About Names: “Cleveland Evans: Like Elvis Costello asks, has Veronica gone to hide?”

St. Veronica with the Holy Kerchief (ca. 1420 CE, Public Domain)

St. Veronica with the Holy Kerchief (ca. 1420 CE, Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his February 26th column, he discusses the name “Veronica”.

Veronica is bringing ancient Greece to the far future.

“Arch-Conspirator,” latest novel by Veronica Roth, author of the bestselling “Divergent” dystopian science fiction series, debuted Feb. 21. It retells the legend of Antigone in a far-future desolate Earth where an Archive stores human genes from which our species can be recreated.

The name Veronica also reshapes an ancient Greek source. Berenike, Macedonian form of Greek Pherenike, “bringing victory,” became well-known throughout the eastern Mediterranean after Alexander the Great’s conquests in the fourth century B.C.

The Gospels of Mark and Luke tell of an unnamed woman with “an issue of blood” who’s healed simply by touching Jesus’s robe. Around 400, the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus named her Berenike.

Soon after, stories of the crucifixion were elaborated to include a woman who wipes Jesus’ face with a cloth while He’s on His way to Golgotha. The cloth retains an image of His face. By 900 A.D. the cloth was displayed as a relic in Rome, and Berenike was identified as the woman.

“Vera icon” is Latin for “true image.” Latin versions of the story changed Berenike to “Veronica” to link the name to the relic.

Though St. Veronica’s legend spread the name throughout western Europe, it was never common in England. Puritans avoided it along with other non-Biblical saint names. The 1851 census found only 74 Veronicas in Britain.

Call for Papers: “American Onomastics” (Onoma)

The editorial board of Onoma, journal of the International Council of Onomastic Sciences publishing in English, German, or French, seeks contributions to a themed volume (number 59 to appear in 2024) on the study of names in America (i.e., as they are used or applied in North, Central, or South America, or as they may be studied by scholars from those regions). The subject matter is open (i.e., place names, personal names, commercial names, or names in literature). Guidelines may be found on the Onoma website: https://onomajournal.org

Please send abstracts of about 250 words to the principal guest-editor, Grant Smith (gsmith@ewu.edu), and to the co-guest-editors, Yolanda Guillermina López Franco (yolalf1@yahoo.com.mx) and Márcia Sipavicius Seide (marciaseda4@hotmail.com). Abstracts must be received by July 15, 2023, recommendations or acceptance will be sent by August 1, 2023, and final drafts must be completed by February 11, 2024.

Call for Papers: “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Names and Naming in Literature” (ANS panel, MLA 2024)

The American Name Society is issuing its Call for Papers for the ANS panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention, which will take place 4-7 January 2024 in Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Diversity. Equity. Inclusion. Individually, each word has been used in multiple contexts with varying connotations. Narrative works can create scenes that make space for us to consider deeply the essence of the ideas encased in the labels. In this panel, we ask how literary components of narrative fiction and non-fiction works address DEI concepts through names of characters (charactonyms), places (toponyms), institutions, and events as well as through depictions of socio-cultural, religious, ideological, personal, and political practices of naming, renaming, and unnaming. We welcome explorations of these themes through literature from around the world, from any era, from any narrative genre, and for readers of any age. Useful resources might include the ANS list of terminology (https://ans-names.pitt.edu/ans/keywords), the ANS archives (https://ans-names.pitt.edu/ans/issue/archive), Luisa Caiazzo and I.M. Nick’s edited collection Shifting Toponymies: (Re)naming Places, (Re)shaping Identities (2020), Guy Puzey and Laura Kostanski’s edited collection Names and Naming: People, Places, Perceptions and Power (2016), and the Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming (2018).

Proposal Submission Process:

  1. The abstract of the proposal (350 words), with NO author identification, should be sent as an email attachment (PDF format) to Dr. Anne W. Anderson (awanderson@usf.edu);
  2. The subject line of the email should include “MLA 2024 proposal”;
  3. The body of the email must include the title of the proposal, the abstract, the full name(s) of the author(s), their affiliation(s), and their email address(s);
  4. DEADLINE: Proposals must be received by 11:59 pm EST on Friday 17 March 2023. Authors will be notified about the results of the blind review on or by 24 March 2023;
  5. Contributors selected for the thematic panel must be members of both MLA and ANS in order to present their papers; MLA membership must be obtained by 7 April 2023.

For further information, please contact Dr. Anne W. Anderson (awanderson@usf.edu).

About Names: “Cleveland Evans: Say it ‘Loud’, Lincoln’s approval ratings ebb and flow”

President Abraham Lincoln, From a painting by G. P. A. Healy, 1868 (Public Domain)

President Abraham Lincoln, from a painting by G. P. A. Healy, 1868 (Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his January 29th column, he discusses the name “Lincoln”.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th U.S. president, was born 214 years ago today. In 1867, the village of Lancaster was renamed Lincoln after the assassinated leader when it became Nebraska’s state capitol.

The surname Lincoln is derived from the city in England first settled around 100 B.C.E. Its original Celtic name, Lindon, “the pool”, described a deep spot along the River Witham. Roman army veterans settling there called it “Lindum Colonia”, which became Lincoln in English.

Most surnames derived from a place name mean one’s medieval ancestor had left town. Last names were all originally nicknames. It made little sense to call John “Lincoln” while he was living there. If he’d moved elsewhere, “John (from) Lincoln” made clear which John one was discussing.

Some medieval person moved from Lincoln to Hingham in Norfolk County, England, establishing the surname Lincoln there. When Massachusetts was settled in the 1630s, several Lincolns helped found the town of Hingham in that colony.

Samuel Lincoln (1622-1690) arrived in 1637. Through son, Samuel Jr., he was great-great-grandfather of Levi Lincoln Sr. (1749-1820), U.S. Attorney General under Thomas Jefferson. Levi Lincoln Jr. (1782-1868) was governor of Massachusetts 1825-1834. Younger brother, Enoch (1788-1829), was governor of Maine 1827-1829.

Benjamin Lincoln (1733-1810) was a Major General during the Revolution, prominent in the battles of Saratoga and Yorktown. His great-great-grandfather was Thomas Lincoln (1600-1691), probably a distant cousin of Samuel’s who landed in Massachusetts in 1635. Benjamin Lincoln was nationally famous; counties in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee are named for him.

Call for Papers: “The workings of discrimination: Gender-inclusive language between acceptance and opposition” for the Journal of Language and Discrimination

From Dr. Federica Formato:


Title: The workings of discrimination: Gender-inclusive language between acceptance and opposition

This call for papers is aimed at collecting contributions for a special issue of the Journal of Language and Discrimination (https://journal.equinoxpub.com/index.php/JLD/index) to be published in  Autumn 2024. The topic of this special issue revolves around discriminatory practices, beliefs, and ideologies opposing gender inclusivity in language. Here, inclusivity is mostly referring to ways in which speakers have attempted to or have been successful at breaking the (grammatical) feminine/masculine binary, ideas around linguistic normativity, and the so-called ‘anti-gender’ ideology or gender war. Papers can focus on linguistic changes aimed at achieving gender inclusivity, for instance, lexical items, (new) morphological inflections, etc., The editors will also consider papers on how institutions, specific speakers, the media, and politics (or a combination of these) actively engage in demystifying, demonizing, and attacking linguistic  inclusive  practices.  The  papers  need  to  discuss  relevant  literature  and  appropriate methods/methodologies and be solidly grounded in theoretical underpinnings. Analysis of dataset/s can be quantitative or qualitative (or mixed methods). The special issue will consist of 6-7 papers, all possibly dealing with different languages or contexts.
All abstracts, no longer than 500 words (references excluded) and in English, should include information about the context(s), the dataset/s, the methods, and/or theoretical framework/s, and
should be sent to f.formato@brighton.ac.uk by 28th February 2023. Informal inquiries are also welcome.
For  information  about  submissions  and  contributions  see  the  journal’s  guidelines:
Important dates:
Abstract deadline: 28ᵗʰ February 2023
Notification of acceptance: 31ˢᵗ March 2023
Full paper: 15ᵗʰ December 2023
Notification: 1ˢᵗ April 2024
Final submission: 1 July 2024
Publication date: October 2024