She was one of the fastest rising names in 2011, and could be the perfect name for a baby girl born tomorrow.
Thanks to Leitia for requesting June as our Baby Name of the Day.
June’s origins are probably tied up with the Roman goddess Juno, just like March belongs to Mars and January to Janus. Plenty of months have become names, and June has been in use since the nineteenth century. It’s also possible that June relates to to the Latin iuvenis, young – which fits right in with our ideas about the lovely month of June.
There are plenty of reasons June sounds so fresh in 2012. The first is timing: June was a Top 100 name from 1915 through 1941, at her most popular in the 1920s. After a long hibernation, June has slowly been creeping back into use, charting at #869 in 2008, and bounding up to #470 in 2011. That’s not exactly Emma, but she’s gaining attention, and fast.
A handful of characters in recent children’s shows have answered to the name. There’s the stylish quartet in Disney’s The Little Einsteins: Leo, Quincy, Annie, and June. There’s Junie B. Jones – short for Juniper Beatrice, the heroine of a long-running series of children’s books, first published in the 1990s. Nickelodeon’s cartoon variety show, KaBlam!, was co-hosted by characters called Henry and June.
Her retro charm is considerable. Think of:
- June Carter Cash, born Valerie June in 1929, the wife of Johnny Cash and his collaborator on a long string of creative projects. Reese Witherspoon took home a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of June C.C. in the 2005 biopic Walk the Line, likely helping to bolster interest in the name. Cash has caught on for boys in the same time frame, suggesting that the legendary couple are inspiring plenty of today’s parents.
- There’s also jazz singer June Christy, a contemporary of Carter Cash, but working in a very different genre.
- Heading to Hollywood, there’s June Allyson, an MGM contract player in the 1940s who went on to host a television series.
- June Lockhart had a long television career, appearing in Lassie and Petticoat Junction.
- Speaking of television, do you remember Leave it to Beaver? Beaver’s mom was June Cleaver.
- Fear this is all much too goody two shoes? There’s a racy June in the past, too – June Miller, wife of the writer Henry Miller, and part of a passionate and ill-fated love triangle with writer Anaïs Nin. Nin recorded the stories in her diaries, which were published in 1986 and adapted for a 1990 movie.
June feels gently old-fashioned, but her sound is vibrant, too. She’d fit right in with nature names for girls, and her sound is in step with Lucy and Ruby and Luna. Interest in Johnny and June isn’t slowing down, either. A Lifetime biopic of June herself is in the works, with Jewel on board to play the title role.
She manages to be straightforward and frills-free while remaining romantic and perfectly feminine – the perfect compromise between Sloane and Julianna, and a lovely name for a daughter.
Sarah A says
I love June! So sweet but tailored and adorably retro. Author Jessie Knadler who writes at Rurally Screwed has a daughter named June. My grandmother had a sorority sister named June.
June is very sweet and ready for a come back.
Love June! It’s been on my list for years now. I agree with the above that it’s the right amount of retro- charming and refreshing rather than dowdy.
I LOVE June. It is just the right amount of retro. I would use it in a heartbeat but dd’s middle name is Jane so I feel like that’s too close. I really can’t believe how fast it’s climbing, though. I have yet to met one, but the main character in ‘Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23’ is named June so it’s definitely mainstreaming.
Really? I haven’t seen the show yet, so you must be right!
It’s not all that great, but the character June is very sweet, innocent and perky, and just like you would imagine a June to be. I think it will be good advertisement for the name.
I always liked the name Ruby June.
Anna Bliss Kessie says
I love the name June!!! We named our daughter June and it fits her perfectly. Happy, fun, and beautiful. 🙂
Thoughts on naming an October baby June? Am I setting her up for a lifetime of the question “were you born in June” followed by a sheepish “no?”. I love the name but seem to only have Libra babies.
I think that June is a mainstream enough name that the question isn’t inevitable. October or January, yes. But June is a name as much as she’s a month. (Ditto April, August, and May.) Then again, I remember asking the same question of an April years ago, and she shrugged and replied that no, her mom just liked the name – and something in her manner suggested she repeated that line time after time. Any one have personal experience? I’m going to ask this on FB, too.
British American says
I agree that it’s workable, as it’s a well established name. I do know of a Winter who was born in the summer, which kind of puzzles me. A June born in October wouldn’t puzzle me. 🙂
Anna Bliss Kessie says
We named our daughter June and we love it!!! She was born in March and I was worried that it might be weird that she wasn’t born in June, but it fits her perfectly! I hadn’t met another June until a few weeks ago. When people ask if i named her after the month I tell them “no, I named her after the happy feeling I get when I say the name” I then inform them that the Roman Goddess Juno came before the name of the month. To me June is a happy and bright name and I love it. 🙂
June isn’t strictly girl. There was a male cashier at Hobby Lobby today named June, and my great-grandfather was called June. It was a nickname for Junior though.
That said, honestly I still think June is a little too grandma. I wouldn’t mind hearing her on a little girl, but she isn’t for me.
I love June’s dewy femininity, without all the frills and lace.
There’s also the Johnny Depp, Aidan Quinn film Benny & Joon. That movie gives the name more of a quirky vibe.
I adore June, Junia and Juniper, but we have strict no “J” name rule. I’ll have to save these until we get a new pet.
C in DC says
Jane, Jean, Joan, June – I see this quartet on the rise.
I love it. I love it in the middle spot, but I think it could work very nicely in first position as an alternative to plain Jane.
I like the name June. We have considered it for a middle name if/ when we have another daughter.
My middle name is June (named after my Nana, as were two of my cousins) and I always disliked it. I only kept it when I got married because of the connection to her. Last year I tried it with Felicity, which was a serious contender for my daughter, and I suddenly liked it. It was like flipping a switch (it came in secondly to Carys Elizabeth). It still feels strange to like it after hating it for so long but it’s interesting to know that I’m not alone in my changed opinion of June.
Ooooh, I love Carys.
Any thoughts on how to get to the nn June without Juno or Juniper? I also have a no season/month policy but June is so cute! I also like Jude/Judith for a similar sound.
There’s Junia – an obscure feminine form of Junius. She makes a cameo in the New Testament and even saw some limited use in the nineteenth century.
I’ve also heard the name Juna.
C in DC says
A coworker recently named her baby Juna. It’s very cute. Juna and Juno/Juneau are definitely my favorites on this list.
What a great name. Sweet and charming. Unfortunately, my husband has a strict no month name policy. (It goes with his no place names and no season names policies. It’s very limiting). Otherwise, I would give this one serious consideration. I hope to meet a little June someday.