Baby Name of the Day: Juno

Film poster for Juno - Copyright 2007, Fox Sea...
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on May 11, 2008 and was substantially revised and reposted on February 13. 2012.

She’s a stylish name boosted by an indie flick.

Our Baby Name of the Day is borrowed from the goddess Juno.

As with many mythological names, there have always been a few girls called Andromeda and Hera, Isis and Juno. But few have left the heights of Olympus to rank in the Top 1000 in the Social Security Administration’s list, including Juno.

The related June was once a very popular choice for girls, spending 1915 to 1941 in the Top 100. Pop culture gave us Leave it to Beaver’s homemaker extraordinaire mom, June Cleaver, in the late 1950s. More recently, one of Disney Channel’s adventure, art and classical-music loving Little Einsteins quartet is named June.

But while June is simple and home-spun, Juno has quite a bit of spark. Unlike some names borrowed from the Pantheon, she’s easy to spell and simple to say. And her -o ending is vibrant and interesting for a girl, like Marlo or Cleo or Harlow. While June’s sister is Grace, Juno’s big sis is Piper.

Should your little girl arrive in the month of June, it’s as fitting a name as Pearl.

The best guess for Juno’s origin is that she comes from the same roots as the Latin juvenis – young.

Today Juno brings to mind not the Roman goddess, but a pregnant teenager from a smash hit indie flick. Ellen Page played the title role, and nabbed an Oscar nomination for her turn as the would-be teen mom.

If parents were inspired by Page’s performance, little wonder. After all, Juno was was mature, independent and thoughtful. And okay, yes, pregnant at 16.

Interestingly enough, Juno has overcome a certain amount of stigma before. During World War II, Juno Beach was a designation used by the Allies for part of the D-Day landing at Normandy. It must have been common knowledge to anyone who came of age in the era – but today, that reference is all-but forgotten.

As of 2010, the most popular of all the Jun- names was sweet June, ranked a distant #597. She’s the only one to crack the US Top 1000, but Juniper isn’t too far outside, and other names, like Junia, are sometimes heard. All of them share the same vowel sound as Ruby and Lucy – quite stylish and fresh after decades of Hayley and Kaylee.

Many a ship, a few celestial objects, the Canadian music awards, and an old school Honda scooter have answered to the name. Two real life Junos includes:

  • Juno Temple, daughter of British director Julien Temple, and an up-and-coming actress in her own right.
  • Coldplay’s Will Champion has a daughter called Ava and twins Rex and Juno.

But maybe the ultimate reference isn’t from the silver screen or real life. Instead, the famous Irish play Juno and the Paycock gives the name to a female character, the family’s matriarch. Set in 1920s Dublin, the drama lends Juno a literary sheen and a certain strength, too.

Overall, Juno is an interesting option for a daughter – quirky and cool, but not too very out there. If you want something just outside of the mainstream, she’s one to consider.

Comments

  1. Charlotte Vera says

    I was trying to figure out what it is about Juno that I don’t like when I realised that my dislike for Juno stems from my seeming inability to like names that end in O. I honestly don’t know why names that end in O turn me off, but they just do. It’s frustrating because I often like every other element of the name (first syllables, meaning, history, etc.), just not that final letter.

  2. Lou @ Mer de noms says

    I like the name Juno, and since I’ve never seen the film I’ve no real connection with it. For me, Juno is a quirky choice – and having just checket, she’s also currently [2010] the highest ranking Jun- name in England&Wales at #1093. June was only given to 4 girls last year over here, which certainly surprises me so I’m now musing that her middle name usage must well outstrip her first name one, given that it seems an astonishingly low number.

  3. Sebastiane says

    I loved this name long before the movie came out. I have noticed it seems to becoming more mainstream since the movie. It is rising in Germany and I have seen it used in a few birth announcements in the United States. Its a beautiful, strong yet very feminine name.

  4. Janet says

    My Juno Elizabeth is now ten months old, and we love her name. Sure, we have to explain it to some people, but we always just remind them that we’re English teachers and love mythology, and they seem to accept that. The movie hasn’t been as much trouble as I thought it might. People sometimes mention it, but it’s already 4 years old and a lot of people have forgotten it or haven’t seen it. Anyway, it’s a good movie! :) Thanks for rerunning this one!

  5. says

    I was just watching Juno on TV yesterday and I was thinking about her name. (And how her parents could go from naming a kid Juno to Liberty Bell(e) for their second). At first look (or sound) it is a more playful and spunkier version of June. More of a cutesy nickname like June-bug (One of my favorite nn’s for my friend Jill is Jill-O). But on second glance it has a strength and style that June lacks. And the longer I thought about it the more I found that Juno and Liberty Bell(e) fit into the same family. Because at first glance Liberty Belle is a cutesy name fit more for a cocker spaniel than a person, but once you allow it to mellow for a bit you begin to appreciate the higher meaning and strength behind the name.

    PS. I think Juno is a name that would fit nicely in the Katniss camp. :)

    • Amy3 says

      I really like this name – spunky, short, easy to say and spell. I agree, it’s a perfect fit for the Katniss camp and is one I would use.

      @Lola, I love all three names you created including Juno. Penelope, Beatrix, and Elspeth are three of my long-time faves.

  6. says

    My Other Half is obsessed with Io. Utterly. He suggested Imogen Ottilie Violet so we could nn her Io! I tried it out for awhile but I dunno. I can’t really warm up to Io, much (I waffle between saying EE- oh & EYE- oh). Both pronunciations are correct & acceptable but which one to pick?
    That’s what bugs me about Io.

    Conversely, He suggested Juno for a middle. As a compromise. He knows how much I love the letter J. I have Juno in the middle in 3 combos. Penelope Juno Alice, Beatrix Juno Frances & Elspeth Juno Violet. I think Juno’s a perfect middle name, for us!

  7. Juliet says

    I hope this name picks up in popularity. I’ve never liked June always found it to be rather dowdy sounding. Juno sounds spunky to me.I think in a field of women named Amy, Katie, Kylie etc that Juno should work just fine in terms of how it ages. glad to see a ‘j’ name that doesn’t start with -jen that is liked. I actually wouldn’t mind carrying the name myself.

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