“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.