Etymology & Historical Origin of the Baby Name Diego

Oddly enough, the name Diego is a Spanish form of the name James which is ultimately a derivative of Jacob. This example gives us a lesson in etymology and a clear study on how languages evolve over time. The original Hebrew name for Jacob (Ya'akov) took different directions in the English and Spanish languages over the years, and ended up with the most common forms, James and Diego, respectively. (For more information on the etymological origin, see Jacob). James was derived from the Hebrew (Yaakov) to the Greek (Iacomus) to the French (Gemme) and finally to modern-day English version of James. Diego’s travel trough time is not so straightforward, however. It’s thought that the Greek Iacomus was shortened to Iaco and then to Yago. Sant Yago (“sant” being an old Spanish word for saint) eventually became Santiago, which is how Spanish-speaking people refer to the book of James in the New Testament. Iago was essentially lengthened into Tiago which finally morphed into Diego. Most people think Jaime is the Spanish translation for James when, in fact, it’s Diego. Learn something new every day! Just to confuse things more, Diego is also often associated with the Latin "Didacus" (learned person, teacher). The Franciscan lay brother and later saint, Didacus of Alcalá, is usually referred to in the English language as San Diego de Alcalá (the namesake of San Diego, California). However, it appears to be agreed that forming Diego from the Latin “Didacus” was a later effort of etymological reverse engineering.

All About the Baby Name – Diego

Personality

OF THE BOY NAME DIEGO

The number Four personality is marked by stability and discipline. This is the personality that follows the rules and is conservative by nature.  They have an earth-bound energy that prefers to build things methodically on top of firm foundations; they don't cut corners. Fours take their time and don't like to be hurried. But the outcome of their endeavors is likely to result in some strong and useful structure, which makes them great engineers and inventors. Fours are anything but frivolous or controversial. This is a trustworthy, straight-forward personality that embodies dedication and organization. They are the backbone and anchor in their relationships, careers and communities. They are tidy, punctual, and full of integrity. Hard-work comes naturally to a Four and they are immensely reliable. This is the personality you can always count on.

Popularity

OF THE BOY NAME DIEGO

Diego first hits the U.S. popularity charts in the early 1960’s and shows very slow growth until the 1980’s. The name enters the Top 100 most popular boys’ names in the year 2002. The increased usage of the name Diego shadows the rising Hispanic population in the United States, which has gone from 15 million in 1980 to 50 million in 2010, or roughly representing 16% of the total U.S. population today. As such, in the past twenty years, more and more given names distinct to Spanish-speakers are showing up at high points on the U.S. graphs. For boys in America, Jose is the first most popular among the Spanish-speaking population, followed by Juan, Xavier, Luis and, finally, currently in 5th place is the ever-charming Diego.

Quick Facts

ON DIEGO

GENDER:

Boy

ORIGIN:

Spanish

NUMBER OF SYLLABLES:

3

RANKING POPULARITY:

130

PRONUNCIATION:

dee-A-go

SIMPLE MEANING:

He who supplants, at the heel

Characteristics

OF DIEGO

Dependable

Solid

Practical

Hard-working

Industrious

Studious

Conservative

Cultural References to the Baby Name – Diego

Literary Characters

OF THE BABY NAME DIEGO

We cannot find any significant literary characters by the name of Diego

Popular Songs

ON DIEGO

Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego?
a song by Tilt

Famous People

NAMED DIEGO

Diego Rivera (painter)
Diego Velázquez (painter)
Diego Boneta (singer/actor)

Children of Famous People

NAMED DIEGO

We cannot find any children of famous people with the first name Diego

Historic Figures

WITH THE NAME DIEGO

Diego Rivera is an important Mexican artist who was also the husband to Frida Kahlo (another famous painter). Rivera’s love for his country was only matched by his passion for painting. His fresco works helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance which gained international acclaim. Diego Rivera’s powerful mural paintings are a true celebration of the Mexican people.