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Need Opinion on This "Unisex" Name

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I think we're pretty settled on our girl name and I think we fairly settled on a boy first name, but we've been feeling a bit stuck on a boy middle name.  The problem has been that DS has a middle name that feels personally meaningful to us...Orion...DH majored in astrophysics, our second date was to watch a meteor shower, we got married in a planetarium, etc.  Our girl middle name is Aster, also meaningful to us...we're into our garden (DH does all the gardening) and love having asters blooming in the fall when most other things have stopped blooming, and Aster means star, so it goes with Orion.  But we were having trouble coming up with a boy middle name that also had meaning to us personally (i.e. didn't just sound good with the first name).


So, for this potential boy middle name, I just started flipping through one of DH's astronomy books.  When I got to the page with the names of the moons in our solar system, I thought "hmm...Callisto (one of Jupiter's moons) is a cool name."  Ran it by DH and he also liked it and thought it sounded good with the potential first name (Zander).  Then I started looking it up online to get more info about the name....which is when I started to wonder if there was a potential issue with the name.


You know how baby name websites will label a name as either "girl" "boy" or "unisex"?  Well, I checked out 4 or 5 such websites and some said it was a boy name and some said it was a girl name and nobody called it unisex for some reason.  Callisto was the name of one of Atremis (Diana's) nymphs who took a vow to remain a virgin.  Jupiter (Zeus) was smitten with her, tricked her and lured her away, had his way with her and she got pregnant.  She was cast out of the nymph club for no longer being a virgin.  Jupiter's wife was jealous and pissed and turned Callisto into a bear (after she gave birth I guess).  16 years later her son was hunting in the forest and was about to shoot his own mom, the bear.  Jupiter didn't want that to happen, so he turned them both into bear constellations (Ursa Major and Minor).  So, the astronomy connection...both the Ursa Major thing and the moon thing, are cool.  But I'm wondering if it will be weird to say to our son, "yes, dear, for your middle name you were named after a virginal nymph who was raped and turned into a bear."


But, then there's the "boy name" part.  Callisto is apparently a popular boy's name in Italy, based on another variation of the name, which I don't think has a connection to this nymph stuff.  This other variation was the name of a couple of popes back in the day.  Not into the religious/Catholic connection...but feeling like the fact that Callisto is a boy's name in Italy makes up for the nymph origin.


What do y'all think?  Ok to use Callisto for a boy?  Won't traumatize him?

post #2 of 10

I have a Sanskrit boy's name (named after a god) and it's really not that big a deal (the bigger deal for me was not being Jennifer or Heather in the '70s.) Kids will pick on someone for anything but I think a middle name is a pretty safe thing. How many people's middle names did you even know growing up? I would definitely stress the astronomy angle to him rather than the Greek myth thought!

post #3 of 10

We covered a lot of Greek mythology in school, so to me Callisto is very much a girl's name. I wouldn't use it for a boy, but that is highly personal. I would think most people don't know anything about the myth and since it ends in -o, it sounds more masculine than feminine to most. 

post #4 of 10

I know a girl named Callista, and IIRC it means "beautiful" or "pretty" or something along those lines.  I don't think it would be bad as a boy name, but for me it's too cumbersome to pronounce in general, boy or girl.  If you love it, you should use it.  If you have even the slightest doubt, keep searching.

post #5 of 10
I think it sounds fine for a boy. I know nothing about mythology though. I speak spanish though and ending in "o" makes me think boy.
post #6 of 10

I love it for a boy.

post #7 of 10

I think it's fine for a boy, and even if it weren't, I don't think one should ever worry about what others might think of a middle name. My philosophy: Use something meaningful to your family; it isn't as if the kid is going to be known by his middle name.


FYI, DS' first name is a family name that is more commonly used for girls these days. (Though it isn't really very common for either.) In any case, I don't worry about it, partly because with the number of people who are using traditional boys' names for their daughters these days, there really aren't that many exclusively boys' names left. Also, I don't think it's such a big deal if there is some ambiguity in the name.

post #8 of 10
Having just lived in Italy, Callisto sounds like a boy's name to me.
post #9 of 10

won't traumatize him. its a middle name.


and I know a "Callista" who is a woman, so yeah, I would think of that as the male variant. 

post #10 of 10

I agree that Callisto sounds suitably male to me.  And yeah, while you could get all nitty-gritty with the mythology, I'd stick to saying, "You're named after one of the moons of Jupiter".  Simple and easy.  Once he's old enough to dig deep into mythology, he probably will be past the point of being deeply disturbed at its female roots.  ;)

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