Where did the baby name Tsitsiki come from in 2004?

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 U.S. baby name data, eight baby girls were named Tsitsiki in 2004. All eight of these baby girls were born in Illinois.

  • 2006: unlisted
  • 2005: unlisted
  • 2004: 8 baby girls named Tsitsiki [debut]
  • 2003: unlisted
  • 2002: unlisted

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

Where did it come from?

A Chicago newswoman named Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix.

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: Mexican-American singer Lila Downs released her Latin Grammy-winning folk album Una Sangre/One Blood in April of 2004. The album included the Purépecha language song “Tirineni Tsitsiki,” which may have given Tsi-Tsi-Ki Félix a hand in popularizing the name Tsitsiki around that time.

What are your thoughts on the name Tsitsiki?

P.S. Lila Downs has a son named Benito Dxuladi — dxuladi (pronounced 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 in 2004?

  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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