Yes, there is a male version of the name Zoe. Zoe is traditionally a female name, derived from the Greek name Zoë, meaning “life.” However, like many names, Zoe has been adopted as a male name as well in recent years. Some examples of the male version of Zoe include:
The male versions are simply alternate spellings of the name, differentiated by using an umlaut, accent mark, or dropping the final vowel. While still more common for girls, Zoe can definitely be used as a boy’s name as well.
Origins and Meaning
As mentioned, Zoe traces back to the Greek name Zoë, which is the Greek word for “life.” In Greek mythology, Zoë was one of the three Charites or Graces, known as the goddess of life.
Zoë was a very common name in ancient Greek texts and myths. It continues to be a widely used name in modern Greece.
The name entered the English-speaking world in the 19th century. It was popularized by the novel Zoë by French author Théophile Gautier in the 1800s.
Zoe remains a common girl’s name today, ranking #84 for girls born in the U.S. in 2020 according to the Social Security Administration. However, the alternate male spellings like Zoë and Zo are gaining usage for boys as well.
Popularity and Usage
While still more popular for girls, Zoe is being used more often for boys in the U.S. and elsewhere:
- In the U.S., Zoe was the 1,160th most popular name for boys born in 2020, given to 116 boys.
- It ranks among the top 1,000 names for boys in England, Wales, Sweden, Belgium, and Australia.
- In France, the male spelling Zoë was given to over 150 boys in 2020.
- Other variations like Zo also appear in small numbers on boys name charts around the world.
So while not nearly as common as the female usage, Zoe certainly has precedence as a boy’s name too. Its use is rising over time.
Famous Men Named Zoe
There are also several examples of well-known men and fictional characters named Zoe that further establish it as a male name:
- Zöe Wicomb – South African writer
- Zoë Tamerlis Lund – American actor
- Zoë Bell – New Zealand stunt performer
- Zo Bell – Fictional male character in the Syfy TV series Z Nation
These examples demonstrate that while maybe not yet a conventional choice, Zoe is definitely adopted as a masculine name.
Tips for Using Zoe as a Boy’s Name
Here are some tips for using Zoe as a male name:
- Use an alternate spelling – The spellings Zöe, Zoë, or just Zo help differentiate it from the strictly feminine Zoe spelling.
- Use it as a nickname – Using Zoe as a nickname for a longer formal name like Josiah or Zion can establish it as masculine.
- Pair it with a clearly masculine middle name – Giving a middle name like James, John, or David can offset the feminine associations of Zoe.
- Be prepared to clarify the gender – Since Zoe is non-traditional for boys, be ready to explain that it’s being used for a son not daughter.
With the right context and presentation, Zoe can definitely work well as a boy’s name.
Ideal Candidates for Zoe as a Boy’s Name
Certain parents may be more inclined to using Zoe for a son:
- Parents seeking an uncommon but meaningful name
- Those who like gender-neutral, creative name options
- Those who want a name connected to history and mythology
- Parents seeking a short, punchy 1-syllable name
Zoe has a classic background but also an offbeat edge for boys. Parents who want something outside the mainstream may appreciate it.
Pairings for Middle Names
Here are some first and middle name pairings that work well for Zoe used as a boy’s name:
- Zoe James
- Zoe Alexander
- Zoe Daniel
- Zoe Benjamin
- Zoe Nicholas
- Zoe Nathaniel
- Zoe Isaac
- Zoe Sebastian
Choosing a masculine middle name can help establish Zoe as a boy’s name when said aloud.
Sibling Names for Zoe
If using Zoe for a boy, here are some potential names for siblings:
Names like Leo, Luna, Claire, and Iris complement Zoe’s short, smooth sound and Greek roots.
While more uncommon, using Zoe as a boy’s name can be an appealing creative choice with historical ties. The male alternate spellings help establish Zoe as suitable for sons as well as daughters. Paired with a solid masculine middle name, Zoe works well for parents seeking something gender-bending and meaningful.