I’ve just come across Vinicius in the extended data! 7 baby boys were named this in the U.S. in 2015. That’s down from previous years, but I suspect that number’s going to rise in 2016. This Ancient Roman moniker belonged to the mascot of this year’s Summer Olympics in Rio.
Vinicius the mascot was named after a famous Brazilian poet, Marcus “Vinicius” de Moraes. Coming from a classical studies background, I’d just like to take a moment and swoon at the amazing first-middle combo that is Marcus Vinicius! OK, moment over. Vinicius de Moraes co-wrote a song most have heard at some point or another: “The Girl from Ipanema.” Supposedly it’s the second-most rerecorded song ever, after the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” Anyway, there were actually at least two men named Marcus Vicinius in Ancient Rome, who both held the role of Consul at some point or another. One even married the granddaughter of Emperor Tiberius. Perhaps the poet was named after one of them?
There’s also the form Vinicio, which was given to 9 boys in the U.S. last year. I found a “name duel” on a Portuguese site (called Nomes e mais Nomes; translation: Names and More Names) between Vinicio and Benicio. According to the information on Vinicio, Vinicius is the popular form in Brazil, but doesn’t comply with Portugal’s naming laws. Vinicio is the legal Portuguese form, but it’s extremely rare. Here in the U.S., Vinicio is more common, but that may be because it’s also the Spanish version.
What do you think of Vinicius? Vinicio? I find it baffling that a Portuguese-language name would be illegal in Portugal, but I can’t make any assumptions why.
P.S. If you check out Nomes e mais Nomes and don’t already know Portuguese, please understand that Google Translate is imperfect. It translated the names Ana to “dwarf,” Amélia to “long-suffering wife,” Iria to “would go,” and Ema to “emu.” Use the translation tool to understand the paragraphs, but read the name lists in the original Portuguese.