LivingThere are fewer and fewer Alejandros and Dolores, but...

There are fewer and fewer Alejandros and Dolores, but more Álex and Lolas: the short versions of the names are in fashion

Choosing the name that our children will bear is one of the most important things we will have to do as parents. Although there are classic or traditional names that never go out of style, the truth is that trends change all the time.

Lately, for example, we have observed that Spanish parents have begun to choose shorter names for their children, compound names or very long names being less and less common.

In the midst of this trend, we see how little by little hypocoristics have been gaining ground, those short versions of classic names that we tend to use affectionately . We share what they are and give you some ideas for your baby’s name inspired by this trend.

Short versions take on a life of their own

People have always “played” with the names of others, particularly those whom we esteem or treat with familiarity. These shortened or altered versions of proper names are called “hypocoristic” , whose Greek root comes from hypokoristikós (meaning ‘diminutive’), derived in turn from the verb hypokorízesthai (which translates as ‘to call affectionately’).

Therefore, hypocoristics are the “pet names” that we use with people close to us . Its main characteristic is the elimination of some syllable, which can be at the beginning, at the end or even in the middle of the name. In this way, Nicolás becomes Nico, Beatriz becomes Bea, etc., although there are also special transformations such as Pepe (José), Nacho (Ignacio), Coco (Socorro) and Lola (Dolores).

For some years, the hypocoristics began to be used as a proper name , and proof of this are the records that we can find in the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Leo, the most popular boy’s name of the last five years, is the hypocoristic of names like Leonardo, Leobardo, Leonel and León, and is one of the most popular options of this trend: it is currently worn by 25,064 boys, with an average age 5.4 years old . If we compare it with the 1,625 children who were registered with that name between 2000 and 2010, the trend is very clear.

The same thing happens with Álex , Alejandro’s hypocoristic, and in fact one of the first to stand out. In the decade from 1990 to 2000, just over seven thousand children with that name were registered, and a decade later, from 2000 to 2010, the figure rises to more than 18 thousand.

In girls we can also see this trend with names like Lola, Dolores hypocoristic . In the 1990s there were only 550 girls registered with this name, while in the last decade 13,033 were registered.

Are they allowed as a name?

Given the statistics that we have reviewed on the INE website, we could say yes, however there are certain limitations on its use. In Spain, Art 54 of the Civil Registry Law and Art. 192 of the Civil Registry Regulation are those that determine the limits to the freedom of choice of name when registering the baby, and what is established regarding hypocoristics is Next:

“The diminutives or familiar and colloquial variants that have not reached substantiveness, those that make the identification confusing and those that lead as a whole to error in terms of sex.”

For example, diminutives such as Manolito are not allowed, but those that have achieved their own identity such as Pepa (Josefa), Lola (Dolores) or Álex (Alejandro) are.

In one of the reforms to the law, it has been clarified that diminutives are not allowed, except for those “that have not reached substantivity” . So names like Paco or Pepe have ceased to be family nicknames to become full-fledged names. In general, the use of hypocoristics depends on the legislation of each country and even in Spain they can vary in each civil registry.

But just like the examples we have given, we can find dozens of hypocoristics that have taken on their own identity and are beginning to be chosen more frequently by parents . We share some of the names for girls and boys that are registered in the INE.

Short versions of girl names (and their meaning)

  • Abi: hypocoristic of Abigail, which derives from the Hebrew and means “fountain of joy”.
  • Ada – Short form of Adelaide, meaning means “of noble lineage.”
  • Alexa: Diminutive of Alexandra and Alejandra, feminine forms of Alejandro, meaning “defender of men.”
  • Bea: short form of Beatriz, name of Latin origin that means “the one who makes happy”.
  • Cati: hypocoristic of Catalina, of Greek origin and whose meaning is “pure, immaculate”.
  • Chelo: from Consuelo, which comes from the Latin ‘ consolation ‘ and means “consuelo, alentamiento”.
  • Concha: hypocoristic of Concepción, relating to the Marian advocacy of the Inmaculada Concepción.
  • Chris: for Christina. It comes from the Latin ‘ christianus ‘, which means “follower of Christ”.
  • Fina: hypocoristic of Josephine.
  • Isa : hypocoristic of Isabel, which means “consecrated to God”, “promise of God”.
  • Jana : is the hypocoristic of Joana, and the Catalan form of Juana, a name of Hebrew origin that means “full of grace” or “the one who is faithful to God”.
  • Laia: diminutive of Eulalia, which comes from “eu-lalos” and means “well-spoken”, “eloquent”. It is worn by 37,347, with an average age of 16.8 years.
  • Lara: Russian diminutive of the name Larisa, also used as a hypocoristic for Laura. It is worn by 26,979 women, with an average age of 17.6 years.
  • Lili: hypocoristic of Liliana or Lilia, both meaning “lily”.
  • Lina : Angelina’s hypocoristic.
  • Liz: hypocoristic of Elizabeth (from Hebrew origin, means “consecrated to Dios”, “promise of Dios”) and Lizbeth and Lizeth, variants of Elizabeth.
  • Lola: one of the most popular hypocoristics in recent years is that of Dolores, which currently has 20,912 girls, with an average age of 10 years.
  • Lula : hypocoristic of names beginning with the syllable “Lu”, such as Luciana, Luisa, or Lucía. There are 28 women registered with that name.
  • Maite : hypochoric of the compound name Maria Teresa.
  • Malena: hypocoristic of the compound name María Elena. Maria means “the chosen one” or “the one loved by God”, and Elena means “bright as the sun”, “clarity” or “dazzling”.
  • Mar: Although it is a proper name that means “sea”, it is also the diminutive of names such as Marina or Mariana.
  • Marian: hypocoristic by María Antonia.
  • Mary : diminutive of Mary.
  • Honey: hypocoristic of names like Melisa and Melinda, which means “miel”.
  • Mine: of Hebrew origin, diminutive of Maria.
  • Mila – of Slavic origin, short form of Ludmila and Miloslava. Also diminutive of Camilla, Kamilla and Milena.
  • Nana: hypocoristic of names like Liliana, Viviana and other names ending in “ana”.
  • Nina: diminutive of names ending in “ina” or “nina” like Angelina, Carolina or Vanina. In ruso, hypochoristic of Anna; means “la benefic”, “la goodadosa”
  • Pepa: hypocoristic of Josefina, feminine variant of José, means “What God multiplies”.
  • Sun: although this is a proper name that alludes to the sun, it is also used as a hypocoristic of Soledad.
  • Sole : hypocoristic of Soledad, meaning “single, isolated, alone, or lonely.”
  • Tina: Short for Cristina.
  • Toni or Tonia : hypocoristic of Antonia.
  • Tula : usual hypocoristic of Gertrudis, which means “she who is a faithful defender”.
  • Yenny : diminutive of Jennifer, a name of Welsh origin meaning “woman with purity and justice”.
  • Yoli : Diminutive of Yolanda, meaning “she who is from the violet lands.” There are 24 women registered with that name.

Short versions of boy names (and their meaning)

  • Agus: diminutive of Agustín, meaning “great, magnificent.”
  • Álex: hypocoristic of Alejandro and one of the most popular short names of the last decades and according to the trend it will continue to be so, since 47,346 children have it as their name.
  • Ari: diminutive of the unisex name Ariel. There are also women registered with this name.
  • Ben: hypocoristic of Benedict (means “blessed.”) and Benjamin (of Hungarian origin, means “son of the right hand”).
  • Dago: hypochorist of Dagobert.
  • Dani: The short form of Daniel is another option that parents are beginning to choose for their children in recent years.
  • Edu: diminutive of Edward, which comes from Old English ead , “wealth” or “fortune” and weard , “guardian”, hence meaning “guardian of wealth”.
  • Fede: hypocoristic of Federico (“he who imposes peace”, “who governs for peace” or “prince of peace”).
  • Fran: Francisco’s hypocoristic has been gaining popularity in the last decade. The average age of those who bear this name is 9 years.
  • Javi : Javier’s hypocoristic. There are more than 300 children registered with this name with an average age of 10 years.
  • Lalo: diminutive of Eulalio, Gonzalo, Ladislao, Braulio.
  • Leo: undoubtedly one of the most popular hypocoristics in recent years: 25,064 children wear it, with an average age of 5.4 years. Leo is the short form of names like Leonardo (meaning “one who is strong like a lion”) and Leonel (a name of Greek origin that could be translated as “little lion”).
  • Max: Hypocoristic of Maximilian and Maximus. From its Latin origin derives its meaning “the greatest”. Currently 5,274 children bear it by name, with an average age of 10.8 years.
  • Manolo: Manuel’s hypocoristic.
  • Manu: short form of Manuel, of Hebrew origin, means “God is with us”.
  • Milo: diminutive of names like Camilo and Emilio.
  • Nacho : hypocoristic of Ignacio that has become a name with its own entity that 3,430 children have with an average age of 9.9 years. Its meaning is “born of fire”.
  • Nando: Hypocoristic of Fernando (of Germanic origin, it means “one who is daring, daring and willful”) and Armando (means “strong and courageous man”).
  • Nico: Nicolás’s hypocoristic is another name that is beginning to gain popularity, especially in the north of Spain.
  • Paco: diminutive of Francisco, derived from the Italian “Francesco”, meaning “French”.
  • Pancho: Francisco’s hypocrite.
  • Pepe : hypochoric of the name Joseph, which comes from the Hebrew word “Ioseph”, which means “God will add”.
  • Quim: Catalan hipocorístico of Joaquim, Hebrew name that means “Yahvé will build, will erect”.
  • Quique: diminutive of Enrique, which means “strong, rich and powerful house”.
  • Rafa: hypocoristic of Raphael, which is of Hebrew origin and means “Dios has healed”.
  • Salva: short form of Salvador, name of Hebrew origin that means “God is salvation”.
  • Sam: hypocoristic of Samuel, which is of Hebrew origin that translates as “the one chosen by God”.
  • Teo – One of the super short three-letter names favored by new parents. It is the short form of Teodoro, which means “gift of God”.
  • Thiago: the hypocoristic of Santiago is also a Portuguese name of Hebrew origin. In Spain it has had a boom in recent years: 9,222 children, with an average age of 5.3 years, have it by name.
  • Tito: diminutive of names like Alberto, Roberto and Ernesto.
  • Toni: hypocoristic of Antonio.
  • Xavi : Diminutive of the Catalan name Xavier, equivalent to Castilian Javier.
  • Iago: is the short form of names like Santiago, Diego and Jacobo. To date, 8,992 bear it as a name, with an average age of 14.8 years.

Little by little, hypocoristics have been gaining ground, those short versions of classic names that we usually use affectionately. We share what they are and give you some ideas for your baby’s name inspired by this trend.

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