Deciding the best Spanish names for girls and boys is a subjective thing. What makes some names better than others all depends on what you are looking for. In many cases, parents with Spanish or Latin American ancestry want their children to carry a name that reflects their heritage. For first and second generation immigrants like the 53 million Spanish speakers in the United States, a recognisable Spanish name can provide a link to family history as well as cultural pride. From someone with Chilean heritage but an American name and a Polish surname, Alison knows the positive and negative effects a name can have.
What are the best Spanish names?
Language students sometimes choose a Spanish name for class exercises or online Spanish lessons too. Choosing a Spanish name helps you gain familiarity with sounds as well as common cultural expectations. It also educates Spanish language learning students about naming customs which are practised across Spain and Latin America. If you are looking to choose a name, let’s go over the best Spanish names for girls and boys.
Best Spanish names for girls
What are the options for choosing the best Spanish name for girls? Some traditional Catholic names based on biblical figures and locations are Maria, Beatriz, Acacia, Inez, Bárbara, Lucía, and Marta. Isabella is the name of the famous Catholic Queen of Castile who bankrolled Christopher Columbus. Maya recalls the Mayan civilization. Sofía recalls another Spanish queen whose name now graces a world-famous museum of modern art in Madrid, Spain the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. When I was in Spanish classes in high school, I used my Chilean cousin’s name Pilar. Other options include Paula, Martina, Jada, Gabriela, Elena, Lilia, Patricia, Marisela, and more.
Best Spanish names for boys
The best Spanish names for boys also include heavy Catholic influence. Pedro is the name of the first pope in history. Gabriel and Miguel are angels from the bible. Félix Rubén García Sarmiento, also known as Rubén Darío, was a famous Nicaraguan poet who led the modernist movement in 20th-century Spanish literature. His name offers three options for Spanish boys names: Félix, Rubén, and Darío. Enrique and Julio Iglesias are the famous son and father pop singing sensations. Other popular options include Gonzalo, Enrique, Izan, Jose, Santiago, Luis, and Antonio.
Best neutral Spanish names
For families that want a surprise gender reveal, for parents who want to avoid gender stereotypes, and for non-binary language students in general, there are unisex or gender-neutral Spanish name options. These names are gender neutral in the same way that English names like Tracy, Jo, Riley, Jordan, and Avery aren’t automatically associated as male or female.
Here are some options for choosing the best neutral Spanish names. Ángel literaly means angel. Zuri is similar to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s celebrity daughter Suri. Álex is originally from Greek origin and works for both Alejandra and Alejandro. Sam of Awesomeness TV’s Model Material fame is another good option because it works for both Samantha and Samuel. Amaru is recalls indigenous Amerindian ancestry because the word means “infinite” in Quechua. Paz means “peace in Spanish. Gael of Gael Garcia Bernal fame is a gender neutral name. Other options are Dani, Francis, Marlon, Toni, Pau, and Rory.
Don’t forget nicknames. It is common in Spanish and Latin American culture to use nicknames amongst friends and family. Something unique to Spanish naming customs is that many names with Spanish origin have a default nickname that automatically goes with their first name. This is similar to using the nickname Ted for someone named Edward or Cathy for Catherine. The boy name Francisco has the nickname “Pancho” just like Pancho Villa famous general who led the Mexican revolution that ended in victory in 1920. Playa San Pancho is also the nickname for the beach in the town of San Francisco in the state of Nayarit, Mexico. The girl name Maria Isabel is shortened to Marisel just like my tía (aunt). When choosing a Spanish name, be sure you know what nickname that goes along with it.
From naming a child to choosing a Spanish name as part of your language learning process, picking the best Spanish name is all about what is most important to you. Which name was the most appealing to you?