Denizens and Their Labels

What do you call someone who hails from Delaware or Detroit? Are there really official terms for these things?

Although you may never come across this quandary (or care), it is interesting to note that “authorities” come up with these terms, and sometimes disagree.

If you come from Columbus, Ohio, you would be called a Columbusite (really!), but if you are from Columbus, Mississippi, you would be labeled a Columbian. Apparently those from the local communities know what’s proper and what’s not. I would have never guessed that right on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Although there are some “rules” to creating these labels, they are not often followed. For example, if a place name ends in a or ia, you just add n:

  • Californian, Alaskan, Georgian

If the place name ends in n, add ian:

  • Bostonian, Jacksonian, Kenyan

There are too many “rules” to cite here, but check out some of these labels and see how funny (or not) they may sound to you:

  • Mainer, Wyomingite, Corpus Christian, Jersey Cityite, St. Paulite, Taoseno, Istanbullu, Sydneysider, Tangerine (Tangier), Winnipegger, Vancouverite

I don’t know about you, but I may just default to saying “That man from Toronto” rather than “That Torontonian.” (And to answer my original question, you would call him or her a Delawarean or a Detroiter, respectively.)

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  1. I grew up in Michigan, so I’m a born and raised Michigander.

    But I know live in Kansas, where I’m a transplanted Kansan.

    Since I am home in both places, I consider myself a Michi-kansa-gander-an.

    I think.

      1. That works, too.

        It occurs to me that it would be relatively easy to come up with new worlds and new world denizens just by combining names like we just did.

        If, of course, you’re interested in that sort of thing.

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