Is there a single word in Spanish that can be used as "namesake" in English in the sense of "the person who someone is named after"?

For instance, if I want to say that James Joyce's character Dedalus lives up to his namesake, the mythological Daedalus, is there a word to refer to the latter?

It is not tocayo:

tocayo, ya

  1. m. y f. Respecto de una persona, otra que tiene su mismo nombre.

Nor is it an eponym:

epónimo, ma

Del gr. ἐπώνυμος epṓnymos.

  1. adj. cult. Dicho de una persona o de una cosa: Que tiene un nombre con el que se pasa a denominar un pueblo, una ciudad, una enfermedad, etc. U. t. c. s. m.
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    Why it's not tocayo? Wordreference proposes it as a possible translation for the meaning "([sb] named after another". – Mauricio Martinez Nov 17 '17 at 16:34
  • Mauricio, because tocayo is a little ambiguous, as it could be referring to either person, and it does not necessarily mean that someone was named after someone else - you could meet someone with the same name as you in the street and cal them your tocayo. – Zumón Nov 17 '17 at 17:06
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    But namesake in English is not restricted to someone being named after someone it just means having the same name so I agree with @MauricioMartinez about tocayo – mdewey Nov 17 '17 at 17:12
  • You're right, namesake has the same ambiguity, but the difference is that it can be applied in the context of someone's surname (Stephen Dedalus, in my example), while, as Diego mentions in his answer, tocayo cannot. The latter implies coincidence more than intention (at least to me). Of course, like you say, definitions are never clear-cut. Thank you both for your comments. – Zumón Nov 17 '17 at 17:24
  • An alternative suggestion: colombroño. – jacobo Apr 9 '20 at 10:16

In Spanish you have the term homónimo which takes a little bit further the connotations of a tocayo

homónimo, ma

  1. adj. Dicho de una persona o de una cosa: Que, con respecto de otra, tiene el mismo nombre. U. t. c. s.

The connotation is that another "Diego" is my tocayo, but if what we share is the last name (apellido) instead of the first name, then that person would not be my tocayo.

On the other hand homónimo has that meaning of "same name as". To clarify, you could say

La Córdoba argentina y la española son ciudades homónimas.


El equipo argentino River Plate deberá enfrentarse a su homónimo de Uruguay.

Foo Fighters ha debutado con un disco homónimo

Tom Hanks protagoniza el film “El código da Vinci” que es la adaptación cinematográfica del libro homónimo escrito en 2003 por el norteamericano Dan Brown.


But you would not use "tocayos/as" in these cases. Notice that according to the definitio "tocayo" is used only for people while "homónimo" is used for people and things, which gives this latter one a boarder meaning. You could say, in reference to your example

Dédalo, el personaje de James Joyce, vive de acuerdo (o hace honor) a su homónimo mitológico.

You are more likely to find homónimo if what matches is the last name (apellido) instead of the first name (nombre de pila). See for example this article in which Leonardo Mayer beats his namesake Florian Mayer.

  • Muchísimas gracias, Diego. No sabía que "homónimo" se podía usar para referirse a dos personas tambíen. Siempre lo había utilizado, como en tus ejemplos, para ciudades, libros, etc. – Zumón Nov 17 '17 at 17:04

Dedalus honró a la figura mitológica por la que se nombró, Daedalus.

persona por la que me nombraron

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