The Beauty of Hispanic Names: Meaning and Symbolism
Hispanic names are one of the common choices among parents in picking baby names. They are easy to find, have different references, and are easily remembered and identified by people. There is a reason for this such as Hispanic culture being abundant in most nations and the remaining influence of the Spanish culture. There are more things you need to know about Hispanic names. Where do they come from? Who uses Hispanic names? And what are the best Hispanic boy and girl names to exist today? In this article, we listed some of the awesome things you should know about Hispanic names.
History of Hispanic Origins
Maybe you wonder what is with the term Hispanic in the first place. The term Hispanic is derived from the Latin word Hispanicus. It is the adjective for the word Hispania, the Latin name given by the Romans to the entire Iberian Peninsula, where modern-day Spain and Portugal are located.
In today’s understanding, the term “Hispanic” generally pertains to people that have a close influence on the Spanish culture, including languages, practices, beliefs, and customs. “Hispanic” is also applied to Spaniards or Spanish-speaking settlers of the former Spanish Empire colonies outside mainland Spain, during the colonization era in the 16th century.
Despite the end of the century-long rule of the Spanish Empire on these colonies, the Spanish influence remained, leading to these colonies becoming modern-day Hispanic countries.
Hispanic Names and Last Names
Hispanic names are directly influenced by traditional Spanish names. For this same reason, Hispanics follow the same Spanish naming convention for first names and last names. Hispanic names are abundant in most parts of South America, earning it the title Latin America. Modern-day countries in Latin America are former colonies of Spain, and Portugal, with the Spanish being more dominant for the huge chunk of lands they colonized in the continent.
In the late 15th century, Spain and Portugal started to compete in exploring the western Atlantic for resources and produce. Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci were the few famous voyagers who attempted these explorations. The newly discovered lands on the western Atlantic were called the “New World”. At first, the voyages intend to explore and create maps of the newly discovered places. However, knowing that new regions introduce new valuable resources, the explorations turned into colonization. Conquistadores or “conquerors” were sent to the newly discovered areas to build settlements and garrisons by the shorelines. The conquistadores were proven successful in their tasks. Powerful civilizations like the Aztecs, Maya, and Incas fall to Spanish rule.
Spain conquered most of Northern America, the Caribbean Islands, and South America. The Spanish colonization lasted for more than 400 years, bringing with them a solid Spanish-influenced religion, language, and names.
Hispanic Naming Conventions
Contrary to the usual Western names, Spanish names have at least two surnames per person. They have a given personal name followed by the father’s paternal surname, then the mother’s paternal surname. This means that the surnames of the late grandfathers are always passed on to their grandchildren. This naming convention is also followed by the Hispanics.
There are instances that Hispanic individuals use both two surnames of their father and mother for a total of four surnames. This is usually done in special cases if an individual wants to trace back their genealogy and ancestors. However, taking up four family names per person is a bit lengthy and inconvenient for Hispanics. That is why they consider using only two surnames for their children. As an example, if the mother’s maiden name is Maria Lopez Jaena, and the father’s name is Noel Mercado Realonda. The middle name of both parents is their father’s surname (Lopez and Mercado), therefore, the last name of their children will be Mercado (father’s paternal surname) and Lopez (mother’s paternal surname). The table below shows an example of how Hispanic last names are inherited by children.
Common Hispanic Last Names
Hispanic Father’s Last Name
Hispanic Mother’s Last Name
Resulting Children’s Surname
The two surnames system for Hispanic names is intended to identify or state the whole given name of the person. However, in addressing other people, or introducing themselves for a quick introduction, Hispanic people simply use their father’s last name. Nevertheless, cutting short their whole name into using only their father’s name is not considered unethical in Spanish and Hispanic culture. It is widely accepted and can still be considered formal on all occasions.
Usually, Hispanic nicknames are derived or based on the given first name of a person. For example, the name Carlita may have a nickname, Lita or Carla. The same concept applies to Hispanic names. The only difference is that, in Hispanic culture, nicknames may also be given based on the “obvious” physical characteristic of a person. For example, a Hispanic boy named Joselito may be nicknamed Jose or Bajito, which means short in height.
What are the Most Common Hispanic Boy Names?
While there are no exact numbers to prove the number of used Hispanic names, it is known that some of the most common Hispanic names are Luis, Jose, Miguel, and Carlos. Below are 10 of the most common Hispanic Boy names together with their equivalent Hispanic nicknames.
Popular Hispanic Boy Names and Nicknames
Hispanic Boy Names
Hispanic Boy Nicknames
What are the Most Common Hispanic Girl Names?
The most widely used Hispanic girl name throughout the world is Maria. With an average of around 4 million registered names in Spain alone, not including those in Latin American and Hispanic Asian countries. This is followed by the names Isabel, Anna, and Carmen. Below are some of the most commonly used Hispanic Girl names and their equivalent nicknames.
Popular Hispanic Girl Names and Nicknames
|Hispanic Girl Names||Hispanic Girl Nicknames|
What is the Most Commonly Used Hispanic Last Name?
According to a survey on the Hispanic last names in the 2010 census in the United States of America, the most common Hispanic last name is Garcia, with around 1 million individual households sharing the same surname. This census does not include other Hispanic countries from South America and Spain.
In far South-East Asia, the Philippines is considered to be one of the former Hispanic countries. Although The Philippines no longer bear this title because most Filipinos are already English speakers, Hispanic surnames remain in their culture. In a recent survey by Forebears, the most common Hispanic surname in the Philippines is dela Cruz followed by Garcia and Reyes.
Below are some of the worldwide popular Hispanic surnames today.
Most Famous Hispanic Last Names per Location:
Difference Between Hispanic Names and Latino Names
To easily distinguish Hispanic names from Latino names, it is important to understand the context in which the terms are used. We can both agree that Hispanic and Latino/Latina names both have Spanish influences. However, the term Hispanic is specifically about Spanish-speaking South American countries and Spain itself. The terms Latino and Latina are only specific to South American countries regardless if they can speak Spanish.
In terms of names, there are no main differences between Hispanic Names and Latino/Latina Names as they are all derived from Spanish-influenced names.
Hispanic Names Generator
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