The Baby Name Io

Several days ago, NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day was the impressive “Io: Moon Over Jupiter.”

At left is a portion of photo, which was taken by the Cassini spacecraft.

Jupiter’s moon Io [EYE-oh] was discovered by Galileo in 1610. He named it for Io the mythological character — a nymph who was seduced by Zeus, then turned into a cow.*

The name Io doesn’t have a known meaning, and it’s rare in the U.S.:

  • 2010: 6 baby girls named Io
  • 2009: 8 baby girls named Io
  • 2008: 5 baby girls named Io
  • 2007: 5 baby girls named Io
  • 2006: 5 baby girls named Io

Nevertheless, I’ve always found it intriguing. There aren’t many two-letter girl names out there, and this is the only one I know of from Greek myth.

Do you like the name Io? Would you give it to your baby girl?

*The name of the Bosphorus, which comes from Ancient Greek and means “ox passage,” commemorates Io-the-cow’s crossing of the strait.

2 Responses to The Baby Name Io

  1. Love the sound – I’m a sucker for the “O” names, but the story of the nymph who turned into a cow would make high school a challenge for the teenager with this name.

  2. Agreed. I’d also worry about Old MacDonald:

    Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
    And on that farm he had a cow, E-I-E-I-O.

    The name is pronounced over and over again, plus there’s a verse specifically about a cow. Might not actually result in teasing, but the possibility is always there…

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