Elliot: Boy name or girl name?

Ok, first thing’s first. I’m going answer my own question. Elliot is a boy name.

No, let me rephrase. Elliot is currently a boy name. It could become a girl name, though.

“What!? It’s not in the top 1,000 for girls. Stop your crazy-talk.”

It’s not crazy-talk. Elliot isn’t in the top 1,000 for girls, but that’s only because baby girls are getting multiple versions of the name. Combine the raw numbers for these various spellings (Eliot, Elliet, Elliette, Elliot, Elliott and Elliotte) and the Elliot group would rank about 703rd for girls. That’s well within the top 1,000.

Of course, if we combine spellings for girls, we ought to do the same for boys. Last year there were baby boys named Eliot, Eliott, Elliot and Elliott. The last two versions were popular enough to rank on their own (297th and 350th, respectively) and all four combined would reach 175th.

If we lumped all of those girl and boy Elliots together, we’d have over 2,600 babies. About 16% of those babies would be female.

It’s too early to know if Elliot will go the way of Avery and Peyton, but I think the potential is there.

First, 16% is nothing to sneeze at.

Second, there’s a pop culture precedent. At least one female TV character is named Elliot.

Third, Elliot does sound rather feminine. It sounds like the girl name Ellie (now ranked 145th and climbing) plus the common French feminine suffix –ette. Parents opting for the “Elliette” spelling have already caught on to this.

Where do you think Elliot is headed–will it remain a boy name? Will it turn into a girl name? Will it reach unisex territory and be mired there indefinitely?

66 thoughts on “Elliot: Boy name or girl name?

  1. The French suffixes -ot and -et are masculine diminutives, with -otte and -ette being the feminine equivalents.

    Therefore Eliot, Elliot, Eliott, Elliott, Eliet, Elliet, Eliett, and Eliette are male names, and always will be, no matter how many girls have them. Eliotte, Elliotte, Eliette, and Elliette are the female forms, and should be used accordingly.

    Another example: Charlot is the masculine diminutive of Charles, while Charlotte is the feminine.

  2. I’d rather see it on males. That said the usage now is transferred from the surname and we know those are all up for grabs by both sexes now, for better or for worse.

  3. In the course of my work, I read a lot of fiction by children, and while I don’t think I’ve seen any Elliots at all as authors, when the name shows up in stories, the character is always a girl. The same is true of Reece and Campbell, which I’m old enough to immediately think of as boys’ names, but which the twelve-and-under set apparently associate with girls.

  4. I think that Elliot will remain similar to what it is now – used primarily for boys but every now and then for girls. Since it’s been several years since the introduction of the TV show character you mentioned, I think that if this name were destined to become more popular for girls it would already be on its way.

  5. I think the potential is there, too. I must admit to having a knee-jerk reaction against parents “stealing” boy names to use for girl names. I have bristled at the thought of using Simon and Ciaran for girls (seriously, why would you do that instead of using Simone and Ciara? but people have suggested they’d like to do it!)

    I can’t put my finger exactly on the reason why, but I do tend to prefer names that are unambiguously male or female even though I swear up and down that I try to be as free of gender stereotypes as possible when dealing with people. I just like to know one way or the other when I read a name.

  6. @Panya – “And should be used accordingly” is a dangerous phrase to throw around when it comes to baby names. :) Many parents use names however they like, regardless of tradition.

    @CN Heidelberg – I would too.

    @Sam – Interesting! Maybe I should start interviewing kids–their responses might be a good way to gauge where certain names are headed. (It would be more fun than crunching numbers!)

    @Kelly – Good prediction. I think it all may depend on how high Elliot and Elliott go on the boys’ side. The more fashionable they become for boys, the more tempting they may be to use for girls. So I could see girl-usage going up, at least in the short term.

    @Tracy – I have that same reaction. Probably because names tend to go only one way (boy -> unisex/girl) and I’d hate to see yet another boy name be pulled over.

    I just found a couple more versions of Elliot on the girls’ list, so I’ve amended the post.

  7. Boy. I don’t think it should be used as a girl’s name. I know too many Elliots, all male. It sounds weird as a girl’s name.

  8. Well, I think it’s a thousand percent a boy’s name, but my sister’s 19 year old friend just had a baby girl and named her Elliot. I guess I could see it going girl, but I certainly hope not.

  9. My 3-year-old daughter’s name is Elliott. I had never heard of a girl named Elliott before and I thought it would be cute. I honestly had no idea it would be so controversial. But, after years of criticism, I’m starting to see it’s becoming – dare I say – a bit “trendy.” I’ve personally come across 4 other little girl Elliott’s and heard of several others (all about my daughter’s age and younger.) Who knows if it will officially become a “girl” name (probably not), but I’m glad to see it’s becoming a little more accepted.

  10. It’s totally a boy name, in my humble opinion. It’s also my son’s name. I don’t really care one way or the other what people do as far as naming their kids, but I just can’t picture it on a little girl, especially given that it’s my son’s name! I think it is strong, masculine and it sounds intelligent and creative.
    When my husband and I chose the name we did so based on its meaning, derivative from Elijah and its uniqueness. We are actually big fans of Scrubs, but never considered that it was used on that show for a girl before making our choice.
    Interesting debate!

  11. Wow, Monica. So “strong,” “intelligent,” and “creative” are specifically masculine traits? My daughter will be born within the month, and her name will be Elliot… and, if she follows family-suit, she will be strong, intelligent, and creative. And female.

    I’m honestly shocked by people who feel they need to know what sex someone is based on the reading of his or her name. Are human beings still so shallow that they cannot fathom communication with another human being without associating that being with a particular sex? Why *must* people be immediately handled differently based on their sexual organs (not even touching on preference)?

  12. @Kristen – No personal attacks please. Monica has an opinion just like you have opinion. No need to call anyone out specifically.

  13. 110% a boys name. Having it on a girl would be pretty strange. Name it what you will but I would not find it an attractive feminine name. Dont like to be controversial but that’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it :)

  14. Because I have 2 year old twin boys in daycare and I work as a high school psychologist ( I get to talk to many teen moms) ,I get to see a lot of different names, and I have seen many girl Elliots. I do like it on a boy but also a girl. I know a lot of people are against boys names becoming girls names but really I personally think names can be shared, I like Ryan/Ryann/Ryanne for a girl and I don’t think that its so bad…

  15. People can name their kids whatever they want these days. I love Elliot for a girl. I am into androgynous first names and think this is perfect paired with a super feminine middle name like Rose. Elliot Rose has a nice ring to it. Plus, if you want, you can call her Elle.

  16. what a great conversation i have a 8 year old daughter called Elliot Mae but she prefers to be called Ellie at the moment and knows no other girls with the name. I find the name a strong feminine name I guess we all have different ideas

  17. I recently saw on a blog a little girl who is two and they spell her name Ellyot. Noticed that spelling wasn’t on your list.

    If we ever have another girl her name will be Elliot. Unsure of what spelling we would use. Ellyot for the moment is a top contender. To us it is spunky and cute for a little girl but could still work for a grown woman.

  18. Changing and “I” to a “Y” does Not make a name feminine. I would stick with Elliot, Elliott or even Elliotte.. All better then Ellyot…

  19. Thanks Allison. Believe it or not it’s not about making the name more feminine. To us it is feminine on it’s own. With nicknames like Elle and Ellie I cannot imagine naming my son Elliot. Us liking the spelling Ellyot is just a personal preference. It has nothing to do with trying to be “trendy” or make the name “girly”.

  20. The data for 2010 is now out. Here are the two most popular forms of Elliot, and how many babies of each gender received the names in 2009 vs. 2010.

    Elliot – 1,108 boys & 171 girls
    Elliott – 889 boys & 168 girls

    Elliot – 1,068 boys & 211 girls
    Elliott – 1,002 boys & 185 girls

  21. hi,
    could i ask where this data is for? uk? usa?
    we named our baby girl Elliot in january this year, we personally love the name (obviously) and loved on the girl on scrubs, and i think actually suits a girl a little better, with the shortnames of ellie and elle, but have unfortunately come across alot of disapprovals (particularly from our parents) and “oh its a boy?” ect.
    really glad to see its not quite as unheard of as we first thought :)

  22. I know of plenty of television series with men and women named Elliot. I’m in love with the name especially for girls. I think it should be unisex, but of course I also agree with what most of you have said already, that parents can name their kids whatever they want.

  23. I knew when I named my daughter Elliott that I was inevitably on the upswing of a trend! Dagnabit! Anyway, for me, it is a beautiful family name with deep meaning that reflects my daughter’s spunk and spirit. We alternate between calling her Elle, Ellie, and Elliott. People are very rarely rude–we’ve only gotten a couple confused looks or questions. They usually tell us they think it’s cute or pretty, especially after we explain WHY we chose the name.

  24. We are also considering the name Elliott for a girl. For me the name comes from a beloved singer, the late Elliott Smith. My husband loves the name Elle so its a win/win. I have a very unusual name and rarely meet anyone with my name and have always loved being different. Is Elliott that different? Probably not but still on the less popular list and that is appealing to us.

  25. I named my son (born April 2011) Elliott Sawyer. I, obviously, prefer it as a boy’s name but I have accepted it as a unisex name. I don’t like it but there are many things in life I don’t like but have had to accept. :)

  26. We named one of out 18 month twin girls Elliot Louise, her sister is Clancy Jane. We often call her Ellie or ellie-bean :)

  27. Our daughters name is Ellyit Rose and I have had nothing but compliments about her name. I had a plethera of names come to me randomly throughout the pregnancy but this one stuck out the most and longest. I don’t like Elliot for a boy at all. Our sons name is Kolten.

  28. In the series “Scrubs” one of the main Characters ( Who is a female ) is named Elliot. lol.

  29. I had twin girls back in 2009 and I named them Emma and Elliott. I’ve always loved both names and was very excited that I didn’t have to choose between the two for a girls, I was able to have them both. We call them M and L for short.

  30. My wife is 8 months pregnant with our third child. We came up with names before we found out gender. Boy would of been Elliott or Henry and a girl was going to be Evelyn. Once we found out we were expecting a girl I was writing her full name down on a notepad and it came to me Elliott with a feminine spelling Elliette. I called my wife and told her and she loved it. I came up with it but I struggled with it for a while because I hate made up names or weird spellings. I wanted Evelyn up until a few weeks ago. Then I found Elliette Ellis online. She was a dress designer who started in the 1950s and continued until the 90s. Her company is called Miss Elliette. Knowing that someone else has had that name for a long time and after reading this page made me turn around and be fully on board for the name. We are also big Elliott Smith fans too. It’s a strong name and will be awesome on a girl.

  31. Eliot can be a name for a boy or a girl. I should know. I am an 18 year old female named ELIOT! As long as the parents and the kid like the name who really cares what society thinks. :)

  32. My 6 year old daughter is called Elliot Rose. She is so comfortable with her first name, she is a confident, strong and intelligent girl. I had plenty of comments when she was born ‘oh but that’s a boys name!’ We took a great deal of time and care picking her name. My other daughter is called Eden, another one of those ‘unisex’ names.

  33. I have an almost 8yr old Eliot Mae daughter, Jan 2004. So glad to see so annual other girl Eliots here. She loves her name, but finds it odd that so many folks think it’s a boy’s name!! I love traditional boy names for girls, but also named her after the female writer George Eliot and spelled it that way for that reason. We call her Elle a lot, but not Ellie, and just family.. The rest of the world calls her Eliot and most seem to like it.

  34. I’m sorry, but I find it bizarre that someone would name their baby girl a traditionally male name. Same goes with unisex names. Why wouldn’t you want to give your child a beautiful,traditionally feminine name? Seems easier for the child. People try too hard to be unique. Remember that you are naming a human being who has to live with the name.

  35. Not sure who Marla Sokoloff is, but People.com claims she’s a celebrity, and that she has had a baby girl named Elliotte Anne.

  36. Why COULDN’T you use Elliot for a girl? Why is it so “bizarre” to some people, I don’t understand. If my baby is a girl, her name will be Elliot, which can be shortened to Ellie. Maybe people need to be reminded that MANY traditionally male names are now popular for girls?! For example: Robin, Ashley, Leslie, Tristan, Hilary, Kelly…do any of those names seem only appropriate for boys, because that’s where they came from!! There are also plenty of female celebrities I can think of with “male” names that don’t seem masculine on them at all: Blake Lively, Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz…

  37. “Elliott” isn’t inherently a male or a female name. It’s a Scottish surname that evolved into a given name. So…it isn’t ridiculous to give the name to either a boy or a girl. It isn’t “bizarre”…it isn’t “1000% a boy name”…and it isn’t “French” (so the “French suffix” argument is irrelevant). Most people named (variations of) Elliott just happen to be male right now.

  38. Some #s for 2011:

    Eliot: 178 boys, 23 girls
    Eliott: 70 boys

    Elliot: 1286 boys, 298 girls
    Elliott: 1064 boys, 202 girls
    Elliotte: 5 boys, 26 girls

    Elliet: 14 girls
    Elliette: 73 girls

    2011 Elliot group: 3,239 babies overall, 2,603 (80%) boys and 636 (20%) girls

    The proportion of female babies being named Elliot (or a variant) has been going up.

    Anyone worried about this? Happy about it?

  39. I am considering naming my son Elliot. I agree that it can be used for a boy or girl, but I have to point out that you can shorten Elliot to Eli for a boy. I read the posts about how it shortens to girl nicknames, but it does shorten for boys as well. Either way it is a good name!

  40. My 18 month old, is called Elliotte, she really suits her name, and we occaisonally shorten it to Elle and Ellie. we added the e on the end to make it look a bit more feminine when written down
    I love her name, and hope that when she is older she will love it too.

    Her full name is elliotte Jane lindsay

  41. My daughters name is Elliot. She is 18 months old. I honestly do not get why anyone is even concerned with what other people name their children. That’s what I find odd about all of this. Get a life.

  42. I don’t think it’s so much about whether a name can ONLY be used for boys or girls, but rather that the trend is worrisome if you want to name your son Elliot. One poster mentioned the fact that names like Robin and Ashley were one exclusively boy names too, and I think that actually sums up the concern. I would never name my son Ashley or Robin or Leslie at this time. So if Elliot is going to go the way of these other names, then I would have to think hard before giving my son that name.

    I think what’s particularly difficult is that it’s hard to know how likely a boy named Elliot would be mistaken for a girl or how likely they would be to have girls with that name in their class. Going by national statistics, it would seem that a boy named Elliot would be far more likely to meet other boys named Elliot than girls named Elliot. But one poster on here mentioned that she’d personally met 4 little girls named Elliot, whereas I’ve only met one PERSON named Elliot in my entire lifetime. So I have no way of knowing where the girl-Elliot’s and boy-Elliot’s are located and whether my son would be ever meet another Elliot or whether the only elliots he’d meet would be girls. And if as the person with access to children’s literary works says, children these days — despite the statistics to the contrary — PERCEIVE that Elliot is a girl name, then I would be concerned that he’d get teased for his name.

    It’s not so much that I don’t believe that Elliot CAN be used for a girl, it’s that, knowing that it is growing in popularity as such gives me pause about using one of my favorite names for a son.

  43. I will be having a girl in November and I have seriously been considering Elliotte for her. I had only heard of one other girl named that (not to mention the television show that had an Eliot, I honestly thought that was her last name since I didn’t watch it much). At first I wasn’t sure what I thought but then it really grew on me. I would plan to pair Elliotte with a really feminine middle name like Lilly or Sofie. I think it’s still a little different but not as different as her mother (me) I grew up with a “different” name and I didn’t want something common for her – but not totally off the wall either. I can call her Elli for short and that sounds girly. I like it more for girls than boys just because that’s what makes it different. I didn’t think I’d find a website devoted to the subject, but that just shows what you can find on Google :)

  44. I am 6 months pregnant. I already have two boys, Edward and Geoffrey. We named my first son Edward after my husband’s father who passed away when my husband was a teenager. I really didn’t like the name, but I certainly wasn’t going to argue with my husband over something like that. Now that my son is five, I am hearing the name Edward all the time for babies… he even had a little girl tell him his name is cool. Imagine that, Edward being a cool name again. Geoffrey told me if we have a baby girl we should name her Elliot, which I laughed away until I started thinking about it and now I really like it for a girl. I think I like the spelling Elliotte, but I’m sure my husband will want to go with Elliot. We’ll have to discuss since I got to pick the spelling for Geoffrey, which he wasn’t too fond of but it was my turn to pick since he got Edward.

  45. We named our daughter Elliot after watching a Kirstie Alley movie in which she was a missionary doctor named Elliot -long before Scrubs was on TV. I had a 5th grade student say she would name her girl Elliot when she got married, happy to say, her and her husband are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl named Elliot:)

  46. Also, our daughter, Elliot, is now 24 and happily married with a son. She has never had a nickname – it has always been Elliot (friends – Elliot-Smelliot). When she had a boy move to her school in 3rd grade named Elliot- he was chided about having a girl’s name:)

  47. I named my daughter Elliot June in Dec. 2010. Lol and Elliot-Smelliot is one of her long list of nicknames along with smelly ellie, elle, ellie, but almost everyone calls her ellie girl or ellie. I chose Elliot over Ellie because I felt like Ellie is more of a child’s name compared to an adult Elliot. I want people: employers, teachers, etc to take her serious. Whereas Ellie might come off as childlike or immature. Elliot is sucha a strong name and thats why I feel in love with it.

  48. I find all this so interesting… I had a beautiful baby girl in July of this year and her name is Elliot Hazel. I have had a ton of criticism from everyone – family, friends and complete strangers. What you name your child has nothing to do with someone else or their opinions it is about you, your significant other and the child YOU brought into this world and that’s it. Having opinions is natural, normal and encouraged but when your ideas are expressed and hurt others feelings its just unkind. Naming your child is very personal and having someone judge you for your choice is not ok. In this day and age we have seen many different, unique and sometimes strange name choices but no ones asking you to name your child them, so let it be its not hurting anyone to have a different preference.
    I believe that names in general are becoming very unisex so it also shouldn’t be a big deal anymore. Just my thoughts I don’t expect everyone to agree but just think of how you react to someone’s name choice when they tell you… They can get very hurt because it is a very personal decision.

  49. My wife and are expecting our first child in June of 2013. If the baby is a girl, we plan to name her Elliot. This is just my opinion, but I grew up knowing Elliot as a girls name. Not until I tossed the name around to my parents did I hear it was used for a boys name. Growing up I knew three girls named Elliot. I have yet to meet a guy with that name.

  50. in Scotland Elliot/Elliott is a traditional boys name. I know a lot of men with this as either their first or middle name.I’m actually surprised there is any question about it. Although I guess Alex a predominantly male name however many woman are called the same.

  51. Interesting post. Back in May of 1990 my oldest daughter was born and I named her Ellyott!!! I have always loved the male version of the name, and didn’t hesitate to choose that name for my daughter.

  52. Firstly, I’m not sure you can create an argument by comparing “Elliette” to “Elliot”. They are different names, not just different spellings. –ette is feminine and -ott is masculine. It’s like comparing Caroline to Charles or Alexander to Alexandria. The popularity of Elliette is irrelevant to whether “Elliot” itself is a boy or girls name.

    In fact, if you are going to group together all variants, you should really include Elijah and Eli as well, as they are all derivatives of each other. This would make female “Elliots” far less than the quoted 16% of the Elliott group.

    Secondly, the only well known Elliot in popular culture is Elliot Reid from Scrubs. Again, this is hardly a true gauge as Elliot Reid was so called because her parents thought they were having a boy! Scrubs is a comedy and this name choice is simply reflecting the off-beat nature of the show.

    My advice: if you like the sound of Elliot, go for Elliette if it’s a girl and Elliott if it’s a boy!

  53. We just had our first daughter and named her Elliot but, most call her Elle. A name becomes the person and vise versa. I watched scrubs for years and really never put 2 and 2 together because Elliot was just who she was. It was neither masculine or feminine, it was just her. That’s why it never crossed my mind that it might be a traditional boys name. Just like girls named Ryan or Bobby and boys named Countney, Linsey, or Hillary (which used to be strictly boy names).

    Our next Daughter is going to be Ezra.

  54. Personally, I love the name Elliot/Elliotte/etc as a girls name. There’s just something about the sound of it — it sounds so smooth, smart, and attractive. (BTW, I appreciated one of the previous comments criticizing associated “gender traits” — how in the world are ‘intelligence’ and ‘creative’ specifically masculine descriptors?!)

    I do find it kind of ridiculous to argue that a name has a definite, unquestionable gender. I recognize that French makes a distinction between masculine/feminine objects/persons, but such a linguistic detail shouldn’t be carried too far — otherwise, we’d have to accept that telephones (Le téléphone) really are male, and televisions are female (La télévision).

    I’m all in favour of Elliot making the transition and being embraced by parents looking for names for their daughters.

  55. The daughter of Sting, Coco Sumner. Her real name is Eliot. I heard thats an unisex name

  56. I think that there are far too few boy names compared to girl names as a whole so people should stop poaching them for girls!!! Elliot/Elliott is a BOYS name and is very masculine sounding. Why someone would want to name their daughter with a masculine sounding name is beyond me. This “trend” is very annoying. Moms/Dads who want to name their future sons Elliot/Elliott should NOT let this stop them. It is a classic male name so leave it be!

  57. Some numbers for 2013:

    Eliot: 194 boys, 27 girls
    Eliott: 69 boys
    Eliotte: 7 girls

    Eliet: –
    Eliett: –
    Eliette: 10 girls

    Elliot: 1486 boys, 308 girls
    Elliott: 1465 boys, 280 girls
    Elliotte: 47 girls

    Elliet: 12 girls
    Elliett: 8 girls
    Elliette: 115 girls

    The 2013 Elliot group contains…

    Overall: 4,028 babies
    Boys: 3,214 (80%)
    Girls: 814 (20%)

    So the raw numbers have gone up since 2011, but the proportions have remained the same.

  58. We are having a baby girl in August and her name will be Elliot Grace. As Danielle previously said, we loved the name Ellie but felt it was too childish for when she grew up. I wanted her to be taken seriously. When I looked up the name meaning for Elliot, i got “people with this name tend to be leaders rather than followers, focus on achieving their goals, they are courageous and passionate, strong and intelligent, they are fighters, and are always willing to work with others”.. Well we have been going through quite a complicated pregnancy with a very high risk for me and the baby and she will be delivered 8 weeks early, we thought this name would suit her perfectly. She has been a fighter so far and is continuing to fight. I love her name and don’t at all think it is solely a male name, especially when it is paired with a very feminine middle name like Rose, Grace, Mae, Jane, etc.. I can’t wait for her to get here.

  59. We named our girl Eliotte. Pronounced the same but the spelling suggests a female. Mostly her friends call her Ellie, but they have no problem with Eliotte.
    Yeah, the popular TV show mentioned helped our decision.

  60. My parents named me Eliot in the 80s. I love it. People remember my name or I can just accept what they think they hear: “Hi I’m Eliot”, “Oh nice to meet you Allie.” How people respond to it tells me so much about who they are. Plus it tells them a lot about me as well, clearly my

  61. I had my daughter in July 07 , we named her Elliot – Louise sky , needless to say no one else liked it but we didn’t care as we liked it , today our daughter is 9yrs old loves her name as she has never come across another girl with her name and enjoys been different , when her name is called there is only her and not half a ton of kids saying is it me you want , I think her name is unique to her and make her stand out she loves her name and so do we

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