Do you know exactly where Arrokoth is?
The American Name Society named Arrokoth the Name of the Year for 2019 at its meeting in New Orleans on January 3.
NASA revealed this in November as the name of “minor planet 486958.” Before the New Horizons spacecraft flew over this far-away rock in the Kuiper Belt on January 1, 2019, NASA received nearly 34,000 suggestions for names. Their initial selection, Ultima Thule, was abandoned when it turned out that Ultima Thule was used as the mythical home of the “Aryan race” by Nazi occultists. Arrokoth means “sky” in Powhatan, a formerly spoken extinct Algonquian language in eastern Virginia.
ANS used Year Names for place names, artistic-literary names, personal names, trade names, e-names and miscellaneous names before choosing the name of the year as a whole.
Arrokoth received the type of place name. Ukraine was one more candidate. Because of the impeachment hearings, the popularity of this eastern European country may have finally gotten Americans to stop calling it “Ukraine.” “Greta Thunberg” earned the year’s personal name. Thunberg, a Swedish teen who turned 17 on Jan. 3, is heading a global youth movement to tackle climate change. She was chosen for 2019 as the Person of the Year of Time magazine and her name has become a byword for activists in the youth world.
We call their influence on politics the Greta Impact. “Make the World Greta Again” is the title of a documentary film about the movement. Other personal nominees included AOC, the initials known to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and “The Whistleblower,” which transformed from a generic term into a nickname for the anonymous person who first brought to the attention of Congress the actions of the Trump administration.
#Fridaysforfuture has won the latest e-name of the year award, the first time it has been awarded by ANS. This hashtag is the name of Thunberg’s campaign on Fridays, referring to her initial Swedish demonstrations. It has spawned many other e-names, as well as tags for related protest groups (Future Scientists, Future Parents, All for Future).
TikTok received a Trade Name of the Year for 2019. TikTok, a short video making and sharing app released globally in September 2017 and now has over 500 million users. It’s the world’s first mass successful Chinese-made app.