Name of the Year

Every year, the American Name Society votes for the Name of the Year during its annual meeting. Anyone may nominate a name by sending a nominated name and a short justification to the coordinator of the Name of the Year election. Last-minute nominations are accepted also from the floor during the ANS annual meeting. Nominations are judged based on their linguistic innovation, potential to influence language use, and ability to capture national attention. Popularity or notoriety is not deemed important.

In 2008, the ANS began choosing winners in four categories (Personal, Place, Trade, and Fictional Names) as well as the overall winner. All members of the American Name Society attending the annual meeting select the winners, which are usually announced together with the Word of the Year selected by the American Dialect Society.


Name of the Decade

Brexit: Name for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European union, created by blending “Britain” with “exit”, was created before the June 2016 referendum on the issue.


Names of the Year (2021-2004)


Name of the Year: Great Resignation (socioeconomic trend in 2021 where large numbers of employees left their jobs)

Artistic Name:  Squid Game (blockbuster South Korean survival film on Netflix)

Trade Name: Cyber Ninjas (partisan-backed company that reviewed votes in Maricopa County, Arizona after the national election of democratic candidate Joseph R. Biden to become the 46th US President)

Personal Name: Karen (a name that is increasingly used as pejorative term to label a person considered to be racist, arrogant, and rude. CAUTION: This usage has caused considerable damage to people who are actually named Karen)  

E-Name: #FreeBritney (the movement to support singer Britney Spears in her legal battle to end a conservatorship in which her father was given the right control her estate and make decisions about her mental and physical health

Place Name: United States Capitol (the site where a mob of thousands of pro-Trump supporters attacked the US Congress in a violent attempt to impede the ratification of Joseph R. Biden’s election as the 46th President of the United States)

Miscellaneous Name: CRT (the often pejoratively used abbreviation for “Critical Race Theory”, an academic framework used for examining the historical relationship between race, law, privilege, and identity).

Official ANS Press Release about 2021 Names of the Year



Names of the Year: Kamala (Harris, US Vice President) and COVID-19 (disease caused by SARS-CoV-2)

Artistic Names: Schitt’s Creek (Emmy-winning Canadian sitcom)

Trade Name: Zoom (teleconferencing platform)

Personal Name: George Floyd (Black man killed by police in 2020)

Place Name: Wuhan, China (site of first ID of COVID-19 virus)

Miscellaneous Name: COVID-19 (disease caused by SARS-CoV-2)

EName: #QAnon (discredited/disproven far-right conspiracy)

Official ANS Press Release about 2020 Names of the Year



Name of the Year: Arrokoth (newly discovered minor planet)

Artistic Names: Baby Yoda (unnamed Star Wars character in The Mandalorian)

Trade Name: TikTok (Chinese app for making short videos)

Personal Name: Greta Thunberg (Swedish climate activist)

Place Name: Arrokoth (newly discovered minor planet)

Miscellaneous Name: Antivax(x)er (people opposed to vaccination)

EName: #Fridaysforfuture (hashtag for climate protests)

Official ANS Press Release about 2019 Names of the Year



Name of the Year: Jamal Khashoggi (assassinated Washington post journalist)

Artistic & Literary Names: Wakanda (fictional African country in the Marvel “Black Panther” comic and movie)

Trade Name: Gritty (new mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers)

Personal Name: Jamal Khashoggi (assassinated Washington post journalist)

Place Name: Paradise (California city largely leveled in the devastating “Camp Fire”)

Miscellaneous Name: #MeToo (Twitter hashtag for the movement to speak out about sexual abuse)

Official ANS Press Release about 2018 Names of the Year



Name of the Year: Rohingya (Islamic group targeted for genocide by the Myanmar government)

Fictional Name: Nambia (non-existent country cited by American President Trump in a speech)

Personal Name: Maria (name of the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in September 2017)

Place Name: Charlottesville (Virginia, site of a violent neo-Nazi rally)

Miscellaneous Name: #MeToo (Twitter hashtag for the movement to speak out about sexual abuse)

Official ANS Press Release about 2017 Names of the Year



Name of the Year: Aleppo (the name of the largest city in Syria, which has endured over four years of war, and has become a symbol for the horrors of modern warfare)

Fictional Name: Hamilton (the name of an enormously popular Broadway musical in which a cast  member stepped out of character during a November 18th showing and made the famous statement: “We truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”)

Personal Name: Drumpf (the original German form of President Donald Trump’s family name)

Trade Names: Brexit (a word blend of Britain and Exit, this name was given to the referendum in which UK voters decided to leave the European Union); and Uber (the name of an international online transportation network that has now become a verb)

Official ANS Press Release about 2016 Names of the Year



Name of the Year: Caitlyn Jenner (representing many LGBT onomastic issues)

Fictional Name: Rey, Finn, and Poe (characters in “Star Wars VII”)

Personal Name: Caitlyn Jenner (representing many LGBT onomastic issues)

Place Name: Denali (mountain peak in Alaska whose previous name was Mount McKinley)

Trade Name: Charlie Hebdo (French satirical magazine)

Official ANS press release about 2015 Names of the Year



Name of the Year: Ferguson (Missouri town famed for protests over police violence)

Fictional Name: Elsa (character in “Frozen”)

Personal Name: Malala (Yousufzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner)

Place Name: Ferguson (Missouri town famed for protests over police violence)

Trade Name: Uber (smartphone app-based transportation network)



Name of the Year: Francis (Roman Catholic Pope)

Fictional Name: Ender Wiggin (character in “Ender’s Game”)

Personal Name: Francis (Roman Catholic Pope)

Place Name: Syria (war zone notorious for international humanitarian emergency)

Trade Name: Obamacare (nickname of Affordable Care Act)



Name of the Year: Sandy (hurricane)

Fictional Name: Downton Abbey (television program title)

Personal Name: Malala (Yousafzai, Pakistani advocate for girls’ education)

Place Name: Gangnam (Seoul, Korea district made famous in video)

Trade Name: Fiscal Cliff (political event)



Name of the Year: Arab Spring (international political event)

Fictional Name: Lisbeth Salander (character in “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”)

Personal Name: Qaddafi, Kathafi, Khadafy, etc. (multispelled name of Libyan dictator)

Place Name: Fukushima (Japanese nuclear power plant)

Trade Name: Siri (Apple’s voice activated digital assistant)

Special Recognition: Arab Spring (international political event)



Name of the Year: Eyjafjallajökull (Icelandic volcano)

Fictional Names: Quinn and Finn (characters in “Glee”)

Personal Name: Lady Gaga (socially engaged pop star)

Place Name: Eyjafjallajökull (Icelandic volcano)

Trade Name: Tea Party (political movement)



Name of the Year: Salish Sea (coastal zone in British Columbia)

Fictional Name: Max (character in “Where the Wild Things Are”)

Personal Name: Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger (airline pilot)

Place Name: Salish Sea (coastal zone in British Columbia)

Trade Name:  Twitter (social media platform)

Special Recognition:  H1N1 (influenza virus)



Name of the Year: Barack Hussein Obama (first African-American U.S. President)

Fictional Name: Edward (character in “Twilight”)

Personal Name: Barack Hussein Obama (first African-American U.S. President)

Place Name: Wasilla (Alaska hometown of S. Palin)

Trade Name: Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac (Federal Government Mortgage Association & Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)



Name of the Year: Betrayus (pejorative political nickname)



Name of the Year: Pluto (demoted planet)



Name of the Year: Katrina (hurricane)



Name of the Year: Fahrenheit 9/11 (documentary film title)