The American Name Society requests nominations for the Names of the Year for 2019. The names selected will be ones that best illustrate, through their creation and/or use during the past 12 months, important trends in the culture of the United States. It is not necessary, however, for a nominated name to have originated in the US. Any name can be nominated as long as it has been prominent in North American cultural discourse during the past year. For example, the Overall Names of the Year for 2017 and 2016 were Rohingya and Aleppo. Jamal Khashoggi was chosen the Name of the Year for 2018. Charlie Hebdo, the title of the French satirical magazine, won Trade Name of the Year in 2015.
Nominations are called for in the five following categories:
- Personal Names: Names or nicknames of individual real people or individual animals.
- 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 based on place name could be included here.
- Trade Names: Names of real commercial products, as well as names of both for-profit and non-profit incorporated companies and organizations, including businesses and universities.
- Artistic & 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. Such names are deliberately given by the creator of the work.
- E-Names: Names of persons, figures, places, products, businesses, institutions, operations, organizations, platforms, and movements that exist in the virtual world.
- Miscellaneous Names: Any name which does not fit in the above five categories, such as names created by linguistic errors, names of particular inanimate objects, names of unorganized political movements, names of languages, etc. In most cases, such items would be capitalized in everyday English orthography.
Winners will be chosen in each category, and then a final vote will determine the overall Name of the Year for 2019. 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 New Orleans, Louisiana on January 3, 2020. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.
Advance nominations must be received before January 1, 2020. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Please send your nominations, along with a brief rationale, by e-mail to either Dr. Cleveland K. Evans: <firstname.lastname@example.org> or Deborah Walker:<email@example.com>
Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his November 23rd column, he looks at the history of the name Elsa.
The 1850 United States census included 1,169 Elsas. Elsa was still mostly a nickname. Immigration increased the number of Elsas and established it as a separate name. On Social Security’s yearly lists, Elsa peaked at 215th in 1890. After “Frozen” was released, newborn Elsas more than doubled in 2014, ranking the name 286th, but that was a flash in the pan. By 2018, Elsa plummeted to 888th, a startling reversal.
Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Elsas in history!