59 answers

Is Riley a Girl or Boy Name to You?

When I was pregnant with my son back in 2005 Riley was, to me and my husband, a boy name. Our name was supposed to be Cooper Riley. We ended up going with a different name but thought if we ever had another boy we would use the name Riley. Well, now 5 years later it seems Riley has turned into more of a girl name. I have two friends with girls that names are Riley and my husband is now totally against using Riley for a boy.

What do you think? Girl or Boy name?

Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My friend named her daughter Riley (she is now 5) and at the time had the same question. I remember her husband saying he liked it because it sounded more feminine than masculine.

IMO I think it can work for both.

2 moms found this helpful

Growing up, I only knew boys named Riley and I knew plenty of those. I have heard Riley for girls lately, but I think it's one of those names that is gender neutral now. Like Chris, or Pat or Robin.

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It is sad that so many good boy names become abused by girls. Riley used to be a very unique "Boy" name. In the last 10 years so many more girls have been named Riley (spelled various ways) that it does seem like a girl name now. I agree that it has become a Neutral name for either but I now relate it more to a girl name. As unfortunate as it is.

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More Answers

Riley was a boy's name used in literature and media for over 130 years. The expression, "Living the life of Riley" (which means having the ideal life -- everything comes easy) became popular in the 1880s based upon a poem. Then in the 1940s-1950s there was a radio comedy show about a man called "The Life of Riley," which morphed into a television show eventually.

I still get surprised when I hear a girl named Riley, although it has become very popular. Over history, there are FAR more boys names that transition into girl names than vice-versa. I had the same problem with the name Jordan. REALLY wanted to use it for my son, but too many girls are using it now. Oh well!

4 moms found this helpful

it's both, but i have a good friend who had the same issue. Had her daughter (NOW 4) had been a boy she would have been Riley, when it turned out they were having a girl, they just figured they'd use it next time. Well their little boy isn't even a year old yet, and they both thought Riley was to girly right now.

2 moms found this helpful

It is sad that so many good boy names become abused by girls. Riley used to be a very unique "Boy" name. In the last 10 years so many more girls have been named Riley (spelled various ways) that it does seem like a girl name now. I agree that it has become a Neutral name for either but I now relate it more to a girl name. As unfortunate as it is.

2 moms found this helpful

Growing up, I only knew boys named Riley and I knew plenty of those. I have heard Riley for girls lately, but I think it's one of those names that is gender neutral now. Like Chris, or Pat or Robin.

2 moms found this helpful

My friend named her daughter Riley (she is now 5) and at the time had the same question. I remember her husband saying he liked it because it sounded more feminine than masculine.

IMO I think it can work for both.

2 moms found this helpful

Riley, Cameron, Shelby, Jordan all nongender names.
This is why we used Charles, Philip, Sarah and Jessica. And I don't call her Jessie or Jess.

1 mom found this helpful

To me Riley is a boy's name (so is Ryan, Tyler, Cameron, and Jordan by the way). Leslie, Taylor, and Shelby are girl names. But I too have seen where some names have become almost gener neutral (although to me they are not). The truly gender neutral names I can think of would be Jamie or Jess.

1 mom found this helpful

Either way, it can work. You may want to consider a more "traditional" middle name depending on your last name! I have one friend who named her daughter Riley Elizabeth and another Riley Jessica. It created a little bit of balance for the gender-neutral name! I have another friends whose son is Reilly (family spelling) John.

1 mom found this helpful

Too me it is more boy, but could easily be for both. My boys are named Sage and Rayne, and I know both of those could also be used for a girl, but that does not bother me. If some girl has the same name that does not make them any less boy!

1 mom found this helpful

If/when we have another girl, her name will be Riley Grace. But for a boy, it works too.

1 mom found this helpful

Riley is a LAST name to me!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a youth pastor in my childhood who named his son Riley and I never questioned it. I two different friends in my church who have named their girls Riley and I have never questioned that. I also have some friends that have the last name of Riley. I think it works well for both. As a middle name, I am sure no one would question it. I have a girlfriend named Charlie. When I worked it the bank, I talked to a lady named Butch and a man named Kim quite often. I went to school with a boy named Sydney and I go to church now with a girl named Cydney.

1 mom found this helpful

to me Riley is a boy name.. but you don't here it anymore.. allof a sudden i am hearing Riley and Reagan for girls a lot. I would nix the name.. unles s you are using it for 2nd name like you said Cooper Riley i like the sound of it.. you don't want him saying mom in my seond grade class their are 2 rileys and they are both girls..

1 mom found this helpful

Lol! Funny question. My husband wanted to name our son Riley but I said no because I knew too many girls named Riley so I now have 'girl' imprinted in my head with that name!

1 mom found this helpful

Riley is neither a boy nor a girl name; it's actually a dog name :)

1 mom found this helpful

Equally boy and girl.

1 mom found this helpful

Yep, both.

Our son's middle name is Riley. We know several boys and girls both with the name.

1 mom found this helpful

Pat, Chris, Taylor, Riley...boy or girl. My dog is named Riley, we adopted him as an adult, but we call him Riles, and I know two other dogs named Riley, one male, one female. I know a boy and a girl and a family with Riley as a last name. It is a nice name.

M.

1 mom found this helpful

Both.

It's an ambi name

1 mom found this helpful

to me it's a dog name.

1 mom found this helpful

We seriously considered this name for our girl two years ago. I have since met a few little girls with this name, so I do think more girl than boy.

1 mom found this helpful

Initial hearing of the name, I think girl. But if a man introduced himself to me as "Riley" I would not feel weird about it at all. My friend was pregnant recently and didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. She chose Reily (spelled different, pronounced the same) for whether baby came out a boy or a girl. Ended up naming the boy Mason Reily though.

"Lindsay, Shannon, Kelsey - these are definitely girl names IMO, yet some men have these names). Riley can go either way.

1 mom found this helpful

It is a gender neutral name. My step son wants to name his daughter that when he gets grown and married. I keep telling him, it isn't just his decision.

Personally I like Riley for a boy over a girl.

1 mom found this helpful

I know more girls named Riley than I do boys. Riley reminds me alot of Robin which can also be a boy or girl name.

Years ago I knew an Irish Setter named Riley. I think it was a girl.

I think boy, but my niece is named Riley. But then, her brother is named Tyler. Both names are ambiguous to me.

I know a boy and a girl named Riley, so it's both.

Boy, but I have a nephew with that name so I have a bias.

I say either. My daughter is Riley, but her teacher's son is Riley. I like it either way!

Neither for me...I know too many people with the last name Riley and O'Reilly so I associate it with a last name--not cute for a first name--IMHO.

Lately it has become more girl... i think anyway.

Just like the name Peyton... We know many people who used it for a boy and many who use it for a girl... The name Riley is unisex and I love those names!

When I had my girls 10 years ago, Riley was listed as a boy, not very common, and I loved it. I thought I was being unique, by giving them strong names. (The other twin girl is Chayse) Now it's listed as unisex, but more popular for little girls. Guess I bombed on the original thing, huh? Most of the kids are well under 10 though. I think the name will go back around to being for boys again. Mary and Elizabeth and such are growing in popularity again, I think Riley will turn around, too. I like it for a boy or a girl though. At least there aren't many Chase/Chayse girls running around the world....yet!

Without looking at other responses, I'd vote 'girl'.

I once knew a boy named 'Rowdy'. I've known boys AND girls named Stacy/Stacey, Lacy/Lacey, and Tracy/Tracey (and I'm not sure if the spelling was different because of gender), Dakota, Montana, Jordan, Shirley, Leslie, Dana, Carol/Carroll, etc.

when i hear it I think girl...but I know it can go both ways

To me, it is a girl name, but only because I have 3 friends with girls named Riley (2) and Ryleigh. However, I also know a mom with twins and the boy's name is Riley.

On a side note...I named my 1 and only son Cooper so I'm totally in love with that name for a boy...but had he been a girl, he would still have been Cooper :)

I have relatives and friends of both genders with the name. It has evolved into a non gender name.

I know that it is considered to be a "both" name but in my mind Riley is a girl name...probably because I have only known girl Rileys

I know Rileys of both genders, but it still strikes me as more of a Girl name.

Its both. My sons middle name is Riley, which is also my brother middle name. I think it is cute for either. Personally though if it were being used for a girl its cuter spelled Ryleigh or something like that.
It is for both now. But if your husband doesn't like it then maybe just find another name that he is happy with.
I ended up having a girl, but if I would have had a boy we were thinking about using either
Teagan or Greyson
I love both of those names. Very original.

I think it can go either way. I really don't think I matters if it's a second name. Personally, I would suggest not using it simply because you already know two Riley's regardless of their gender.

My name's D., it's classed as a unisex name, in fact I've met both male and female Danas.

If you still like the name use it. If not, don't stress it.

both I have on ly known boys with that name though.

Girl but that is only because I know two people who have daughter's by that name. But I think it can be a boy's name just as easily.

I'm waiting to see if Riley on our Mamasource site will write in...
Yes, she's a "girl" and it's her first name!

D.

Even if I didn't have a nephew named Riley, I'd still say boy

I think of it as a boy's name, but it's definitely gaining popularity for girls.

I still think of it as a boy name, although I have a niece named "Rileigh" If it is something you like I would still use it. Gender neutral names are quite popular.

It used to be a boy name, but is more common with girls now. Think Cameron, Kimberly, Leslie, etc. I even know a female Ryan and Michael. For a middle name it isn't bad, but I'm not a fan of unisex names for boys.

My dentist was telling me that his name (Carson) is now being used by girls too! Carsyn, Carsin, Karsyn, etc.

My daughter's name is Riley...but we've known people who also named their sons that too!

I know a girl (40-something) and a boy(7) Riley.

Definitely gender neutral, I know a few and 2 are boys one is a girl.

I am not a fan of gender neutral names used for boys either.

It's one of those names that could go either way. Like Charlie or Jamie. I know one boy with that name, but he spells it "Reilly".

The first Riley I ever knew was a boy... so I assumed it was a boy's name. But this year I have met 2 girls named Riley.

When I was younger Riley was always a boy. Now when someone says meet Riley I assume a girl. Every Riley I have met in the last 5-8 yrs has been a girl. Just like Leslie, Evan,Brinkley, Brooklyn all these names and the like, go both ways, since Riley can be boy or girl doesn't it matter more that you love the name?

I thought it was a boy name

I think of Riley as being a boy name.

I hate Riley for a girl..... Thats so rude, but really. There's nothing worse than a feminine little girl with pony tails whose name is Riley..... It's very much a boys name!

I think it's a unisex name, either or would be appropriate. I have a daughter named Regan and typically this was considered a boy's name.

I know boy Rileys and girl Rileys. But my name is B. and I'm a girl so what can I say really.

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