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.

Names of the Year (2015-2004)

2016

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

 

2015 

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

 

2014

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)

 

2013

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)

 

2012

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)

 

2011

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)

 

2010

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)

 

2009

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)

 

2008

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)

 

2007

Name of the Year: Betrayus (pejorative political nickname)

 

2006

Name of the Year: Pluto (demoted planet)

 

2005

Name of the Year: Katrina (hurricane)

 

2004

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