Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => The Good, The Bad and The Ugly => Topic started by: Cusser on November 05, 2009, 08:17:03 AM

Title: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Cusser on November 05, 2009, 08:17:03 AM
Is Tuco a real Mexican name, or made up for the film.  I did a Google search and found that "tuco-tucos" are South American rat-like rodents http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Tuco-tuco, any connection there????

"Known as the rat !!!"
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Dust Devil on November 05, 2009, 09:21:26 AM
I've often wondered about that too, but since my knowledge of Central and South American naming customs is limited, and nobody asked that question until now, I thought it actually might be a real name.

But the connection makes sense.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Groggy on November 05, 2009, 06:39:40 PM
Tico is a fairly common Hispanic name from my recollection. Perhaps Tuco is a variant.

Isn't it implied in the film that Tuco is itself an alias, rather than a real name? If so, that would explain it. Not unlike El Indio in FAFDM, or Mapache ("raccoon") in The Wild Bunch.

On the other hand... looking on Wikipedia, Tuco (single rather than Tuco-tuco) is a species of owl.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Groggy on November 05, 2009, 06:45:59 PM
Note: I put Tuco in a free-translation website and its apparent translation is "Maimed".
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Cusser on November 06, 2009, 06:25:15 AM

Isn't it implied in the film that Tuco is itself an alias, rather than a real name?

His brother the priest calls him "Tuco".
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Groggy on November 06, 2009, 08:47:10 AM
True.

If "maimed" is the translation of Tuco, I don't see how that really applies to the character.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Smokey on November 06, 2009, 03:36:29 PM
Don't they say his whole name one time when they're "hanging" him?
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Novecento on November 07, 2009, 09:27:01 AM
Is Tuco a real Mexican name, or made up for the film.  I did a Google search and found that "tuco-tucos" are South American rat-like rodents http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Tuco-tuco, any connection there????

"Known as the rat !!!"
Don't they say his whole name one time when they're "hanging" him?

Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez...known as "the Rat"
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: stoicamerican on November 21, 2009, 04:49:45 PM
Is Tuco a real Mexican name, or made up for the film.  I did a Google search and found that "tuco-tucos" are South American rat-like rodents http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Tuco-tuco, any connection there????

"Known as the rat !!!"

There might be some kind of connection between "tuco-tucos" and Eastwood's line "Known as The Rat...", but it's worth noting that in the undubbed Italian version, Tuco is referred to as "Il Porco", which (do I even need to say it?) translates to "The Pig."
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Groggy on November 21, 2009, 05:42:40 PM
As stated above, Tuco is Spanish for "maimed", and Tuco is also the name of an owl and several cities in South America. Although it's possible (and vaguely appropriate, although said rodents are more like gophers than "true" rats), I'm skeptical of the idea that Leone had much knowledge of South American rodents.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: stoicamerican on November 21, 2009, 08:33:28 PM
As stated above, Tuco is Spanish for "maimed", and Tuco is also the name of an owl and several cities in South America. Although it's possible (and vaguely appropriate, although said rodents are more like gophers than "true" rats), I'm skeptical of the idea that Leone had much knowledge of South American rodents.

Agreed. I wasn't advocating for the connection between Tuco and some kind of rodent, I was just pointing out that if there was some kind of connection between Tuco's name and the "tuco-tuco", then it would have to be a post-dub kind of thing because in Italian Tuco's nickname is "The Pig".
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Novecento on November 22, 2009, 10:27:14 AM
As stated above, Tuco is Spanish for "maimed"...

Where did you find that definition? I don't think it is correct.

Agreed. I wasn't advocating for the connection between Tuco and some kind of rodent, I was just pointing out that if there was some kind of connection between Tuco's name and the "tuco-tuco", then it would have to be a post-dub kind of thing because in Italian Tuco's nickname is "The Pig".

I think there may be a connection. Seeing as "Tuco" doesn't appear to mean anything in Italian, they don't have to stick with a rodent-like definition.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Groggy on November 22, 2009, 11:08:51 AM
Freetranslation.com.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: stoicamerican on November 22, 2009, 01:08:42 PM
A quick look at Wiktionary reveals no entry for the word "tuco".
Inspiration struck me and I googled "Spanish names Tuco". One website stated it was a variation of Alberto (plausible enough). Another stated that it was a name of uncertain origin, perhaps meaning "The Ugly One" (also plausible), and (here's the funny part) perhaps deriving from a species of owl or rodent.
This is an edit: forgot to mention, the site also stated that the name was of South American origin.

My best guess for all of this is that Leone (or whoever conceived of Tuco's name) knew it was a unique variant name (I'm guessing they wanted a unique name, although when you consider that Eastwood wasn't named, maybe they didn't give a shit).
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Groggy on November 22, 2009, 06:30:00 PM
The Ugly One seems promising to me.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: dave jenkins on November 22, 2009, 07:49:55 PM
The Ugly One seems promising to me.
But did it mean that before the film, or only after? Remember, GBU has had a tremendous influence, both on culture and language. Of course, now "Tuco" can mean "the ugly one" because that's how the character with that name was identified in the movie.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: stoicamerican on November 23, 2009, 02:01:40 PM
But did it mean that before the film, or only after? Remember, GBU has had a tremendous influence, both on culture and language. Of course, now "Tuco" can mean "the ugly one" because that's how the character with that name was identified in the movie.

Well the website I hit gives no indication in either direction. Here's the link:
http://www.bounty.com/baby-names/name-dictionary/tuco
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on November 24, 2009, 04:58:09 AM
My mother tongue is Spanish, and I never heard the word "Tuco" being referred as a person's name; at least, not in Spain. I always thought that Tuco was a name made-up for the GBU movie.

My old Collins Spanish/English dictionary has four entries for the word "Tuco"

First entry

1- a) (Latin American expression)  maimed, limbless, lacking a finger or a hand. b) (Central American expression) squat. 2- (Latin American, anatomy) stump. 3- Tuca, cripple.

Second entry

(Andean region, South America) glow worm.

Thrid Entry

(Central America) Namesake

Fourth Entry

(Andean Region, South America) Tomato Sauce.

It is also possible that the name Tuco was taken from the tuco-tuco, which is a rodent found in the Patagonia (Argentina). However, if the name Tuco in GBU refers to this rodent, then Leone or whoever made the script would have made a significant geographical error, as apparently there are no "tuco-tucos" in Mexico.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuco-tuco

Apparently, "Tuco" is also the slang word for "terrorist" in Peru; but again, Peru is not Mexico.

In summary, I don't know the answer for sure; but right or wrong, I still believe "Tuco" was a name specifically made-up for the character in GBU.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Smokey on November 24, 2009, 06:09:40 AM
This is an interesting discussion. It would seem, in general at least, that "tuco" conveys something undesireable,
"amputation", "rodent", "worm", "terrorist".
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: cigar joe on November 24, 2009, 06:18:37 AM
Could it just be a nickname, a shortened affectionate version of a formal name that means nothing, like something a grandfather/mother would call a grandson/son etc., etc., ,  something along the lines of Tuco a "nick" version of Benedicto?
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Groggy on November 24, 2009, 09:35:09 AM
I thought CJ that maybe Tuco was a variation on "Tico", which to my knowledge is a fairly common Spanish name.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on November 24, 2009, 09:59:49 AM
Could it just be a nickname, a shortened affectionate version of a formal name that means nothing, like something a grandfather/mother would call a grandson/son etc., etc., ,  something along the lines of Tuco a "nick" version of Benedicto?

That could very well be, Cigar Joe. In fact, I think you may have hit the nail in the head. In Spanish, given names are altered when referring to little boys or girls. For example, the name Pedro (Peter in English) can be altered to mean "Little Peter" in a number of ways, such as "Pedrito", "Pedrete", Pedrillo, Pedruco, etc. It is therefore possible that the name Benedicto would have been altered to "Benedictuco" to refer to "Little Benedicto", which ended being "Tuco" for abbreviation.

Now, being Spanish, that would make complete sense to me!!!!!  However, there is only one small region in Spain (Cantabria) where "uco" and "uca" are being used for that purpose (no idea about Mexico). And, coincidentally, it was in Laredo (Cantabria) where Leone filmed "The Colossus of Rhodes".  Does someone see a connection here? 8)
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: dave jenkins on November 24, 2009, 11:00:53 AM
That could very well be, Cigar Joe. In fact, I think you may have hit the nail in the head. In Spanish, given names are altered when referring to little boys or girls. For example, the name Pedro (Peter in English) can be altered to mean "Little Peter" in a number of ways, such as "Pedrito", "Pedrete", Pedrillo, Pedruco, etc. It is therefore possible that the name Benedicto would have been altered to "Benedictuco" to refer to "Little Benedicto", which ended being "Tuco" for abbreviation.
Great, great stuff. Thanks so much for posting this. Hmm, I think I sense a new SL Encyclopedia entry emerging . . .
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Groggy on November 24, 2009, 11:03:18 AM
The obvious solution, Jinkies, is for you to get off your ass and do it!
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Novecento on November 24, 2009, 06:59:50 PM
1- a) (Latin American expression)  maimed, limbless, lacking a finger or a hand.

Well seeing as Clint's character is called Manco in "For a Few Dollars More" which has a similar sense to this definition of Tuco, maybe this is the intended meaning.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Novecento on November 24, 2009, 08:20:54 PM
That could very well be, Cigar Joe. In fact, I think you may have hit the nail in the head. In Spanish, given names are altered when referring to little boys or girls. For example, the name Pedro (Peter in English) can be altered to mean "Little Peter" in a number of ways, such as "Pedrito", "Pedrete", Pedrillo, Pedruco, etc. It is therefore possible that the name Benedicto would have been altered to "Benedictuco" to refer to "Little Benedicto", which ended being "Tuco" for abbreviation.

Now, being Spanish, that would make complete sense to me!!!!!  However, there is only one small region in Spain (Cantabria) where "uco" and "uca" are being used for that purpose (no idea about Mexico). And, coincidentally, it was in Laredo (Cantabria) where Leone filmed "The Colossus of Rhodes".  Does someone see a connection here? 8)

That's an interesting suggestion, but Benedictuco with its five syllables hardly rolls off the tongue!
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: cigar joe on November 24, 2009, 08:32:13 PM
which would necessitate shortening it to Tuco.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: stoicamerican on November 25, 2009, 02:29:04 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_name
Here's a wikipedia article which mentions the name Tuco: if you go down to the section Spanish hypocoristics and nicknames, it mentions Tuco as a diminutive of Alberto. No mention of Benedicto, although frankly that sounds a lot closer to Tuco than Alberto.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on November 25, 2009, 03:13:01 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_name
Here's a wikipedia article which mentions the name Tuco: if you go down to the section Spanish hypocoristics and nicknames, it mentions Tuco as a diminutive of Alberto. No mention of Benedicto, although frankly that sounds a lot closer to Tuco than Alberto.

As I said before, my mother tongue is Spanish, so I will give you a few examples of Spanish names (including Alberto) that can end in "tuco" when used as diminutive.

Alberto-Albertuco
Roberto-Robertuco
Benedicto-Benedictuco
Norberto-Norbertuco
Evaristo-Evaristuco
Gilberto-Gilbertuco
Clemente-Clementuco
Vicente-Vicentuco
Cuarto-Cuartuco
Dante-Dantuco
Ernesto-Ernestuco
Adalberto-Adalbertuco
Filiberto-Filibertuco
Jacinto-Jacintuco
Heriberto-Heribertuco
Hipolito-Hipolituco
Honorato-Honoratuco
Huberto-Hubertuco
Santo-Santuco


All of the above diminutives are "grammatically correct" in Spanish, but what makes "Benedictuco" the prime suspect in our case is that one of Tuco's names in Benedicto.

Checking a dictionary, Wikipedia, etc is fine, but you may also want to check with someone whose mother tongue is Spanish (other than yours truly) and see what they say.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: stoicamerican on November 25, 2009, 03:40:22 AM
Damn, that's a lot of names.
Anyways, sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean to take on the role of some kind of pseudo-intellectual who believes he can understand a language by reading an article on wikipedia. I was just noting that Benedicto seems a lot closer to Tuco (phonetically) than Alberto.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on November 25, 2009, 04:11:25 AM
Damn, that's a lot of names.
Anyways, sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean to take on the role of some kind of pseudo-intellectual who believes he can understand a language by reading an article on wikipedia. I was just noting that Benedicto seems a lot closer to Tuco (phonetically) than Alberto.

Hey, no offense at all so no need to apologize. In fact, I think that the more comments, questions, and "what ifs", the better. For if they cannot be refuted, then we will have to look for another solution to our enigma... ;)
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Smokey on November 25, 2009, 05:52:25 AM
Ah but, as stated earlier, we have the supposedly leagal reading of his name prior to his "execution".
"Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez". I'm lead to believe from this that Tuco is part of his given
name and not a nick.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Novecento on November 25, 2009, 06:36:35 AM
From the REAL  ACADEMIA  ESPAÑOLA - DICCIONARIO DE LA LENGUA ESPAÑOLA  (http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltGUIBusUsual?LEMA=tuco)

tuco1, ca.
(Onomatopoeic from tuc, toc).
1. adj. Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela. Maimed
2. nm. Asturias. Cob (of corn).
3. nm. Asturias. Bone of pork/ham.
4. nm. Asturias. Something prominent and hard.
5. nm. Asturias, Central America, Puerto Rico. Stump (of dismembered limb).
6. nm. Costa Rica, Nicaragua. Slice/chunk of wood, iron etc.
7. nf. Ecuador, Nicaragua. Slice/chunk of wood.

tuco2.
(From Quechua tucu  "glowing, shining").
1. nm. Argentina. Species of beetle; some of the larger kinds have a luminous abdomen
 
tuco3.
1. nm. Argentina., Bolivia., Peru y Uruguay. Tomato sauce.

tuco4.
(From Quechua tuku).
1. nm. Peru. Species of Owl
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Novecento on November 25, 2009, 06:43:44 AM
which would necessitate shortening it to Tuco.

Too true ;D

However, aren't these affectionate names with diminutives meant to be able to be pronounced in full as well without too much difficulty?

Ah but, as stated earlier, we have the supposedly leagal reading of his name prior to his "execution".
"Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez". I'm lead to believe from this that Tuco is part of his given
name and not a nick.

Good point
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Novecento on November 25, 2009, 07:09:55 AM
For those who can read Spanish, here (http://es.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080728171353AA9LOme) is a discussion about whether Tuco is a full name or an abbreviation of a name.

Unfortunately no consensus appears to have been reached.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on November 25, 2009, 11:35:07 AM
Ah but, as stated earlier, we have the supposedly leagal reading of his name prior to his "execution".
"Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez". I'm lead to believe from this that Tuco is part of his given
name and not a nick.

It occurred to me that the legal name could have been read as : "Tuco" Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez, where "Tuco" was the nick he was known as....
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Smokey on November 25, 2009, 12:43:21 PM
"Tuco" Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez.
Is this a common practice in Spanish?

In the United States it would be common to state a legal name like this.
Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez alias Tuco.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on November 25, 2009, 01:47:13 PM
"Tuco" Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez.
Is this a common practice in Spanish?

In the United States it would be common to state a legal name like this.
Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez alias Tuco.

It seems to me that same would apply in Spain in a formal court case. However, I wonder how formal were the courts at the time and place the GBU story develops.

Also, I think it would be interesting to find out if that was a common practice in Italy. After all, both script writers (Luciano Vicenzoni and Sergio Leone) were Italian.  :D
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Smokey on November 25, 2009, 03:45:00 PM
Yep, I agree. :)
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: dave jenkins on November 26, 2009, 08:31:50 AM
"Tuco" Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez.
Is this a common practice in Spanish?

In the United States it would be common to state a legal name like this.
Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez alias Tuco.
Well, what the hell is a "legal" name in 1862? Do you think those Texas waddies have some kind of data base to read off of? Heck no. They are just compiling all his AKAs, from all the complaints lodged against him, to indicate that all these alternate identities are the same guy.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: cigar joe on November 26, 2009, 08:48:10 AM
Well, what the hell is a "legal" name in 1862? Do you think those Texas waddies have some kind of data base to read off of? Heck no. They are just compiling all his AKAs, from all the complaints lodged against him, to indicate that all these alternate identities are the same guy.

True also.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Dust Devil on November 26, 2009, 09:12:49 AM
Well, what the hell is a "legal" name in 1862? Do you think those Texas waddies have some kind of data base to read off of? Heck no.

Well said Buck Jenkins, you hit the nail on the head.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on November 26, 2009, 10:19:54 AM
Well, what the hell is a "legal" name in 1862? Do you think those Texas waddies have some kind of data base to read off of? Heck no. They are just compiling all his AKAs, from all the complaints lodged against him, to indicate that all these alternate identities are the same guy.

I'm not sure that all of Tuco's names were aliases, except for the first one. This may be out of fashion nowadays, but in the olden times it was not uncommon (at least in Spain, and mainly in small villages) to give a child several given names. For example, "Tuco" could have been named "Benedicto" after St. Benedict (maybe his mother was cured from some sort of disease after praying to Saint Benedict and to honour him she deciced to name her son after the saint), "Pacifico" after his grandfather or another relative, and "Juan Maria" after an uncle (or "Juan" after an uncle and "Maria" after an aunt), or ...well, you can pick any combination you want. Who knows? What seems to be clear is that he was known by his own family as "Tuco", as even his brother (Father Ramirez, -Pablo) refers to him by that nick. That, by the way, seems like another oddity to me; for in Spanish, monks, friars, and other members of the clergy are usually known by their given names rather than by their family names. That is, Tuco's brother should have been referred as either "Father Pablo" or "Father Pablo Ramirez" rather than as "Father Ramirez".
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Leonardo on December 06, 2009, 10:19:19 AM
Ah but, as stated earlier, we have the supposedly leagal reading of his name prior to his "execution".
"Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez". I'm lead to believe from this that Tuco is part of his given
name and not a nick.
Since Ramirez is a quite common surname in Mexico (and in Spain for that matter), it only makes sense that before a hanging they read out all his names, including the nicknames, just to make sure that they are hanging the right guy.
As for for the nickname Tuco (it is definetely a nickname!), I have my own theory.
Eastwood is called "Monco" (in spanish it's "Manco"), which  means one-armed, or lacking one hand. He was probably given this nickname because of the leather glove he was wearing on his hand for fanning his gun (hand amputees in the old days would wear a leather glove).
Now, Tuco also wears a leather glove and since according to our spanish friends Tuco also means amputee, it is therefore just  another version of Monco or Manco.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: dave jenkins on January 12, 2011, 10:53:51 AM
I'm not sure that all of Tuco's names were aliases, except for the first one. This may be out of fashion nowadays, but in the olden times it was not uncommon (at least in Spain, and mainly in small villages) to give a child several given names.
Understood. But the question remains, How would the authorities know what every one of Tuco's given names were? There was no data base to consult, and it's very doubtful that Tuco carried a passport or other documents identifying him. The authorities would only know what he called himself and/or what he was called by others. There is the possibility, I guess, that Tuco himself volunteered all his given names, either out of vanity or a desire to make the hanging drag out as long as possible. The other idea is that Leone decided to use a deliberate anachronism here, to make the reading of Tuco's names resemble bureaucratic formulas of the 1960s rather than the 1860s, possibly to establish a parallel between the two periods (to promote audience identification, say),  or just to get a laugh.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: il brutto on February 14, 2011, 08:28:38 AM
That could very well be, Cigar Joe. In fact, I think you may have hit the nail in the head. In Spanish, given names are altered when referring to little boys or girls. For example, the name Pedro (Peter in English) can be altered to mean "Little Peter" in a number of ways, such as "Pedrito", "Pedrete", Pedrillo, Pedruco, etc. It is therefore possible that the name Benedicto would have been altered to "Benedictuco" to refer to "Little Benedicto", which ended being "Tuco" for abbreviation.

Now, being Spanish, that would make complete sense to me!!!!!  However, there is only one small region in Spain (Cantabria) where "uco" and "uca" are being used for that purpose (no idea about Mexico). And, coincidentally, it was in Laredo (Cantabria) where Leone filmed "The Colossus of Rhodes".  Does someone see a connection here? 8)

I definitely do! After your clear explanation we could assume that Leone, while shooting  "The Colossus of Rhodes" in Cantabria, met a spanish guy named Tuco (somebody in the crew, or working in the hotel the movie crew was occupying, etc.) and years later, when he started writing GBU, he decided to use this name for "The ugly" character. It wolud make perfect sense to me.
Title: Re: The name "Tuco"
Post by: Eswar on September 23, 2011, 03:10:06 AM
I tend to believe Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez is an amalgamation of all his pseudonyms. Benediction, Pacific, Juan, Maria - all these tend to be the allusions to his self-proclaimed gentlemanly nature in different counties. Remember, he says "not one, but lots of them" when his brother asks about his wife?   :P