June Names: Juno, Juniper, and Junia

by appellationmountain on June 13, 2014

The JunesIt’s June, a lovely month, the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the beginning of long, lazy days here in the US.

Lately June is also a powerful sound in baby naming.  We’re all about that oo, in Lucy and Ruby and Jude, too.  And June is romantic, isn’t she?  She rhymes with moon and tune and clair de lune, bringing all sorts of delightful and sweetly vintage images to mind.

And June is a particularly intriguing case – there are lots of names that share the same opening syllable, but most of them are not related.  Style-wise, they’re all over the place, too.  So if this sound appeals, chances are that there’s a June name just for you.

June – Borrowed from the calendar, June refers to the goddess Juno.  She’s a sweet vintage charmer, the name worn by actresses like Golden Globe winner June Allyson (born Eleanor) and singers like June Carter Cash, wife of Johnny Cash.  I’ve also heard her used as a contracted form of Julianne, which strikes me as quite clever.

Junie – A logical nickname for any choice on this list, worn by children’s book heroine Junie B. Jones.  She’s also a sister for Sadie, Gracie, Hattie – or any of the ‘ie’ ending nickname names in vogue today.

Juno – First she was a goddess, sometimes considered vengeful – though with Jupiter for a husband, who can blame her? – and also goddess of marriage.  Then she became a teenage cautionary tale, though all ends well in the smash hit indie flick.  The ‘o’ ending is vibrant, and this name manages to be feminine and unexpected at once.

Juneau – Juneau is pronounced just like the goddess name, but this gussied up spelling takes on a rugged, wild cast.  Juneau is the capital of Alaska, named after Joe Juneau, a Canadian-born prospector.  (It’s said he bought drinks to persuade his fellow miners in the weeks leading up to the vote to establish the settlement’s official name.) They were a busy family – his cousin, Solomon Juneau, was one of the founders of Milwaukee.  The name probably comes from the French jeune - young.

Djuna - Probably the quirkiest name on this list, Djuna Barnes was an American writer with an invented name.  Her father mashed up a character in a book – Djalma – with nuna, her brother’s babytalk word for the moon.  She almost doesn’t fit on this list, but as it happens, the D is silent – so Djuna it is!

Juna – Drop the D, and Juna is more approachable.  General Hospital’s Bradford Anderson and wife Kiera have a daughter called Juna Meredith.  The name was given to 31 girls in 2013.  That’s not a lot, but it is a big jump from just five in the year 2000.

Junia – An ancient Roman rarity that fits with ends-with-ia names for girls.  Zac Hansons has a daughter called Junia Rosa Ruth.  Like June and Juno, this one most likely honors the goddess.

Juniper – Now that Jennifer is comfortably in mom-name territory, it might be Juniper’s moment.  She’s gone from unranked in 2010 to #646 in 2013.  A few high profiles uses of this lovely arboreal name and Juniper could be the new Willow.

Which June name is your favorite?  Are there any others that I’ve missed?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Names4Real June 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

I love June, Juno, and Juniper!

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Jodi June 13, 2014 at 9:31 PM

Our little June is Juniper Lucy in full. She is named for my great aunt June, and they share the nickname Junie, but with our short plainish last name and our love of unusual, flowery full names, Juniper totally won us over. My British mother-in-law still feels it’s a bit of a hippie, flower-power name, but my father-in-law recently admitted it’s his favorite of all our children’s names :)

I have heard of a little boy June, a nickname for Junior, but as much as I wanted to embrace a name crossing gender lines in favor of the boy name pool for once, I couldn’t quite get used to the idea.

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Zeffy June 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM

I think June is so quaint. My favourite related name is Juno, which I’ve loved for quite sometime now. But now that you’ve put Juno and Juneau together next to one another, I’m leaning slightly towards the Juneau spelling – it’s really very pretty. I also like Juni, which is the Swedish form of June.

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dragonflynv June 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM

I also love the name Geneva which some sources say means “Juniper Tree.” A great way to honor a June in your family.

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British American June 13, 2014 at 9:04 AM

I thought about June for our daughter’s name, which I wondered if it would be weird if she was born in July. Then she came earlier than expected and was born in June and then I wondered if that would be weird! :P I do like the name. Juniper is lovely too.

My kids had tennis class yesterday and I heard the teacher call out the name “June!”, except it must have been “Joon” because the name belonged to a boy. He had an older brother named “Hoon”. I also noticed that my kids don’t even seen to notice unusual names at all, since there are several unusual Hmong names amongst their classmates. Last school year, the one name my Kindergarten son thought was “weird” was “Phillip.”

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Anna June 13, 2014 at 2:36 AM

I love June!! My daughters name is June, but I really love all of the other June names as well. We call her Juniper and Junie for pet names. For me the name brings thoughts of sunny happy days.

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