Naming a baby boy Shay: Yea or nay?

A reader named Kelly e-mailed me this afternoon about the name Shay for her son. Kelly asked if I knew any girls or boys named Shay, and if I thought the name was “girly.” I’ve already sent her a reply, but my answers were basically:

1. Yes, I’ve met babies/kids of both genders named Shay/Shea/Shae. And the stats tell a similar story–if you look at the top 1,000 baby names in the U.S. over the last 50 years,

  • Shay ranked 15 times for boys and 3 times for girls,
  • Shea ranked 35 times for boys and 31 times for girls, and
  • Shae ranked 0 times for boys and 1 time for girls.

2. Shay doesn’t sound girly to me, but it doesn’t sound masculine either. More like androgynous. (I’d say the same about Peyton, Avery, Dakota, Riley, Jordan, and about a dozen other names.)

What’s your take on Shay: Girl name? Boy name? (Does the spelling make a difference?) Is Shay too girly for a boy?

Related post: Shea, Shae, Shay – Girl Names or Boy Names?

10 thoughts on “Naming a baby boy Shay: Yea or nay?

  1. I think it sounds a little bit girly, but not overly so. I think it could work better as a nickname for Seamus or Sheaffer. One of my friends in school was named Sheaffer, which was his mother’s maiden name. He always went by Shea. I think this might be a bit better of a way to get to Shea. I would only go with Shea or Shay, but I strongly lean towards Shea as being the most masculine of the group. Shae is definitely too girly looking.

  2. I’d say yes if – and only if – the middle name is clearly masculine. Shay William, sure. Shay Alexander, definitely. Shay Peyton? Not so much.

    It might just be me, but I think Shea has more of a masculine vibe – probably because of the legendary stadium.

  3. My name is also Kelly (but I am male). In general I’m a fan of using gender-neutral names (especially those that were once masculine) on boys, and I think that Shay is great for a boy!

  4. I think Shea brings up the Stadium more than anything. If that’s what the parents want to invoke, then go for it.

  5. I’d say yes :) And for a very odd reason. My husband’s best friend of 23 years is a lesbian named Shay, short for Shelia, and she is a VERY masculine looking girl. When I first met her I just thought she was a really hot man… Come to find out she’s a female. So Shay just seems like a masculine name to me.

  6. I honestly love the name Shea i know a few people with that name i really like it its very cute and i dont really think it is girly at all i think its a nice name to have i also like the name Jamie for a boy where as no one else really does but i think it sounds good and so does Shay or Shea Shae i dont think it matters how you spell it if you can spell Sara with or without an h why cant Shea have different spellings???

  7. I am a guy and my name is shay. I think it has a girly sound to it but people tend to like my name so i like it.

  8. My name is Shai. Yes my name sounds like Shea not Shy. I dont think the name Shai is a girly name anyways I like this name and all my friends wish tey had my name.

  9. My sons name is Shay he is 28 years old and the spelling when born was Shea but the nurses kept pronouncing it wrong so I changed it to this spelling and I don’t think it’s Girly at all actually lots of people like his name his middle name is Leslie after his pop;) the only thing is a lot of people call him Shayne when being introduced and he has to correct them. I got his name from an american tv show hotel all those years Go one of the actors real name was Shay he was very masculin And handsome !! Not Girly so I thought what a great name :)

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