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Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby Name to Consider: Percy (but for a girl)

Kate writes:
I've been thinking about the name Percy recently, but for a girl.  To me it's a perfect little girl name- feminine but spunky.  But I'm not sure the world is ready for Percy to cross over yet and I'd be interested in what you and your readers think. Are the Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy Weasley associations too strong?

I would like to see it used as a nickname (maybe spelled Persy or Persey or Persie) for the name Persephone, which, now that Penelope and Hermione and Phoebe are familiar, I see no reason we can't bring into fashion. PERSEPHONE. It's time.

I think Percy would also work well as a given name. Tracy, Stacy, Lacy, Macy, Lucy, Gracie, Marcy, Mercy, Darcy, Percy. And the boys seem to be done with all the -cy names for now.

What do you think of Percy as a girl name? Let's have a poll over to the right! [Poll closed; see results below.]


Poll results for "What do you think of the name Percy for a girl?" (421 votes total):

I love it! I'd want to use it! - 16 votes (4%)
I like it! I'd want to consider it! - 41 votes (10%)
I like it for someone else's baby - 142 votes (34%)
No particular opinion - 20 votes (5%)
Slight dislike - 94 votes (22%)
Strong dislike - 108 votes (26%)

35 comments:

StephLove said...

My strongest pop culture association for the name is Percy Jackson, not Percy Weasley or Thomas. That's a positive association, but definitely male.

BTW, Swistle-- I do know a little Persephone.

Anonymous said...

I agree that I think of Percy in the same fashion as Henry. It doesn't read girl to me at all as a given name. Though I agree it could work as a nickname. As a nickname for a traditionally girl name, it has some of the flavor of names like Charlie for Charlotte or Bobbi for Roberta. The popularity of Percy Jackson and the Harry Potter series, combined with the antique revival names make me think Percy is due for a comeback in the next few years-but as a boys name.

Anonymous said...

Percy is short for Percival, and in fact all the Percys in pop culture are actually Percivals I think! So to me it's just a bit too odd for a girl, and if any boys in her kindergarten class are Thomas the tank engine fanatics they might make fun of her for it. I guess it's up to you, if you love it to death I would strongly second the nickname idea, and Persephone is lovely and seems to justify the nickname well.

Anonymous said...

What about as a nickname for Persis? I'm reminded of little Persis Ford (a girl) from the Anne of Green Gables series.

Anonymous said...

How about Prescilla ( a spelling change). I love Precy as a name for a girl. Maybe spelled Persi. I like Perscilla. It gives you options for other nicknames as well. And can be an easier sibling name later.

Sarah said...

I think it's a super cute name for a girl. It doesn't strike me as overly masculine and I've watched my fair share of Thomas the Train...

I used to babysit a little girl named Wesley and it totally worked in my opinion. I think Percy would definitely work for a little girl!

Susan said...

Personally I wouldn't give a girl a flat-out boy name, even if the boy name sounded girlish and wasn't used by many boys anymore. However, I love the idea of Persephone with nn Persy (or Persie or whatever).

I agree with Swistle, it's TIME for Persephone. What a great name!

Anonymous said...

I can also see Percy working as a nicknames for names ending in PER-like Harper or Juniper. Or for names with an internal PER, such as Temperance.

gail said...

I think it most definitely works as a nn for Persephone. Especially since Percival isn't being used much, or Percy, for that matter. I don't think people dare name boys names like Percy at this point in time....it just puts the name out there on the radar, and before you know it....it goes to the girls. Maybe Percy is one of those names that simply works better on girls in the first place....It's just a hop, skip, and jump away from Darcy.

Anonymous said...

I love it! If I were to use it myself, I would use Persephone with the nn Persy (though I also love the nn Seph and Sephi!) Great suggestion. Too bad we're done having kids to name!

Anonymous said...

Arrrgh, I am so so sick of people raiding the boy's name side of the baby book for girl's names. There are already thousands more girl names out there than boy names and although it's sexist, once a name goes girl, it doesn't go back. If you wanted to use it as a nickname for Persephone, that's fine, but after going through the long difficult naming process we went through when naming our son has left me firmly in the Leave Boys Names to Boys camp!

Anonymous said...

wow.. some people are a little harsh... I don't know any boys with that name. I think it would be really cute on a girl. go for it!

Anonymous said...

I lobbied for one of my friends, who was considering Penelope, to consider Persephone. While it is clunky with my last name, I'd love to hear it on more little girls. Percy is a great nn for Persephone.

There is one drawback to the nn Percy. After having to stress, "It is PER-cy, not Pu" to a three year old, the name makes me a bit nervous. If the kid has a speech problem, this could be an embarrassing way to start every conversation.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 boys and I would DEFInITELY use it for a girl. I am sooooo tired of all the Kaley, katelin, Jayden, Ella names. It sounds fresh and spunky.

Guinevere said...

I love it, but with the caveat that I am firmly in the "as a nickname" camp. I don't care for it as a birth certificate name on a girl, as I'm not generally a fan of the boy-name-on-a-girl trend.

As a nickname, though, I think I'd find it just as darling on a girl as on a boy (which is very!).

I agree so much about it being TIME for Persephone, and I think it could be an equally cute nickname for Priscilla, any of the -per names, or any name with an internal -per-: http://www.babynamewizard.com/baby-name/advanced-name-finder/results?gender=F&sequence=per I think it would be a great counterbalance to a weighty, serious virtue name like Temperance, for example!

And, in response to previous posters: while Percy CAN be a short form of Percival, it has an independent surname-as-given-name origin too, via a town which in turn perhaps links back to Persius. http://www.behindthename.com/name/percy

The Mrs. said...

I can't hear 'Percy' without thinking of Percy Weasly (the rat fink) and Percy Jackson. Percy is a boy's name to me... although not a great one.

Where as Darcy reminds me of the heart, Percy brings to mind the word 'terse'. Rather unflattering on a cute baby.

This is probably how Ashley, Courtney, Stacy, Darcy, Leslie, Carroll, Lynn, and many other men's names became women's names (like Anonymous 1:16 said) never to return to the male camp. It's enough to make parents want to name their sons ugly names, so they will never be mistaken on paper as girls.

I do know of a lovely middle-school aged Persephone though. I always thought Daphne would be a nice sister's name for her.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually glad someone brought up Percival, I never would have remembered that association otherwise, and it sort've changes my opinion of Percy for a girl (even if it is a stand alone name too). I think Percy would work best as a nickname, and I'm in the Persephone camp with a lot of other readers it seems!

Lynnette said...

Persephone is a WONDERFUL name that I would use with the nickname Percy if my husband would agree. He won't, because his naming tastes are more sedate.

Anonymous said...

I think if you like it go for it.

Anonymous said...

Persephone nn Percy is adorable. Percy on its own, I don't warm up to so much, but I don't think it's actually unusable.

But I would kind of love to see Mercy make a comeback (Mercy Otis Warren is a seriously awesome Revolutionary-era namesake!). The vibe is obviously very different, yet the sound is so similar...

Jessica said...

I would say only if Persephone is the given name with Percy as a nn. I actually think that's pretty cute. But I just can't get behind Percy as a given name for a girl. I'm all for minimizing hassle (no strange spellings or creative names) and I think it would be a lot of hassle for a girl.

Claire Wessel said...

I had a female relative who was named Percy long ago. She went by Ella as an adult. Everyone always assumed she was a man until they met her. I think with a different spelling (especially as a nickname for Persephone) it could fly nowadays, but I think most still see Percy as a male name.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm the only one who watched the new Upstairs,Downstairs but there was a character named Lady Percy (for Persephone) and she was a completely horrible Nazi. So yeah, I pretty much hate that name on a girl.

Eva.G said...

People name their girls traditional boy names or names that have boy nicknames all the time (think Charlie, Elliott, Alex, Sam), and it's very common, although not my style. I don't see why Percy on a girl is a problem! I've always thought it sounds more feminine and have never loved it as a boys name. But I will also say that the Percy Jackson series is very big currently.

I agree that Persephone is just great, and also love Mercy! You wouldn't have any trouble with Mercy, and it's so uncommon but familiar! Mercy's on my own list, so I'm partial, but I also love Greek names. :-)

AirLand said...

I was about to say that I like it as a nickname, but upon further reflection...

As one poster mentioned above, if mispronounced, it does sound extremely vulgar. I can imagine teenagers using it to tease someone in a really mean way. That would be enough for me not to use it.

Tracy said...

For a nn sure! Not as a given name. IMO.

I have a 3.5 yr old son and I right away thought of Percy the train. I wouldn't use it for this reason. Thomas the train is huge in my house.

Little Bird said...

I made a ragdoll (a girl doll) in elementary school and named her Percy. I thought it was the MOST BEAUTIFUL name in the world. I didn't care that I was told it was a boy's name.

I vote for using it for a girl!

SF said...

I wouldn't use Percy as a given name, but a nickname might work. Could be short for Persephone or Priscilla, as mentioned. :)

Anonymous said...

My 3 year old nephew loves Thomas the Train (and Percy) and could only pronounce Percy pussy as in pussy cat! So be careful that you're not setting her up for an embarrassing mis-pronunciation of her own name!

British American said...

I'm not a fan of Percy as a given name for a girl. But I definitely think it would be workable as a nickname. Persephone would make a beautiful formal name, with the boyish nickname of Percy.

Anonymous said...

As a female growing up with a name that when even I see it written out, I automatically think male (it didn't "cross-over" to girl) I would advise against it. I think I would have liked the nickname option with a feminine name to fall back on when I got older.

Emily Grace said...

I'm a huge fan of Swistle's Persephone idea. Percy just doesn't strike me as something that can be a girl's name...even despite the recent trend of boys' names going girl.

Anonymous said...

I also watched the new Upstairs, Downstairs and, although Lady Persephone Towyn (Persie) was not a very nice character, I still love the name.

I had never heard it shortened to Persie before I watched the show. I think it's a great nickname.

Melissa Haworth said...

I'm a bit late to this conversation but was reading Harry Potter to my six year old and they just introduced the character Percy and my daughter was confused..."wait is that a girl or a boy? They said a boy but that sounds like a girl's name"

So according to my completely-unaware-of-this-name-before-today child it's a great girl name.

Scarlet said...

I actually love this name, if guys can be named Ashley, girls can be called Percy.

Also consider Pershea, it very similar to Percy, and Pershea is an old English name for girls, Percy would be like 21st century version ;3