Yesaidu, Yorkeisy: Unique Latin American names explained

Did you know that Latin American parents have created baby names out of English-language phrases and terms?

Here are some examples:

  • Yoanidis comes from “you and this”
  • Yorkeisy comes from “you are crazy”
  • Yesaidu comes from “yes I do”
  • Yesyuar comes from “yes you are”
  • Usanavy comes from “U.S. Navy”
  • Mileidi comes from “my lady”
  • Madeinusa comes from “made in U.S.A.”
  • Dalaionkin comes from “The Lion King”
  • Britnishakira is a combination of “Britney” and “Shakira”
  • Gualdisnia comes from “Walt Disney”

I found these in a News-Press article by Peruvian writer Alessia Leathers. (Unfortunately, the article — and her full list of names — is no longer online.)

No doubt names like these are spelled many different ways. I know I’ve seen several versions of “Usanavy.” For instance, in a book about Cuba (specifically, in a passage describing the influence of the United States on Cuban personal names in the mid-20th century), I spotted this sentence:

In the zones around the Guantanamo Naval Station it was not uncommon to find children named Usnavy (or Usnavito/Usnavita) after the markings of “US Navy.”

There’s also a Dominican-American character named Usnavi (pronounced oos-NAH-vee) in the musical In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Source: Perez, Louis A. On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

[Latest update: Jun. 2024]

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