I used to study Philosophy, and this little gem of a name is one I came across whilst engaging in such studies. I was reminded of it the other day whilst watching The Great British Bake Off, in which one contestant – Ruby – is studying for a philosophy degree.
Meno was a book written by Plato, and it’s topic of choice is what virtue is and whether it can be taught.
In the text a man named Meno is asked to define virtue, but he cannot define it without using the word virtue, and it is pointed out to him by Socrates that when he begin to list virtuous characteristics that they may simply just be by products of virtuousness thus not a definition of virtue.
Socrates then turns to Meno’s slave boy and shows that despite being unlearned, the boy knows about geometric principles. This is a demonstration of an idea of Socrates that certain knowledge is innate and one is able to ‘remember’ it when asked a series of questions.
But, back to the names, or name rather.
Meno would make a rather quirky, oft heard name – and what’s not to love about it’s oh-so-lovely -o ending? Or indeed that fascinating back story.
But here’s the biting point, should the name be male or female? The character Meno, from the book, is a male, thus one would assume it is a male name. Couple this with the fact that Meno is linked to the Ancient Greek name Menon, which is also, yes, you guessed it, a male name, this adds up to a hefty, logical reasoning that Meno is indeed a male name.
But it seems a plausible option as a female name, given it isn’t exactly an established name of either gender.
How do I pronounce Meno? Since the word menopause is of Greek origins (menis the Greek for month), logic would entail that Meno is pronounced like the beginning of the word, with a harsh first syllable: MEN-o, but I’m rather drawn to the softer pronunciation: min-no, or even, meh-no.