Christenson (2007: note 26, page 54) observes, "Xpiyacoc is the male deity, while Xmucane serves as the divine female principal that brings about the creation. The derivation of the name Xpiyacoc is problematic. Edmonson suggests that it is based on the Nahua yex-pa-ococc(an-e), which he reads as 'thrice in another two places,' and relates it to the next phrase of the text in which this deity is referred to as 'twice patriarch.' Tedlock prefers that it should be read as a Quiché name, and that it is based on the verb yekik/yakik, which his Quiché collaborator interpreted as 'to be put in order, to be lifted up' with regard to the problems of clients who are under treatment by aj q'ij priests.
Perhaps the most likely derivation of this name is found at Rabinal where there is a design woven into textiles which locals call piyakok and identify as a turtle (Akkeren 2000, 207, 261- 264). Kok is 'turtle' in both lowland and highland Maya languages, making this an intriguing possibility. At Chichen Itza as well as Mayapan (both post-Classic sites likely contemporary with the early history of the Quichés), the aged grandfather earth deity (God N, Pauahtun, Bacab, Mam) wears a turtle carapace and bears up the sky (Taube 1992, 92-99; Schele and Mathews 1998, 214-218). Among the contemporary Kekchi and Pokomchi, this god is identified as the Mam (Grandfather), an earth deity who oversees the five day Uayeb period prior which precedes the beginning of the new year in the ancient calendric system. It is possible that Xpiyacoc is the Quiché version of this deity.
Ultimately, a definitive etymology is impossible to determine. When proper names are passed down through generations of time, they often tend to become altered in their pronunciation, and perhaps their original meaning as well. If Xpiyacoc is derived from a Nahua original, it had certainly become mangled to the point where an Aztec envoy at the Quiché court would have had a difficult time coming up with an obvious meaning for it in his language. The same is true for Yucatec, Cholan, or Mam derivations for the name. There are similar-sounding words in each of these languages, although none are a precise fit. It is thus possible that the Quichés of the sixteenth century preserved the archaic spelling because they saw it simply as a proper name, without necessarily preserving memory of its original derivation." Christenson observes similar processes of linguistic compounding and potential evidence of language contact in the names Junajpu and Xbalamque; he thus leaves these names untranslated in his prose translation.