He’s cousin to Dora and the best friend animals have had since Dr. Doolittle.

Thanks to Urban Angel for suggesting Diego as Baby Name of the Day.

Diego is a Top 100 choice in the US, but it isn’t about Go Diego Go!, the companion series to Dora the Explorer introduced on Nickelodeon in 2005.

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

You May Also Like:

What do you think?


  1. I’ve always been a fan of Tiago, myself 🙂 My hubby’s beloved brother is James and I’ve always thought it would be a super nifty way to honor him!

  2. You forgot to mention who is probably the most famous living namesake – former footballer Diego Maradona (aka “God” to the Argentinians) ;D

    I prefer the Portuguese form, Diogo. The sound is much more pleasant. Diego gives a very Spanish vibe, it’s hard for me to picture it on a non-Spaniard.

    1. Sora – does Diogo sound a lot like Jago? A close friend of mine is from Brazil and it sounded like JAWgo to me when she pronounced it for me.

      In fairness, Diego sounds more like DYAY-go than dee AY go, which I often here people who don’t speak Spanish say. I’m much more partial to DYAY-go than dee-AY-go… the difference between the two is a little less dramatic, I guess, but I definitely see the appeal of Diogo (I just imagine people in the States saying DIE-OH-GO or DIE-ah-go or something odd like that.)

      1. Diogo is normally [dee-O-goo] or [DYO-goo]. Some Brazilian accents pronounce “dee” as “jee”, so I’m not surprised Diogo may sound as “Jago” when spoken really quickly.

        And Diego is actually pronounced [DYEH-gaw]. It’s one of the reasons why I’m not fond of the name being used by non Spanish-speakers – like most foreign names it gets mispronounced a lot.

  3. I’m in with the club that feel Diego to be too ethnically distinctive for someone of say, my own German heritage, to use. That, along with the fact that I generally dislike names that end in “o”, makes this NotD an easy pass for me. All that being said, it does have a pleasant flow.

  4. My ex-husband is named James, so I wouldn’t be able to pull off Diego, but I do love it’s vibe.

  5. I didn’t know about Diego being the Spanish version of James either. All I do know is that there’s the Spanish speaking cartoon boy – so that gives it me the ‘Hispanic heritage choice’ vibe to me.

    Speaking of using names from other cultures, when I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband was like “We should pick a Japanese name.” I think he was just goofing around, as we’re both white – but I do remember looking up Japanese names online, just out of interest. Plus it was a rare thing to get a name suggestion from my husband. But I would have felt weird using a name from a culture that we’re not from – especially when as a British expat, I have “English names” I can go to for a ‘heritage choice’.

  6. My thing with Diego is based on the summer I spent in Argentina as a language student back in the early 90s: every other guy my age seemed to be called Diego – it was a very popular name choice there, at least for 70s babies. That might also be why I feel a little freer and looser with the whole ethnicity thing, especially when it comes to Spanish names… you see, Argentina is very much a nation with a variety of heritages, so a blond-haired, blue-eyed Diego would not be all that odd. Marisol and Paloma made my long list and awaited the obligatory veto from the other half for both pregnancies! Anyway, I don’t think it’s off-limits for people without Latino heritage, but I would be disinclined to use Diego because I see it as kind of ‘everywhere’ in an odd sort of way. The cartoon is less off-putting, honestly…

  7. Very interesting background for Diego! I had no idea that it was related to Iago and James. I do think the more recognizable Spanish version of James is Jaime.

  8. Thank you for ding this as NOTD!

    I like Diego a lot. My personal policy about names from other cultures is how ethnically different they are from what the child will look like.I’d use another from another culture without having any lineage of that culture. Unless I married a guy with Spanish/Italian/Portuguese or other Latin roots, I wouldn’t use Diego as I was born blond. My complexion & that of which the child might get, would be too ethnically different from of Diego’s vibe for me.The name has these exotic & sultry vibes, as well as being a bit too entrenched in another culture unless my spouse had that heritage.It’s the same thing with Rafeael & Enrique – LOVE the names, but I could battle to pull it off. However, I have come across a very blond little Ricardo… so who knows….. names & naming practices are different in SA compared to the US/UK .

    Something like Francesca is really just a name to me. It’s the same as Amy/Sylvia/Charlotte etc .It all depends on the specific name & the ‘vibe’. I know, my whole methodology is a bit convoluted….. this is one of those times where I hope that the ”tonal” quality of what I mean comes through.

    1. With your comment about “ethnically mismatched” names being used myself, here’s some that are among my favorite but have strong ethnic ties which some say would maybe not be suitable for someone like me to use (some of these names if you’ve not done them already could be NOTD candidates):

      French names:

      Scandinavian names:
      Kirsten (though mainstream enough now to probably not be too big of an issue)

      Spanish/other Latin names:

      1. That’s very interesting ! The ONLY one out of those that I’d be hesitant to use would be Emilio/Emiliono. Just shows you how different we all are 🙂

      2. I forgot to mention myself that when I submitted the last NOTD idea list, Diego was an afterthought soon after I sent that e-mail. Looks like you read my mind!

  9. I’m not a huge fan of Diego because of the Dora tie. However, if I had the cultural associations to do so, I would absolutely consider Santiago..or Paulo. It’s funny you mention our heritage affecting our naming choice, because I would actually feel very uncomfortable naming my child Francesca for that same reason. I just feel like people would look at us – the British, German and Norwegian descent parents – and think “huh?”