Home Living in Spain Family Common Spanish nicknames
Last update on October 31, 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.