Onomastics Outside Academia Panel at ANS 2017 in Austin

ANS 2017 saw the first ever “Onomastics Outside Academia” Panel, in which professional onomasticians talked about their work and their career paths outside of the university.

The panel included the following presentations:

  • Pamela Redmond Satran (Nameberry.com): Nameberry: Revolutionizing how and what parents name their babies
  • Kemp Williams (IBM Corporation): Computational onomastics in threat and fraud detection
  • Lisa Spira (Ethnic Technologies):  Onomastic data skills
  • Laurel Sutton (Catchword Branding): Creating brand names for fun and profit
  • Jennifer Moss (BabyNames.com): How the internet changed baby names (careers)
  • Deborah Walker (Linguistic Consultant): Product naming reviews: Evaluating names for global readiness

Congratulations on a great panel, and many thanks to all of our speakers!

Pamela Redmond Satran

Lisa Spira


Jennifer Moss

“Aleppo” Chosen 2016 Name of the Year

“Aleppo” was chosen the Name of the Year for 2016 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in Austin, Texas on January 6, 2017.

The name of the largest city in Syria, which has endured over four years of conflict in the country’s civil war, has became a symbol for the horrors of modern warfare. It also figured in the presidential election when Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson asked an MSNBC interviewer “What is Aleppo?” in response to a question in September, showing he was not paying attention to international news.

Aleppo was also voted Place Name of the Year for 2016.

Aleppo won the vote in a close contest with Drumpf, which was chosen ANS’s Personal Name of the Year. The original German form of President-elect Donald Trump’s family name became well known when John Oliver, host of HBO’s satirical news show “Last Week Tonight,” urged viewers to refer to the candidate as “Drumpf”.  HBO created DonaldDrumpf.com, which still sells “Drumpf” merchandise. The continued use of “Drumpf” shows the power of naming and name-calling.

Hamilton was chosen as Fictional Name of the Year. The title of this hugely popular Broadway musical was in the news in 2016 both because of winning 11 Tony awards, and because of a statement by cast members to Vice-President-elect Pence when he attended a November 18 performance, stating among other things “We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”  Donald Trump later demanded an apology for that in a Tweet.

Brexit and Uber tied for ANS’s Trade Name of the Year.  Uber, the worldwide online transportation network company, was cited because of its influence on the language, now having become a verb. Brexit, the blend of “Britain” and “exit” which is the now universal title of the June referendum where United Kingdom voters decided to leave the European Union, was mentioned in the Presidential election when Trump called himself “Mr. Brexit.” The name Brexit was created on the analogy of the earlier Grexit, coined when Greece was deciding whether or not to leave the European Union in 2015.

The American Name Society is a scholarly organization founded in 1951 devoted to studying all aspects of names and naming. The Name of the Year vote has been held since 2004. “Caitlyn Jenner” was the 2015 Name of the Year. “Ferguson” won for 2014, “Francis” for 2013, and “Sandy” for 2012.

For further information contact Dr. Cleveland Evans, chair of the Name of the Year committee, at cevans@bellevue.edu or 402-210-7458.

Last chance to submit nominations for 2016 Name of the Year!

The Name of the Year selection for 2016 will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 6th, at 12pm (CST) at the annual ANS meeting in Austin, Texas.

Please send any last minute nominations to the American Name Society today!


Email any last minute nominations to info@AmericanNameSociety.org.

Tweet any last minute nominations to @AmNameSociety.



The names selected will be ones that best illustrates, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States and Canada.

Nominations are called for in the four following categories:

Personal Names: Names or nicknames of individual real people, animals, or hurricanes.

Place Names: Names or nicknames of any real geographical location, including all natural features, political subdivisions, streets, and buildings. Names of national or ethnic groups would be included here.

Trade Names: Names of real commercial products, as well as names of both for-profit and non-profit companies and organizations, including businesses, universities, and political parties.

Fictional/Literary Names: Names of fictional persons, places, or institutions, in any written, oral, or visual medium, as well as titles of art works, books, plays, television programs, or movies.

Winners will be chosen in each category, and then a final vote will determine the overall Name of the Year for 2016. Anyone may nominate a name. All members of the American Name Society attending the annual meeting will select the winner from among the nominees at the annual ANS meeting in Austin, Texas on January 6, 2017. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.