Boy Brogan. Girl Brogan.

An Irish shamrock, from

Brogan is, traditionally, a male irish name. Not that, aged 5 I knew this. Up until I was 13, I thought it was a female name, but I have a good reason for this: I went to nursery and primary school with a Brogan. Specifically, Brogan Nicole. It was only when I became interested in names at around 13 that I realised her name was more masculine than I had previously reckoned. Since Brogan was little sister to the uber-feminine Chelsea, I had simply assumed her moniker was equally feminine. I had done what philosophers have been telling us not to do for centuries: drawing conclusions with only half the facts.

Whether a name is male or female is a subject that is constantly debated amongst baby name enthusiasts. When it comes to Brogan, I can see the rational. I have two cousins (of different parents) called Megan and Teagan. Both female, although the latter is traditionally male. The -gan ending is not one usually covered in blogs, unlike such endings as -us and -ayden, but it does boast many names who cross the gender barrier:






The name Brogan means sturdy shoe, but the fact it’s meaning is not overly feminine shouldn’t be seen as a problem since Kennedy is popular for girls, and it means misshapen head. And lets not even get bogged down with the Madison arguement.

Currently in the UK, the name Brogan sits at #581 with 56 births for the lads, plus sits at a lesser #783, with 45 births for the lasses

Since my youth was spent with a female Brogan, I doubt I can ever see it as a male name. Another interesting insight into my inner self is that the first time I came across the name Jude was in the Jacqueline Wilson novel, Diamond Girls. Yes, you guessed it, the 16 year old tomboy was named Jude. I actually liked the name for a girl for a while after I read it, and thought it was a girl name. In the book, Jude had sisters called Maxine, Rochelle, Dixie and Sundance ( the latter of whom spent most of the book masquerading as a lad). Their mother was called Sue, who proclaimed early on in the story that she wished all her youth to have a distinct name, hence her rational behind Dixie. Jacqueline Wilson pretty much dominates the 7-14 female reading market in the UK, and periodically pulls out interesting names. But we’ll save those for another post.

Back to Brogan. Whilst never really popular, the key point in this post was to highlight that not all the kids in the playground will realise that your little girl Lennox bears a male name, until they discover the interweb. And if you’re really worried, do what Brogan’s mother did and name your next daughter something frilly, such as Lilia. That tactic threw me off the scent.

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Boy Brogan. Girl Brogan.

  1. Chelsea can actually be a boy’s names too, so both girls had unisex names.

    I’ve never met either a male or female Brogan; I can’t see it being used much here as it sounds like an unfortunate slang term.


  2. Ha, a male Chelsea here following on from waltzingmorethanmatilda’s comment above. I can relate to what you are saying. I never knew that I had a “girl’s” name and neither did any of my schoolmates until a teacher on a school trip highlighted and drew attention to it. Talking with others and just observing children I think they are far more accepting of a name just being a name and taking other kids for who they are than adults give them credit for. I find it is the adults who have the biases and then as children get older they are more and more influenced by these too.


  3. Bourneville

    My two cents is along a similar line. I had a male friend named Skye growing up, and it never occurred to me until later on that Skye is much more popular for girls, I thought it was a male name.

    I guess it’s really us adults to blame for creating this bias, as a kid I really didn’t care that Skye had a more female name because I didn’t connect the dots.


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