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Is This Nickname Workable, or Weird?

My name is Maria Alejandra, which is Spanish. I'm studying abroad, and nobody can pronounce my full name. I go by Maria for now, but there are about 20 of us and it gets quite confusing. I want to start going by "Malendra." It's a play on both my names and I like the sound of it. However, after doing some searching I've realized that that's a name commonly used by Indian men. Do you think it would be weird if I took it as my name?

–Need to Shed Some Syllables

Making a contraction of a name starting with Maria is a time-honored tradition: Maria Teresa becomes Maite, or Maria Soledad is known as Marisol. So your nickname idea makes a lot of sense.

It's also smart to have some cross-cultural sensitivity about names. If you had invented the name Aditya for yourself, I'd caution that it is a familiar, and hugely popular, name among Indian men and boys.

But Malendra actually isn't. Globally speaking, it's an extremely rare name, one that very few people will have heard of. You’re right that it is occasionally used for men in India, but in this case, Internet searching has led you a bit astray. It's easy for these searches to distort our perspective. You can get thousands of Google results for practically any attractive string of letters. But if you drill down, they often amount to very little in terms of baby-name impact.

I think you should go ahead with Malendra as your nickname. If you need some help encouraging your friends and classmates to use it, this advice for stopping a nickname certainly works in your situation too.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

February 20, 2018 4:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

If it works for you, I'd go for it. My only hesitation is the prefix "mal" means bad as in the word malodorous. If it doesn't bother you, I wouldn't worry about it.

February 22, 2018 6:21 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The actress Majandra Delfino is Maria Alejandra, and shortened her name as well. Her chosen nickname may appeal to you as well.

March 3, 2018 8:27 AM
By anonymous (not verified)

The main problem I have with it is that the word malandra is South American slang for a crook. I think it's too close, especially if your crowd contains Colombians or Venezuelans.

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