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Share Your Pick for the 2022 Name of the Year

November 15, 2022 namerology 27 Comments

Share Your Pick for the 2022 Name of the Year

November 15, 2022 Namerology 27 Comments
Name of the Year ballot: what's your pick?

The name you argued about. The name you joked about. The name that made you remember, or reconsider, or wonder. Names are part of every aspect of our world, from race and religion to commerce and comedy. And they’re constantly changing.

What names made an impact this year? What should be the 2022 Name of the Year?

Please join the name conversation by nominating candidates and responding to others’ nominations. The NOTY doesn’t necessarily have to be a baby name, but it should reflect human names and their role in our culture. Thinking back over the year, what name…

  • Emerged, or changed in usage and cultural meaning? (like Atticus in 2015)
  • Connected to broader trends, in names or in the world? (like Delta in 2021)
  • Was central to its story? A name of the year, rather than a person or topic of the year? (like Karen in 2019)

Feel free to nominate, second nominations, and debate in the comments section here. (Or if you prefer, on Facebook or Twitter. Pass on the message, and let the name talk begin!


All posts


  • Elizabeth November 16, 2022 at 3:13 am

    I am not inspired! News stories: Britney Griner was arrested and sentenced to jail in Russia. Britney Spears was released from her conservatorship and is now taking charge of her own life. Two opposite stories, but the name Britney just does not scream 2022. And that’s all I’ve got for right now.

    • holey
      holey December 11, 2022 at 3:15 am

      I was actually just thinking earlier today about how the phrase “Free Brittney” applied to Griner, too, in very different but also sort of parallel circumstances – one imprisoned for political gain and the other controlled for access to her money. Griner’s situation didn’t seem to get nearly as much attention as I would have expected, but maybe in other parts of the country it was more talked about.

  • Rebecca November 16, 2022 at 1:20 pm

    I nominate Elizabeth/Liz, for England’s longest-serving monarch and shortest-serving prime minister.

  • Emily November 16, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    Something about Cannon is jumping out to me – between news about war, the increasing rise of toxic masculinity (from your recent post!) and the fact that the most famous celebrity father, Nick Cannon, has fathered so many children publicly during a year of fear around reproductive choice. It certainly feels like we’re living in explosive times.

  • Katie November 16, 2022 at 11:53 pm

    My vote is for Ukraine. I learned this year that many English language publications have traditionally referred to Ukraine as “the Ukraine”. But since they became independent in the 90s the Ukranian people prefer to drop the article. It emphasizes that Ukranians are a distinct national identity, not just an extension of Russia. Most, but not all publications follow this convention now but I’ve seen a few exceptions in the last few months. As I’ve learned a little more about the name and the history of Ukraine I’ve been struck that the idea of self determination is central both in the name and in the conflict they’ve experienced this year.

    • Skye November 17, 2022 at 1:58 am

      Maybe Odessa, it feels more name like and still references Ukraine.

    • Elizabeth November 17, 2022 at 2:50 am

      Good call! The change of spelling and pronunciation from Kiev to Kyiv was picked up quickly by most major news organizations and definitely reflects this desire for self determination.

      • Julie November 18, 2022 at 3:54 pm

        What about Zelenskyy? I seem to recall some debate over whether to spell the president’s name “Zelensky” or “Zelenskiy,” and he expressed a preference for “Zelenskyy,” which (to the best of my knowledge) is a pointedly Ukrainian spelling.

      • Zita November 18, 2022 at 8:10 pm

        I think I like Kyiv even more than Ukraine, since that shift seems to have happened largely this year.
        I would also nominate Valodymyr/Vladimir as am encapsulation of how closely entertwined (enough that their leaders have the same, very non-Western, name) yet still distinct the two countries are.

        • Marelle November 19, 2022 at 12:08 am

          Came here to suggest Valodymyr. As an English speaker from the opposite side of the planet I am aquainted with the name Vladimir and some of its various holders throughout history. But this year is the year I learned of the name Valodymyr and that it has its own history seperate from Vladimir. Just as this year I also learned that Ukraine has its own rich history seperate from Russia, and that the city I knew as Kiev is locally known as Kyiv.

  • LikeToPivotPivot
    LikeToPivotPivot November 18, 2022 at 7:15 am

    This has been a year of the woman. Mahsa Amini’s death and the symbolism of women’s hair in Iran, the repealing of abortion rights in the US, Queen Elizabeth’s death and Liz Truss’ short tenure. I also think of poor Ivana Trump buried on her husband’s golf course for a tax grift. Elon musk and Grimes’ surrogate baby Exa, plus all the other celebrity surrogate babies this year makes me think again of women’s reproductive rights. Lizzo playing the crystal flute.

    I don’t know which name says all that, except for maybe Elizabeth and all its many forms, and the form of the name can be really important. Like Vladimir vs Volodymyr.

    • Julie November 18, 2022 at 3:57 pm

      Mahsa is an interesting one, because her Kurdish name (the one used by her family and friends) was Jina — but in Iran, it’s against the law to give your baby a non-Muslim name. So legally, she was Mahsa, by the law of the same state that killed her.

    • Beth Baxter November 19, 2022 at 5:03 pm

      Maybe Lizzo, as a modern form of the traditional and ever popular Elizabeth. It symbolizes the progressive changes that our society is making and the conservative pushback against them.

      • Elizabeth November 20, 2022 at 5:53 pm

        Lizzo’s given name is Melissa, but this nomination does reinforce the idea of self determination.

  • LikeToPivotPivot
    LikeToPivotPivot November 18, 2022 at 11:26 pm

    That is awful and at the same time not surprising at all. That makes me think Jina should be the name of the year. Those in power have so much control over what is considered a good name, whether directly through naming laws or indirectly through being the Queen of a country for 80 years. If you’ve got enough money and power you can name your kid anything.

  • AAR November 19, 2022 at 1:02 am


    • sal November 28, 2022 at 8:09 pm

      I would also add all the workarounds people are using on Twitter to criticize him (el0n, Elmo, etc).

  • Emily November 19, 2022 at 4:43 pm

    Wolf? Since it turns out no one actually ended up with that name!

  • Megan November 21, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    I wonder about (Kan)Ye. He rebranded himself Ye, built a name form is elf and then destroyed it with anti-Semitic commentary.

  • LadyRay November 23, 2022 at 8:59 am

    I would choose the name that most people recognize as Amini’s name because “Jina” is dear to her loved ones. Plus, “Mahsa” being her legal name is a statement in itself and will forever be associated with her death now.

    As much as I’d have agreed on “Elizabeth”, I’m pretty sure that the late queen would have agreed that she’s had enough coverage in her lifetime.

    And Ukraine, of course is a good one too. It’s a tough call, but I’m for “Mahsa”.

  • SisterJudy November 27, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Is it possible to choose, not any one name, but all the names that trans kids want to be called but can’t because of politics?

    • JGuliaP December 8, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      Can “dead name” be NOTY? Especially after the Club Q shooting, where care was given to make sure the victims were not misgendered or dead-named.

      • holey
        holey December 11, 2022 at 3:10 am

        The melodrama of that term has always bugged me. However, it certainly makes sense as a Name of the Year.

        In a way…I’m not sure whether this is what SisterJudy had in mind…but one could even take it further and say that pronouns are the name of the year. Choosing one’s pronouns the way one chooses a name is a pretty new concept (and one I don’t personally agree with, which I’m sure will make me popular here). Anyway, we’re taking a part of speech and turning it into a label, an affirmation or contradiction of someone’s identity, which seems pretty name-y. It’s even increasingly part of people’s email signatures at work.

  • Sal December 6, 2022 at 2:46 am

    Perhaps duplicative of Delta, but monkeypox/mpox?

  • holey
    holey December 11, 2022 at 2:50 am

    I know it was nominated last year, too, but I nominate Brandon. “Let’s Go Brandon” was still a pretty new phenomenon at nomination time last year. Since then, it has shown a lot of staying power, and this year introduced the Dark Brandon meme.

    It’s amazing how completely the name “Brandon” has morphed into an instantly recognizable political symbol, conveying not only criticism of Biden but also of a perceived liberal bias in the media.

    The other day I was looking at buying a handmade item on Etsy, only to read in the description that the seller was blaming the “Brandon Plan” for increased costs. His use of that one name told me so much about him (as he intended it to).

    The only thing I can think of that’s even comparable is Karen, but Karen was based on a stereotypical concept of someone who would actually be named Karen. Brandon is not based on a real idea of someone named Brandon (or is it? To me the name Brandon is sort of normal and inoffensive).

    • holey
      holey December 11, 2022 at 2:59 am

      I posted too soon, but also wanted to reference this SNL sketch about a guy named Brandon who thinks “Let’s Go Brandon!” is about him. He learns that it’s actually a political joke, and asks, crushed, “So…it’s a joke to be Brandon?”

      It’s funny, but also brings up something I always think about with these names – how much it would suck if the population at large decided to turn your name into a symbol of something unpleasant. I know that’s not an entirely new phenomenon, but it seems increasingly relevant given how quickly and globally things catch on now.

      It’s maybe also going to become more of an issue now that the naming landscape is so much more diverse. I don’t really associate “Andrew” with Hurricane Andrew because it’s such a common name and there are a lot of other Andrews to override that association. Katrina, on the other hand, I’m sure will always be associated with the hurricane. Nowadays, if a relatively uncommon name were to become a symbol or meme, it would be that much harder on the bearers of that name.

  • Molly December 11, 2022 at 10:11 pm


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