Thanks to Anna for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
He or She?
This name feels unisex – or at least as gender neutral as Charlie.
What do the numbers say?
- Spelled with an -ie, it’s consistently more popular for girls. This spelling reached the US Top 1000 briefly, from the 1940s into the 50s. As of 2018, ten girls were named Mickie, versus fewer than five boys.
- Mickey, however, has the exact opposite profile. It appeared in the US Top 1000 as early as 1898 and as late as 1997 for boys, and remains masculine today. In 2018, parents welcomed 80 boys with the name, compared to 20 girls.
- Speaking of those 20 girls, Mickey with the -ey also ranked in the US Top 1000 for girls from the 1920s through 1960. It’s the most common spelling overall.
- Micki has never broken into the US rankings, but has seen some use, including six girls born in 2018.
Other spellings are possible, including Micky (hold the ‘e’) and Miki (also a Japanese girls’ name).
So it’s more often a boys’ name, and the -ie almost feels like the feminine form. Except it’s also clearly a nickname, so the next question is … for what?
Michael, Makayla, More
The short answer? Mickey comes from Michael, which connects Mickie to Michaela. Or maybe Makayla.
Factor in the dozens of international forms and related names, and it’s easy to imagine nearly any name in the Michael family shortening to Mickie. Or, of course, almost any surname starting with Mc.
It’s also sometimes a nickname in the key of Buddy or Sonny – used without any relation at all to a person’s given name.
About the Mouse and Friends
The most famous bearer of the name started out as Mortimer, but Walt Disney quickly transformed his animated murine pal into Mickey. The rest is history.
Plenty of famous figures have answered to the name:
- Legend has it that Chicago bartender Michael Finn slipped knockout drugs to his customers, allowing him to rob them. In the years after his crimes, “Mickey” became slang for a knockout drug.
- Despite the villainous undertone, it remains a common enough first-last combination that plenty of others have answered to the name. I long assumed T. Rex drummer Mickey Finn was using a stage name – but nope, he was born Michael Normal Finn. Lots of other musicians have worn the first name, too.
- Mickey is the birth name of baseball legend Mantle. The outfielder was named for another famous bearer of the name, Gordon Stanley “Mickey” Cochrane, a Baseball Hall of Famer and former MLB catcher.
- Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney was born Joseph; his stage name came from a character he played while still a child actor.
- In the Rocky movies, Mickey is the boxer’s first manager and trainer. Played by Burgess Meredith, he’s a Yoda-esque figure.
- And then there’s “Hey Mickey,” Toni Basil’s 1981 smash hit single. It was original written about Kitty, but Basil changed the name to make it masculine.
You’ll notice that none of these are Mickies. There’s one Micki that comes to mind. Dudley Moore starred in a 1984 rom com titled Micki & Maude. There’s also former professional wrestler Mickie James, a nine-time female champion.
While the weight of use gives this one to the boys, it’s far from exclusively masculine.
Mickie fits another trend – short, spunky nickname names. While the more popular, like Sadie and Millie, are often exclusively feminine, plenty of them trend unisex, or are borrowed from the boys.
In 2018, Charlie reached #152 for girls, and Frankie #808. Mickie would be a logical substitute for either of those choices.
Overall, Mickie feels somewhere between gently dated and daringly retro. It’s unexpected, but very on trend. It brings to mind all of the McKaylas and Makennas of the recent past, but feels distinctively different, too.
It has quite a bit of potential for a child born today.
What do you think of Mickie and Mickey? Do you like them better for a boy or a girl? Does one spelling strike you as more feminine or masculine?