The baby name Juno combines a high energy sound with all the appeal of an ancient goddess.
Thanks to Kae for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day.
As with many mythological names, there have always been a few girls called Andromeda and Hera, Pax and Juno.
Even now, with ancient names very much in favor, few goddesses have left the heights of Olympus to appear in the US Top 1000.
That includes the baby name Juno.
And yet we instantly recognize it.
The name comes from the same roots as the Latin juvenis – young.
In the Roman pantheon, she’s wife to Jupiter. Theirs is not exactly a happy marriage, and too many tales of Juno focus on her husband’s philandering. Virgil’s Aeneid makes her quite cruel.
And yet, Juno is queen of the gods. Her portfolio is diverse. She dresses for battle, unlike her Greek counterpart Hera. Many of her roles involve protecting her people, particularly women.
That’s a thumbnail sketch of a complex figure, but suffice to say that the baby name Juno offers quite a legacy.
The goddess also lent her name to the month of June.
If the baby name Juno remains relatively rare, June is comparatively common. From 1915 through the 1930s, it appeared in the US Top 100. From Leave it to Beaver’s homemaker extraordinaire mom, June Cleaver, in the late 1950s to the early 2000s Disney Channel’s adventure, art and classical-music loving Little Einsteins, the name has remained in steady use.
Other June names – like Junia and Juniper – also have potential.
But it’s Juno’s bright ‘o’ ending that makes this name sound so full of energy.
It’s sparky and unexpected. June’s sister is Grace, but Juno’s sister is Piper.
JUNO and JUNEAU
You might also think of Juno as a place name.
First there’s Juno Beach, a real town in Florida. It was also a designation the Allies gave to part of the D-Day landing site at Normandy during World War II.
But Juneau is most familiar on the map.
The capital city of Alaska was named for settler Joe Juneau. It’s said Joe bought drinks for those who assembled to cast a vote for the new city’s name.
But as it happens, Juneau also traces its roots back to a word meaning young, so Juno and Juneau not only sound exactly the same, but they’re cousins, too.
Almost no one was choosing the baby name Juno for their daughters. Not until the late 1990s, when a handful of girls received the name.
1924 drama Juno and the Paycock was written by Irish playwright Sean O’Casey. It could’ve influenced a few parents, but the numbers don’t suggest that it did – at least not in the US.
Instead, it took an indie movie titled Juno to generate more interest in the name. No goddesses involved. Actor Elliot Page played a regular teenager, facing regular teenage challenges – until an unplanned pregnancy makes things even more complicated. Page earned an Oscar nomination for as the would-be teen mom.
The movie came out in 2007. Just seven girls received the baby name Juno in 2006. By 2008, that number reached 33. And as of 2016, it was 100. And in 2020, there were 107 new baby girl Junos.
A small but steady number of boys also received the name. Credit to Junot, as in the Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz. The ‘t’ is silent.
Many a ship, a few celestial objects, the Canadian music awards, and an old school Honda scooter have answered to the name Juno. Musician Will Champion, of Coldplay, named a daughter Juno. And British director Julien Temple named his daughter Juno. She’s now a successful actor in her own right.
BY THE NUMBERS
For the last handful of years, around 100 girls receive the baby name Juno annually. It was 103 births in 2019; 109 in 2018.
That’s an interesting number – so few that the baby name Juno remains obscure. But it’s also enough that it feels increasingly familiar.
Overall, the baby name Juno presents an intriguing choice for a daughter. It’s edgy and cool, a thoroughly modern name. But it’s ancient, too, a name borrowed from history and literature, with a handful of namesakes across the ages. If you’re after something just outside the mainstream for a daughter, this name might belong on your list.
What do you think of the baby name Juno?
This post was originally published on May 11, 2008. It was substantially revised and reposted on February 13. 2012, and again on June 1, 2021.
I love Juno! One of my favorite sibsets is Beatrix, Magalene, and Juno, called Bee/Bumblebee, Maggie/Magpie, and June/Junebug.
In Portugal, Juno is a male name, go figure. I quite like the name
I love Juno, it’s such a handsome, queenly name, but has cutie nicknames for a little girl Juno.
Anna @ Babynamelover has a wee bub named Juno Francesca; I thought that was a stunning name!
Of course! Thanks for adding that. Gorgeous name!
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.
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  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.
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.
Is there any place I can send you a private question?
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!
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. 🙂
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.
I love this as a middle name option. I do like Jane better.
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!
I prefer the spelling Juneau.
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.