Mexican Nicknames or Los Nombres Hipocorísticos



Adolfo – Fito
Alberto – Beto, Bertín, Tico, Tito,
Alfonso – Poncho, Fonsi, Chete, Moncho
Anastasio – Tacho
Ángel – Gelo
Antonio РTo̱o
Apolinar – Polino, Poli
Armando – Mando
Arturo – Turi
Auxilio – Chilo
Basilio – Chilo
Benjamin – Benja
Eduardo – Lalo
Eleazar – Lalo
Emilio – Milo
Enrique – Quique
Ernesto – Neto
Ezequiel – Cheque
Federico – Fede, Quico
Fernando – Nando
Florencio – Lencho
Francisco – Paco, Pancho, Chicho
Gonzalo – Chalo
Gregorio – Goyo
Guadalupe – Lupe, Lupillo
Guillermo – Memo
Gustavo – Tabo
H̩ctor РTeto
Horacio – Lacho
Ignacio – Nacho
Inocencio – Chencho
Isidro/Ysidro – Chilo
Javier – Javi
Jes̼s РChuy, Chucho, Chus
Jes̼s Emilio РChumilo
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
Narciso – Chicho
Pedro – Perico
Rafael – Rafa
Ramon – Moncho
Refugio – Cuco
Roberto – Beto
Rodrigo – Ruy
Salvador – Chava
Santiago – Chago
Senovio – Noyo
Sergio – Chejo, Checo
Vincente – Chente


Alejandra – Ale
Alicia – Licha, Ali
Antonia РTo̱a
Asencion – Chon, Chona
Beatriz – Beti, Tichi
Carolina – Caro, Lina
Cecilia – Chila, Ceci
Concepción – Concha, Conchis, Chona
Consuelo – Chelo
Dolores – Lola, Loli
Elena – Leni
Elisabet – Eli
Esperanza – Lancha
Eugenia – Maru
Florencia – Lencha
Francisca/Franchesca – Paquita, Pancha
Graciela – Chela
Guadalupe – Lupe, Lupita
Guillermina – Mina, Guille
Hortencia – Tench, Tenchi
Isabel/a – Chavela
Josefa – Pepa
Josefina – Chepina
Lourdes РLul̼
Lucía Fernanda – Lucifer (!)
Luz – Luchi
Magdalena – Magda, Nena
Marcela – Chela
Margarita – Margo, Mago
María Elena – Malena
Maria Eugenia – Maru
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
Trinidad – Trini
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

17 March 2019: Quick update, I just came across this blog post, Nicknames in Spanish by Mark Robert Alexander which discusses how Mexican nicknames can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the nickname etiquette. I recommend the article if you’d like a bit more information on the topic.

16 August 2019: Added a few more names.

Mexican Names

I was thinking about a friend I had in elementary school named Eduviges. She was from Tijuana. Eduviges means “fighting woman.” We called her “Dube” (in Spanish) for short.

Copied over from a Myspace blog post from 2007:


In a life long ago, I worked in a bank and tried to find numerous ways to entertain and guard myself against the tedium of “Next customer, please!” One way was to collect interesting names in Spanish.
Here are a few:

Atendoro Coyotl
Fidencia Matlacuatzi

Perhaps these names were popular two centuries ago and managed to survive in sheltered pueblitos or they’re names of unpopular saints, quien sabe? They’re immensely preferable over the much too popular “Juan” and “Jose.”

Speaking of which, I’ve been trying to figure out for years which nicknames go with which proper names. So far I’ve got:

Enrique=Kike or Kiki

Can’t think of any others at the moment. Anyone else?

Frances had these to add:
nicknames…in my family

weird names
Hermila….(people call her Milly for short, weird). my mom
Avigail…(Avi for short) my grandmother”

Thanks Frances!


I wrote this in 2007 and had hoped to come up with a definitive list which sorta got pushed to the backburner. If you know anymore, please leave your submissions in the comments section and I will try and compile them all for one post. Thanks!


Forgot to add this in from my follow-up post. Ask A Mexican covered this question too!

Dear Mexican:
How do Mexicans get such ridiculous nicknames from seemingly normal names? For instance, Jose becomes Chepe, Eduardo is Lalo, Gabriel becomes Gabi, and Guillermo devolves into Memo.
It’s Marcela, Not Chela

I want to know why Mexicans have such incongruous nicknames. In English, people have nicknames that have some relation to their given names—for example Kenny is the nickname for Kenneth, or Jenny for Jennifer. Granted, there are some nicknames that seem like a stretch of logic, like Jack for John and Peg for Margaret, but there are none so incompatible as Pepe for Jos.., Pancho for Francisco, or Chucho (or Chuy) for Jesus. I have asked many Mexicans about this and they all tell me, “Porque as.. es,” so I finally decided to ask THE Mexican.
La China Curiosa Who’s Really Korean

Dear Wabette and Chinita:
The definitive study on this quirk remains Viola Waterhouse’s “Mexican Spanish Nicknames,” included in the 1981 anthology Linguistics Across Continents: Studies in Honor of Richard S. Pittman. Unfortunately, the ethnolinguist devotes most of her article to including as many seemingly wacky Mexican apodos as possible (some of the better ones mentioned are Goyo for Gregorio, Licha for Alicia, Nacho for Ignacio, and Cuco for Refugio) instead of theorizing why Mexican Spanish is prone to such a mangled morphology. Waterhouse does identify one phenomenon that factors into many of these name changes: palatalization, when speakers pronounce non-palatal consonants as palatals—for example, the transformation of s into a ch sound when Salvador becomes Chava. Other phonetical laws not mentioned by Waterhouse that influence Mexican Spanish nicknames include apocopation (the dropping of a word’s last letters or syllables—Caro for Carolina), apheresis (when a word loses syllables or letters at its beginning—Mando for Armando) and syncopation, when a word contracts by shedding sounds—that’s how Roberto becomes Beto.

But the question remains: Why the dropping of sounds and letters in Mexican Spanish nicknames? This Mexican’s take: most nicknames derived from proper nombres are shortened versions of the original. Mexicans advance this process by employing the above-mentioned tricks. Such trends occur in languages that are evolving into newer, bolder tongues. So enjoy your pussy Billys from William and Cathys from Catherine, gabachos: Mexicans will take the linguistic wonder that is creating Lencho from Lorenzo any day.

Links of the Day: March 24, 2010

Joan Brossa

I usually post these to Facebook and quite honestly, it’s FB that has pulled some of my attention away from this blog but I think this blog deserves better, don’t you?
The Entryway
(h/t LA Observed)
This is really bizarre…or is it? I don’t know anymore. Two reporters go to live with a Mexican family in MacArthur Park so they can learn Spanish and make this fancy website to document it. I haven’t read it all but they seem to mention cockroaches and cholos quite a bit.


Mobile Homeless Shelter

It has a toilet, cutting board, bed/sofa and captures rain water!

Joan Brossa

I first became enamored with Joan Brossa when I saw a posthumous exhibition of his work at the Miro Museum in Barcelona. Iwas enamored and delighted by his visual poems or ‘poetic revolt’. An example are these two leaves paper-clipped together and called ‘Bureaucracy’

Speaking of bureaucracy, I have a special fondness for graphics from the Paris 68 uprisings. I was thinking of making a t-shirt from this graphic, would you wear one?


The XX – Islands (Delorean Remix)

I’ve really been enjoying this song. Oh, and this one too!
Today is Wilheim Reich‘s birthday (1897), the inventor of the orgone accumulator and author of The Mass Psychology of Fascism. I used to think if only more people read him, we’d all have less hang-ups and be a lot happier. I’m not as naive anymore but I’m still just as earnest.

Favorite Video of the Week: Sofia Marinova

Sofi Marinova – Lubovni Dumi (Love words)

I’ve discussed Chalga a few times on this blog. It’s one of my musical guilty pleasures. The music is crass, perverted and has become the gooey pop stuff of Bulgarian airwaves. At one time though, Chlaga was known as the Gypsy peoples’ music, traditional with a bit of modern kick. Lots of the newer Chalga is smashed together with American soul sounding runs, reggaeton and hip-hop. And like the genres it emulates, it’s all covered with that characteristic over-produced glossy sheen that somebody, somewhere finds appealing.

In the quest for new sounds to mix with, this Chalga song has moved into a musical sphere that one can proudly listen to with the windows down in the car. It’s a stripped down, old skool bumpin’ beat layered over with a Greek folk tune –Tha Spaso Koupes– plaintively sung by one of Bulgaria’s top pop artists, Sofi Marinova. Add to that some real Gypsy sounding Balkan brass and you got my choice for video of the week!


Eleftheria Arvanitaki – Tha Spaso Koupes
The original Tha Spaso Koupes

BBC’s take on Chalga.
An American in Bulgaria discusses Chalga clubs.

Margaret Barry

Margaret Barry-My Lagan Love

In honor of San Patricio Day, a beautiful rendition of My Lagan Love by Margaret Barry, a favorite interpreter of traditional Irish tunes. Her love of music and the spirit it contains probably was influenced by her Traveller background. In the UK, Travellers are also known as Gypsies and there is a historical and cultural connection to Gypsies in other parts of Europe.

A little on Margaret Barry:


Margaret Barry 1917-1989
By Ronan Nolan
THE raw, uncompromising voice of the street singer had to carry above the noisy chatter of the fair or football crowd. Ballad singer Margaret Barry rarely failed to gain attention with her gutsy voice, pronounced Cork accent and simple banjo accompaniment.
She was born in Peter Street, Cork, in 1917, into a family of travellers. Her grandfather, Bob Thompson, was an accomplished uilleann piper who had won the first Feis Ceoil in Dublin in 1897 and again in 1898 in Belfast. Both her parents and uncles were street musicians. She taught herself to play the five-string banjo and could also play the fiddle.

From the Rambling House website.

You can also hear one of my favorite Margaret Barry tunes here, from my previous post on the San Patricio Battalion.

Margaret Barry-The Turfman from Ardee

Favorite Video(s) of the Week: Cam Ly

Minh Oi (My Honey) – Cam Ly

A few weeks ago, I was home sick and exploring all the new non-English HD stations. I spent a good long time flipping between Korean cooking shows, Armenian commercials and Asian soap operas. One Vietnamese soap opera in particular attracted my full attention. I was pulled in by the tropical setting, the dramatic tension and then, the characters began to sing. The instrumentation sounded traditional and the melodies were everything I could ask for in a song: complex, meandering, evocative. The singing plaintive and melancholy. Were they singing about bittersweet love, family members long gone or decisions made in a hurry resulting in dire consequences? It didn’t matter, I was entranced.

The next day I went back to work and asked one of my Vietnamese co-workers if she could recommend some “traditional” Vietnamese music. She explained that most popular artists sing both traditional and modern songs and it was difficult to just get a CD of one or the other. A few days later, she handed me a stack of CDs to try and I brought them home to listen. Unfortunately, most were the usual faux-American pop sounding mush with the requisite Mariah Carey style runs completing the effect. However, just as my co-worker said, there were a few more traditional sounding gems mixed in. One of these was Minh Oi by Cam Ly.

Just as I often do when I hear something new, I looked her up on Youtube and came across this amazing live performance of this gorgeous song. There is something in her eyes, I can’t quite define it, perhaps it’s sorrow but there is something in her expression and singing that goes way beyond what I would expect from a pop singer.

By the way, Vietnamese music benefits from a bit of musical philanthropy, a contribution of Indian musical influences in melody and rhythm have made my ears hungry for these alluring songs.

Another Cam Ly song as melancholy and gorgeous as the first…

Buồn Hát Lý Chờ Mong – Cẩm Ly (2/2)

This is the second part of a longer video (part one here) so I think I need to give some context to the on-going story in this video.

A sweet, young pregnant wife must take charge of the household because her jerky irresponsible husband blows all their money on his annoying gambling habit, a daily card game with his Donald Duck sounding friends. His friends are even jerkier and get him to bet more and more money, till there is none left. Despite raiding his wife’s pockets and her secret hiding places, he demands she give him the money she’d been saving for their soon-to-be-born baby. She’s like hell no, I’m already out in my boat everyday trying to rustle us up some food and now you’re gonna take my last pennies, uh-uh. Then his stupid friend is like be a man, get the money homes. And like the vice infested jerk he his, he smacks her and she’s like OK you gonna be like that, take the damn money. And off she goes in her little boat to a better life.

It’s hard though and she’s out in the jungle chop, chopping for her food. Then the baby comes and the little thing grows up so fast, she’s almost tall enough to reach the coconuts. So mom is still all badass and expresses her sorrow through the most beautiful songs. The little girl is happy but wonders, where’s pop?

Well, pop is fresh outta money and gets his thrill through vicarious gambling voyeurism but his swindling, no-good friends are sick of his metiche ways and shun him. Then pop, blubbering and retrospective, gets some kinda revelation. Off he wanders, like a walking palapa hut regretting his poor jerky choices in life and pining for the beautiful wife and child he left behind. Will they ever forgive him?

In a tears from heaven scene he comes across them, and the real treasures of life become very apparent. In a tense last second happy ending, his daughter accepts him with a forgiving greeting…but does his wife?

I love this song!

Cam Ly