Mexican Nicknames or Los Nombres Hipocorísticos

mexican_postcard_blog

Male

Adolfo – Fito
Alberto – Beto, Bertín, Tico, Tito,
Alfonso – Poncho, Fonsi, Chete, Moncho
Anastasio – Tacho
Ángel – Gelo
Antonio – Toño
Apolinar – Polino, Poli
Armando – Mando
Arturo – Turi
Auxilio – Chilo
Benjamin – Benja
Eduardo – Lalo
Emilio – Milo
Enrique – Quique
Ernesto – Neto
Ezequiel – Cheque
Federico – Fede, Quico
Fernando – Nando
Francisco – Paco, Pancho
Gabriel-Gabi
Gonzalo – Chalo
Gregorio – Goyo
Guadalupe – Lupe, Lupillo
Guillermo – Memo
Gustavo – Tabo
Héctor – Teto
Horacio – Lacho
Ignacio – Nacho
Inocencio – Chencho
Isidro – Chilo
Javier – Javi
Jesús – Chuy, Chucho, Chus
Jesús Emilio – Chumilo
Joaquín – Chimo
Jose – Pepe, Chepe
Jose Maria – Chema
Juan Gabriel – Juanga
Juan Manuel – Juanma
Lorenzo – Lencho
Luis – Huicho, Lucho
Manuel – Lolo, Manolo, Manu
Moises – Moi
Pedro – Perico
Rafael – Rafa
Ramon – Moncho
Refugio – Cuco
Roberto – Beto
Rodrigo – Ruy
Salvador – Chava
Santiago – Chago
Senovio – Noyo
Sergio – Chejo, Checo
Vincente – Chente

Female

Alejandra – Ale
Alicia – Licha, Ali
Antonia – Toña
Asencion – Chon
Beatriz – Beti, Tichi
Carolina – Caro, Lina
Cecilia – Chila, Ceci
Concepción – Concha, Conchis
Consuelo – Chelo
Dolores – Lola, Loli
Elena – Leni
Elisabet – Eli
Esperanza – Lancha
Eugenia – Maru
Francisca/Franchesca – Paquita, Pancha
Graciela – Chela
Guadalupe – Lupe, Lupita
Guillermina – Mina, Guille
Hortencia – Tench, Tenchi
Isabel – Chavela
Josefa – Pepa
Josefina – Chepina
Lourdes – Lulú
Lucía Fernanda – Lucifer (!)
Luz – Luchi
Magdalena – Magda, Nena
Marcela – Chela
Margarita – Margo, Mago
María Elena – Malena
María Isabel – Maribel
María Luisa – Marisa
María Soledad – Marisol, Sole
María Teresa – Maite
Matilde – Tilde
Mercedes – Meche, Merce
Montserrat – Montse
Patricia – Pati
Raquel – Raki, Raque
Ramona – Mona, Moncha
Rocio – Chio
Rosario – Chayo, Charo
Silvia – Chivis
Socorro – Coco
Soledad – Chole
Teresa – Tere
Victoria – Toya, Viky
Yolanda – Yoli

I made some exceptions but this list is mostly comprised of nicknames which are somewhat different than the original name. I didn’t include too many of the fairly obvious ones i.e. Vero for Veronica, Trini for Trinidad, Nico for Nicolas etc. I also tried to stick to the traditional nicknames but included some of the modern versions for a few. There are many more of the Maria-plus names which I might add in later.

Also, it is somewhat humorous for non-Mexican Spanish speakers, but Mexicans tend to make many words diminutive including nicknames. So Concha becomes Conchita, Pepe is called Pepito and so on.

This is an excellent article that explains it all (Spanish): “De Alfonso a Poncho y de Esperanza a Lancha: los Hipocorísticos”

Interesting piece in Spanish from a Basque persepctive, it gives some background on the prevalence of “ch” in the names: El Valor de la Letra “Ch”

For some interesting background on the English nicknames i.e. Molly, Sally, Hank…check out this site.

Thanks to Frances, Diego, Jimmy, El Chavo, Don Quixote and Julio for your help in compiling this list. I found many of the names through internet searches which was a surprise to me. Just two years ago when I first set out to make this list, there was nothing on the web to be found.

Mexican Names, Part One

19 thoughts on “Mexican Nicknames or Los Nombres Hipocorísticos

  1. Chimatli says:

    Thanks Notorious! I added “Tichi” to the updated list and will continue to add in more names as they are remembered and suggested!

  2. Janet Berumen Ortiz says:

    Last night I went to a wake and learn of one more nickname that should be added because many non-hispanic found it difficult to pronounce. So in memory of and former graduate of Cathedral HS, Mr. Senovio Navarro, Senovio = Noyo

  3. don quixote says:

    Great list, now you should develop the Chicano or Mexican American names that are Americanized from the original Spanish like Jenny for Juanita, Beenie from Beatriz, Bita from Barbarita, Jimmy from Santiago, Jessie from Jesus, Pete from Pedro or Agapito, and Augie from Agustin, Louie from Luis,Lucky from Luciano, Manny from Manuel, Alfie from Alfredo, it could be a giant list and fun too. I still laugh about a poor kid from the neighborhood named Filemon who has been known all his life as Filete Mignon.

  4. dedalus1947 says:

    Now that I look at this comprehensive list, my uncle and aunts nicknames don’t sound all that original. Oh well, the names remain the same. Thanks for the listl.

  5. Dona Junta says:

    Haha, that is how swapmeet clika got started lol messing around calling each other all kinds of ” paisa” names, but this is an awesome list for sure.

  6. Victor Tinajero says:

    I ran across this article while researching my family tree. My grandmother on my dads side was Esperanza, but EVERYONE called her Pampa, not Lancha. Great page, btw!

  7. Chimatli says:

    I haven’t heard of a nickname for Lucas. Most of the nicknames developed over time for traditional Spanish names. Maybe you can start a tradition for the nickname Lucas!:)

  8. Jennifer says:

    We recently adopted a cat from Mexico. His name is Stadio. Is that a nickname? Or just one of those things you name a pet? All I’ve found is that it’s Italian for “stadium.” Thanks!

  9. vivienne says:

    Oh, we need a list for those of us that are researching our Mexican/American family genealogies, ….for the most part, I can decipher most of what the Census takers mangled when it came to names, but every now and then I get stumped just by a name that the Census taker was obviously just transcribing from what they heard our Spanish speaking family members say, for example, I found a family Census….but I can’t figure out what the real names are for the following two male sons; “PIO” / “PIOLA” and “CHECO” . Great website.

  10. Chimatli says:

    Hello,
    Thanks everyone for your comments. I’m not sure how the nicknames came to be. It’s true that many of them seem to have no relation to the original name. When I researched these nicknames many years ago, there was so little information online. If I have more time after I finish the program I’m in, I can revisit the nickname research and update the list.
    As for the Stadio question, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans sometimes create nicknames on the spot. For instance, my neighbor’s nickname was “Teeners.” Her family started calling her this when she got near her teenage years. Random, but made sense to her family. 🙂

  11. Palomita says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was trying to figure out how to spell my aunt’s nickname (Cholita) and the whole internet is trying to tell me it’s a diminutive of Chola. That is not a word that was ever used in my Mexican immigrant family. My aunt’s name was Soledad, aka Chole, aka Cholita. I really appreciated finding this – I hope you keep it up.

  12. James Sandoval says:

    00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaI love that you took the time and effort to compile this list! I have wondered about how we came up with these nicknames my entire life. And I have come up with a couple of theories based on observation. Ever since I was a young boy…(ouch!) I have been fascinated with languages and the roots of words. I attribute this fascination to the prevalence of and often perplexing nicknames on my mother’s side ( Bojorquez-Gamboa and Mexicano/Chicano) and their near nonexistence on my father’s side (Sanchez-Sandoval and “Nuevo Mexicano”/Conquistadores with the geneaology to prove). My mother’s paternal grandmother was “Nana Cuca (Refugio)”, my Nana was “Nana Lupa (Guadalupe).” Easy enough to understand where these names come from, right? But my tíos and tías were “Chipi (Enrique),” “Pila, (Cecilia),” “Snuqui (Esteban),” “Guinchi (Diane),” and Leroy (given name…wha?!..). My mom was “Verónica,” called, “Noni” by sobrinos and “Loni” by siblings. On my father’s side, ther is only Uncle “Milo” with a nickname. My sister and I were the only nietos to call our dad’s mom, “Nana Nancy,” Her given name was “Nicanora,” born in St. John’s (when it was still called, “San Juan”), AZ in 1902, just west of the New Mexico border. Tata Felix was born in Concho Valley, AZ in 1898. My dad, “Jimmy (on his birth certificate)” is the baby of his family and was called, “Santiago” by my Nana and Tata.
    At a party one night at Nana and Tata Gamboa’s in Old Town Tempe, the women were drinking margaritas around the kitchen table, men playing poker on a table in the front yard, and my Tata’s band, Los Hermanos Gamboa (Tata and his brothers were all musicians taught by their father and they could each play ANY instrument they picked up – really!) was playing on the porch belting a very communal version of “Volver!”, all the kids (Mexican Catholic? There were LOTS of us!) were sitting in front of the band, as usual, singing along. Our ages ranged from High School to toddlers, the group my sister belonged to. I remember they were singing as loud as they could, “Y fofer, fofer,…Fofer!” I could hear my Nana in the background, “Mira que tan ‘cute’!” My ears and eyes were open the rest of the night, following baby cousins, observing their speech. And what I found was that these toddlers, new to the communication option of talking, were calling my older cousin, Vicente, “Chente.” And Lupe was “Pita,” Jesusito was “Chu-ito.” So I began asking them to say their cousin’s names, after me. “Fran-cis-ca,” I dictated in syllables. I got, “Ki-ka.” “Salv-a-dor.” I got, “Chaba.” “Ed-uard-o.” I didn’t get, “Lalo” but “Walo” and that’s close enough. We all have cousins whose nicknames were established by their baby brother/sister’s attempt to call them..something; either their name or some other association. This also happens in anglo families (minus the margaritas, the upright bass and mandolin, and the card table with a HUGE pile of change in the center) as is evidenced in author Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona and Beezus (Ramona’s attempt at Beatrice)” books we all read in third grade (are they still doing that?…). Later I noticed how many of the nicknames contain the “ch” sound, not really common in Spanish, but common in Nahuatl words like “Tenochtitlan,” “Chile,” and “Mechica.” Learning to pronounce foreign words that don’t contain the same consonant and/or vowel formations can be difficult. Humans are a hearty species who have been adapting their languages (and customs and religions, etc…) to each others’ for centuries. Maybe these nicknames come from toddlers. Or maybe from the Maya or Aztec attempt to pronounce the foul looking and sounding to them for sure, Spanish words many of our children can’t or won’t pronounce. Or maybe a little of both?

  13. James Sandoval says:

    I love that you took the time and effort to compile this list! I have wondered about how we came up with these nicknames my entire life. And I have come up with a couple of theories based on observation. Ever since I was a young boy…(ouch!) I have been fascinated with languages and the roots of words. I attribute this fascination to the prevalence of and often perplexing nicknames on my mother’s side ( Bojorquez-Gamboa and Mexicano/Chicano) and their near nonexistence on my father’s side (Sanchez-Sandoval and “Nuevo Mexicano”/Conquistadores with the geneaology to prove). My mother’s paternal grandmother was “Nana Cuca (Refugio)”, my Nana was “Nana Lupa (Guadalupe).” Easy enough to understand where these names come from, right? But my tíos and tías were “Chipi (Enrique),” “Pila, (Cecilia),” “Snuqui (Esteban),” “Guinchi (Diane),” and Leroy (given name…wha?!..). My mom was “Verónica,” called, “Noni” by sobrinos and “Loni” by siblings. On my father’s side, ther is only Uncle “Milo” with a nickname. My sister and I were the only nietos to call our dad’s mom, “Nana Nancy,” Her given name was “Nicanora,” born in St. John’s (when it was still called, “San Juan”), AZ in 1902, just west of the New Mexico border. Tata Felix was born in Concho Valley, AZ in 1898. My dad, “Jimmy (on his birth certificate)” is the baby of his family and was called, “Santiago” by my Nana and Tata.
    At a party one night at Nana and Tata Gamboa’s in Old Town Tempe, the women were drinking margaritas around the kitchen table, men playing poker on a table in the front yard, and my Tata’s band, Los Hermanos Gamboa (Tata and his brothers were all musicians taught by their father and they could each play ANY instrument they picked up – really!) was playing on the porch belting a very communal version of “Volver!”, all the kids (Mexican Catholic? There were LOTS of us!) were sitting in front of the band, as usual, singing along. Our ages ranged from High School to toddlers, the group my sister belonged to. I remember they were singing as loud as they could, “Y fofer, fofer,…Fofer!” I could hear my Nana in the background, “Mira que tan ‘cute’!” My ears and eyes were open the rest of the night, following baby cousins, observing their speech. And what I found was that these toddlers, new to the communication option of talking, were calling my older cousin, Vicente, “Chente.” And Lupe was “Pita,” Jesusito was “Chu-ito.” So I began asking them to say their cousin’s names, after me. “Fran-cis-ca,” I dictated in syllables. I got, “Ki-ka.” “Salv-a-dor.” I got, “Chaba.” “Ed-uard-o.” I didn’t get, “Lalo” but “Walo” and that’s close enough. We all have cousins whose nicknames were established by their baby brother/sister’s attempt to call them..something; either their name or some other association. This also happens in anglo families (minus the margaritas, the upright bass and mandolin, and the card table with a HUGE pile of change in the center) as is evidenced in author Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona and Beezus (Ramona’s attempt at Beatrice)” books we all read in third grade (are they still doing that?…). Later I noticed how many of the nicknames contain the “ch” sound, not really common in Spanish, but common in Nahuatl words like “Tenochtitlan,” “Chile,” and “Mechica.” Learning to pronounce foreign words that don’t contain the same consonant and/or vowel formations can be difficult. Humans are a hearty species who have been adapting their languages (and customs and religions, etc…) to each others’ for centuries. Maybe these nicknames come from toddlers. Or maybe from the Maya or Aztec attempt to pronounce the foul looking and sounding to them for sure, Spanish words many of our children can’t or won’t pronounce. Or maybe a little of both?

  14. Rick says:

    James,
    That was fascinating. My family origins are similar in that my mom’s side is all from Los Altos in Jalisco area, while my dad’s side is from New Mexico. Yet my mom’s side has no nicknames and none was ever used (or is used now). While on my dad’s side, it was only year’s later that I learnt many relatives’ real names! Everyone used only nicknames and they were unusual, at least to me. Names included Pennie, Cachi, Chirrina, China, Coreana, Rocho, etc.

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