Home Living in Spain Family Common Spanish nicknames
Last update on September 09, 2019
Written by Zach Frohlich

From Lola to Nacho, Zach Frohlich explains the most popular Spanish nicknames.

If previously I described some common composite names used in Spain, here I will expand a bit to mention some common nicknames (whose closest translation in Spanish is “apodo”). In general, giving your friends or family (random) nicknames, at least as a form of endearment, is not as common a practice in Spain as in the United States. What is common is hypocorism (“hipocorístico”), that is to use the “short for” version of a name much like “Bill” is short for William, “Dick” for Richard, or “Susie” for Susan in English. This particular kind of nickname is _very_ common in Spanish.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of common “short for” names you are likely to come across while living or visit Spain (or other Spanish speaking countries for that matter):

Common “Short for” Names:

Women:                            Common nickname:

Adoración                                     Dori
Araceli                                           Cheli
Beatriz                                           Bea
Concepción                                   Concha
Consuelo                                       Chelo
Daniela                                          Dani
Dolores                                          Lola
Inmaculada                                   Inma
Jesús                                               Chus
Josefa                                             Pepa
Macarena                                      Maca
Purísima                                        Puri

Men:                                   Common nickname:

Daniel                                           Dani
Eduardo                                        Edu
Enrique                                         Quique
Fernando                                      Fer, Nando
Francisco                                      Paco
Guillermo                                     Guille
Ignacio                                          Nacho
Javier                                            Javi
Jesús                                             Chus
Joaquín                                        Chimo
José                                              Pepe
Manuel                                        Manu
Rafael                                          Rafa
Sebastián                                    Sebas

I can’t help but think that some of these nicknames have become popular simply to compensate for how depressing, anachronistic, or overly religious the significance of the original full name is (e.g. Dolores, Concepción, Inmaculada).

I learned an interesting nicknaming trend in my Valenciano class recently. In Castellano, nicknames tend to come from the start of the name (e.g.Fran, Edu, Dori, Inma), whereas in Catalán they often come from the end (e.g. Cesc for Francesc, Pep for Josep, Bel for Isabel, Cent for Vicent). Not a hard and fast rule, but interesting none the less.