Spotlight on: Juniper

Taylor asked for a spotlight on Juniper, and in light of Pope Francis’ recent announcement that he’ll canonize Bl. Junipero Serra when he visits later this year, I’m delighted to do so.

Junipero is all male to me, because of Serra, but Juniper is only feminine to my ear; it’s listed as a girl name at Behind the Name, but its entry at Namipedia is a bit more gender neutral. I’m a big fan of boy names for boys, meaning unambiguously male names (except for something really obvious like Mary as a middle name), so I think I’d have a hard time with Juniper for a boy. If anything can change that though, a new saint could!

For a girl though, I’ve seen it talked about a time or two, like when Swistle discussed it and a few times on Baby Name Wizard (here, here, here, here …), and it’s really grown on me. The nicknames are just the sweetest — Junie? Come on. It could not be any cuter. Juno’s another option, and of course just June. Up until now I’ve thought of Juniper as kind of a hippie name, but from here on out I’m going to be thinking all saint, which is so great.

What do you think of Juniper? Do you know anyone named Juniper? Does he or she go by a nickname? Would you consider using Juniper for a boy?

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15 thoughts on “Spotlight on: Juniper

  1. Yay, thanks so much! I do love combos that pair a classic, strong boys’ name with something softer–i.e. Thomas Emmanuel, Peter Seraphim (after St. Seraphim of Sarov!). Juniper could work for something like that, but I would hesitate because it does seem poised to be a trending girls’ name. The new Jennifer, perhaps! The saint makes me consider it as an option, but it would probably only work for me in combination with Mary or Anne/Anna as part of a double name. I adore Mary + something unusual, and Mary June or Annie June would be pretty cute. It’s one of those names I’m really excited for other people to use, though. Yay, Juniper!

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    • Ooh Taylor we have the same taste! I also love strong boys’ names paired with something else — I guess I usually call the other name “more unusual” or “more offbeat” — I love both Thomas Emmanuel and Peter Seraphim! Yes I could see Juniper working well there, though I’m not sure what I would pair it with …

      I also *adore* Mary + something unusual! To me, any name is possible for a little girl if Mary’s in front, which makes it particularly nice when there’s a name I like that has no saintly connections whatever. Mary June and Annie June are a-dorable. I also like thinking of combos like Mary Seraphine with a fun nn like Maisie.

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    • Ooh Taylor we have the same taste! I also love strong boys’ names paired with something else — I guess I usually call the other name “more unusual” or “more offbeat” — I love both Thomas Emmanuel and Peter Seraphim! Yes I could see Juniper working well there, though I’m not sure what I would pair it with …

      I also *adore* Mary + something unusual! To me, any name is possible for a little girl if Mary’s in front, which makes it particularly nice when there’s a name I like that has no saintly connections whatever. Mary June and Annie June are a-dorable. I also like thinking of combos like Mary Seraphine with a fun nn like Maisie.

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  2. Love it! Husband is not a huge fan, but I do quite like the Mary Juniper suggestion above. He loves Mary (seriously would name all the girls Mary Something, all double names), I could maybe go for Mary Juniper!

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  3. Aww yay! Glad everyone likes Mary Juniper. 🙂 My husband actually loves Juniper all by itself, but since our first daughter has an underused classic type of name (think Ruth) the styles feel a little discordant, heh.

    And I’m pretty in love with the combo of Peter Seraphim in particular! We’ll see: when it came down to the actual naming of my daughter, we ended up going the all saintly classic family names route, so I could see us ending up with a slightly less exotic honor name for a middle if we have a boy someday. I looove the balance of classic/unusual, but it’s also so special to carry on family names.

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  4. We considered Juniper for a boy, because my hubby has a Franciscan background and Brother Juniper was one of St Francis’s most beloved brothers. He was a man of great humility.

    And Juni as a boy name is darling to me but that’s only thanks to Spy Kids. Ha!

    The only reason we decided against it was because Juniper would’ve been directly following a Marigold, and we didn’t want to look too hippie. 😉

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    • Haha I love it!!! So funny re: Juni — we saw Spy Kids a couple months ago for the first time and when I heard Carmen and Juni I thought, “They must be Catholic!” and I immediately googled it because I was sure Juni’s name was Juniper/Junipero! (It’s not, boo! It’s Junito, which doesn’t exist at behindthename or nameberry so I don’t know anything about it!)

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  5. We tend to go for offbeat, outdoorsy names for our pets (Everest, Juniper…) and classic Catholic names for kiddos (Xavier, Peter…) So, I’m surprised to find we actually gave our labrador, Juniper (sometimes just June), a saint name after all! I’m very familiar with Bl. Father Serra, being from California. But I had never put together Junipero and Juniper. I hope that doesn’t dissuade anyone from it, but the fact that we chose it for our much loved pet shows how much we’d love it on a human baby, too!

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