Ancient Nahuatl Poetry ||| Nahuatl proper names, with explanationsCategory: Ancient Nahuatl Poetry
INDEX OF NAHUATL PROPER NAMES, WITH EXPLANATIONS.
ACALLAN, 105. “The place of boats,” from acalli, boat. An ancient
province at the mouth of the Usumacinta river; but the name was
probably applied to other localities also.
ACATLAPAN, 41. A village southeast of Chalco. From acatla, a place
of reeds, and pan, in or at.
ACHALCHIUHTLANEXTIN, 46. The first chief of the Toltecs; another form
of chalchiuhtonac. Both names mean “the gleam of the precious
jade.” Compare Torquemada, Monarquia Indiana. Lib. III., cap. 7;
Orozco y Berra, Hist. Antigua de Mexico, Tom. III., p. 42. The date
of the beginning of his reign is put at A.D. 667 or 700.
ACOLHUACAN, 40, 91, 119. A compound of atl, water, and colhuacan,
(q. v.) = “Colhuacan by the water,” the name of the state of which
Tetzcuco was the capital, in the valley of Mexico.
ACOLMIZTLAN, 89, from
ACOLMIZTLI, 35. A name of Nezahualcoyotl (see p. 35), also of other
ANAHUAC, 125. From atl, water, nahuac, by, = the land by the
water. The term was applied first to the land by the lakes in the
Valley of Mexico, and later to that along both the Gulf of Mexico and
the Pacific Ocean.
ATECPAN, 77. “The royal residence by the water” (atl, tecpan). I do
not find this locality mentioned elsewhere.
ATLIXCO, 125. “Where the water shows its face” (atl, ixtli, co). A
locality southeast of Tezcuco, near the lake, so called from a large
spring. See Motolinia, Historia de los Indios, Trat. III, cap. 18.
ATLOYANTEPETL, 85, 89, 91. Perhaps for atlauantepetl, “the mountain
that rules the waters.” But see note to XIII, v. 6.
ATZALAN, 114. “Amid the waters” (atl, tzalan). Perhaps not a proper
name; but two villages in the present State of Puebla are called
Atzala (see Orozco y Berra, Geografia de las Lenguas de Mexico, pp.
AXAXACATZIN, 43. Probably for axayacatzin, reverential of
axayacatl, the name of a species of marsh fly. It was also the name
of the sixth ruler of Mexico (flor. about 1500), and doubtless of
other distinguished persons. See Ixtlilxochitl, HistoriaChichimeca, cap. 51.
AZCAPOTZALCO, 50, 51. An ancient town in the valley of Mexico, once
the capital city of the Tepanecas (q. v.). The word means “place of
the ant-hills,” from azcaputzalli.
AZTECS, 25. A Nahuatl tribe who derived their name from their
mythical ancient home, Aztlan. The derivation is obscure, but
probably is from the same radical as iztac, white, and, therefore,
Father Duran was right in translating Aztlan, “place of whiteness,”
the reference being to the East, whence the Aztecs claim to have
come. See Duran, Historia de las Indias, cap. II.
CACAMATL, 94, 95. The reference appears to be to Cacamatzin (the
Noble Sad One, from cacamaua, fig. to be sad), last ruler of
Tezcuco, son and successor, in 1516, of Nezahualpilli. He was put to
death by Cortes.
CATOCIH, 89. A doubtful word, which may not be a proper name.
CHALCO, 16, 69, 95. A town and lake in the valley of Mexico. The
people were Nahuas and subject to Mexico. The word is probably
derived from Challi, with the postpos. co, meaning “at the mouth”
(of a river). See Buschmann, Ueber die Aztekischen Ortsnamen, s.
689, and comp. Codex Ramirez, p. 18.
CHIAPA, CHIAPANECA, 70, 71. The province and inhabitants of Chiapas,
in Southern Mexico. There were colonies of Nahuas in Chiapas, though
most of the natives spoke other tongues. The derivation is probably
from chia, a mucilaginous seed highly esteemed in Mexico.
CHICHIMECATL or CHICHIMECS, 88, 89, 91, 101. A rude hunting tribe,
speaking Nahuatl, who settled, in early times, in the valley of
Mexico. The name was said to be derived from chichi, a dog, on
account of their devotion to hunting (Cod. Ramirez). Others say it
was that of their first chieftain.
CHICOMOZTOC, 88, 89. “At the seven caves,” the name of the mythical
locality from which the seven Nahuatl tribes derived their origin.
The Codex Ramirez explains the seven caves to mean the seven houses
or lineages (totems) of which the nation consisted.
CHILILITLI, 36. Name of a tower of sacred import. It is apparently a
compound of chia or chielia, to watch, and tlilli, blackness,
obscurity, hence “a night watch-tower.” It was probably used for the
study of the sky at night.
CHIMALPOPOCA, 43. “The smoking shield,” from chimalli, shield, and
popoca. The name of several distinguished warriors and rulers in
CHOLULA or CHOLOLLAN, 105. Name of a celebrated ancient state and
city. From choloa, with the probable meaning, “place of refuge,”
“place of the fugitives.”
CIHUAPAN, 41. Name of a warrior, otherwise unknown. From cihuatl,
woman, pan, among, with.
COATZITEUCTLI, 89. A name compound of coatzin, reverential form of
coatl, serpent, and teuctli, lord.
COLHUA, A people of Nahuatl affinity, who dwelt in ancient times in
the valley of Mexico. See Colhuacan.
COLHUACAN, 88, 89, 91. A town in the valley of Mexico. In spite of
the arguments to the contrary, I believe the Colhua were of Nahuatl
lineage, and that the name is derived from colli, ancestor;
colhuacan, the residence of the ancestors; with this signification,
it was applied to many localities. It must be distinguished from
Acolhuacan. Its ikonomatic symbol was a hill bent over at the top,
from coloa, to bend.
COLZAZTLI, 39. Probably for Coltzatztli, one who cries out or calls
to the ancestors (colli, tzatzia). A chief whom I have not found
CONAHUATZIN, 41. A warrior not elsewhere mentioned. By derivation it
means “noble son of the lord of the water” (conetl, ahua, tzin).
CUETZPALTZIN, 89. A proper name, from cuetzpalli, the 4th day of
CUEXTLA, 33. A province of ancient Mexico. See Torquemada, MonarquiaIndiana. Lib. II, caps. 53, 56.
CULTEPEC, 42. A village five leagues from Tezcuco, at the foot of the
mountains. Deriv., colli, ancestor, tepetl, mountain or town,
with post-pos. c; “at the town of the ancestors.”
HUETLALPAN or HUETLAPALLAN, 89. The original seat of the mythical
Toltecs. The name is a compound of hue, old, and Tlapallan, q. v.
HUEXOTZINCO, 50, 83, 91, 99, 113. An independent State of ancient
Anahuac, south of Tlascala and west of Cholula. The name means “at
the little willow woods,” being a diminutive from huexatla, place
HUITLALOTZIN, 89. From huitlallotl, a species of bird, with the
reverential termination. Name of a warrior.
HUITZILAPOCHTLI, 16. Tribal god of the Mexicans of Tenochtitlan. The
name is usually derived from huitzitzilin, humming bird, and
opochtli, left (Cod. Ramirez, p. 22), but more correctly from
huitztli, the south, iloa, to turn, opochtli, the left hand,
“the left hand turned toward the south,” as this god directed the
wanderings of the Mexicans southward. The humming bird was used as
the “ikonomatic” symbol of the name.
HUITZILIHUITL, 89. “Humming-bird feather.” Name of an ancient ruler
of Mexico, and of other warriors.
HUITZNAHUACATL, 91. A ruler of Huexotlan (Clavigero); a member of the
Huitznahua, residents of the quarters so called in Tezcuco and
Tenochtitlan (Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chichimeca, cap. 38).
IXTLILXOCHITL, 35, 46, 89. A ruler of Acolhuacan, father of
Nezahualcoyotl. Comp. ixtli, face, tlilxochitl, the vanilla
(literally, the black flower).
IZTACCOYOTL, 89, 93. “The white wolf.” Name of a warrior otherwise
MEXICANS, 67, 83, 85, 87, 123, 125. See
MEXICO, 83, 123. Name of the town and state otherwise called
Tenochtitlan. Mexitl was one of the names of the national god
Huitzilopochtli, and Mexico means “the place of Mexitl,” indicating
that the city was originally called from a fane of the god.
MICTLAN, 95, 117, 119. The Mexican Hades, literally, “the place of
MONTEZUMA, 14, 41, 113. The name of the ruler of Mexico on the
arrival of Cortes. The proper form is Moteuhzomatzin or
Motecuhzomatzin, and the meaning, “he who is angry in a noble
manner.” (“seсor saсudo,” Cod. Ramirez, p. 72; “qui se fache en
seigneur,” Simйon, Dict. de la Langue Nahuatl, s. v.).
MOQUIHUIX, 33. The fourth ruler of Tlatilolco. He assumed the power
in 1441, according to some writers (Bustamente, Tezcoco, en losUltimas Tiempos de sus Antiguos Reyes, p. 269). The name probably
means “He who comes forth a freeman.” See Ixtlilxochitl, HistoriaChichimeca, caps. 36, 51.
NACXITL TOPILTZIN, 105, 107. Nacxitl, “the four footed” (nahui,ixitl), was the name of one of the gods of the merchants (Sahagun,
Hist, de Nueva Espaсa, Lib. I, c. 19). In the song it is applied to
Quetzalcoatl, who was also regarded as a guardian of merchants.
NAHUATL, (9, etc.). A term applied to the language otherwise known as
Aztec or Mexican. As an adjective it means “well-sounding,” or,
pleasant to the ear. From this, the term Nahua is used collectively
for all tribes who spoke the Nahuatl tongue. Nahuatl also means
clever, skillful, and the derivation is probably from the root na,
NECAXECMITL, 46. Name of uncertain meaning of a person otherwise
NEZAHUALCOYOTL, 35, 67, 119. Chief of the Acolhuas, and ruler in
Tezcuco from 1427 to 1472, or thereabouts. He was a distinguished
patron of the arts and a celebrated poet. See p. 35, et seq.
NEZAHUALPILLI, or NEZAHUALPIZINTLI, 14, 125. Ruler of Acolhuacan, son
of Nezahualcoyotl. His accession is dated in 1470 or 1472.
NONOHUALCO, 105, 125. Name of one of the quarters of the ancient city
of Mexico; also of a mountain west of the valley of Mexico. The
derivation is probably from onoc, to lie down; onohua, to sleep;
onohuayan, a settled spot, an inhabited place. The co is a
NOPAL or NOPALTZIN, 46. Ruler of Acolhuacan, A. D. 1260-1263,
according to some chronologies. The name is from nopalli, the
cactus or opuntia.
NOPILTZIN, 67, 91. “My son,” or “my lord,” a term of deference
applied to superiors, from pilli, which means son and also lord,
like the old English child. Cf. Topiltzin.
OTOMIS, 16, 49, 58, 64, 71, 95. A nation which inhabited a portion of
the valley of Mexico and region adjacent, entirely dissimilar in
language and appearance from the Nahuas. The etymologies suggested
POPOCATEPETL, 46. “The smoking mountain,” the name of a famous
volcano rising from the valley of Mexico.
POYAUHTECATL, 105. A volcano near Orizaba (Sahagun. Hist. de NuevaEspaсa, Lib. I, cap. 21). Derived from poyaua, to color, to
QUANTZINTECOMATZIN, 41. A warrior not otherwise known. The name is a
double reverential, from quani, eater, and tecomatl, vase, “The
noble eater from the royal dish.”
QUAUHQUECHOLLAN, 95. A village and plain near the southern base of
Popocatepetl. It means “the place of the quechol woods,” or the trees
among which quechol birds are found. See Motolinia, Historia de losIndios, Trat. III, cap. 18.
QUAUHXILOTL, 89. Name of a large tree, and applied to a warrior,
ruler of Iztapallocan, whom Ixtlilxochitl, King of Tezcuco, placed at
the head of his troops in his war with Tezozomoc. See Clavigero,
Storia Antica di Messico, Tom. I, p. 185.
QUETZALCOATL, 32, 143, 144. See note on p. 143.
QUETZALMAMATZIN, 91. Name of a warrior, “the noble one of the
beautiful hands” (quetzalli, mama, pl. of maitl, and rev. term,
tzin). Perhaps the same as Quetzalmemalitzin, ruler of Teotihuacan,
mentioned by Ixtlilxochitl, Historia Chichimeca, cap. 35.
QUIAUHTZIN, 93. Name of a warrior, “The noble rain” (quiauitl,tziri).
TENOCHTITLAN, 85. The current name for the City of Mexico; literally,
“at the stone-nopal,” from tetl, stone, nochtli, nopal, and
postpos., tlan. The term refers to an ancient tradition.
TEPANECAS or TECPANECAS, 35. A powerful nation of Nahuatl lineage,
who dwelt in the valley of Mexico. They were destroyed in 1425 by the
Acolhuas and Mexicans, and later the state of Tlacopan was formed
from their remnants. Comp. probably from tecpan, a royal residence,
with the gentile termination.
TEPEYACAC, TEPEYACAN, 93. From tepetl, mountain, yacatl, nose,
point, and postpos, c. 1. A small mountain on which the celebrated
church of the Virgin of Guadalupe now stands. 2. A large town and
state subject to ancient Mexico, now Tepeaca in the province of
TETLAPAN QUETZANITZIN, 68, 69. A ruler of Tlatilolco, contemporary of
the conquest. See Note to Song VI.
TETZCOCO, now TEZCUCO, 14, 35, 36, 77. Capital city of Acolhuacan,
and residence of Nezahualcoyotl. It has been called “the Athens of
Anahuac.” The derivation of the name is from a plant called
tetzculli (Cod. Ramirez).
TEZOZOMOC, TEZOZOMOCTLI, 35, 39, 67, 88, 89. A ruler of the
Tepanecas, celebrated for his warlike skill and severity. His death
is placed in the year 1427. The name, like Montezuma, is derived from
zoma, to be angry, in this case from the reduplicated frequentative
TIZATLAN, 103. “The place of white varnish” (tizatl), the name of
one of the four quarters of the city of Tlascala.
TLACOMIHUATZIN, 93. “The noble cousin of the lynx” (tlacomiztli,
lynx, huan, postpos., denoting affinity, tzin, reverential). The
name of a warrior.
TLACOPAN, now TACUBA, 135. A small state west of Mexico and subject
to it, built up on the ruins of the ancient Tepanecas. Comp. from
tlacotli, a slave.
TLAHUICAN, 118. A Nahuatl province south of the valley of Mexico, so
called from the cinnabar, tlahuitl, there obtained (Buschmann; but
the Cod. Ramirez gives the meaning “toward the earth,” from
tlalli and huic). [*Transcriber’s note: TLAHUICAN not found in
text. See Tlahuica in Vocabulary.]
TLAILOTLACAN, 140. One of the seven divisions of the city of Tezcuco
(Ixtlilxochitl, Hist. Chichimeca, cap. 38).
[*Transcriber’s note: TLAILOTLACAN not found in text.]
TLAILOTLAQUI, 84. Literally, “workers in refuse,” or “scavengers.”
Said by M. Aubin to have been a tribe who settled in Tezcuco in the
reign of Quinantzin. The term is apparently one of contempt.
[*Transcriber’s note: TLAILOTLAQUI not found on page 84 in text. See
Tlailotlaqui in Vocabulary.]
TLALMANALCO, 42. A village near the foot of the volcano Popocatepetl.
Derived from tlalmanalli, level ground, with postpos. co.
TLALNAHUACATL, 89. “Dweller on the land;” name of a warrior.
TLALOC, 45. God of rain and the waters; a famous divinity among the
ancient Mexicans. The word means “stretched on the earth,” and the
idol of the god represented a man extended on his back holding a
TLAPALLAN, 105. A mythical land from which the Toltecs were fabled to
have come and to which Quetzalcoatl returned. The derivation is from
tlapalli, color, especially red.
TLATETOLCO, TLATILULCO, 33, 83, 85. A suburb of the ancient city of
Mexico, founded in 1338; from tlatelli, a mound, ololoa, to make
round, the sense being “an island.” See Motolinia, Historia de losIndios, Trat. III, cap. 7.
TLAXCALLAN, now TLASCALA, 89, 93, 103. “The place of bread,” from
tlaxcalli, bread. Site of a warlike tribe of Nahuatl descent, east
of the valley of Mexico.
TLATZIN, 46. Chief of a town of the Chichimecs, situated on Lake
Chalco. He flourished toward the close of the 14th century. From
tlatli, a falcon.
TOCHIN, 89. From tochtli, rabbit; name of the brother of the
Tezcucan ruler Quinantzin, and of many other personages.
TOLLAN, or TULAN, 46, 105, 107. The ancient mythical capital of the
Toltecs. The common derivation from tolin, a rush, is erroneous.
The name is a syncopated form of tonatlan, “the place of the sun.”
TOLTEC, properly TOLTECATL, 46, 111. An inhabitant of Tollan. The
Toltecs were a mythical people, whose civilization was supposed to
have preceded that of the Aztecs.
TOPILTZIN, 46, 105. “Our son” or “Our lord” (see Nopiltzin). The term
was especially applied to Quetzalcoatl, q. v. See Orozco y Berra,
Hist. Antig. de Mexico, Tom. III, p. 54.
TOTOQUILHUATLI, 41. From totoquilia, to act as agent or lieutenant.
Ruler of Tlacopan. The verse of the song in which this name occurs is
given in the original Nahuatl by Ixtlilxochitl, who says it was very
popular throughout New Spain. See his Historia Chichimeca, cap. 32.
XICALANCO, 107. A locality on the borders of the province Tabasco.
The people spoke Nahuatl. Deriv. xicalli, gourd or jar, and
XICOMATZINTLAMATA, 43. Name of a warrior not otherwise known. The
compound seems to mean “skillful with angry hand” (xicoa, maitl,tlamati).
XICONTECATL, 103. Name of several distinguished Tlascalan warriors,
lords of Tizatlan. See Clavigero, Hist. Antica di Messico, Tom.
III, pp. 38 and 40, One was a favorite of Nezahualcoyotl. See
Ixtlilxochitl, Historia Chichimeca, cap. 40.
XIUHTEUCTLI, 15. The god of fire, literally, “the lord of the year,”
or “of the foliage.”
XIUHTZAL, 46. A queen of ancient Tollan, said by Clavigero to have
ruled from A. D. 979 to 984. Other writers give the name more
correctly Xiuhtlaltzin, “Lady of the Green Fields,” and place her
death in 987. (Orozco y Berra, Hist. Antig. de Mexico, Tom. III, p.
XOLOTL, 46. An early if not the first king of the Chichimecs. His
death occurred in 1232.
YOHUALLATONOC, 89. “Shining at night.” Name of a warrior.
YOPICO, 22. A division of the ancient city of Mexico, containing a
temple of this name. The word means “the place of the tearing out of
hearts” (yolltol, pi, co), from the form of sacrifice there carried
YOYONTZIN, 35, 40, 66, 67. A name of Nezahualcoyotl. See p. 35.