Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Image via Wikipedia

He’s all the rage in Puerto Rico, and you might just hear him in your hometown, too.

Thanks to Emily for suggesting Yadiel as our Baby Name of the Day.

Here’s a fun fact: the Social Security Administration statistics only include the names of children born in the 50 states. Territories are calculated separately. Puerto Rico is its own category; the remaining territories (Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and US Virgin Islands) are another category. They have their own page on the Social Security Administration’s site.

The second list – Guam and company – aren’t startlingly different. If I’d told you it was the list for Nebraska, maybe, or Tennessee, you’d probably believe me.

But then there’s Puerto Rico, and their Top Ten are very different. Girls first:

  1. Alondra
  2. Mia
  3. Valeria
  4. Kamila
  5. Camila
  6. Amanda
  7. Andrea
  8. Gabriela
  9. Adriana
  10. Alanis

And the boys:

  1. Luis
  2. Angel
  3. Adrian
  4. Jose
  5. Diego
  6. Sebastian
  7. Carlos
  8. Ian
  9. Gabriel
  10. Yadiel

But check out the rest of the island’s Top 100 and you’ll see that Yadiel is more than just a wildly popular name that isn’t heard outside of Puerto Rico. Instead, I suspect that -iel is, in Spanish, something akin to -aiden in English. Also appearing in Puerto Rico’s Top 100:

  • Girls’ names like Yarielis, Karielys, Darielys, and Arielys;
  • Here’s the eye-opener: boys names’ Jeriel, Abdiel, Yariel, Jadiel, Keniel, Dariel, Yeriel, Yandiel, Adriel, Yadriel, Joniel, Yaniel, Ezequiel, and Daniel.

They range from the evergreen (Daniel) to obscure Biblical picks (Abdiel) to nouveau coinages – actually, most of the list falls into the last category. I couldn’t find a pronunciation, but I’m assuming it sounds something like this: YAH dee el.

I can’t explain the -iel phenomenon, but I’m fairly confident that there’s a reason Yadiel is at the top of the pack. There’s a Puerto Rican recording artist called Yadiel, also sometimes spelled Jadiel. He’s been around since 2003 or so, and while he’s yet to hit it big outside his home country, I suspect he’s more than popular enough to influence trends.

Where did his mother find the name? She didn’t. The recording artist was born Ramón Adams.

Right now Yadiel and Jadiel are heavily in use in Puerto Rico, and showing some signs of catching on elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world. They’re not ready to be imported into mainstream American names just yet. But they’re not that far off – think of Gabriel (#22 in 2009) and Ezekiel (#227). Should Señor Adams strike it big in the US, it is very possible that same parents who embraced Jayden and Braylen could appreciate the name’s creative style.

Until that day comes to pass, let’s file him under rarities.

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.

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What do you think?


  1. I love doing research on a name and finding out that you’ve already covered it. This might be an interesting one to update. I’m curious how its use has changed over the years.

  2. The Puerto Rican accent pronounces “y” sort of as a cross between “j” and “zh”. It would sound more like jha-DYEL. The second syllable being a diphthong.

  3. I don’t think you completely botched Yadiel — you uncovered quite a few interesting names. The Biblical spelling seems to be Jediael, so no wonder it didn’t come up in any of your searches.

    I’m excited to see Abdiel and Adriel also in use. I’ve loved Abdiel ever since reading Paradise Lost, and Adriel is just so pretty.

  4. Oooo, those girls’ names are interesting. Love the -ielys ending (which I read as ee-el-is).

  5. In Spanish, Yadiel would be pronounced Yah-dee-EHL, with the last two run together a bit as a diphthong to sound sort of like Yah-dee-YEHL, just as Daniel is somewhere between Dah-nee-EHL/Dahn-YEHL and Gabriel is Gah-bree-EHL/Gah-BRYEHL. I actually haven’t heard this name on a Spanish speaker, but Spanish has very consistent rules of pronunciation, so unless there’s an accent mark or something, it’s pretty clear-cut.

  6. Yadiel/Yediel/Yediael means “knowledge of God” in Hebrew. In the Bible he was a son of Benjamin [1 Chronicles 7:6]. Interestingly, the ‘yada’ root means “to know.”

    1. And it’s official … I completely botched Yadiel! Thank you, Panya, for finding his origins.

  7. Yadiel looks interesting, is easy enough to spell, I just might end up hearing him in town soon. I tried saying Yadiel aloud and it actually sounds lovely. I suppose this all means I like Yadiel. 😀 (but as far as -el enders go, Raphael is the only one I love enough to consider using)!