“Arrokoth” Chosen 2019 Name of the Year, “Brexit” Name of the Decade

Composite image of primordial contact binary Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 from New Horizons Spacecraft Data

Arrokoth” was chosen the Name of the Year for 2019 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in New Orleans on January 3, 2020.

The winner was also chosen ANS’s Place Name of the Year. In November NASA announced this as the name of “minor planet 486958.” Before the New Horizons probe flew over it on January 1, 2019, NASA received about 34,000 name suggestions. Their initial selection, Ultima Thule, was abandoned when it turned out that Ultima Thule was used by Nazi occultists as the mythical home of the “Aryan race.” Arrokoth means “sky” in Powhatan an extinct Algonquian language formerly spoken in eastern Virginia.

“Greta Thunberg” was chosen as Personal Name of the Year. Swedish climate activist Thunberg, who turned 17 on January 3, is a leader of the global youth addressing climate change. Chosen by Time magazine as its Person of the Year for 2019, her name itself has become a byword for youth activism. The influence of youth climate activism on politicians is now called “The Greta Effect”, and a documentary film about the movement is titled “Make the World Greta Again.”

#Fridaysforfuture won the title of Ename of the Year. This became the name of Greta Thunberg’s movement, referring to her original protests on Fridays in Sweden. In a relatively short period of time, this e-moniker has spawned many other e-names. It has also become the name for a global movement and has spawned names for analogous protest groups (#Fridaysforfuture→ Fridaysforfuture→Scientists for Future, Parents for Future, All for Future).

TikTok was voted Trade Name of the Year. The TikTok app for making and sharing short videos was launched internationally in September 2017 and now has more than 500 million users. It’s the first Chinese-made app to succeed on a mass scale outside China. The TikTok name, used only outside China, is based on tick-tock, onomatopoeia for clocks and a term for countdowns and minute-by-minute action.

“Baby Yoda” was chosen Artistic Name of the Year. In the Star Wars series “The Mandalorian,” which premiered on the Disney+ channel in November, the recurring character with the saucer eyes and batlike ears is known simply as The Child. However, critics and viewers quickly dubbed him “Baby Yoda.” The character is almost always referred to that way on social media. This is a highly unusual case where the name of a fictional character has been created by fans instead of those writing or producing the program.

“Antivax(x)er” was chosen as Miscellaneous Name of the Year. According to the World Health Organization, one of the ten largest threats to global health is the increasing reticence of adults to receive or allow those in their charge to be given a medical vaccination. People who are opposed to vaccination legislation have been given the name antivaxer or antivaxxer. Although Merriam Webster asserts that the name first was attested in English in 2009, the name reached particular prominence in 2019, when health organizations around the world began to ring the alarm about the deadly re-emergence of many contagious diseases. The highest rate of Google searches ever reached for the name of this resistance movement was in April/March of 2019.

Voters at the meeting spontaneously decided to designate a “Name of the Decade” for 2010-2019. “Brexit” won that title. This name for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European union, created by blending “Britain” with “exit”, was created before the June 2016 referendum on the issue. The term has remained in the news and has continued to spawn similar names. For example, “Grexit” refers to the proposal that Greece leave the European Union. In the United States, those who advocate that Texas and California become independent call their ideas “Texit” and “Calexit”, and the hashtags #Orexit, #Washexit, and #Nevexit are used by those who wish Oregon, Washington, and Nevada to join with California in a new nation. An internet list of terms dealing with Brexit is called “Brexicon”.

The Name of the Year vote has been held since 2004. “Jamal Khashoggi” was the 2018 Name of the Year. “Rohingya” was the 2017 Name of the Year. “Aleppo“won for 2016 , “Caitlyn Jenner” for 2015, “Ferguson” 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 , 402-557-7524, or 402-210-7458.

A PDF version of this press release can be found here.

Call for Nominations for the 2019 Names of the Year

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: <cevans@bellevue.edu> or Deborah Walker:<debwalk@gmail.com>

The Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

“Jamal Khashoggi” Chosen 2018 Name of the Year

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

“Jamal Khashoggi” was chosen the Name of the Year for 2018 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in New York City on January 4, 2019.

The winner was also chosen ANS’s Personal Name of the Year. Jamal Khashoggi was a Washington Post journalist and critic of Saudi regime who was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. His name is associated with the increasing threats that journalists face as they pursue their craft in a political atmosphere that brands them “enemies of the people” and creators of “fake news.” It is also significant as journalists have become more accurate in pronouncing the surname (Kha-SHOWG-zhee) as the name has remained in the news.

“Paradise” was chosen as the Place Name of the Year. The California city was largely leveled in the devastating Camp Fire in November. The town got its name in the 1860s, probably because of its picturesque setting. The power of this place name lies in the startling contrast between the original beauty that this toponym was chosen to represent and the catastrophic events that came to mark this community.  Within the United States, “Paradise” became common in wordplays such as “Paradise Lost”.  The name demonstrates not only sociocultural relevance, but also linguistic productivity.

“Gritty” was voted Trade Name of the Year. The new mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers, a professional hockey team that had until then lacked any mascot, made its debut on September 24, and immediately provoked a variety of responses. Left-wing activists made him a socialist meme: a blue-collar monster, reclaimed from marketing creators. On October 24 the Philadelphia City Council passed a formal resolution honoring Gritty, declaring that he honored the city’s spirit and passion. The name “Gritty” also is an inside joke used as a descriptor by fans for any player who isn’t the most athletically talented.

“Wakanda” was chosen Artistic Name of the Year. The fictional African country, created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for their Black Panther comic, was brought to life in the 2018 film Black Panther.

“#MeToo” was chosen as the Miscellaneous Name of the Year. Although it originated in 2017, the linguistic and cultural significance of this term has continued unabated.  The once innocuous phrase of sympathy has turned into an international rallying cry for justice and survivors’ rights.  It is now the name of an international activist movement for survivors of sexual assault, the title of a documentary film, and a US Congressional Act, the “Member and Employee Training and Oversight on Congress Act”.

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. “Rohingya” was the 2017 Name of the Year. “Aleppo“won for 2016 , “Caitlyn Jenner” for 2015, “Ferguson” 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.

Revised Call for Nominations for the 2018 Name of the Year

The American Name Society requests nominations for the Names of the Year for 2018. 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. 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, 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 based on place names would 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.
  • Miscellaneous Names: Any name which does fit in the above four categories, such as names created by linguistic errors, names of particular inanimate objects other than hurricanes, names of unorganized political movements, names of languages, etc. In general, to be considered a name, 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 2018. 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 York City, New York on January 4, 2019. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society. Advance nominations must be received before January 2, 2019. 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: <cevans@bellevue.edu> or Deborah Walker:<debwalk@gmail.com>

The revised Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

Call for Nominations for the 2018 Name of the Year

The American Name Society requests nominations for the “Names of the Year for 2018”. 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 and Canada.

Nominations are called for in the five 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 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.
  • Miscellaneous Names: Any name which does fit in the above four categories, such as names created by linguistic errors, names of particular inanimate objects other than hurricanes, names of unorganized political movements, names of languages, etc. In general, to be considered a name 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 2018. 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 York City, New York on January 4, 2019. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.

Advance nominations must be received before January 2, 2019. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Please send your nominations, along with a brief rationale, by e-mail toDr. Cleveland K. Evans: cevans@bellevue.edu or by email to Deborah Walker: debwalk@gmail.com

The Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

“Rohingya” Chosen 2017 Name of the Year

Rohingya displaced Muslims, Tasnim News Agency, Author: Seyyed Mahmoud Hosseini

“Rohingya” was chosen the Name of the Year for 2017 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 5, 2018.

The Myanmar army has targeted the Rohingya, an Islamic group, and has perpetrated massacres that have the earmarks of genocide. Myanmar’s government has tried to prevent people, including Pope Francis, from using the name Rohingya. The UN’s Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said “To strip their name from them is dehumanising to the point where you begin to believe that anything is possible.”

Maria was chosen ANS’s Personal Name of the Year. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in September. The irony of a name associated by many in Puerto Rico with the Virgin Mary’s compassion being given to a storm whose aftermath has led to questioning the compassion of the federal government was cited by ANS members as a reason for the choice before the vote.

#MeToo was chosen as the Miscellaneous Name of the Year. This is the name of a movement encouraging those who have been sexually assaulted or harassed to share their experiences by using the #MeToo hashtag on various social media platforms.

Charlottesville was chosen as the Place Name of the Year.  This Virginia college town became a symbol of racism and resistance to it when an alt-right/Neo-Nazi march there on August 12 resulted in the death of counterprotestor Heather Heyer, and Donald Trump later referred to some of the white nationalist protestors as “good people.”

Nambia was chosen as Fictional Name of the Year. In September, President Trump lavished praise on the health care system of Nambia during a speech at the United Nations. Just one little problem: There is no such country. (Trump may have meant Namibia, an actual African country.) Trump mentioned “Nambia” twice in the speech.

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. “Aleppo“ was the 2016 Name of the Year. “Caitlyn Jenner” won for 2015, “Ferguson” 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 Call! Nominations for the 2017 Name of the Year

The American Name Society requests nominations for the “Names of the Year for 2017”. 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 2017. 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 Salt Lake City, Utah on January 5, 2018. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.

Advance nominations must be received before January 2, 2018. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Please send your nominations, along with a brief rationale, to Dr. Cleveland K. Evans at cevans[@]bellevue.edu.

The Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

Call for Nominations for the 2017 Name of the Year

The American Name Society requests nominations for the “Names of the Year for 2017”. 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 2017. 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 Salt Lake City, Utah on January 5, 2018. The winner will be announced that evening at a joint celebration with the American Dialect Society.

Advance nominations must be received before January 2, 2018. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Please send your nominations, along with a brief rationale, to Dr. Cleveland K. Evans at cevans[@]bellevue.edu.

The Call for Nominations can be downloaded here.

“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.