A primer on Portuguese names

I don’t have any real Portuguese characters to date, but my large, extended Polański family stays in Lisbon over September 1939–July 1940 while waiting for their golden visas to America. Everyone who could ran to Lisbon to escape the Nazis, and the city served as an exit port from Europe for many would-be immigrants.

Surnames:

Portuguese names in Portugal follow the Spanish naming system, wherein women keep their birth surnames and may add on the husband’s family name, with children getting both parents’ names. It’s currently the fashion to use four surnames, one from each grandparent. In Brazil, it’s more common to only have one surname, unless it’s an area with mostly descendants of Portuguese immigrants.

In olden times, it was the fashion to give a girl her mother’s family name and a boy his father’s family name. This is a naming convention I’m a big fan of, alternating surnames on children by sex or on every other child. That way, both parents get to pass their names on.

From the late 19th century till about the 1970s, it became more and more common for Portuguese women to take their husbands’ names, as a way of copying the European upper-classes. Happily, this trend has died out, and the old ways have resumed. In Brazil, the custom goes both ways

Many surnames start with De, Do, Dos, Da, and Das. Origins include patronymics (frequently ending in -iz or -es), geography, religion, profession, and nicknames. Reportedly, many orphans were assigned the surname dos Santos (from the saints). Many Jewish Portuguese surnames are Portuguese versions of Arabic and Hebrew names.

Some common Portuguese names and their nickname forms:

Female:

Adelaide
Adelina
Adriana (Adri, Didi, Drica, Didica)
Águeda (Agatha)
Alberta (Albertinha)
Albina
Alda
Alexandra (Xanda, Alê [Brazilian], Xana [only in Portugal!], Alexandrinha)
Alice, Alícia (Lice, Lili, Cinha, Licinha, Alicinha)
Amália, Amélia (Mel, Mal, Melita, Malita, Amelinha, Amalinha)
Ana (Anita, Aninha, Nita, Ninha, Nana, Anoca)
Andréa, Andreia, Andréia (Brazilian)
Antónia, Antônia (Brazilian)
Apolónia, Apolônia (Brazilian)
Augusta (Guga, Guta)
Aurora
Balbina
Beatriz (Bia)
Benedita
Benigna
Branca
Bruna (Bru)
Brunilda (Nilda)
Calista
Calixta
Camila (Mila, Miloca, Mi, Mia, Camilinha, Ca, Caca)
Cândida
Carina
Carla (Carlita, Carlota, Carlinha, Caca, Ca)
Carlota
Carolina (Lina, Lininha, Carol, Cacá, Carô [Brazilian])
Cassandra
Catarina (Cátia)
Cecília, Célia (Cila, Cissa, Ceci, Cilinha)
Cesária
Cíntia
Clarissa
Cláudia (Cacau, Cau, Dinha, Claudinha)
Clementina
Constança, Constância
Cristina, Cristiana (Cris, Tina, Tininha, Cristininha)
Daiana (Dada, Dai [Brazilian], Nana, Dandinha)
Daniela (Dani, Danizinha, Dandinha. Dandan [Brazilian])
Débora
Délia
Desidéria
Diana (Didi)
Domitila
Dorotéia (Brazilian), Doroteia
Dulce
Eduarda (Duda)
Efigénia, Efigênia (Brazilian)
Eliana (Liana)
Elisabete (Beta, Lisa, Bete, Beti, Elisa, Betinha, Bé)
Elvira (Elvirinha)
Emília, Emiliana (Emilinha, Mila, Milinha, Miloca [Brazilian], Mia [Brazilian])
Esmeralda
Estefânia
Estela
Ester
Eufêmia
Eugénia (Brazilian), Eugênia (Geninha)
Eulália
Eva
Fábia, Fabiana
Fátima
Felícia, Felicidade
Fernanda (Fefa, Nanda, Nandinha, Fê [Brazilian])
Filipa, Felipa (Lipa, Pipa, Fifi, Filipinha, Fá [Brazilian], Bi [Brazilian], Bibi [Brazilian])
Filomena (Filó, Mena, Lumena)
Flávia
Florinda
Fortunata
Francisca (Chica, Kika, Quica, Chiquinha, Francisquinha)
Frederica
Gabriela (Gabi, Bia [Brazilian], Bibe [Brazilian], Biela [Brazilian])
Gisela
Gloria
Graça, Gracília
Helena, Elena (Lena, Lelê, Leninha)
Hermínia
Inês (Nenê, Nê, Nês, Nenoca, Nessa, Inesinha, Inuecas)
Iolanda
Irene, Iria
Íris
Isabel, Isabela (Bela, Isabelinha, Belinha, Béla, Bebel [Brazilian], Bebela, Beca, Bel, Isa)
Isaura
Isidora
Jacinta
Joana (Jana, Juju, Janocas, Juca, Joaninha, Jô [Brazilian])
Jordana
Josefa, Josefina
Jovita
Júlia, Juliana (Juju, Julinha, Liana)
Laura (Lala, Laurinha)
Leandra
Leocádia
Leonor (Nô, Nonô, Léo)
Letícia (Leti, Ticia, Lê)
Lia
Lídia (Lídi, Dida, Li)
Lígia, Lygia (Brazilian) (Lica, Lili)
Liliana, Lílian (Lili, Lias, Liana [Brazilian], Lana [Brazilian])
Lívia
Lorena (Loló, Ló, Lora)
Lúcia, Luzia, Luciana, Lucília, Lucinda (Lu, Luci, Lucinha)
Luísa, Luiza
Lourdes, Lurdes (Ludi [Brazilian], Lu, Lou)
Madalena, Magdalena (Magda, Madá, Lena, Mady, Madie, Maguinha, Magdinha)
Mafalda (Matilda)
Manuela, Manoela (Brazilian) (Manela, Manu, Nela, Manocas, Nelinha)
Margarida (Guida, Maggie, Guidinha, Margaridinha, Rita, Ti, Ritinha)
Maria, Mária (Bia, Mia, Mimi, Má [Brazilian], Mary, Maruca, Cota, Cotinha, Micas, Maricota, Mariazinha, Marinha)
Mariana (Nita, Mari, Má [Brazilian], Marianinha, Marianita)
Marina
Maristela
Marta (Má [Brazilian],Tata [Brazilian])
Mônica
Narcisa
Natália, Nathália (Brazilian)
Noemí, Noêmia
Núria
Octávia, Otávia (Brazilian)
Ofélia
Olívia
Ondina
Patrícia (Pátri, Pat, Páti, Ticha, Tixa, Tiça)
Paula, Paulina (Paulinha)
Perpétua
Rafaela
Raquel
Rebeca
Regina
Renata (Nata [Brazilian], Renantinha, Rê [Brazilian])
Rosa, Rosália, Rosalia, Rosalina, Rosana (Rosinha, Rose [Brazilian], Ró)
Rosário
Sabina
Salomé
Sara
Serafina
Severina
Sílvia, Silvia
Sofia (Sofi, Pipia, Fi [Brazilian], Sô [Brazilian])
Sol
Susana, Suzana (Suse, Susy, Su, Susaninha)
Talita. Thalita
Telma
Teresa, Tereza (Té, Teté, Tetê, Teresinha)
Úrsula
Valéria
Vera (Verita, Veroca, Verusca, Verinha)
Verônica
Vitória (Vivi, Vicky)
Zita

Male:

Abel
Abílio
Adão (Adam)
Adriano
Afonso (Afonsinho)
Alberto
Aldo
Alexandre (Xande, Xando, Xano, Alex, Xandinho)
Alfredo
Almiro, Almir (Brazilian)
Aloisio (Aloysius)
Altair
Álvaro
Amancio
Ambrósio
André
Anselmo
António, Antônio (Brazilian) (Tó, Tonho [Brazilian], Tonhão [Brazilian], Tóne, Toninho, Tonico, Toni)
Armando
Artur
Augusto, Agostinho (Guto, Tuto [Brazilian], Gus [Brazilian])
Aurélio
Bartolomeu
Benedito (Bento)
Benigno
Benjamim
Brás (Blaise)
Bruno (Bru)
Calisto
Calixto
Camilo
Cândido
Carlos (Caiu, Litos, Carlitos, Carlito, Cacá, Carlinhos)
César, Césario, Cézar (Brazilian), Cezar (Brazilian), Cézario (Brazilian)
Cipriano
Cláudio (Cau, Cacau, Dinho, Claudinho)
Cristiano
Cristóvão
Daniel, Danilo (Dan [Brazilian], Dani, Dandan [Brazilian])
Diogo, Tiago, Thiago (Di, Didi, Dioguito, Dioguinho, Diga, Ti, Guinho [Brazilian], Tiaguinho)
David
Demétrio
Deodato
Desidério
Domingos
Donato
Eduardo, Duarte (Edu, Dudu, Dado, Du)
Edmundo
Elias
Emilio (Emilinho, Milho [Brazilian])
Estevão (Steven)
Eugénio (Geninho)
Eusébio
Eurico (Dico)
Ezequiel
Fábio, Fabiano (Fabico, Biano [Brazilian], Bibi [Brazilian], Fabi, Bi [Brazilian], Fá [Brazilian])
Fabricio
Faustino, Fausto
Feliciano
Felipe, Filipe (Lipe, Pipo, Fili, Phil [Brazilian], Felipinho)
Félix
Fernando, Fernão (Fefa, Nando, Fê [Brazilian], Fernandinho)
Flávio
Florencio
Fortunato
Francisco (Chico, Chiquito, Kiko, Quico, Cisco, Francisquinho)
Frederico (Fred, Freddie, Dico, Drico, Frê)
Fúlvio
Gabriel (Gabi [Portuguese only], Bibo, Biel)
Gaspar (Jasper)
Geraldo
Gilberto
Gonçalo (Gugu, Gonzo, Gonça, Gonças, Gongas, Guga, Gu, Gonçalinho)
Graciano
Guálter (Walter)
Guilherme (Gui, Guigui, Guile [Brazilian], Will [Brazilian], Willie [Brazilian], Guiga, Guibinha) (William)
Guiomar
Gustavo (Guto, Guga, Gugu, Gus)
Haroldo
Heitor (Hector)
Heliodoro
Henrique (Ique, Quico, Quique, Rique, Riquinho)
Horácio
Hugo
Iago, Jacó (Jakob)
Inácio (Ignatius)
Jacinto
Jaime (Minho, Jaimito, Jaiminho)
Jeremias
Jerónimo
João (Jão, Juca, Joca, Janocas, Janjão, Joãozinho, Johnny)
Joaquim (Joca, Quim, Jaquim, Quincas, Quinzinho)
Joel
Jónatas
Jordão (Jordan)
Jorge (Jó, Joca, Djódi [Brazilian], Jorginho)
José (Zé, Zezé, Zeca, Zezinho, Jô, Joe)
Josué (Joshua)
Julio
Lauro, Lourenço (Laurinho, Lalá)
Leandro
Leonardo (Léo, Leco [Brazilian], Leozinho)
Leopoldo
Lucas
Luciano, Lúcio
Luís, Luiz (Brazilian) (Lu, Lula, Lulu, Luisinho)
Manuel, Manoel (Manel, Mané, Maneco, Neco [Brazilian], Manu [in Portugal only], Nelo, Nelito, Nelinho, Manelinho)
Marcelo (Celo, Shelo, Chelo, Tchelo, Celim, Marcelinho, Marcelino)
Marcos, Marco (Marcão, Caco [Brazilian], Marquito, Marquinhos)
Mariano
Mário (Marinho)
Martim, Martinho
Matias, Matheus
Maurício
Mauro
Maximiliano, Maximino
Miguel (Micas, Mike, Miguelito, Mígul, Migeulinho)
Narciso
Natanael, Nataniel
Nicolau (Nico, Niquito, Lalá, Lalau)
Noé (Noah)
Norberto
Nuno
Óscar, Oscar (Brazilian)
Otávio, Octávio (Távio)
Osvaldo (Vado, Vavá, Ósvi, Valdo, Vadinho, Valdinho)
Paulo, Paulino (Paulinho)
Pedro (Pepê, Pedrito, Pedrinho)
Pio
Plácido
Plínio
Primo
Quirino
Rafael (Rafa, Rafe, Fael, Rafinha)
Raimundo, Raymundo
Ramiro
Raul
Régulo
Reinaldo, Reynaldo
Renato (Rê [Brazilian], Nato [Brazilian], Renatinho)
Ricardo (Cado, Rico, Rick, Cadinho, Ricardinho)
Roberto (Beto, Berto, Tinho [Brazilian], Betinho)
Rodolfo (Rodas, Rô [Brazilian])
Rodrigo (Digo, Rúdri, Rody, Rud, Rudy, Diguinho)
Rogério
Rolando, Roldão
Roque
Rúben, Rubens, Rubem (Brazilian) (Rubinho)
Rufino
Rui (Ruca, Ruizinho)
Salomão (Solomon)
Samuel
Santiago
Sebastião (Tião, Tão, Babá [Brazilian], Sebas, Sebasti, Bastião, Sebastiãozinho)
Severino
Silvio
Simão (Simon)
Tacito
Tadeu (Thaddeus)
Telmo
Teobaldo (Téo)
Teodoro (Téo)
Teodósio (Téo)
Teófilo (Téo)
Timoteo
Tito
Tomé, Tomás (Tomezinho)
Tristão (Tristan)
Túlio
Ulisses
Valério
Vasco
Veríssimo
Vicente
Vinícius
Viriato
Vítor, Victor, Victorino (Tó, Vic, Vitinho)
Xavier
Zeferino

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