Where did the baby name Tsitsiki come from?

When I first spotted the one-hit wonder baby name Tsitsiki, I honestly thought it might have something to do with Greek yogurt.

Turns out the answer is not tzatziki, but more likely Chicago news anchor Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix.

tsi-tsi-ki felix

According to the SSA’s baby name list, eight baby girls were named Tsitsiki in 2004. All of these baby girls were born in Illinois.

  • 2005: unlisted
  • 2004: 8 baby girls named Tsitsiki [debut]
  • 2003: unlisted

The name had never been on the list before, and it hasn’t made an appearance since.

Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix is originally from Michoacán, México. Her name is based on the Purépecha word tsitsiki, which means “flower.”

She joined Telemundo Chicago in 2001 as a reporter, was promoted to co-anchor of the 5 p.m. news in 2005, then became solo anchor of both the 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. news in 2009. I’m not sure what event boosted her profile in 2004, though…maybe a Telemundo advertising campaign?

Which leads me to a sub-theory: 2004 was the year Mexican-American singer Lila Downs released the folk album Una Sangre/One Blood, which include the Purépecha song “Tirineni Tsitsiki.” The album sold well and earned Downs a Latin Grammy Award the following year. The song may have helped popularize the name Tsitsiki in 2004 specifically.

What are your thoughts on the name Tsitsiki?

P.S. Lila Downs has a son named Benito Dxuladi, dxuladi [shoo-la-dee] being the Zapotec word for “chocolate.”

Sources: Félix leaves Telemundo Chicago, Tsi-Tsi-Ki | Bio, Welcome Benito! | The Official Lila Downs Site

4 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Tsitsiki come from?

  1. My thoughts are that it has a nice meaning and probably sounds beautiful in the Purepecha language, but doesn’t work too well here. Apart from the resemblance to tzatziki, it also sounds like tsetse (fly), and the only other word I can think of that starts with TS- is tsunami. All associations that aren’t too agreeable for a first name.

  2. I welcome the name, Tsi-tsi-ki, and while many white Americans may find it a challenging name to consider, I welcome it with open arms. It’s a beautiful name. And just because it sounds like tzatziki sauce, does not take away the integrity and beauty of Tsi-tsi-ki’s lovely meaning of “flower” in the beautiful Purepecha language and culture of Michoacán, México. Rather than canceling out any name that doesn’t fit into traditional American (white) categories of acceptance, we should consider the beauty of the name in their own right. I find it sad that anyone would knock the name of a positive role model in the Latino community. I believe it says more about the person criticizing than the person or name being criticized. The criticism has some good points, to a point, all I’m saying is that we should keep an open mind and an open heart to the beauty of other cultures that are truly making this country and our world great, because of our acceptance of diversity and inclusion.

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