Io (pr. eye-o) is the name of a figure in Greek mythology, an Argive princess who was loved by the god Zeus. When his wife Hera found out about her, he changed her into a white heifer in order to protect her. However, Hera saw through the deception and demanded that Zeus give her the heifer as a gift which he reluctantly did, and she set Argos Panoptes, a giant with a hundred eyes, to guard her. In order to free her, Zeus sent Hermes to slay the giant but Hera was clever and sent a persistent gadfly to sting her wherever she went, driving Io mad and causing her to wander far away from home, crossing all the way to Egypt where she was finally returned to human form by Zeus and giving birth to their son, Epaphos; one of her descendants will be Hercules. Io is also the name of a moon of Jupiter. I’ve seen the name listed as meaning “moon” from the Argive dialect, seemingly derived from a pre-Greek origin.
Io (pr. ee-o) is also a Japanese unisex name with a variety of meanings depending on the kanji used:
- i 依 “reliant; depend on; consequently; according to” + o 皇 “emperor” (依皇);
- i 依 “reliant; depend on; consequently; according to” + o 桜 “cherry tree; cherry blossom”;
- i 依 “reliant; depend on; consequently; according to” + o 緒 “cord; thread; thong; strap” (依緒);
- i 依 “reliant; depend on; consequently; according to” + o 生 “life; genuine; birth” (依生);
- i 雄 “reliant; depend on; consequently; according to” + o 雄 “male; hero; superiority; excellence” (依雄)
There are other meanings depending on the kanji used. Written in hiragana it’s いお.
Origin: uncertain, possibly pre-Greek, Japanese