This might be a first here at AppMtn – an Aztec appellation!

Thanks to Christina for suggesting Tizoc as Name of the Day.

Tizocicatzin was an Aztec emperor back in the fifteenth century. Visit Mexico City, and you can peer at a cuauhxicalli – a stone-carved vessel for holding the hearts of sacrificial victims – thought to depict Tizoc. (His heart is not included, though some speculate that he was murdered.) It’s part of a museum collection.

It goes without saying that Tizoc has not been a top choice for parents since then. But there’s a character called Tizoc in the Fatal Fury video game series.

And then there’s the movie Tizoc. Back in 1957, Pedro Infante played a poor Indian in love with a wealthy woman. Pedro Infante might not be a household name in the US, but in Mexico, he was part-Elvis Presley, part-Clark Gable. He even scored a prestigious silver bear award at the Berlin Film Festival for the role.

Infante died tragically soon after. A passionate amateur pilot, his plane went down in the Yucatán. (So maybe that’s more part-Buddy Holly, part-James Dean.) He remains a cultural phenomenon. The Pedro Infante Hour has run on Mexico’s AM1410 for more than five decades, and there are many statues commemorating his life. There are also occasional Elvis sightings – faithful fans reporting that Infante is alive and well and living quietly in a small coastal village.

Infante’s last role almost certainly inspired a handful of parents to use the name, either as a rediscovered Indian heritage choice, in homage to the actor or both. He pops up in a few Census listing, too, though without exception the surnames are Latino. And if I could access comparable data from Mexico, he’d almost certainly be more popular.

There’s almost no name that looks or sounds anything like Tizoc. He’s pronounced TEE zoch. Exhaustive searching turned up Teasag – a feminine diminutive of Jean, used in Scotland – but she’s pronounced CHES sah.

Tizoc would be daring – even downright odd – to bestow upon a boy born in the US without some Mexican or Aztec heritage. But if you can claim Mesoamerican roots, or just want something completely different, Tizoc could fit the bill.

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 think many Aztec and Mayan names are quite beautiful. Unfortunately, I don’t share the heritage so I would feel weird using any of them. I love Citlamina & Nayeli in particular.

  2. Happy Birthday, Josie!

    Christina, my Spanish is tragic. But I can imagine that this would sound far, far better with an accent. I’m going to force – wait, make that politely ask – my Venezuelan and Ecuadorian neighbors to say the name for me. I have a hunch it will sound far, far more appealing than my East Coast English can manage.

    And I love a “z” so I’ll be over the moon should I ever meet a Tizoc.

  3. Interesting name today (well, yesterday, sorry, I got caught up in getting ready for Josie’s Birthday Party) I find I rather like this one’s sound. I don’t think I could get away with it (we are as whitebread as you can get!) but it’s got a great sound. I agree with Christina, He’d make a stunning middle! Very cool that Pedro Infante is rather like a Mexican Elvis. I always wondered if that was a solely American phenomenon and if so, why? Nice to see similiar behavior in varying cultures, really makes me feel better. (like we Yanks are all crazy)!

    So Tizoc’s easy to spell, got a not too tough to figure pronuncation, a neat History and a cool link to an Elvis – like celebrity. Interesting and cool. A winner for me!

  4. I had a student named Tizoc back in my distant teaching past. He went by his initials; I was intrigued by the name. I love that Z in the middle but realize that most English speakers would probably say tea-sock 🙁

    Tizoc would make a daring middle name for those wanting something different for their little guy.

    I am impressed by all the Pedro Infante info you dug up. You are absolutely amazing at research!