It’s yet another masculine moniker that’s been favored for girls in recent years.

Thanks to Kelly for suggesting Shannon as Name of the Day.

You’ll find Shannon on the map in at least half a dozen US states, but the original is Ireland’s River Shannon, an important waterway since the earliest days – Ptolemy mapped the river in the second century.

The river’s name could be derived from:

  • An ancient Celtic river goddess called Sionna or Sinann;
  • The word for ancient – se

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. I was born a month early, and apparently the wrong sex 🙂 The doctors had told my parents to be expecting a baby boy, so they had picked out Shad David for my name.

    As my parents sat in the hospital room holding their little bundle of joy; a barely 6 pound baby girl, they were pressed to come up with a name. They had the TV on, and were watching a game show, one of the female contestants had been named Shannon…and so it was.

    I was told that Shannon was an Irish name, that it meant “small, but wise”. I don’t think it ever occurred to them that their “small” premie baby would grow to nearly 6′ tall. 🙂

    Growing up I knew one other female Shannon,and I couldn’t stand her! (haha I am sure the feeling was mutual at the time.) I knew hand fulls of men named Shannon, and was often teased that I have a “boys” name.

    People always think they are the first one’s ever to sing me a line of Henry Gross’s one-hit wonder, “Shannon”…Do they REALLY think I am impressed that my name is in a song about a dead dog named Shannon….ummmm not so much.

    Friends of my grandparents always seemed to sing me a few line’s from ” Oh Shenandoah”..and again, they ALWAYS think they are so original.

    I have grown to like my name as an adult, but as I child it was less than enjoyable to me to be teased and tormented over a boys/dead dog’s name.

  2. This is actually a favorite for a girl. I loved the name since a young child, as my grandmother whom I respect immensely, always loved the name and was never able to use it. It used to hold teh number one spot for years- but isn’t any more. The thing that stops me from using it one day, is that my top girl names are Eden and Isla (said EYE-luh). So, for where I live (South Africa), Shannon would be a bit too common in comparison to the other two.It wouldn’t be fair to give 2 children (if I have 3 girls- I haven’t even had a child yet ‘roll eyes’) names that aren’t overly popular and one a name that is popular. I think I might use the name one day as a middle, out of respect towards my Gran (and I am not a huge fan of using family names. That shows you how much she means to me)

    I never knew Shannon was male until I came across it on Yahoo Answers. I know in Ireland it is used on guys in a fair popularity dispersion(that sounds pompous, doesn’t it? seemed fitting for what I meant, though). However, I know an Irish person who lives in Ireland and they are exceptionally gender orientated when it comes to names – this person does not believe that unisex names exist; and this person never even knew that is was used on males.

    So, I think the view of what gender it belongs to depends on your personal experience and region. Possible reasons why people view it as masculine is because of it nickname Shay.Also, Shannon can be similar to Shane

    However, I completely agree with Bevin. Using Shannon on a male for me is like using David or Sawyer on a girl.

    Sorry for such a long answer. I tried to answer thoroughly and clearly. I will try and keep the answers shorter- the length was not intentional

  3. ^^ Hee hee, I’m the opposite. Although I’ve met EQUAL male and female Shannon’s of all ages here in NZ, it’s still feels more masculine to me. The youngest male Shannon I ran into in recent times was in his early teens and you wouldn’t want to be messing with him. He was a tough cookie.

    It’s not my cup of tea and feels a bit dated probably due to it’s similarity to Sharon which is prime naff girl’s name material here and often shortened to Shaz/Shazza. *cringes*

      1. For Aus and NZ, pretty much. We seem to love “-z/-zza” diminutives so Baz/Bazz for Barry, Waz/Wazza for Wayne, Gaz/Gazza for Gavin, Caz/Cazza for Catherine and so on. The possibilities are endless unfortunately. Similar thing in the UK too I believe.

        I suppose Shaz/Shazza could easily come from Shannon too.

  4. Shannon is a boys name?? No way, no how, nah ah, no. Should not be done. To me, that’s like calling a boy Mary or Dorothy. Shannon is so completely female to me I had to read twice! Crazy…

    1. See, the funny thing is – I know two men named Shannon. Both as masculine as you could imagine. I’ve only ever met one female Shannon and she was a former colleague’s daughter – so it really skews male for me, and while I know that’s not statistically accurate, I hear Shannon on a girl and it feels a bit like Evan or Aidan – sure, why not, except in my experience, it is a boy’s name.

      1. Funny 🙂 Strange how it works like that. I think in Ireland it’s definitely more of a girls name. I never heard of a boy Shannon back home.

        I haven’t met one Shannon here in NZ yet so I can’t really comment.

        Bewildertrix – so true with the Shazza / Gazza. I know a Baz, Waz, Cuz, Azza all in my small town, just off the top of my head.