Socorro: Baby Name of the DayLooking for an intriguing virtue name for a girl? Socorro could make an unexpected choice.

Some recent namespotting inspired today’s Baby Name of the Day.

Socorro: Relief

In Spanish, this name literally means relief or succor. Succor comes from the Latin succursus via French.

Succor sounds a bit awkward in English, doesn’t it? Seldom heard in everyday speech, it carries a strong religious meaning. Our Lady of Perpetual Succor is another title for Mary, though in English, we tend to call her Our Lady of Perpetual Help, or sometimes Our Mother of Perpetual Help, instead.

A fifteenth-century Byzantine icon by the name depicts Mary with the infant Jesus. Images of Mary abound, but this one is officially recognized by the Vatican. The faithful can visit the restored icon at Sant’Alfonso all’Equilino in Rome.

How does any of this connect to a given name? Simple.

In Spanish, the title becomes Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro. Just like many Marian names,  it is sometimes given as a girls’ name in Spanish, with or without Maria.

Socorro: Midcentury Favorite

The name debuted in the US Top 1000 in 1919. It slowly grew in use, from just eight girls in 1913 to a peak of 161 in 1929. Since then, the name has faded. It left the US Top 1000 after 1952, and was given to just eight girls in 2015.

We tend to think of English-Spanish crossover names as a 21st century phenomenon. It isn’t so. Back in 1919, plenty of Spanish-influenced names for girls made the charts:

  • Juanita peaked in the 1920s, reaching as high as the 40s
  • A Spanish form of Agnes, Inez remained near the Top 100, having recently reached the Top 100 for a few years
  • Anita was slowly beginning a rise that wouldn’t end until the 1950s
  • Another Marian name, Carmen, was also rising, and would continue to do so for decades
  • Consuelo, yet another name borrowed from a Marian title, would peak in the 1920s, boosted by the Gilded Age heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt, named for her half-Cuban godmother, Conseulo Yznaga

Socorro fits right in.

While Juanita and Anita seem stuck in fashion limbo, Socorro belongs with Inez and Consuelo – vintage names that feel fresh and appealing.

Socorro: Nicknames

wealth of nicknames could provide another reason to consider Socorro.

Romance novelist Maria del Socorro Tellado Lopez became one of the best-selling Spanish language authors. As the writer of more than 5,000 works, she even held a Guinness World Record. Several of her twentieth century favorites inspired popular telenovelas. Her pen name was Corin Tellado.

Besides Corin, I’ve seen Cory and Coco suggested as nicknames, both of which make Socorro very wearable for a child.

Socorro: Places and Creatures

It also appears as a place name, used in more than a dozen locations throughout the Spanish-speaking world, including an island in Mexico.

A bird native to the Mexican island by the name is called the Socorro Wren. A mockingbird also shares the island’s name, as do a parakeet, a towhee, a dove, and an elf owl.

Socorro: Ready for Revival

The name appears on all the Spanish language baby names sites I’ve checked, but I couldn’t find much chatter. Do native speakers consider this one an abuela name, not quite ready for revival? Or is it waiting in the wings with Antonia and Florence?

My sense is that the name fits with the latter. Given to just eight girls in 2015, Socorro is teetering on the edge of extinction. But that can make for an edgy, interesting, and still traditional choice for a daughter’s name, far less expected than Sofia.

What do you think of this name? Would you consider it for a daughter?

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. We named our little girl Socorra Perpetua, after Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We changed the “o” to “a” for a few reasons 1) no longer the Spanish word for HELP! 2) much more feminine in both languages 3) Her nickname can now be “Corra”. So, almost Socorro, but a little different.

  2. The reason why Socorro is not used much anymore in Spain is because for one it is an old lady name, for two, the sound of it is not very pretty in spanish, and for three, it is a word commonly used when someone is in danger or in need, as opposed to ‘succor’, ‘socorro’ is a commonly used word in everyday speech, so it is confusing to hear “¡Socorro!” when it’s not because of an urgency. Honestly, this name is nowhere near Antonia and Florence.
    Personally, it would make me feel a little uncomfortable to see a child that is not of spanish descent with this name. But it’s probably because in Spain, name diversity was limited for a long period and I was raised with a belief that ‘foreign names’ weren’t exactly fine*, people where only allowed to have catholic names that where in the santoral which is why word names such as Consuelo, Rocío, Socorro, Concepción, or Asunción appeared as they were in the santoral alongside “Nuestra Señora María de …”.

    *what I mean is that spanish parents don’t choose names that are too foreign, if they do they will probably ‘spanishify’ the name (Ivan–>Iván or Ibán (pron. ee-BAHN)). My name ‘Léa’ is because I’m french-spanish. I’ve noticed however a tendency today in spanish parents (in Spain that is) too choose more international names, but they are easy to pronounce and not too edgy (Milo and Gael are fine but Owen wouldn’t pass).

    1. Léa, thank you for that insight! I didn’t realize socorro was used conversationally – I always think of ayudar, but obviously, there’s more than one word.

      I think a more international approach to naming is happening everywhere – it’s interesting to watch it unfold. Thank you so much for your comments!