avery and for all of you who are confussed Avery is a boy’s name. Like Ashley, Kim,Jamie, and even Lauren. I just love my son’s name although him being 11 years old he sees dolls with that name as a girl. I think that if you are having a girl pick another name.

  13. Well, as my name points out, my parents named me Avery. Avery Maria. It was actually also my grandma’s middle name so I’ve never really seen it as a boy’s name since, well, I’m a girl even though I have known a guy with the name.

    I personally love it, even if it is a male’s name. I actually like it more for that fact. I think girls with guys name is always sort of cool. *shrugs* Maybe that’s just me but ah well

  14. I’ve recently started falling in love with the name Avery! Since I was young enough to think about naming babies, I always loved Leilani for a girl’s name. However, that’s changed!

    For me, Avery is a unisex name, although I prefer it for a girl (for the same reasons as stated above). Still, it’s a great boy’s name, too. Greg had an excellent name choice for his son! A.J. is very cool–a great alternative.

  15. I have a 7 month old little boy named Avery. I had never heard little girls named
    Avery, until we named him Avery. I still think it is a BOY’S name!!!!

  16. TOTALLY a boy’s name!! :] My boyfriends name is Avery. He is soo cute! <3 Lol.

  17. Avery sounds like 100% boy to me…just cause it reminds me of a NBA b-ball player. (it was his lastname) I named my son Avery cause it just stood out to me when i was looking:) I love itlol I have my own nickname that suites him soo well that wouldnt work if it wasnt his name:P I dont think its a girls name at all…when i hear it called out loud to a girl , it just sounds off…maybe just cause I never really knew it could possibly be meant for girl when i picked it.

  18. I agree with Shiela H! If your having a girl please pick another name…This name shouldnt be unisex:L:Llol just buggin, but seriously… If you love the name so much wait till you have a boy and name HIM Avery:Plol please please please, we dont want our sons teased for no reason when theyre in school…its a boys name all tha way! Its a form of ALFRED,,want your daughter to be named Alfred??dont think so. lol research it first before making the choice.

  19. Avery is a girls name! We named our daughter Avery Michelle. I don’t find it masculine at all, but that’s just my opinion. It may have derived from Alfred, BUT a lot of girls names come from what were once boys names. Avery is a girls name!

  20. I think Avery is a unisex name that leans more towards females. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! My youngest is Avery Grace Elizabeth. She is 15 months old. and honestly i thought it was more for boys when i picked it, but i like boy names for girls! My oldest is Kaysen Veronica. and i picked very girly names for mns so if they hate their first names they can go with the mns. but again i think avery can go either way.

  21. To Sheila: “If you are having a girl pick another name?” Your judgements are ridiculous. Just because your son feels uncomfortable that there are girls out there with his name too, doesn’t mean the rest of society should change to suit you. Instead, why don’t you spend your time introducing your son to diversity!

    I like the name avery. It started as a surname and then was adopted as a male name. Saying it should only be a boy name is as closed minded as saying it should only be used as a surname.

    My husband and I are naming our little girl Avery. I love it and I dnt care if she meets boys and girls with her name. I will teach her that it is still as unique as each person to whom it belongs.

  22. Well i have to say as a teenage mother[please dont judge me]i named my baby boy Avery.Its only because i knew of no one with that name. But when he gets older and tells me girls have his name i will tell him that his name is just that cool:)I dont care if its a girls name or a boys name i like it i think its really unique.

  23. My husband I love the name Avery for a GIRL- we find out soon what we are having and we will name her Avery Mikenna or Avery Grace, have not decided, we think it is a beautiful name and it just doesn’t seem as masculine to us as feminine- about the age range our parents think its more masculine but our friends in their late 20’s love it as a girls name…

  24. Avery is definately a boy’s name. I worked for a pharmacist as a teenager 20 years ago named Avery. I loved the name which was very much masculine and not too common and decided then if I ever had a son Avery would be his name. I’m very blessed to be the mother of Avery Phillip. After having him, I had a number of friends/relatives tell me they had a grandfather or uncle named Avery and were happy to hear the old name again. Avery is the name of Fern’s brother in Charlotte’s Web and of one of the main attorneys (male) in John Grisham’s The Firm. As a mother of a son named Avery, it disheartens me whenever I hear a little girl being called Avery. (The girl craze started a year after my son was born!) I certainly don’t want him to grow up with the stigma of being named a girl’s name–something that I think is harder for a boy than for a girl who is named a boy’s name. I have saved the baby name books that I used during my pregnancies that have Avery listed only in the boy’s section just in case he questions it!

  25. It’s funny… the first time I heard the name Avery it was a male friend of mine in high school and I LOVED it! When I was pregnant I mentioned it to my husband (as a boys name) thinking he would hate it and he really ended up loving it also! So we decided to not find out what we were having and we would name the baby Avery either way. We now have little Avery David and I think it’s a wonderful name! I hope he feels the same when he grows up. I do believe, no matter what the origins, that’s it’s a great name for either gender!

  26. Kudos to Candive! I just heard this name yesterday(where else but on TV) and it immediately struck me as the name for my baby girl that’s due in February. I got so excited about it; now I just have to get my husband to agree to it! Her middle name is already set, and I refuse to change it. Avery Lydia(after my late grandmother)? I don’t quite know how that sounds together.

  27. I have a 5 year old daughter that I named Averie Joy. I changed the spelling at my husband’s request (he didn’t like it being spelled the same as James Avery). I fell in love with the name after my dad found it on a baby name website. I think it works for both sexes although I don’t know any male’s with the name.

  28. We have a 2 year old named Avery Michael. Ironically, my coworker has a daughter named Avery. My name too, is a unisex name, however most females of my namesake are spelled “Erin.” Personally, I would love to see more female Avery’s with Kendra’s spelling, “Averie.”

    May ALL your children learn to walk in the Truth. God bless you.

  29. My bf was born in 1991, and his name is Avery, to me it seems to suit him and I find the spelling Averie to be more feminine.

  30. Avery is a unisex name (though I find it more masculine.) and a way to agree on the whole its a boy/girl name is simple. Like the name Aaron/Erin it can easily be spelled diferently to show if its a boy or girl’s name. Avery for a boy and Averie for a girl. If that doesnt work then if you have a boy give him a masculine middle name or aname starting with J. Then he can be A.J. like Greg’s son!

  31. My son’s name is Avery Charles…honestly, if I would have realized at the time that it was such a popular girl’s name I probably wouldn’t have chosen it. I knew it was unisex but I didn’t know there were so many more girls with the name. I am worried he will be teased in school. I love the name for a boy or a girl. Boys are usually pronounced two syllables and girls with three I have found.

  32. Avery has always sounded like a boy’s name-it has always been traditionally a boy’s name ( the English form of Alfred). Avery is VERY trendy for a girl but strong,masculine and classy for a boy. I just do not think it sounds like a girl’s name. There are so many beautiful girl names ,why would you name your girl with a boy’s name?

  33. Many of the baby sites point out that Avery sounds like Ivory and to me it sounds like a very feminine name. Though of course you cannot deny the history in that it is a unisex name, but the trend these days, as no one can’t ignore is that names are becoming more unisex. I love Avery for a girl and I agree with other posts that a traditionally female middle name is the way to go! We are thinking Avery Rachel or Avery Raquel. Also, as much as I love the name Avery for a girl, I do not like it for a boy.

  34. My 9-year-old son is Avery Mark. I heard the name from a friend who named her son Avery and from an older guy (50’s) with that name. I probably would not have named my son Avery had I known it was going to morph into a little girl’s name a few years later. My son has not mentioned the number of little girls under the age of 7 we know with that name, but I see the popularity on dolls, all things pink things and jewelry and know that most people believe it to be a feminine name. I liked someone’s suggestion to have Avery spelled Averie for a girl and Avery for a boy. Avery is a great name and I can see why it *could* be a girl’s name too. However, I do wish it would stay a boy’s name. Drives me insane when I call the doctor and they ask his name and I say “Avery” and they ask “her birthdate”. Now I feel like I must say my son’s name is Avery Mark. Mothers of boy Avery’s: we are losing our son’s name to the girls. I will forever keep my disappointment hidden from my son b/c I don’t want him to ever dislike his name, but I am bothered by the fact it has become not merely, gender neutral, but feminine.

  35. There are two Avery’s in my daughter’s class of 25 kids. One is a boy, one is a girl. It always sounded like a boy’s name to me, like perhaps a last name turned into a name, like Blake or Doyle? My husband works with an Avery in his early 60s.

  36. Avery is a boy’s name.

  37. My 5 year old son is Avery Nicholas. His one friend has a little sister named Avery as well. Whether you believe it is a boy’s name or a girl’s name girl, and I’m sure that you would all agree that it is a better choice than Apple or Bronx Mowgli….ha ha.

  38. I named my daughter, Avery Kate. It was my husband’s idea to use Avery. Since I have a name that is typically seen as a male spelling for “Carrie” I was a little concerned about her name being confused with a boy’s name. However, that has not been the case at all! I have never met a male named Avery. Where I live, there seems to a growing trend for usage of this name for girls. As a matter of fact, there are several little girls named Avery at my daughter’s daycare, and there are no boys with that name.

    To me, it does sound more feminine than masculine. Either gender you choose it for, simply couple the name with a gender-specific middle name. After all, who thinks that someone named Avery Kate is a boy? Or that someone named Avery Steven is a girl?

    My daughter is almost three, and she loves her name! My daughter would call of you that think Avery is strictly a boy’s name a “silly goose!” Isn’t a child’s honesty the best! haha.

  39. I LOVE the name Avery so much that I named my baby that. To me it is a girls name through and through. I have heard of a few boys named Avery, but it just does not seem a very fitting name for a boys first name.

  40. I have a son named Avery Mark (he is 8yrs old).There is one Avery in his school and it is a girl but the security guard at his school is named Avery (a male).I have always thought of Avery as a boys name.

  41. We named our son, Avery Jackson, giving him options as well, not because of the name ‘Avery,’ but because every child should have options. As far as the name ‘Avery,’ perhaps people should best not assume gender assignment these days when they hear a child’s name, given parent propensity to take what was once a predominantly male or female and give it to their child. Our son faces the ‘she’ factor regularly where we live. However, when visiting other regions of the country, we find that ‘Avery’ is more commonly male. Frankly, it is tempting to move to ensure that he does not face difficulty when in the school setting. In my youth, I always found boys with different names a bit more appealing, so, in the end, if that is how my Avery’s name is regarded, so be it. We love the name…for a boy. At least do the favor, folks, and stop calling it feminine…I don’t do that to people who have girls named Avery and flat out say it’s a boy’s name. It’s a name, pure and simple. Those who used it can all agree, we like it, perhaps because it has a nice ring to it…it’s strong, it says something, it’s different.

  42. Well, I’m glad I didn’t read this thread before we named our one week old daughter…..Avery. My wife and fell in love with it. Her name is Avery Paige so if she finds she doesn’t like her first name she can go by that. I think it’s a great name for boys or girls though I’m surprised to see so many bays named Avery. To us it sounded more feminine. We have never known an Avery so it seems fresh and spunky. Avery is a very positive and self assured name for a girl. We LOVE it and we hope she will too!

  43. Avery is a boy’s name- very strong and masculine. It seems very trendy for a girl. There are so many beautiful names for girls. It’s just like when people name their daughters Toni or Georgi- seems too maculine for a girl.

  44. My name is Avery, and I was the only guy that had that name. I knew some girls that had that name, but never guys, until I was 15. I was made fun of for this name, but I don’t care. I don’t like the name, because I am short, because of some major health complications (premature birth, etc), and this name means “ruler of ELVES”. Seems to poke fun at me, but I heard that it also means Courageous?? If so, it helps me like it more. I would not change it, becuase it is who I am. I hate my middle name with a passion, so Avery it is.

  45. Well my name is Avery and i am the only one in my school i like it more as a girl name(duh) and my name is Avery Nicole so it is a girls name

  46. One of my cousins is named Avery, and he is very, very male. A little boy down the road is also Avery, as well as a girl I knew in school. I find it an elegant and classy name – for a boy. In keeping with tradition and true meaning of the name, I can’t view it as anything but masculine despite trendy fads these days for giving girls male names (but never vice-versa… lol sexism). I have no problem with unisex names, but I do have a problem when classic male names are taken over by girls, and subsequently abandoned by parents of boys due to fear of teasing; and people start regarding them feminine, when their origins are anything but female.
    I don’t want to see Avery travel down the road of Jocelyn, Evelyn, Hilary, Courtney, Vivian, Mallory, Claire and Ashley. All former 100% male names… stolen by girls to varying degrees.

    Would you name your son Elizabeth? Your daughter Alfred (origin of Avery)? Probably not unless you intend to make a statement. Regardless, it is a beautiful name, and personal preference is the most important thing, so I can understand parents of both boys and girls liking it. Just thoroughly know the history of what you choose before deciding. Parents of male Averys: be proud that your son’s name is as it was originally intended to be – a well established, smart, classy masculine name.

  47. i think the name can be used either way im expecting now and if its a little girl her name is going to be avery not sure how im going to spell it yet but i love the name and i first heard it as a boy name. so as i see it it can go either way

  48. i think Avery is a great name for both boy and girl. i am writing a story, so i liked the name Avery. i wasnt sure if it was for a boy or a girl, but it sounds nice for both. i used to have a friend who was a girl named Avery. its a great name, and i am using it as a man for my story. sorry, ladies out there! oh, yeah im only 10 but i kow soon my book will be published so be sure to look for ‘Darkened Days’ soon, guys! and just in case there is a different story called that the main characters names are Riley, and Avery. *winks*

  49. yes i forgot to mention that my middle name is Avery! :) i really love that name!!!!

  50. Well, I’m having my second little boy in eight weeks. My first was easy to name. The second one … not so much. The only name I really found I liked was Avery. But now I am afraid to use it because it is becoming more common as a girl’s name. I’ve always thought it to be masculine and reminds me of a name from the fourties or fifties for some reason. Which is why I loved it. I wanted an older name that wasn’t as common. Avery Ryan. I’m disappointed that so many people have made it to be feminine. I guess I’ll keep searching.

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