Baptism scene from Codex Mendoza

Common Nahuatl Names

Bob McCaa of the University of Minnesota has done an analysis of Nahuatl names found in an early, ca. 1540, census (S. L. Cline, The Book of Tributes: Early Sixteenth-Century Nahuatl Censuses from Morelos (Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center, 1993))  Here are the Top Ten Nahuatl names:

Male: (sample is 1300, frequency shown beside name)

 

Name

Frequency

English

Yaotl

74

War

Matlalihuitl

66

Blue-green Feather, or Purple Feather

Nochehuatl

59

Consistent 

Coatl 

48

Snake

Tototl 

19

Bird

Quauhtli

18

Eagle

Tochtli

17

Rabbit

Zolin

16

Quail

Matlal

12

Dark Green, or Net

Xochitl

12

Flower

 
 

Female:   (Sample is 1205, frequency shown beside each name)
 

Nahuatl Names

Frequency

English

Teyacapan

313

First Born

Tlaco

182

 Middle-born

Teicuih

182

Younger sister

Necahual

151

Survivor, Left-Behind

Xoco

53

Youngest sister

Centehua

42

Only one

Xocoyotl

38

Youngest child

Tlacoehua

22

Middle one

Tepin

15

Little one

Cihuaton

15

Little woman

 
Please note the extremely limited number of female names.  While among the males there were 427 unique names, among the females there were only 57.  As you can also see, nearly all the female names refer to birth order.

Another list in Bernardino de Sahagun, Primeros memorialies (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999)  In Chapter 4, paragraph 3, pp. 253-55. Sahagun lists names for boys and girls.  Here are the first ten from each list with translations by Thelma Sullivan.

Boys:

  • Yaotl          War
  • Tochtli        Rabbit
  • Mazatl        Deer
  • Coatl          Snake
  • Xochitl        Flower
  • Cuetzpalli    Lizard
  • Cipactli       Crocodile
  • Ollin            Movement
  • Xochipepe   Flower-gatherer
  • Cuixtli          Kite (a type of hawk)

Girls:

  • Teyacapan             First born
  • Teuicui                  Younger sister
  • Xoco                    Youngest sister
  • Papan                    Flag
  • Tlacotl                   Osier twig [sic. it probably is Tlaco = middle born]
  • Xiloxoch                Calliandra
  • Miyaoaxochitl         Maize tassel flower
  • Eloxochitl                Magnolia
  • Mizquixaual            Mesquite face paint
  • Xochitl                    Flower

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