Original Nahuatl names for boys and girls

If you’re Mexican, this has happened to you for sure: You listen to the Huapango, from José Pablo Moncayo, and you raise goosebumps, you can´t resist dancing at the beat of the mariachi and can’t avoid telling the world the love legend between the Iztaccihuatl and the Popocatepetl Mexican volcanoes. Long live Mexico!

Our culture is extraordinarily rich and the Prehispanic original names are so sweet and with such deep meanings that definitively we should consider them when deciding how we will name our child.

This list was taken from the book Nombres indígenas (Indigenous names), written by Crescencio García Ramos, academic investigator from the ‘Academia Veracruzana de las Lenguas Indígenas’ (Veracruzan Academy of Indigenous Languages). They are gorgeous!

But how do we pronounce original Nahuatl names?

According to Crescencio García, letter /x/ sounds as “sh”. Letter /h/ as soft “j” when it goes first, but when it’s between vowels it’s a little stronger and you have to aspire when it goes next to the other consonants or at the end of the word.

Double l /ll/ (doble ele) is pronounced literally double “ele” and a little separated, not like the Spanish Greek “y”.

On the other hand, Launye, M., academic from the UNAM and author of Introducción a la lengua y la literatura náhuatl (Introduction to Nahuatl Language and Literature), makes us notice that, in general, “Nahuatl names have no gender, they can be used by women or men”.

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List of Nahuatl names for boy or girl:

Nahuatl names with letter “A”

Acolmiztli: It means “Strong feline arm” or “Puma arm”.  It was represented as an enormous black puma with a cadaveric aspect, with a supernatural roar and it was in charge to guard that the alive could not get into the kingdom of the dead.

Ameli, Ameyalli, Ayulía: It means “Spring of water”. It’s reverential way is: Ameyaltzin.

Atleinemik: It means “Without pair”, “Has no equal”, “Unique”, “Singular”, “Exceptional” or “Strange”.

Atzin: From Nahuatl A (tl) “Water” and Tzin, “Little water”. Its most common meaning is “Tiny water”.

Axayácatl: It means “Mask of water”. Axayácatl, son of Tezozomoc, was the Mexica Tlatoani who ordered to make the Stone of the Sun. He was succeeded to the throne by his older brother, Tízoc Chalchiuhtlatona.

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Nahuatl names with letter “C”

Centli, Sintli, Sinti: It means “Corn” or “Corn cob”. Another meaning is: “Material from our own flesh” or “Our Flesh”.

Chalchiunenetl: It means “Jade doll”. Aztec princess daughter of Axayácatl.

Chamani: It means “Plant sapling”. Chicome Cóatl: Goddess of the tough corn harvest, lady in the fullness of her maturity. It means “Always snakes”.

Cihuacoatl, Siwakoatl: Lady goddess of the Earth. Besides being mother of gods and creator of humans, Cihuacóatl is related to Earth’s fertility, that´s why she was part of the most important deities, since she gave to our ancestors the food that they enjoyed every day. It means “Female snake”

Citlalli: It means “Star” or “The woman with the Starlight”.

Citlalmina: It means “Arrowing of the stars” or “Metheorites”.

Cuahtli, Koahtli, Kuahtli: It means “The Eagle”, “Owner of the immensities, the heights and freedom.” Maybe it derivates from the same etymology of Cuauhtémoc´s name.

Nahuatl names with letter “E”

Ehékatl, Ejecatl: It means “God of the wind that sweeps the fields before the rain”. It is usually interpreted as one of the Quetzalcóatl´s manifestations, “The Feathered Serpent”. It is one of the main gods of creation.

Elía, Eli: It means “The plant is sprouting”. Esquía, Eskía: It means “The plant has already sprouted”.

Nahuatl names with letters “H” and “I”

Huitzitzillin, Witzitzillin: It means “The Hummingbird or the ‘Chuparrosa’”.

Icniuhtli: It means “Friend/Brother”.

Ilhuicamina: It means “The irate lord” or “Sky Arrowhead”. As son of tlatoani Huitzilíhuitl, he assumed the head of the army as long as the reigns of his half-brother, Chimalpopoca, and his uncle, Itzcóatl, lasted.

Istaksiwatl, Istaccihuat, Iztaccíhuatl: It means “White woman”. According to Aztec Mythology, she was a princess, only daughter of Tízoc, seventh tlatoani King and successor of Axayácatl, his brother.

Itzmin: It means “Thunder”.

Itztlishochitl or Ixtlixochit: It means “Flower face” or “Obsidian flower”. He was prince of Texcoco, Son of the sovereign Netzahualpilli.

Izel: It means “Unique”.

Iztli: It means “Obsidian”.

Nahuatl names with letter “M”

Metstona, Metztona: It means “Moonlight”.

Metztli, Meztli: It means “Moon” or “Black Moon”. In the Aztec mythology it is the name given to the god who became goddess of the moon.

Mickail Huitontli: It means “Corn at full maturity”.

Mixtli (Mishtli): It means “Cloud”.

Miztli: It means “Cat”.

Nahuatl names with letter “N”

Neli: It means “Truth”. Nenet: It means “Doll”.

Nezahualcoyotl: It means “Strong Lion” or “Hungry Coyote”. Nezahualcóyotl is also known as the warrior and poet King. He was remarkable for his courage and intelligence; he governed his native Texcoco when he was barely 28 years old.

Nochipa: It means “Always/Everlasting”. NOCHIPA IPAN NOYOLTSIN is one of the most beautiful Náhuatl phrases, it means “Always in my hearth”.

Noquetzal, Noketzal: It means “My beautiful daughter”.

Noxochih: It means “My flower”.

Nahuatl names with letters “O” and “Q”

Ollin Tonatiuh: It means “The movement Sun, from the fifth creation from Teotihuacan”.

Quetzal, Quetzali, Ketzalli: “Beautiful feather”, it also means treasure, jewel, daughter or son.

Quetzalcóatl: God creator of the man from the fifth sun. Also known as “Feathered Serpent”.

Quetzalteuh, Ketzaltew: “Like a beautiful feather”.

Nahuatl names with letter “S”

Seltik Xochitl: It means “Tender flower”.

Sinti, Sintli: It means “The corn”, it was related to the deity that protects corn.

Sintiopil: It means “Tiny owner of the corn” or “Little corn”.

Siwapil, Sihuapilli: It means “Girl”, “Little daughter”.

Sochiyok, Xochiyok: It means “Flowered”, flower ornament.

Nahuatl names with letter “T”

Tametzona: It means “Moonlight”.

Tecuichpo: It means “Cotton flower”. Mexica princess that was born at the end of the 1500 decade. She was the favorite daughter of Moctezuma II, México-Tenochtitlan emperor.

Tenampi: It means “Son/daughter of god”.

Teosintli, Teocintle: It means “Corn god”.

Tequihua, Tekiwa: It means “Community authority” (boss).

Tlacaélel: It means “The one who cheers the spirit”.

Tlali, Tlalli: “Earth, Mother Earth, The world”.

Tláloc, Tlálok: “God of the rain”.

Tlanesi, Tlaneci: “Dawn, Sunrise, The light arrives”.

Tlanextic: “Light of the Dawn”.

Tlapaltic: It means “Brave”.

Tonantzin: It means “The Virgin”, “Our Mother”. Sometimes, Tonantzin is recognized as Quetzalcóatl’s mother, other times, as his wife and part of his duality, especially in his form of Cihuacóatl. She is the goddess of health, lady of the maternity and medicine herbs. With the conquerors’ arrival, some began to identify her as the Guadalupe Virgin.

Tonatiúh: It means “Our Father Sun, The sun, The day”. The Aztec people considered him as the leader of the sky. He was also known as the fifth Sun because the Aztecs thought that he assumed control when the fourth Sun was expelled from heaven, so, according to their cosmogony, each Sun was a god with its own cosmic era and, for the Aztecs, they still were in the era where Tonatiuh reigned.

Totahtze, Totajtse: It means “Our father”.

Toxayak: It means “Our face”.

Tzalanti o Tlalantik: It means “As clear as water, pure, clear”.

Tzotzo Catzin: “Remarkable Beauty”.

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Nahuatl names with letter “X”

Xaly (Shaly): It means “Sand”.

Xayakatl: It means “Face”.

Xilonen: It means “Goddess of the new and tender corn”. She was the goddess of subsistence for the Aztecs, especially of corn, the main patron of vegetation and, by extension, also goddess of fertility.

Xinaxtli, Xinachtli: It means “The seed”.

Xiutecuhtli, Xiwtekuhtli: It means “Lord of the herbs” or “God of the fire”. In Aztec mythology, the fire and heat spirit.

Xochihua, Xochiwa, Xochiyowa: “That blooms, sprouts, owns the flower”. Xochikoskatl: “Marigold (Cempasúchil) flower necklace”.

Xochikuskat, Xochihuaskatl: “Symbol of the floral offering in the ritual”.

Xochimanali: “Ceremonial of Xochitlalli”.

Xochipayanali: “Disintegrated flower”.

Xochipili, Xochipilli, Makuilxochitl: “Good of the flowers”.

Xochiquen, Xochiken: “Thirteenth governor of Tenochtitlan”.

Xochiquetzali: “Women who populated Mexico after the flood, Goddess of water, Beautiful flower”.

Xochisiwatl: It means “Rose petal”.

Xochiswatl, Xuchizhuatl, Xochitl: “Flower, symbol of the good creation, of the intellectual and emotional flourishing, The Love”.

Xochitl Nolía: “Princess, daughter of a cacique in the Huatusco, Ver., region. The one who gave her love to a young warrior”.

Xochitlali, Xochitlalli: Ceremonial celebration to the gods and natural elements (Zongolica region).

Xochiyoh: “The one who is decorated with flowers; flowered”.

Xocotzin, Xocotzin, Xokotzin: “The last one”, in traditional and Aztec mythology, she is the personification of passion and sexual transgressions. She belongs to the group known as Ixcuiname, the five goddesses of sex, daughters/sisters of Tlazoltéotl (lust) goddess. As her peers, she was commonly considered a goddess capable of helping or punishing human beings.

Xuchal, Suchatl: “Petal rose”.

Nahuatl names with letter “Y”

Yali: It means “Joy”.

Yetlanetzi: It means “Dawn”.

Yeyetzi, Yehyektsih, yehyektzih: “Pretty, Beautiful, Gorgeous, Good-looking”.

Yohualli: It means “Night”.

Yolotl: It means “Heart”.

Yolotzin, Yoltzin: “Soul, Heart, Tiny Heart”.

Yoltic: “The one who lives”.

VideoYoutube: Xipatlani
Video en Youtube: Yeh Haá

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver

Spanish version

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