Friday, September 10, 2010

What's in a Name? I Found Out

O.K., this is embarrassing.

In my column this week, I referred to Don Francisco Trujillo as Secretary of State Mary Herrera's "top deputy, who prefers to use the Spanish honorific before his name."

Today Trujillo called to say that "Don" actually is his first name. Someone I trusted told me otherwise.

"I don't think I'm old enough to give myself the title of `Don,'" he said.

He offered to show me his birth certificate. I told him I wasn't a birther.

Lesson learned, I should have checked with Trujillo about the "Don" business.

I'm going back to the column and omit the reference now.


  1. Age isn't as important as being a person of respect has for Don. Don refers to nobility in Spain. In New Mexico people who were community leaders, who were respected, and maybe a little bit better off than the average guy were referred to as Don. With the title came a responsibility to the community.

    Nancy López

  2. "Although originally a title reserved for royalty, select nobles, and church hierarchs, it is now often used as a mark of esteem for a person of personal, social or official distinction, such as a community leader of long standing, a person of significant wealth, or a noble, but may also be used ironically. As a style, rather than a title or rank, it is used with, and not instead of, a person's name.

    Syntactically, it is used in much the same way (although for a broader group of persons) as "Sir" and "Dame" are used in English when speaking of or to a person who has been knighted, e.g. "Don Firstname" or "Doña Firstname Lastname". Unlike "The Honourable" in English, Don may be used when speaking directly to a person, and unlike "Mister" it must be used with a given name. For example, 'Don Diego de la Vega,' or (abbreviating "señor") 'Sr. Don Diego de la Vega,' or simply 'Don Diego' (the secret identity of Zorro) are typical forms."

  3. ...ok, where's his birth certificate?

  4. Not to be confused with Don Francisco (Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld), a popular television personality on the Univision network and best known for hosting the variety shows "Sábado Gigante" and "Don Francisco Presenta."