Baby Names: Addison

How This Traditional Boy's Name Became Popular For Girls

Cute baby girl sitting on the beach
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Naming a baby can be a complicated matter. Unless you want to opt for a family name or a "Junior," just about anything goes these days. The interesting names many celebrities give their kids is a testament to that.

That said, if you're like many parents you want to come up with a name that's unique enough that your child won't be one of a handful of kids in her class with the same name but not so weird she has to explain or spell her name every time someone asks what it is.

One approach to finding this balance that many new moms and dads have taken when naming their baby daughters has been to choose a name that's traditionally considered a boys' name.

One example is the name Addison. According to the Social Security Administration's annual rankings for baby names, in 2007 and again in 2011, Addison came in 11th in popularity for girls. So if the name Addison happens to be on your short list of baby names, here's some information that might help you decide if it's the right one for your little girl.

The Meaning of the Name Addison

Originally Addison was an English name that simply meant exactly what it sounds like: "son of Adam." The name also has Scottish roots, as in "son of Addie" (Addie being a nickname for Adam).

One theory why parents may have begun opting to name their daughters Addison is that it's similar to Madison, which has been a top ten name since 2000.

Addison also happens to be the name of a character on the popular TV show Grey's Anatomy. Played by actress Kate Walsh, Addison Montgomery was the ex-wife of one of the show's central characters, Dr. Derek Shepard—a beautiful, vivacious, and accomplished doctor. In 2007, the first year the name Addison became the 11th most popular name for baby girls, Private Practice, a spinoff show of Grey's Anatomy starring Walsh's character, made its premier.

Making "Addison" Work For You

As with any baby name, you'll want to consider how to spell it. Sometimes a slight change in spelling will help make a popular name more unique. Some variations of Addison include Addyson, Addisyn, and Adyson,.

You'll also want to consider potential nicknames—in this case, you might wind up calling your daughter Addie and Addy—as well as appropriate middle names. Because Addison can be thought of as a male or female name, you might want to consider a traditional girl's middle name for your daughter, such as Rose or Elizabeth.

In 2002, for example, the actor Matthew Lillard and his wife named their first child Addison Grace and more recently, in 2011, baseball player Buster Posey and his wife named their daughter (a twin) Addison Lynne—both lovely ways to bring some femininity to a formally masculine name.

And finally, think about how the name Addison will flow with her last name. If it's long or complicated, a shorter, simpler first name may be just as sweet. 

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