Demonym – Friday’s Word of the Day

Today’s word of the Day on is demonym. It is defined as the name used for the people who live in particular country, state, or other locality: Two demonyms for the residents of Michigan are Michigander and Michiganian.”

Its origin from
The name noun demonym is clearly from the Greek dêmos, “people, common people, common soldiers, (as opposed to officers) popular government, democracy, district, country, land.”. The second part of the word comes from Greek dialect (Doric, Aeolic) ónyma, a variant of ónoams “name” s very common in compounds like antonym and pseudonym. It entered English in the late 20th Century.

From Wikipedia:

National Geographic attributes the term “demonym” to Merriam-Webster editor Paul Dickson in a recent work from 1990.[10] The word did not appear for nouns, adjectives, and verbs derived from geographical names in the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary nor in prominent style manuals such as the Chicago Manual of Style. It was subsequently popularized in this sense in 1997 by Dickson in his book Labels for Locals.[11] However, in What Do You Call a Person From…? A Dictionary of Resident Names (the first edition of Labels for Locals)[12] Dickson attributed the term to George H. Scheetz, in his Names’ Names: A Descriptive and Prescriptive Onymicon (1988),[1] which is apparently where the term first appears. The term may have been fashioned after demonymic, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as the name of an Atheniancitizen according to the deme to which the citizen belongs, with its first use traced to 1893.

I discovered that there official or common demonyms and then there are colloquial demonyms. For example, someone from the USA is officially an American or a Yankees or Yanks; Zimbabweans are also called Zimbos; the French are Frogs or Gauls; Faulkland Islanders are Belongers; Costa Rican’s are Ticos; and Canadians are Canucks. Here in the states we have Buckeyes (Ohioans), Ice Chippers (Alaskans), and Cheeseheads ( Wisconsinites). You can see a comprehensive list on Wikipedia, HERE.

There is an unspoken rule when crafting a demonym. If you’re stuck, go with what the locals call themselves.

Normally I do a Haiku but given the word of the day I am thinking only a limerick will do.

There once was a dude from the hood
Who lived life upstanding and good
Now he was no gangster
Say bro, he might answer
But demonyms fall short as they should



3 responses to “Demonym – Friday’s Word of the Day

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