Unter den Linden with Brandenburg Gate in the ...
Unter den Linden with Brandenburg Gate in the background, Berlin, 1902 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s the tree, the place name, and the US president, too.

Thanks to Merrisa for suggesting Linden as our Baby Name of the Day.

First things first: Merrisa suggested Linden as a boy’s name.  It could be, an alternative to Landon and Logan and Liam.  Spelling variant Lyndon has been worn by a former US President, after all, and there’s no shortage of masculine role models, including athletes from the NFL and NHL.

But Linden has possibilities as a girls’ name, too.  Many tree names feel inherently gender neutral – think of Rowan or Cedar.  Plus Linden reminds me of long-time girls’ favorite LindaPossible short form Lindy brings to mind aviator Charles Lindbergh, but also feels perfectly appealing for a daughter.  British actress Linden Travers appeared in several Alfred Hitchcock pictures; she was born Florence Lindon-Travers.

As of 2010, Linden was a rarity, and one holding steady as a gender neutral choice.  57 boys received the name, while 59 girls were called Linden.  Spelling variants cloud the picture slightly: a few boys were called Lindon, a few girls were named Lynden.  But overall, this is one that neither gender can claim.

But let’s head back to the forest.  Linden trees are sometimes called lime trees, but that’s a quirk of etymology.  They’re actually deciduous trees, most from the genus tilia, found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.  Some are said to live for centuries, even a thousand years or more.

References to the tree appear in ancient writings by Homer and Ovid.  Other meanings have attached over the years, including:

  • Linden trees were gathering places in pre-Christian Germany, a common location for communities to hold trials and celebrations alike.
  • They were meaningful in Slavic cultures, too, and the tree remains a national symbol of Slovenia; a common place name, especially in Poland; and the inspiration behind the Croatian name for the month of June.
  • Literary references trace back from the Middle Ages to modern times, including Coleridge, Goethe, and Herman Hesse.  Joan Baez mentions the linden tree in a song lyric.

Chances are Linden is also a place name for many readers.  There’s Berlin’s Unter den Linden, a historic thoroughfare lined with the trees, as well as landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate.  (And the source of this charming story about two women named Linden, courtesy of Nancy.)  In the US, Linden, New Jersey is a stone’s throw from Manhattan.  In London, the London Corinthian Sailing Club operates out of Linden House.  Add in dozens of other communities throughout the English-speaking world and Linden is a common feature on many maps.

There’s much to love about Linden, a name that feels genuinely gender neutral.  Like many nature names, Linden is crisp and modern without feeling invented or forced.  It could be a great way to honor a grandmother called Linda, or maybe an alternative to Dylan.  If you’re after a rarity that will feel perfectly comfortable on a 21st century child, Linden could fit the bill.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. My husband’s middle name is Linden. I seriously considered it for our first son, but we landed on another name we loved. However, we’re expecting a new baby boy and I’m back on Linden. His mother’s name is Linda also so there’s that connection also. I never considered it to be girly at all, but do like it for a girl also.

  2. I just named my daughter this. Definitely after the tree connotation. Think it’s a lovely, fresh nature name that isn’t very common. Although most of the people who hear just the name (like at the doctors office) call her ‘he’ assuming it’s a boy.

  3. My 19 year old daughter is named Linden after her great grandfather. It has been the perfect, totally appropriate name for her. She has always loved her name. There are three other Lindens in our small town, all born after her: two girls and a boy. She has made it more popular here than it is nationally. It’s a beautiful, gender neutral name. I love it!

  4. My daughters middle name is Linden (i have always loved the name for girl). I played with the spelling to incorporate my maiden name and my mothers maiden name (you can get away with that on a middle name) …

    Margot Lindeyn

  5. I really like Linden. My mother-in-law is Linda, and it would be nice to have that connection.. I knew a Linden a few years back, lived in Alabama. Really sweet girl, very polite. Only good associations with the name really, and only female associations. Like a previous poster mentioned, many trees have feminine names, and this just seems to fit in there with the rest of them.
    I don’t care for Linden at all on a boy. One of my best friends is a man named Kelly, and I’d sooner call that a more gender neutral name than Linden. In my opinion it feels way too soft and flowy to be worn by a little boy.

  6. Linden is one of the few names I truly think of as gender-neutral and can easily see on either gender. However, I would only use it for a boy, myself. And I do really like it as a boy’s name.

  7. I would use the Lyndon spelling for a boy. I like Linden for a girl, but would probably use Linnae instead.

  8. I really like Linden on a boy, but I not too crazy about it on a girl. I was going to say that in general I think trees are masculine, but so many of the established names ( Acacia, Magnolia, Willow, Olive) are considered feminine… so that’s not it. Instead, I’m guessing it a case of Linda, Lindsay and Lauren feel really tired as girl names, but Linden or Loren could be really interesting on a boy.

    I’m not a fan of Lyndon.