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Red and Ginger. What makes one color masculine and the other feminine?

November 30, 2011

Red Adair
Red Adair

Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers

Red and Ginger. Red just sounds more masculine doesn’t it? And while neither have been that common as names over the years (Red with just a brief entry once in the top 1000 names for boys in the last 100 years and Ginger peaking at a ranking of 187 for girls in 1971) most people would just have a feeling that Red would be a guy’s name and Ginger a girl’s name.

Nameberry have a list of color related names

I agree with many of their associations. Personally I find it hard to picture a boy named Hyacinth or a girl named Grey. But some of the others I think could easily be used on both genders.

For example, here are some of the names that Nameberry lists as boys names that I think could be used on girls:
* Ash (although Ashley would be the more obvious choice)
* Burgundy
* Cyan
* Dove
* Jet
* Raven
* Teal

And here are some names listed as girls names that I think could be used on boys without too much heartache.
* Auburn
* Indigo
* Jade
* Russet
* Topaz

It is Rose that I find an interesting one though. On several boards I have seen posters ponder on whether a boy could be named Rose; in fact there is even a male character in a book with that name. But for me the flower association makes it more feminine while others such as Jade I have seen on guys.

So, I am interested in readers thoughts. What makes a color masculine or feminine in your eyes and what color names would you consider using for a boy or girl.


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  1. Funnily enough, there is a famous and long-running comic strip here called Ginger Meggs, where Ginger is a very boyish boy. It started in the Depression era, I guess before Ginger Rogers made the name seem feminine.

    Hyacinth was a man in the Greek legends, so technically it’s a male name. In Spanish speaking countries they use the Spanish equivalent as a man’s name.

    Cyan, Dove and Teal seem more feminine to me, and in fact I’ve only ever seen them on girls. Burgundy definitely seems feminine to me (I think in the Middle Ages its equivalent was a female name). I’ve seen Raven used on more girls than boys.

    I think Auburn is male personally, I have it listed as a boys name on my blog (I’ve only ever seen one RL Auburn, and he was a boy). I’ve seen Indigo and Jade used on boys, and Russet sounds boyish because the nickname is Russ.

    Ones that seem unisex to me:

    Ivory (I see more people choosing this for girls than boys)
    Olive (I’ve seen this in rare use as a boy’s name)
    Pink (I think was originally a male name)
    Scarlet (this name doesn’t even seem feminine to me)
    Silver (seen this on more girls than boys)

  2. Cocoa makes me think of Coco Chanel so that one seems feminine to me and I suppose Scarlet will forever be associated with Scarlet O’Hara.

  3. Interesting topic. I’ve seen girls named Gray and boys named Indigo.
    More girls are named Cyan, Auburn, Jade, and Raven than boys, and I’ve seen Teal on both. I’ve also seen two babies named Red and one was a boy and one was a girl. Burgundy and Russet are interesting. I’ve never seen either of those, but I would think Burgundy for a girl and Russet for a boy.

  4. Emily permalink

    Does red remind anyone of Red Simons from Hey hey its Saturday

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