Elvis Presley Affectionately Called Priscilla "Stanin" — Meaning Behind the Nickname

Alex West - Author
By

Jan. 18 2024, Published 8:17 a.m. ET

Elvis and Priscilla Presley on their wedding day
Source: Getty Images

Beloved singer Elvis Presley called his wife, Priscilla Presley, "Satnin" an affectionate nickname. Many people have retold Elvis and his story of success through documentary and historically fictional media.

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In the latest story of adoration, Priscilla, fans were captivated by the little-known story of Elvis's young wife. Between the cute nickname and the immense age gap, fans became curious to know more about the life of this behind-the-scenes young woman.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley board their private jet
Source: Getty Images
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Why did Elvis call Priscilla "Satnin"?

Interestingly, Priscilla wasn't the only one deemed "Satnin" by Elvis. Originally, he called his mother by the endearing name before dubbing June Juanico, his early girlfriend, by the same name. In her book, Elvis: In the Twilight of Memory, she explained what she thought to be the origin of the name.

June described a time that came when she lovingly called her "my beautiful little Satnin" while they were on a date in Memphis in May 1956. According to June, “[his mother] used to sing to me when I was little. You remember the song, ‘Mammy’s Little Baby Loves Shortnin’ Bread’? Well, she used to sing ‘mama’s little baby has satnin skin.’ You know, June, skin soft as satin.”

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The charming misspelling and pronunciation of the word was just a way to stay true to the tune and emulate the sound of "shortnin'" while still encompassing the idea of satin. It appeared that Elvis felt so moved by the nickname that he just used it for those who were important in his life.

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However, his cousin, Billy Smith, has a different idea of where the name comes from, but one that's a bit insulting. Billy reflected that his aunt was "always heavy." When using the nickname on her, Elvis would apparently touch her stomach and say, "Baby’s going to bring you something to eat, Satnin."

Billy didn't disagree that the word is an extension of the word shortening which is a fattening food. The word "Satnin" would thus refer to Elvis's mother's round and condensed belly.

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What nicknames did Elvis give his girlfriends?

Elvis was a fan of distributing affectionate nicknames to those he held dear, but not all of them received the "Satnin" label. For example, Anita Wood was called "Little" by Elvis.

His relationship with Anita was a bit scandalous. While he dated her before his stint in the Army, when he met Priscilla, he still continued to show signs of affection for his ex, including buying her presents.

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"I love you, Little," he said to Anita before he left, according to rumors. Eventually, Anita found out about his relationship with Priscilla and called their own affair off.

Elvis Presley holding an acoustic guitar
Source: Getty Images
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At one point, Elvis invited Anita backstage at a show in Las Vegas and mused that they may have made a "mistake" by not being together. However, she was insistent that everything played out how it was supposed to and she walked away from Elvis yet again.

A less adorable nickname, he called Elisabeth Stefaniak by the name "Foghorn." In Elvis the Soldier, a book written in part by Elisabeth, she said that Elvis told her, “Foghorn (a nickname he had always called me because of my low voice), I’m going to take you for a motorcycle ride.”

While their relationship didn't last forever, Elisabeth would later become Elvis's personal secretary. She even managed and responded to his neverending fanmail.

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