“Great Resignation” Chosen 2021 Name of the Year

“Great Resignation” was chosen as the winner of the Name of the Year for 2021 by the American Name Society at its virtual annual meeting on January 23, 2022. Also known as the Big Quit, the Great Resignation refers to an economic trend in 2021 where large numbers of people left their jobs with a record 4.3 million resigning in August 2021. The phrase was likely coined by Anthony Klotz, a professor at Texas A&M.

“Karen” was chosen as Personal Name of the Year. “Karen” is a pejorative term used for a typically white woman who is perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what’s considered normal and civil. Although started years ago, the pejorative use has continued to gain momentum in memes and on social media.

“United States Capitol” was voted Place Name of the Year. On January 6, 2021, a mob of thousands of Trump supporters attacked the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., and violently disrupted a joint session of Congress. Linguistically, this is significant because it underlined confusion between the uses of “capitol” and “capital.” Interestingly, “Insurrection” was selected as Word of the Year 2021 by the American Dialect Society.

“Cyber Ninjas” won the title Trade Name of the Year. Cyber Ninjas is the name of the firm that led the partisan 2020 election review in Arizona with the intention to overturn the 2020 Presidential election results. The company was plagued with legal battles and eventually dissolved.

“Squid Game” was chosen Artistic Name of the Year. Squid Game is a South Korean survival drama streaming on Netflix in 2021. It quickly became one of the most popular Netflix series worldwide. The name is taken from a Korean children’s game.

“#FreeBritney” was voted E-Name of the Year. Due to mental health issues, Britney Spears was placed in conservatorship in 2008 with her father controlling her estate and medical decisions. Out of concern for her situation, Spears’ fans created the hashtag in 2019 for the Free Britney movement in order to change her legal standing. The movement led to Spears’ release from conservatorship and to a bill reforming conserveratorships in California.

“CRT” was chosen Miscellaneous Name of the Year. Although more than 40 years old, CRT, or Critical Race Theory, examines the relationship between race and law in the United States. ANS chose the initialism over the full term because it highlights the misunderstanding of the theory and the latest controversies in education.

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.The 2020 Name of the Year was jointly held by “Kamala” and “COVID-19.” ”Brexit” was Name of the Decade and “Arrokoth” was the 2019 Name of the Year. “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 Deborah Walker, chair of the Name of the Year committee, at debwalk@gmail.com, 206-621-3543.

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