Which countries or people have nicknames

February 12, 2017

Nicknames are more important in Argentina than in Germany. Because once you've got a name here, you often keep it well into old age and very few people still know the right one.

In Argentina, a lot of people will have nicknames. It often happens that there are two or three people with the same name in the circle of friends. They are mostly given on the basis of an external characteristic. In addition to the selected ones, there are also fixed nicknames for certain names.

Fixed nicknames

The following nicknames are rarely replaced by a more creative idea:

  • Juan Ignacio → Nacho
  • Mario → Cacho
  • Luciana, Luciano → Lucho
  • Juan → Juancho
  • Francisco → Pancho
  • Martìn → Tincho
  • Felipe → Pepe

Other nicknames

All others who do not have one of the names mentioned above get their nickname from a characteristic that distinguishes them from the others. That can be the place of residence, the skin color, the hair color or the stature.

Examples of nicknames based on appearance

Often the Argentines are not very friendly when assigning the nickname in relation to an outward characteristic. Here some examples:

  • A friend or roommate was given his nickname “Laucha” because his face is said to be similar to that of a mouse.
  • The bricklayer who built my Argentine family's house is known to everyone as the "sapo" - toad.

Nicknames of Argentine "celebrities"

The most famous people in Argentina are footballers. Because sport is very important here. That's why almost every footballer has a nickname. Here are the most famous:

  • Messi → “Pulga” - flea, as he is considered very small due to his body size.
  • Agüero → “El kun”, who only watched the Japanese cartoon series “Kum kum” in his childhood.
  • Higuain → “Pipita” - pipe, his father was called “pipa” by everyone. That is why he is now called “pipita” - little pipe.
  • Mascherano → "El jefecito" - little boss, since he coordinates everything on the football field.

A nickname into old age?

When a friend told me that even her grandmother was referred to by her grandchildren by her nickname, I could hardly believe it. In conversations with other friends I was later confirmed that many Argentines keep their nicknames well into old age. For example, “Negra” (“the black one”) simply became “abuela negra” (“black grandmother”) for her grandchildren.

Just as you keep your nickname into old age, most people don't know the real name anymore. I was also able to experience that by chance. And it came like this:

The evening I went to the restaurant with my Argentinian family to celebrate my aunt's birthday, they were serenaded. The musicians asked her for her name. She called this loud and clear, namely "Ercilia". That confused me a lot because I had met her under the name "Moni". At first I thought maybe she wouldn't want to give her real name. Later, when I asked, I was told that "Moni" is not her real name. It took a while until I believed that, because at first I thought it was all a joke and they wanted to make fun of me.

My nickname

Of course, there are also people who haven't been given a special nickname. I am one of them. Since the names here are often not that charming, I was pretty lucky with my nickname. At first someone wanted to try “La alemana” (“the German”) every now and then. But since I really don't look like you would imagine a German here, that was quickly rejected. So it just resulted in “Tere” or “Teresita”, but I'm very happy with that.