"Lucky" in Spanish as an animal's name
January 14, 2016 6:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm writing a short story in which one of the characters has a cat named Lucky. For contextual reasons, it would make sense if the cat was named Lucky in Spanish. I know the Spanish word for "lucky" is "afortunada", but would this make sense as a pet's name? Do people in Spanish-speaking countries name their animals Lucky, and if so, would those animals be named Afortunada or another word?
posted by pxe2000 to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know someone from Argentina named Fortunato. This is an actual name. Fortunata, if your dog is female, is apparently also a name and means the same.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:03 PM on January 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Luck is "suerte," and according to this article you'd use Suertudo as the equivalent of Lucky when naming a dog.
posted by MsMolly at 7:04 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh, and to answer the second part of your question: As far as I know, this is not a common pet name. And the question you might be wondering also now: Even though one wouldn't in conversation refer to a lucky person as "she's so fortunata", that meaning of the name is completely obvious and transparant to any Spanish speaker and anyone wanting to name something or someone "Lucky" would use Fortunato/Fortunata rather than the adjectives used in conversation "afortunada."
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:06 PM on January 14, 2016

For cats, I don't know. For humans, I've more commonly seen names like Felicia or Milagro(s).
posted by nicebookrack at 7:10 PM on January 14, 2016

Examples of pets named Suertudo/a:

Man rescues dog, names it Lucky

Two pets, Suertudo and Nubecita

A cat named Suertuda
posted by MsMolly at 7:25 PM on January 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I lived in Mexico for a number of years, and worked with an animal rescue organization for some of those years. I don't know any animals named Fortunato/a, etc, but several named "Lucky".
posted by toodles at 7:32 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Suerteza is a noun meaning 'a great stroke of luck.' For a female cat, that would work. If it's a male, it would be Suertezo.

To my ear, that's a better name than suertudo/a. 'My reservation about suertudo is that it's a term used almost exclusively in Mexico and Latin America. A South American or Spaniard would certainly know the term, but "suerteza" would sound more universally familiar.

Quick aside: "Nacer de pie" ("born standing up") is used idiomatically to describe someone/-thing born lucky, or a having "all the luck." Whatever form/derivative of "lucky" you go with, a neat backstory for the cat would be deriving its name from the fact that it stood up immediately after birth, and walked right away, 'un verdadero gato tierno, nacido de pie" ("a real baby cat, born on his feet," which implies "born lucky")

posted by BadgerDoctor at 7:55 PM on January 14, 2016 [7 favorites]

I'm not sure if this counts, but 'felix' means 'lucky' in Latin, and also exists in Spanish as the given name 'Félix' and adjective 'feliz' which is usually translated as 'happy,' which might or might not have the same connotation you want.
posted by Lou Stuells at 11:55 PM on January 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

A South American or Spaniard would certainly know the term, but "suerteza" would sound more universally familiar.

Suertudo would sound a bit Latin American to a Spaniard's ear, and suerteza isn't used here at all, only suerte. Speaking slangily, we would use "potra" a lot ("Vaya potra, tío" = "What a stroke of luck, dude") but it doesn't lend itself to a pet name.

I think "Lucky" in English would be a more common pet name (like here or here or here). Fortunato or Felicitas are your grandparents' names, not your pet's.

also exists in Spanish as the given name 'Félix'

El Gato Félix = Felix the Cat. Odds are that a cat named that way is named for the cartoon. (And any cat named Isidoro, if they exist at all, would be named for Heathcliff)
posted by sukeban at 12:03 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ms Molly: Luck is "suerte," and according to this article you'd use Suertudo as the equivalent of Lucky when naming a dog.

You're referencing this part: "Busca adjetivos como nombre para tu perro. Suertudo, Bonito, Dulce, o adjetivos en otros idiomas: Lucky, Sweet, Happy, Dusty" "Search for adjectives for your dog: Suertudo (Lucky), Bonito (Pretty), Dulce (Sweet), or adjectives in other languages: Lucky, Sweet, Happy, Dusty".

English is favored because it gives short, two-syllabe names so easily and they're not words used in normal conversation.
posted by sukeban at 12:16 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

It (Félix) is a name like someone might use for a kid or puppy though? (Knowing full well the cartoon comparison will be made, because what other pop culture refs are there besides The Odd Couple.) I was erring on the side of 'etymology might be enough' but 'names like real people use them for cats specifically' is a delightfully Metafilterian distinction.
posted by Lou Stuells at 12:27 AM on January 15, 2016

I don't know, but it has a strong association with cats and it's also a person's name, so I don't think it'd be very popular (at least, here in Spain). This article from 2013 lists the most common dog names in Spain: Luna, Laika, Linda (not used here as a person's name), Rocky, Toby, Chispa, Kira, Lola, Canela y Chiqui. I'm only surprised that it doesn't have "Blacky" which is kind of the standard name for a black dog, but you see the trend for two-syllabe words that aren't human names locally: the only one in the list that would be commonly used by Spaniards for humans would be Lola.

The article does mention "conceptos tan optimistas como Suerte y Happy" ("optimistic concepts like Suerte and Happy") so someone who wrote to the newspaper did name their dog Suerte.

I haven't been able to find Latin American pet list names because most articles reference American surveys, but here are the most common cat names in Colombia in 2014 and Félix is #7 ("Pelusa" means something like furball and Silvestre/ Sylvester is another cartoon cat)
posted by sukeban at 1:13 AM on January 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Your character could have a cat and dog and name them Fortunata y Jacinta, if she had a weird sense of humor.
posted by yarly at 4:03 AM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

(explanation: Fortunata y Jacinta is a well-known 19th century novel, it would be like naming the pets Miss Bennet and Mr Darcy)
posted by sukeban at 4:11 AM on January 15, 2016

Uruguayan who lived in Spain and Argentina, here.

I don't think there's any common animal name associated with luck.

Fortunato is an Italian name, and that "t" is enough to keep me from thinking about fortune immediately, even though I took Italian in school. It doesn't help that "afortunado" is not used a lot in this corner of the woods.

We use "suertudo" more, which happens to be the name chosen by the people who translated the scripts of Alf for dubbing for Latinamerica (in Spain they kept the original). Not a common cat name, but it would be understood by the most people, and anyone old enough to remember Alf would recognize the name and think the character who owns the cat is a fan.
posted by Promethea at 4:54 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I've never heard the word 'Suerteza' before in my life (I'm Chilean, neither has Google). I've never met or heard of a pet named 'Afortunado', 'Suertudo' or anything like it, but have met dogs named 'Lucky'.
posted by signal at 4:55 AM on January 15, 2016

For what it's worth, there is a well known superstition in veterinary medicine that you should never name a pet Lucky, as it ensures that the pet will be anything but. Perhaps that ties in to your story somewhere?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:13 AM on January 15, 2016

When I lived in Mexico I knew a cat named Lucky. Good beast.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:06 AM on January 16, 2016

« Older I need good full-day speakers/trainers on autism...   |   401k rollover turned into a fumble. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.