Baby Name of the Day: Juno

by appellationmountain on May 11, 2008

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.

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