About Names: Dr. Evans on “Amelia”

Several individuals standing around an airplane piloted by Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart, one of the more famous Amelias in recent history, about to take off as a crowd of onlookers admire her plane and watch the famous aviator take to the skies (Photo: Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his June 18th column, he discusses the name “Amelia”.

Amelia became famous 95 years ago today.

Amelia Earhart, Kansas-born in 1897, was log keeper on a plane that landed in Wales on June 18, 1928, becoming first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Though Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon were pilot and co-pilot, the flight made Earhart famous. She was declared “Queen of the Air,” a title cemented when she piloted a solo cross-Atlantic flight in May 1932. Today she’s remembered for her mysterious disappearance over the Pacific July 2, 1937, while trying to circumnavigate the globe.

Amelia’s a variation of Amalia, a Latinized short form of German names like Amalburg and Amalgund. Germanic “amal” meant “vigorous.” Its use in names honored the Amali, a fifth-century dynasty leading Goths attacking the Roman empire.

Amelia was rare in England until the German Hanoverians inherited Britain’s throne in 1714. Princess Amelia (1711-1786), daughter of George II, loved riding and hunting. Amelia County, Virginia, and Amelia Island, Florida, were named for her. Her great-niece Princess Amelia (1783-1810) was the youngest and favorite daughter of George III.

Amelia rather than Amalia became the common English form through confusion with Emilia, which has a separate Latin origin. Both Princesses Amelia were nicknamed “Emily.”

Novelists further popularized the name. The heroine of Henry Fielding’s “Amelia” (1751) saves her husband from gambling debts. In William Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair” (1848), Amelia Sedley is the sweet naïve contrast to conniving seductive Becky Sharp.

The 1850 American census found 29,484 Amelias. In 1851, the British census included 32,243.

Call for Papers: “American Onomastics” (Onoma) — Abstracts due 15 July 2023

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: American Dialect Society Annual Meeting January 4-7, 2024, New York City

The American Dialect Society will hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America Thursday, January 4, through Sunday, January 7, 2024, in New York, NY. The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Times Square.

Please read these instructions carefully as they have changed from previous years.

Monday, August 28, 2023 is the deadline for poster and 20-minute paper proposals.

Proposals should address topics related to English varieties in North America, and of other languages, or dialects of other languages that influence or are influenced by these varieties. We also encourage topics related to lexicography, linguistic atlas projects, linguistic landscapes, language and society, and public language-awareness programs.

Important: You should only include the title of the study at the top of the abstract. Do not include your name or other identifying information on the abstract. Abstracts that include author’s names will not be considered. Please indicate in your abstract if the proposal is for a paper or poster. Do not send the same proposal to both ADS and LSA, and do not submit proposals based on research that has been previously presented elsewhere (e.g., NWAV).

Submissions are limited to two per author, one paper and one poster, one of which must be co-authored. If you submit two co-authored proposals with the same or different co-author(s), only one proposal can be for a paper and the other must be for a poster.

Posters: At this meeting the poster session will be online in Gather, an online community platform. We encourage those of you who may not be able to attend the meeting in-person to submit a proposal for the poster session.

Abstracts of no more than 500 words as a PDF will be submitted, reviewed, and processed for ADS2024 via the EasyChair system using the following website:


Three important notes about submitting through EasyChair, especially if you’re new to this system: (1) because EasyChair publishes conference proceedings, you’ll see the option to upload a complete paper—just ignore that option; (2) EasyChair is based in England and its clock keeps Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), so submissions will close automatically at 23:59 GMT, which is not a North American end of the day. We recommend submitting your abstract on or before August 27th because the system will not accept late submissions; and (3) the system will not allow you to upload an abstract longer than 500 words, including title, references, etc. If the system won’t accept your submission, check to see if you’ve inadvertently exceeded the word limit.

Proposals will be judged anonymously by a minimum of two reviewers. If your proposal is accepted, you’ll be asked for an abstract of no more than 100 words for the LSA program.

Presenters must be current members of the American Dialect Society.

For more information, check out the website of the American Dialect Society.

Update on the ANS 2024 Annual Conference

After much discussion, the ANS-EC has decided to break from tradition in 2024. Rather than holding one annual conference in January, we plan to hold several events over the course of the year:

January: We will hold the Name of the Year discussion (date TBD). This event will be free and last approximately 2 hours.

February: We will hold a one-day conference, possibly in partnership with another scholarly organization focused on onomastics. When we have a Call for Papers, we will send it out to the ANS membership.

Summer/Fall: We expect to hold at least one more one-day conference, which might be focused on onomastics in Europe or Asia. We have many members in China, Korea, and Japan, and we think a conference that is suited to the Pacific time zone would be welcomed!

Stay tuned for more information on our planned activities in 2024!

ANS 2023 Conference YouTube Videos

We are pleased to announce that all recorded presentations from the 2023 Annual meeting have now been uploaded to our YouTube channel. There are 31 videos, representing outstanding onomastics scholarship from members all over the world. Please visit our YouTube channel to view these videos, as well as those from the 2022 and 2021 Annual Conferences!

About Names: Dr. Evans on “Mario”

The Iconic Mario (Photo by ReffPixels, CC-BY-4.0)

The Iconic Mario (Photo by ReffPixels, CC-BY-4.0)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 9th column, he discusses the name “Mario”.

Have you seen plumber Mario save the Mushroom Kingdom and Princess Peach from evil King Bowser?

On April 5, the animated film “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” based on Nintendo’s “Mario” video games, premiered. Mario, created in 1981 by game designer Shigeru Miyamoto for “Donkey Kong,” is featured in 256 games, becoming the best-selling video game franchise ever.

Mario is the Italian and Spanish form of Marius, a Roman family name so ancient experts are unsure if it derives from the god Mars or from a Latin word meaning “male.”

Roman general Gaius Marius (157-86 B.C.), husband of Julius Caesar’s aunt, reformed the Roman army, defeated foes in Gaul and North Africa, and was elected consul of Rome a record seven times.

The general’s fame led Americans to name sons Marius during the early 19th century Classical Revival, when towns were named Rome and Athens and babies named Virgil and Minerva. In the 1850 United States census, 234 men named Marius are listed.

Marius was well-used in Scandinavia. In the 1900 census, 120 of the 1,047 Mariuses were born in Denmark, and 84 in Norway.

Marius was also used in Germany and France. The most famous fictional Marius, Marius Pontmercy in Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel “Les Misérables,” fights for freedom on the Paris barricades and marries Jean Valjean’s adopted daughter, Cosette. Since Marius is even more egalitarian and compassionate in the beloved 1980 musical than in the novel, it’s surprising his name’s remained rare.

About Names: Dr. Evans on “Valerie”

Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama (Photo: Public Domain)

Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama (Photo: Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 23rd column, he discusses the name “Valerie”.

Remember Barbara, younger daughter on “One Day at a Time” (1975-1984)? Or Melanie, the middle-aged divorcee in “Hot in Cleveland” (2010-2015)?

Valerie Bertinelli, who played both of those sitcom characters, turns 63 today.

Valérie is the French form of Valeria, itself the feminine of Valerius, an ancient Roman family name from Latin “valere” (to be strong). The Valerius family had many famous members, including first century historian Valerius Maximus and second century Parthian War hero Valerius Maximianus.

St. Valeria of Milan was a first-century Italian martyr. More famous in France was completely legendary St. Valérie of Limoges, who was beheaded for being a Christian. She then miraculously carried her severed head to her bishop, St. Martial. Depictions of Valérie giving her head to Martial were frequent in medieval French art.

Valerie wasn’t a popular saint in medieval England. The name barely existed there until 19th century novelists used it for romantic characters. One of the first examples was “Valerie” (1848), the last book by bestselling English writer Frederick Marryat (1792-1848). French heroine Valerie escapes an abusive mother by becoming servant to a rich English lady, eventually marrying the Count de Chavannes.

American author Christian Reid (pen name of Frances Tiernan) published “Valerie Aylmer” in 1870. Valerie, a Louisiana-born belle of French descent, endures heartbreak when her beloved Maurice goes to Mexico to fight for Emperor Maximilian.

Like Reid’s heroine, many 19th century American Valeries had French connections. A third of the 210 Valeries in the 1880 census were born in either Louisiana or Canada.

Publication Announcement: Names: A Journal of Onomastics 71, no. 2 is now available


The latest issue of Names: A Journal of Onomastics is now available online! Click here to read the latest in onomastics scholarship in volume 71, number 2 of Names. A table of contents appears below.

Names is published as an open access journal available to all via the Journal’s home at the University of Pittsburgh. All journal content, including the content found in previous volumes, is available for free online as downloadable PDF files.



Table of Contents


Practicing and Managing Foreign Toponyms in China: Cultural Politics and Ideologies by Guowen Shang and Lili Yang

Argument-Structure Constructions in Organization Names in the English Eurolect: The Case of [ORG + V + that + SC] by Fernando Sánchez Rodas and Gloria Corpas Pastor

Adopting French Names as Identity Markers among Second Foreign Language (L3) Learners in China by Ying Qi Wu and Shan Shan Li

Monosyllabic Affective Hypocoristics of Korean Names: Formation and Segmental Alternation by Hayeun Tang

Book Reviews

Gregory Bochner, Naming and Identity by Emilia Di Martino

John Moss, A History of English Placenames and Where They Came From by T. K. Alphey


2021 Award for Best Article in NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics by I. M. Nick
MLA 2024: ANS Panel to Explore DEI Concepts through Literary Onomastics by Anne Anderson

View All Issues

Call for Book Chapter Proposals: “Names, Naming, Gender, Sex, and Sexuality”

Call for Book Chapter Proposals

Names, Naming, Gender, Sex, and Sexuality

Edited by I. M. Nick and Sharon N. Obasi

Recent years have seen a significant increase in public awareness of and sensitivity towards the diversity of individual and group identities where gender, sex, and sexuality are concerned. These developments have also been accompanied by the introduction of many new names for individuals and groups to label these developments. At the same time, in many places around the world, there has been a marked backlash against recognizing the complexity of identity where gender, sex, and sexuality-are concerned. These counter movements have also been marked by onomastic developments. The current call is for book chapters that specifically explore the interplay between names, naming, gender, sex, and sexuality. Possible subjects to be explore include, but are by no means limited to the following:

  1. Law and regulations governing the personal names of individuals by gender, sex, and sexuality
  2. Names for diverse individual and group identities (e.g., cis, trans, bi, LGBTQ+).
  3. Naming customs in cultures that recognize three or more genders
  4. National and international trends in gendered names and naming
  5. Naming, gender and artificial intelligence bots, virtual assistants, etc.
  6. Inferring gender based on phonology (phonoonomastics)
  7. Researching names and gender: perspectives on compliance and integrity
  8. Naming and gender policies in education
  9. Names and gender in advertising and health messaging
  10. Historical and/or cross-cultural investigations into (in)official names for gender and sex

Proposal Submission Process

  • Abstract proposals (max. 500 words, excluding the title and references) should be sent as a PDF email attachment to Professor I. M. Nick (nameseditor@gmail.com)
  • For organizational purposes, the proposals must include “Gender2023” in the subject line of the email
  • All proposals must include an abstract, title, and a preliminary list of references;
  • The full name(s) of the author(s); the author(’s’) affiliation(s) must appear in the body of the email. These details should NOT appear in the attached proposal.
  • In the case of multi-authored submission, one person must be clearly designated as the primary contact
  • The DEADLINE for proposal submissions is August 15, 2023. All proposals will be submitted to a double-blind review process. Authors will be notified about acceptance on or by September 15, 2023
  • Final chapters (max 7,000 words, excluding abstracts and references) will be due April 15, 2024

For further information about this call, please feel free to contact Professor I. M. Nick (nameseditor@gmail.com). We look forward to receiving your proposals!

About Names: Dr. Evans on “Miles”

Miles Davis at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague (Photo: Public Domain)

Miles Davis at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague (Photo: Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his June 4th column, he discusses the name “Miles”.

Miles is saving “Spider-People” across the multiverse.

“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” the sequel to 2018’s Oscar-winning animated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” premiered June 2. Shameik Moore voices Miles Morales, the teenager who replaced Peter Parker as Spider-Man in Marvel Comics’ alternate “Ultimate Marvel” universe in 2011.

The origin of the name Miles is obscure. When the Normans conquered England in 1066, they brought along a name written “Milo” in Latin and “Mile” in English. Unlike most Norman names, it’s not Germanic, but possibly related to “milu” (“gracious”), a word found in Slavic names like Milan and Bogumil.

How did the “s” get added? Most likely, it’s from confusion with Latin “miles,” meaning “soldier.” Another possible influence is Mylas, a bishop of Susa in Persia martyred in 341. His Persian name meant “brave,” but Orthodox Christians call him St. Miles, also influenced by Latin.

Miles stayed rare until English cleric Myles Coverdale (1488-1569) published the first complete printed English Bible translation in 1535. Coverdale’s Psalms are still recited in Anglican churches. Puritans admired his stance against fancy clerical vestments. His fame helped Miles reach the top 50 in England between 1580 and 1660.