On the Name “Jalen” in the World of Sports

Jalen Moore of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (photo by Marc-Gregor Campredon / MGoBlog, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In an ESPN article, Eric Woodyard writes about the influence of the name Jalen. Not only are there many Jalens in sports, but professional and college sports players are influencing young fans to name their children “Jalen”. Woodyard writes about the power of names and the unique hold that this generation of Jalens has in the world of sport. Read more about the name Jalen here.

This Weekend: The Canadian Society for the Study of Names Annual Meeting / La Société canadienne d’onomastique rencontre annuelle

The final program for the Annual Meeting of La Société canadienne d’onomastique / The Canadian Society for the Study of Names is now available here. The meeting will be held virtually in conjunction with Canada’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2021, which takes place this weekend 29-30 May 2021. If you are interested in attending the meeting, you can find more detail about registration here.



Naming a Pasta: the Story of Cascatelli

“Raining Cascatelli” by Filebustre (CC BY-SA 4.0)

In a story about how Cascatelli got its name, ANS President Laurel Sutton describes the process of naming a new shape of pasta.

According to creator and Sporkful Podcast host Dan Pashman, Cascatelli was designed to maximize what he believes are all optimum features of pastas: sauceability (“how readily sauce adhere to the shape”), forkability (“how easy it is to get the shape on your fork and keep it there”), and toothskinability (“how satisfying it is to sink your teeth into it”).

In Sutton’s story, several fascinating alternatives were introduced (and one, Millepiedi, promptly vetoed due to similarity to the insect of the same name). Ultimately, Cascatelle was the winning entry with one small change. Click here to read more about that change in “Pastafazool! Helping to name Cascatelli” at Catchword.

Click here to listen to the podcast episode featuring ANS President Laurel Sutton.

About Names: Trevor was a grand slam in the 1990s, thanks to baseball’s all-stars

Trevor Noah speaking at BookExpo 2018 (photo by Terry Ballard, CC BY 2.0)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 14th column, he looks at the history of the name Trevor.

Trevor may not sing tonight, but he’ll surely joke about singers. Tonight, South-African born comedian Trevor Noah, star of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” hosts the 63rd Grammy Awards.

Trevor is a Welsh surname, indicating one’s ancestors lived in one of several medieval hamlets in Wales whose name meant “large homestead.”

Though Trevor is an uncommon last name it’s well-known in Britain because of Edward Trevor (1580-1642), a Welsh soldier sent to Ireland who married Rose Ussher, daughter of the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, in 1612. He acquired a large estate in County Down and was knighted in 1617.

Sir Edward’s grandson Sir John Trevor (1637-1717) was Speaker of the House of Commons from 1689 to 1695. Though Sir John lost his speakership because of taking bribes, by then his daughter Anne had married Michael Hill, Governor of County Down. Their elder son Trevor Hill (1693-1742), perhaps the earliest person with Trevor as a first name, became Viscount Hillsborough. Younger son Arthur (1694-1771), created Viscount Dungannon in 1766, is a five-greats-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.

Trevor’s aristocratic associations led to its use as a surname for many characters in British novels and plays. After 1925 it became fashionable as a first name in England. This was reinforced when Trevor Howard (1913-1988) became one of Britain’s biggest movie stars in “Brief Encounter” (1945). Trevor peaked in 1955 at around 27th on England’s baby name chart.

FDA to Study Link between Drug Names and Perceived Efficacy

The FDA will study the link between users’ perceptions of drug efficacy and the name of the drug itself. Zachary Brennan writes, “The study will compare five target names that may just suggest a medical condition or vary in terms of how the name portrays a drug’s efficacy, with one name that explicitly suggests strong efficacy (CuresFlux) and one that is more neutral (Zerpexin). Participants will answer questions about the names, before and after they have been told what each drug’s indication is.”

Read more about this study and the role of names in drug perception on Endpoints News.

Ten Formerly Popular First Names in America

Take a moment to check your calendar. Tea time with Ethel this Tuesday? Meeting Merle for a matinee on Monday? Neither of the above? It’s not surprising, as both “Ethel” and “Merle” have fallen out of use in recent decades. Using a database from the Social Security Administration, Rose Heichelbech compiled a list of “10 Names you don’t hear anymore”. There are no rigid criteria behind her list, but the ten names featured in her article certainly prove its title accurate.

Call for Papers: ANS 2022, Online, 21-23 January 2022

The American Name Society is now inviting proposals for papers for its next annual conference. After serious deliberation of an official proposal made on the 5th of May 2021, the Executive Council of the American Name Society unanimously voted to hold the 2022 Annual Conference online. All presentation sessions will be held online during the three days of the conference. This means that our conference will NOT be held in conjunction with the LSA meeting, which is still slated to be held in person, January 2022 in Washington, DC.

Abstracts in any area of onomastic research are welcome. The DEADLINE for receipt of abstracts is July 31, 2021. To submit a proposal, simply complete the 2022 Author Information Sheet (AIS) found here:


Please email this completed form to ANS Vice President Luisa Caiazzo using the following address: <luisa.caiazzo@unibas.it>. For organizational purposes, please be sure to include the phrase “ANS 2022” in the subject line of your email.
All proposals will be subjected to blind review. Official notification of proposal acceptances will be sent on or before September 30, 2021. All authors whose papers have been accepted must be current members of the ANS. Please feel free to contact ANS Vice President, Luisa Caiazzo, <luisa.caiazzo@unibas.it>, should you have any questions or concerns.

A downloadable PDF of the Call for Papers can be found here.

We look forward to receiving your submission!

Early April Fools? Volkswagen will not rebrand Itself “Voltswagen”

A few mere days before April 1, 2021, Volkswagen of America announced that it would change its name to “Voltswagen of America” in order to promote its electric vehicles. The move brought about confusion and criticism online by many who took the announcement seriously, but it was quickly followed by a retraction and explanation. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a spokesperson admitted that the name change was a marketing stunt and April fools joke intended to get the public talking about the new electric vehicle: the Volkswagen ID. 4.