In many Spanish-speaking South American countries it is common to name a child (especially a boy) "Jesus". However, we never (I never) see this in the Portuguese speaking country (Brazil). I find this a bit odd because it seems that most SA countries are equally devout to Christianity, so I don't think it's a devotion issue. Does anyone think it has to do with the language? Or just culture?

  • 3
    I've met a few "Jesuses" in Brazil. Not many, but they do exist. I'm afraid your question is about cultural differences and not about Portuguese language.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 2:01
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 2:06
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    In case of Brazil, there are actually many people called Jesus. I myself, in the course of my life, already heard of six or more Brazilian men called Jesus, in which two of them I lived among with. Also, this question doesn't seem to be about the Portuguese language, it seems to be more about culture.
    – Yuuza
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 2:07
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    I voted to close the question too. There are language issues that some users decided to tag culture, but this question is about explainig naming preferences. I think this is sociology perhaps, and way beyond language. Off course Portuguese language SE does not have to cater to any particular topic just because theres is no other SE community dedicated to it.
    – Jacinto
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 12:59
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    If you want you can open a question on META to discuss if the question is on-topic or off-topic.
    – Jorge B.
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 18:41

6 Answers 6


Brazilian Institue for Geography and Statistics (IBGE, in the Portuguese acronym) has a very good site that shows the frequency and distribution of personal names troughout the country.

Jesus is not a very common name, being in position 319 of the most common boy names, and having more than 35.000 people being named after (including more than 2.000 girls!), but definitely it is used to name boys.

As for myself, I used to work for years with a guy named Jesus. This name is also used as a surname, like the former goalkeeper of the Brazilian National Soccer Team Dida de Jesus.

All in all it seems to me that your perception is rather a personal one, as there are thousands of Jesus living in Brazil.

  • Thanks for answering! I figured there were a few, but it didn't make statistical sense to me that I've never been to another SA country, and I have met a handful of Hispanic Jesuses. But after living in Brazil for 10 years I only ever met one person named Jesus, a woman whose nickname was such.
    – M Barbosa
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 2:16
  • As a first name, I never met anyone! Nonetheless there's a lot of Marias in Portugal and Brazil, sacred name also; and in Islamic culture there's a lot of Muhammads. Thus indeed the OP's question, despite off-topic, is interesting. Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 17:45

Answering the "why" for why it isn't largely used, and adding to what gmauch said, the reason is more closely related to culture (or more precisely, religion), in which, based to my experience and living among such people, it's not many people that find naming their son as "Jesus" something much proper to do, either by:

  1. The parents not being religious (either atheists or non-practicing religious);
  2. Being religious and not considering proper to name their own son with the same name of the one they worship (in case of the parents being protestants);
  3. The fact that it may create an uncomfortable symbolism that the child's father is God with his son Jesus;
  4. Simply because it isn't a name that the parents like (just like what happens with any other name).

So far, I met 2 "Jesuses" and heard of 4+ other, but I agree that it's a very uncommon name in Brazil, compared to the most common ones.

  • I think it is more "2" than "1".
    – jsbueno
    Commented Jan 2, 2018 at 18:01
  • As a first name, I never met anyone! I'd say reason 2) is the most convincing. Nonetheless there's a lot of Marias, sacred name also, and in Islamic cultur there's a lot of Muhammad. Thus indeed the OP's question, despite off-topic, is interesting. Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 17:44

There are some boys named after JESUS, and there are some girls too. They come with the names MARIA de JESUS (It's like a short Mary, the mother of Jesus - Mary "of" Jesus). There's another cultural issue. If the family is protestant they don't think it's a good idea to name their children after the savior's name.


Visto que o país tem maioria cristã, não é religiosamente bem visto alguém ser chamado de Jesus. Porque o nome Jesus é usado para identificar um forte ícone da religião das pessoas. Fica claro para mim que na região onde moro — Macaé, Rio de Janeiro — causa certo desconforto chamar alguém de Jesus. Por isso, não é comum dar o nome de Jesus como primeiro nome do filho.

Since the country's majority is Christian, it is not religiously well seen someone be called Jesus. As the name Jesus is used to identify a strong icon of people's religion. It is clear to me that in the region where I live — Macaé, Rio de Janeiro — it causes some discomfort to call someone Jesus. Hence, it is not common to give the name of Jesus as the son's first name.

  • E por que o nome é tão comum na maior parte da América Latina, que é tão cristã quanto, senão mais, do que o Brasil? Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 12:35
  • Pode ser cultural. Falo baseado em observação pessoal. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 13:56

Maria de Jesus, name of my Portuguese grandmother from Madeira! I have no idea why my great grandparents gave her that name in 1860 !


It's to do with culture. It's to do with revering a person. In Spanish and Portuguese culture the name Jesus is commonly used as a way of revering a special person - Jesus Christ. As far as I am aware in all other christian cultures the opposite is applied. Don't use the name as a way of revering that name. Only Jesus Christ has the name Jesus.

  • Actually, despite this name being considered sacred in Latin countries' Christendom, it is not a taboo (a word forbidden for common use or to name someone). The name "Jesus", and even "Deus" (=God), are commonly used in people names in Portuguese culture, such as in Maria de Jesus and João de Deus.
    – Seninha
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 11:00

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