Name Anderson for a Girl
Hi Jennifer,

I’ve read your Q&A for years even though this is my first time expecting.

We won’t find out what we’re having before the birth so we’ll have to come up with options for each sex and decide on the day!

Growing up with an extremely common name, it is one of my top requirements that the name not be currently popular (which is ALWAYS disappointing as often as we realize just how popular our “special” choices are).

One of our top names for a girl is Andersen–my mother’s maiden name–so it has a connection but avoids the problem of being to common, at least as a first name. We’re considering Andersen for a first or middle and when I Googled for feedback I found many people had trashed Andersen for a girl, saying that it’s too masculine. I don’t see how it is any different than Allison or Addison or Madison, except in its uncommon current usage?

I don’t like the name “Andi” just as my friend Allison never goes my “Ally” so the proposal of this NN to make it more feminine isn’t our goal (though it may be inevitable).

The alternative is that we make Andersen a middle name but with our preferred first name, her initials would become NAG. Is NAG too awful a monogram to live with?

Thanks for your feedback,

Hi S.G.,

First off, I don’t see Andersen being a particularly bad name for a girl. It is mostly identified with Anderson Cooper as a first name, so the people who say it’s too masculine are probably relating it to him. It also literally translates to “Son of Andrew,” although your point about it being similar, onomastically, to Addison and Madison is valid.

As for the nickname, people will call her Andi or Andie. I don’t go by Jenny, and I make it clear to people who try to use that as a nickname that I prefer Jenn or my full name. Good nickname alternatives might be Ana or Annie, or even maybe “Sunny.”

I’d definitely avoid NAG for the initials if I were you. That could be embarrassing later in life when she wanted to get something monogrammed. It also is a particularly volatile word for women.

I hope that helps! And let me know what you decide.



Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.