Turkey is transcontinental: most of the country is located in Western Asia, but a portion is located in Southeastern Europe. Turkey shares land borders with Greece and Bulgaria on the European side, and six other countries (including Armenia and Azerbaijan) on the Asian side.
In 2021, Turkey welcomed 1,079,842 babies — 48.7% were girls, 51.3% were boys.
What were the most popular names among these babies? Zeynep and Yusuf.
Here are Turkey’s top 50 girl names and top 50 boy names of 2021:
Nehir – means “river” in Turkish.
Zümra – based on the Turkish word zümrüt, meaning “emerald.”
Eylül – means “September” in Turkish.
Masal – means “fairy tale” in Turkish.
Yagmur – means “rain” in Turkish.
Öykü – means “story” in Turkish.
Gökçe (pronounced gok-cheh) – based on the Turkish word gök, meaning “sky” or “blue.”
Günes (pronounced goo-NESH) – means “sun” in Turkish.
Ipek – means “silk” in Turkish.
Kumsal – means “beach” in Turkish.
Göktug – like Gökçe, based on the Turkish word gök (“sky,” “blue”).
Poyraz – means “north wind” in Turkish; ultimately based upon the ancient Greek word boreas.
Kuzey – means “north” in Turkish.
Doruk – means “peak” or “mountaintop” in Turkish.
Rüzgar – means “wind” in Turkish.
The girls’ top 100 included Hazal (55th), Ece (80th), Meva (94th), and Simay (98th).
The boys’ top 100 included Efe (65th), Bugra (75th), Demir (87th), and Cihangir (90th).
Looking for baby names that are associated with blue — including baby names that mean “blue”?
If so, you’re in the right place! I’ve collected dozens of ideas for you in this post.
Before we get to the names, though, let’s take a quick look at what the color blue represents…
Symbolism of blue
What does the color blue signify?
In Western cultures in particular, blue can be symbolic of:
It can also be associated with melancholy. “To have the blues,” for instance, is an expression meaning “to feel sad.”
Top baby names associated with blue
To determine the top blue names, I first took into account the fact that certain names have a stronger connection to the color than other names. (I also did this for the top purple names and orange names.)
With this in mind, here are the top baby names that have an obvious association with the color blue:
Now here are the same five names again, but this time around I’ve added some details (including definitions, rankings, and popularity graphs).
The word ocean refers to the vast body of salt water that covers over 70% of the earth’s surface — or to any of the five large bodies of water (Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Antarctic, or Arctic) into which it is divided.
Ocean is currently the 711st most popular boy name and 877th most popular girl name in the U.S.
In the mid-18th century, officers in Britain’s Royal Navy began wearing uniforms that were dyed blue with indigo. The pigment was particularly colorfast (i.e., able to withstand exposure to sun and salt water), so, over time, other countries began to use it for naval dress as well. The dark shade of blue eventually came to be known as “navy blue.”
The word navy refers to a country’s collective sea force. It comes (via French) from the Latin word navigia, meaning “vessels, ships, boats.”
Navy is currently the 452nd most popular girl name in the nation.
The word sky refers to the upper atmosphere, which is bright blue on clear days. It’s based on the Old Norse word ský, which meant “cloud” (ironically).
Sky is currently the 717th most popular girl name in the U.S.
The word indigo refers to flowering plants of the genus Indigofera — particularly the species Indigofera tinctoria — or to the dye made from the leaves of these plants. By extension, it also refers to the purplish-blue color of this dye.
The name of the plant can be traced back to the ancient Greek word Indikón, meaning “Indian,” as the plant is native to India. (It’s no coincidence that the British Royal Navy began using indigo dye extensively during the years that the British East India Company was gaining control over the Indian subcontinent.)
Indigo is currently the 906th most popular girl name in the nation.
The word sapphire refers to the blue variety of the mineral corundum. By extension, it also refers to the blue color of these crystals.
The name of the stone can be traced back to the ancient Greek word sappheiros, which is thought to have referred to lapis lazuli originally (not to sapphire as we know it today).
Sapphire is currently the 1,103rd most popular girl name in the U.S.
More names associated with blue
All the names below have an association with the color blue. The names range from traditional to unusual, and their associations range from strong to slight.
Those that have been popular enough to appear in the U.S. baby name data are linked to their corresponding popularity graphs.
Aciano is the Spanish word for cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), a species of plant with flowers that are usually blue.
Afina is a Romanian feminine name meaning “blueberry.”
Alice is part of “Alice blue” — a shade of blue named after Alice Roosevelt (the oldest daughter of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt) in the mid-1910s. It was inspired by either the blue of Alice’s eyes or the blue of one of her dresses, sources disagree. The name Alice ultimately derives from the Germanic name Adalheidis, meaning “noble character” or “nobleness.”
Ao is a Japanese name that can mean “blue,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
Aomi is a Japanese name that can include the element Ao.
Aori is another Japanese name that can include the element Ao.
Aqua is a greenish-blue color. The name of the shade comes from the Latin word aqua, meaning “water.”
Asuman is a Turkish feminine name meaning “sky.”
Azure is a sky-blue color. The name of the shade ultimately derives from the Persian word lazaward, which referred to lapis lazuli.
Bluebell flowers are blue. “Bluebell” is the common name of plants of various genera (including Hyacinthoides).
Bluebird is a type of bird with predominantly blue plumage. “Bluebird” is the common name of birds in the North American genus Sialia.
Bluejay is another type of bird with predominantly blue plumage. “Bluejay” is the common name of the bird species Cyanocitta cristata.
Caelum is the Latin word for “sky, heaven.” (Though it’s used as a name in modern-day America, it was simply a vocabulary word in ancient Rome.)
Cielo is a modern Spanish feminine name based on caelum.
Cerulean is a sky-blue color. The word may ultimately be derived from caelum.
Chicory flowers are typically blue. “Chicory” is the common name of the plant species Cichorium intybus.
Chóro is a Hopi name meaning “blue-bird.”
Chórzhoya is a Hopi name meaning “little blue-bird.”
Cobalt is a vivid shade of blue. Cobalt pigment was originally made from the metallic element cobalt.
Cyan is the greenish-blue color halfway between blue and green on the visible spectrum. The name of the shade comes from the ancient Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue.”
Darya (pronounced dar-YOH) is a Persian feminine name meaning “sea, ocean.”
Denim fabric is traditionally blue, as it was originally dyed with indigo. The name of the textile is derived from the French phrase serge de Nîmes, which referred to fabric produced in Nîmes, a town in southern France.
Deniz (pronounced deh-neez) is a Turkish gender-neutral name meaning “ocean.”
Fayruz is an Arabic feminine name meaning “turquoise (the stone).”
Gentian (pronounced jen-shun) flowers are often blue. According to Pliny, the genus Gentiana was named in honor of Illyrian king Gentius, who is said to have discovered the plant’s medicinal properties. The name Gentian is traditional in Albania, the territory of which was inhabited by Illyrian tribes during ancient times.
Gentiana is the modern Albanian feminine form of Gentian.
Glory (besides being a vocabulary word) is part of “morning glory” — the common name of flowering plants in the family Convolvulaceae. Morning glory flowers are sometimes blue.
Gökçe (pronounced gok-cheh) is a Turkish gender-neutral name meaning “sky blue.”
Haneul is a Korean gender-neutral name meaning “sky.”
Hyacinth flowers are sometimes blue. The genus Hyacinthus was named for the plant’s association with the myth of Hyacinthus (who was one of the lovers of Apollo in Greek mythology).
Jurate (pronounced YOO-rah-teh) is a Lithuanian feminine name based on the word jura, meaning “sea.”
Kekai is a Hawaiian gender-neutral name meaning “the sea.”
Kallfu is a Mapuche feminine name based on the word kallfü, meaning “blue.”
Kallfuray is a Mapuche feminine name meaning “blue flower.”
Kyanite is a mineral that is usually blue. The name of the mineral is based on the ancient Greek word kyanos, meaning “dark blue.”
Lafken is a Mapuche name meaning “sea, ocean.”
Larimar is a light blue variety of the mineral pectolite. Its name, coined in the 1970s, is a combination of Larissa (the name of the daughter of one of the stone’s discoverers) and mar, the Spanish word for “sea.”
Lazuli is part of “lapis lazuli” (pronounced LA-piss LA-zuh-lee) — the name of a deep-blue gemstone. The word lazuli can be traced back (via Latin lazulum and Persian lazaward) to the place-name Lajward — a region in central Asia where the stone was mined. (The Latin word lapis simply means “stone.”)
Livia (feminine) and Livio (masculine) are the modern Italian forms of the Roman family name Livius, which is thought to derive from the Latin word lividus, meaning “bluish.”
Lobelia (pronounced loh-BEEL-ee-uh) flowers are often blue. The genus Lobelia was named in honor of Flemish botanist Matthias de l’Obel.
Lupine flowers are sometimes blue. The genus name Lupinus is derived from the Latin word lupinus, meaning “wolfish” (from lupus, “wolf”).
Mayim is the Hebrew word for “water.” (Though it’s used as a name among English speakers, it’s simply a vocabulary word among Hebrew speakers.)
Maya is a Hebrew feminine name based on mayim. It also happens to be a Zuni word meaning “crested blue-jay.”
Mira (also spelled Meera) is a Hindi feminine name based on the Sanskrit word mira, meaning “sea, ocean.”
Moana is a gender-neutral name meaning “ocean” in Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan, Tongan, and other Polynesian languages.
Myosotis (pronounced my-oh-SOH-tiss) flowers are frequently blue. The genus name Myosotis, meaning “mouse’s ear” in Latin, refers to the shape of the petals.
Sagar is a Hindi masculine name meaning “sea, ocean.”
Shyam is a Hindi masculine name based on the Sanskrit word shyama, meaning “dark blue”.
Sini is a Finnish feminine name meaning “blue.”
Sora is a Japanese gender-neutral name meaning “sky.”
Sunil is a Hindi masculine name derived from the Sanskrit word sunila, meaning “very blue.”
Tchelet is a Hebrew feminine name meaning “sky blue.”
True (besides being a vocabulary word) is part of “true blue” — an expression that means “loyal, faithful.” The association between the color blue and the idea of loyalty or constancy may been inspired by the unchanging blue of the sky.
Turquoise (pronounced TUR-koyz) is a mineral that is typically greenish-blue. The name of the stone can be traced back to the Old French term pierre tourques, meaning “Turkish stone.” Though it was mined in Persia, the stone was introduced to Europe in the 13th century by Turkish traders.
Umi is a Japanese feminine name that can mean “sea,” depending upon the kanji being used to write the name.
Umiko is a Japanese name that can include the element Umi.
Looking for baby names that work for both genders?
Actually, let me rephrase that: Do you want to see which names are being given to sizeable numbers of baby boys and baby girls in the U.S. right now?
I wanted to ask the question in a more specific way because I think the details matter. Names can be gender-neutral in theory, but that doesn’t mean they’re being given to babies of both genders in practice.
Gender identity is a big topic of conversation these days, so it’s not surprising that an ever-growing number of parents are searching for baby names that aren’t strongly associated with one gender or the other.
To know what’s happening with baby names in real life, though, we need to focus on the data. That’s why I didn’t consider anything but data when I created the list below.
These names were culled from the 2021 U.S. baby name data (provided by the U.S. Social Security Administration). Each one saw usage that was at least one-third female and at least one-third male, making all of them relatively gender-neutral among today’s newborns.
Top gender-neutral baby names
Let’s start with a quick rundown of the 20 most popular gender-neutral baby names in the U.S. right now:
Now here’s the same list again, but this time around I’ve added more information: data, rankings, popularity graphs, and definitions.
Last year, the name Parker was given to 6,229 babies. Of these babies, 2,406 (38.63%) were girls and 3,823 (61.37%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Parker placed 115th for girls and 93rd for boys.
Parker is an English surname that originally referred to someone who was employed as the keeper of a hunting park.
Last year, the name River was given to 5,317 babies. Of these babies, 1,862 (35.02%) were girls and 3,455 (64.98%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, River placed 151st for girls and 110th for boys.
River, the English word that refers to a flowing body of water, was derived from the Latin word ripa, meaning “riverbank” or “seashore.”
Last year, the name Charlie was given to 4,190 babies. Of these babies, 2,202 (52.55%) were girls and 1,988 (47.45%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Charlie placed 127th for girls and 189th for boys.
Charlie is a diminutive of the male name Charles, which ultimately comes from the Germanic name Karl, which meant “freeman” (i.e., not a serf or slave).
Interestingly, Charlie is a top-10 name for boys in some regions (like New Zealand and Ireland) and a top-10 name for girls in others (like Quebec).
Last year, the name Blake was given to 3,337 babies. Of these babies, 1,497 (44.86%) were girls and 1,840 (55.14%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Blake placed 199th for girls and 205th for boys.
Blake is an English surname that can be traced back to either of two Old English words that happen to have opposite meanings — one being “black,” the other being “white.”
Last year, the name Hayden was given to 3,283 babies. Of these babies, 1,096 (33.38%) were girls and 2,187 (66.62%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Hayden placed 290th for girls and 176th for boys.
Hayden is an English surname that originally referred to someone from one of several different like-named locations. In many cases, the place names were made up of elements meaning “hay” and “hill.” (Depending upon the location, though, the first element sometimes meant “fence enclosure,” and the second element sometimes meant “valley.”)
Last year, the name Emerson was given to 2,952 babies. Of these babies, 1,729 (58.57%) were girls and 1,223 (41.43%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Emerson placed 167th for girls and 279th for boys.
Emerson is an English surname that originally referred to the son of someone named Emery.
Last year, the name Amari was given to 2,880 babies. Of these babies, 972 (33.75%) were girls and 1,908 (66.25%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Amari placed 333rd for girls and 199th for boys.
Amari is a modern name that doesn’t seem to have a specific origin or meaning.
Last year, the name Finley was given to 2,705 babies. Of these babies, 1,407 (52.01%) were girls and 1,298 (47.99%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Finley placed 211th for girls and 265th for boys.
Finley is based on the Gaelic name Fionnlagh, which is made up of elements meaning “white” and “warrior.”
Last year, the name Remington was given to 2,475 babies. Of these babies, 890 (35.96%) were girls and 1,585 (64.04%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Remington placed 348th for girls and 231st for boys.
Remington is an English surname that originally referred to someone from the town of Rimington, in Lancashire. (It’s also an American gun brand.)
Last year, the name Phoenix was given to 2,454 babies. Of these babies, 1,032 (42.05%) were girls and 1,422 (57.95%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Phoenix placed 308th for girls and 248th for boys.
Phoenix, the word that refers the mythological bird that rises from its own ashes, was derived from an ancient Greek word meaning “crimson” or “purple.”
Last year, the name Oakley was given to 2,292 babies. Of these babies, 1,524 (66.49%) were girls and 768 (33.51%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Oakley placed 193rd for girls and 403rd for boys.
Oakley is an English surname that originally referred to someone from one of several different like-named locations. In all cases, the place names were made up of elements meaning “oak” and “clearing.”
Last year, the name Dakota was given to 2,090 babies. Of these babies, 1,147 (54.88%) were girls and 943 (45.12%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Dakota placed 270th for girls and 344th for boys.
Dakota, the name of a Native American tribe, means “friendly” or “allied” in the Siouan language of the Dakota people.
Last year, the name Tatum was given to 1,959 babies. Of these babies, 1,125 (57.43%) were girls and 834 (42.57%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Tatum placed 279th for girls and 385th for boys.
Tatum is an English surname that originally referred to the homestead of someone named Tata.
Last year, the name Rory was given to 1,919 babies. Of these babies, 789 (41.12%) were girls and 1,130 (58.88%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Rory placed 396th for girls and 295th for boys.
Rory is an Anglicized form of the Irish name Ruaidhri, which is made up of elements meaning “red” and “king.”
Last year, the name Ari was given to 1,598 babies. Of these babies, 649 (40.61%) were girls and 949 (59.39%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Ari placed 478th for girls and 342nd for boys.
Ari has several potential definitions, including: “lion” in Hebrew, “brave” in Armenian, and “eagle” in Icelandic.
Last year, the name Alexis was given to 1,569 babies. Of these babies, 940 (59.91%) were girls and 629 (40.09%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Alexis placed 341st for girls and 472nd for boys.
Alexis comes directly from the ancient Greek (male) name Alexis, which meant “helper” or “defender.”
Last year, the name Armani was given to 1,540 babies. Of these babies, 661 (42.92%) were girls and 879 (57.08%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Armani placed 469th for girls and 369th for boys.
Armani is an Italian surname that originally referred to the child of someone named Armano. (It’s also an Italian fashion brand.)
Last year, the name Remy was given to 1,451 babies. Of these babies, 550 (37.90%) were girls and 901 (62.10%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Remy placed 550th for girls and 357th for boys.
Remy, written Rémy in French, is based on the Latin name Remigius, which meant “oarsman.”
It’s interesting that both Remy and Remington are on this list. Remy is a standalone name…but it could also be used as a nickname for Remington.
Last year, the name Reign was given to 1,338 babies. Of these babies, 884 (66.07%) were girls and 454 (33.93%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Reign placed 349th for girls and 608th for boys.
Reign is an English word that can be traced back to the Latin word regnum, meaning “royal power” or “kingdom.”
Last year, the name Milan was given to 1,278 babies. Of these babies, 452 (35.37%) were girls and 826 (64.63%) were boys.
In terms of rankings, Milan placed 655th for girls and 388th for boys.
Milan is a Slavic name based on the element milu, meaning “dear, sweet.” (It’s also a city in northern Italy.)
More gender-neutral baby names
What other gender-neutral names made the cut?
Here are the names that were used a bit less often than the twenty above…
Number of babies*
*Male and female usage added together
All of the above ranked among both the top 1,000 girl names and the top 1,000 boy names last year. Two of the below (Robin and Landry) did as well.
Number of babies*
*Male and female usage added together
Most of the above appeared in at least one top-1,000 list last year. The exceptions were Kacey, Campbell, True, Arden, Shea, and Sol.
None of the names from this point onward reached the top 1,000 for either gender.
Number of babies*
*Male and female usage added together
Here are the gender-neutral baby names that saw overall usage ranging from 100 to 199 babies (in descending order):
Most of the names above don’t have a long history of usage in the U.S., so they aren’t anchored one gender or the other — making them good options for expectant parents who want names that work for both genders.
Note that many fall into a handful of categories, including: nature names, place names, surnames, color names, and virtue names. It may be worthwhile to focus on categories like these as you continue your search, as they’ll tend to naturally contain a good proportion of gender-neutral names.
If you’d like to see popularity graphs for any of the names in this post, check below for the long list of tags. Each tag is a name, so just find the name you’re interested in and click through. The graph will need a moment to load — it’s grabbing a lot of data — but it will allow you to see at a glance the name’s current gender-balance (and make an informed guess about its near-future gender-balance, given the current trajectories).
Last week, Becca commented with some interesting Jeopardy! contestant names (e.g., Hobie, Dorcas) and mentioned J! Archive, which lists tens of thousands of Jeopardy! contestants going back to 1984, when the show premiered.
I skimmed through all the contestants from 1984 to 2015 (as we don’t have baby name data for 2016 yet) and spotted hundreds of unusual names. And it looks like at least two of them got a boost thanks to the show:
One-time player Alancia Wynn, a family practice physician from Virginia, was on Jeopardy! in October of 1999.
The name Brannon saw an increase in usage in 1998:
2000: 116 baby boys named Brannon
1999: 118 baby boys named Brannon
1998: 158 baby boys named Brannon [peak]
1997: 113 baby boys named Brannon
1996: 114 baby boys named Brannon
One-time player Brannon Denning, a graduate student from Connecticut, was on Jeopardy! in September of 1998. (Looks like Brannon Denning is now a law professor at Samford University.)
Alaric & Ezgi …?
These two names may have gotten a slight boost as well, though it’s hard to tell.
Alaric, in 2005. One-time player Alaric Smith was on the show in October of 2005.
Ezgi, in 2015. One-time player Ezgi Ustundag was on the show in October of 2015.
Ezgi is a female name that means “melody” in Turkish.
Anjali (false positive)
“Kids Week” contestant Anjali Tripathi was on the show in September of 1999. The same year, the baby name Anjali more than doubled in usage:
2001: 222 baby girls named Anjali
2000: 230 baby girls named Anjali
1999: 202 baby girls named Anjali
1998: 93 baby girls named Anjali
1997: 80 baby girls named Anjali
But this was a suspiciously steep rise. And it was accompanied by the debut of an alternate spelling (Anjalie). And usage didn’t drop back to normal levels the next year, as one would expect. These facts pointed me to something more high-profile than a Jeopardy! contestant.
Turns out the very successful Hindi coming-of-age romantic comedy Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had been released in 1998. The movie featured not one but two main characters named Anjali.
Here are the rest of the names that caught my eye, sorted by year: