Names and Nicknames in Spanish (Listening Practice)

¡Hola! Thanks for joining us in this basic lesson. Today, we will learn some very common nicknames in Spanish and use this new vocabulary in two listening activities. You will listen to people introducing themselves in Spanish and also talking about their nicknames and where they come from. Let’s start…

Vocabulary Introduction: A list of common nicknames in Spanish

First of all, nicknames are really common in Latin America. They are normally used as a way to refer to friends and family members in a more affectionate or casual way. Just like English nicknames, nicknames in Spanish are oftentimes very similar to the original name and sometimes they differ a lot. Take a look at the picture below and guess the real names of some of these people based on their nicknames.

A list of Common Nicknames in Spanish
Nombres y Apodos en Español

Some nicknames in Spanish are born out of a physical feature. For instance, the word “Pelón” (bald) is used as a kind way to call newborns, but sometimes it becomes a permanent nickname for guys. Those nicknames related to physical appearance are really interesting, but they could sound disrespectful at times. In this lesson, we will focus  on nicknames that are born from names. Here is a list of names with their corresponding nicknames in Spanish.

Beto – Alberto, Adalberto, Humberto, Roberto, Rigoberto, etc.
Cata – Catalina
Coco – Socorro
Concho(a) – Concepción
Chayo – Rosario
Chema – José María
Chente – Vicente
Dagoberto – Dago
Goyo – Gregorio
Juancho – Juan José
Lupe – Guadalupe
Magda – Magdalena
Meche – Mercedes
Moncho – Ramón
Mundo – Edmundo, Raimundo, etc.
Nacho – Ignacio
Poncho – Alfonso
Rafa – Rafael
Toña – Antonia
Tere – Teresa

There is one more category of nicknames in Spanish that is extremely common. It consists of words ending in the suffix “-ITO/A”, for example: “Manuel” and “Manuelito”, “Jaime” and “Jaimito” or “Rosa” and “Rosita”. You can do this with most names in the language, except for long names as it may sound awkward. When the name ends in the vowel “E”, we must substitute the last “E” for “I”.

Listening Activity No. 1: Friends and nicknames in Spanish

Listen to two friends talking about their names and nicknames in Spanish. This conversation will make use of greetings and farewells, as well as some very basic phrases and questions. Make sure to solve the interactive quiz once you are done.

Key expressions in the conversation:

  • Me he perdido” means “I haven’t been around for a while!”
  • Le mando saludos” means “I send him greetings!”
Conversation script: Friends and nicknames in Spanish
Rosario: Hola Juancho. Tanto tiempo sin verte.
Juan José: ¿Qué tal Chayo?. Me he perdido, ¿verdad?
Rosario: ¡Qué bueno verte sí! ¿Cómo está doña Coco?
Juan José: Está bien. Siempre ocupada cuidando de sus nietos. ¿Qué tal don Chente?
Rosario: Doña Socorro es muy linda gente. Quiero visitarla. Mi papá está más o menos. Estuvo enfermo, pero ya está mejor.
Juan José: Dile a don Chente que le mando saludos.
Rosario: No te preocupes, yo le digo. Mira, ¿Qué te parece si salimos este fin de semana? Voy a invitar a Moncho y a Lupe también.
Juan José: Buena idea Chayo. No te olvides de Carlitos también.
Rosario: Es cierto… Bueno, nos vemos el fin de semana Juancho.
Juan José: ¡Bueno! ¡Hasta pronto!

Listening Activity No. 2: Spanish nicknames at work

Listen to some people talking about the way they use nicknames in Spanish at work to refer to their co-workers. Write down any information you consider important to solve the listening quiz. Good luck!

Key expressions in the conversation:

  • Entrar en confianza” means “Gain confidence!”
  • Llamarlos por su nombre”  means “Call them by their names”
  • De cariño le decimos” means “We kindly call her/him…”
My co-workers' nicknames in Spanish
Catalina: ¡Hola! Buenos días, me llamo Catalina.
Ramón: Hola Catalina. Soy Ramón. Mucho gusto. ¿Ya conoces a todos en la oficina?
Catalina: No, aún no. Hoy es mi primer día de trabajo.
Ramón: Ya veo. Bien, debes entrar en confianza entonces. Mira, él es Alberto. Trabaja en Recursos Humanos. Nosotros le llamamos Beto.
Catalina: ¿Beto? – Está bien, ¿y ella quién es?
Ramón: Ella es Doña Teresa. Es la administradora. Le llamamos Doña Tere. La chica que está con ella es Rosita, su asistente.
Catalina: Oye, ¿Ellos no se enojan si los llamas usando apodos?
Ramón: Bueno, es mejor llamarlos por su nombre en situaciones formales. Por cierto, déjame presentarte a Mercedes. Ella es mi asistente. De cariño le decimos Meche.
Catalina: ¿Tu asistente? Entonces, ¿Qué haces tú?
Ramón: Ah sí, disculpa. Yo soy el dueño de la empresa. Me puedes llamar Moncho.
Catalina: ¿En serio? – ¡Qué pena! … Bueno Moncho, me puedes llamar Cata.

This is all for this lesson. We hope you found it useful. We will cover more nicknames in Spanish in future lessons. Leave us a comment if you have any suggestion and tell us how well you did in the listening quizzes. ¡Hasta pronto!

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