dem·​o·​nym ˈde-mə-ˌnim How to pronounce demonym (audio)
plural demonyms
: a word (such as Nevadan or Sooner) used to denote a person who inhabits or is native to a particular place
Yet Hoosier, the folksy and ambiguous moniker, has for decades been snubbed by the federal government as the official name for residents of Indiana. Instead, the tongue-twisting "Indianan" - or worse, "Indianian" - has been the preferred demonym.Katie Mettler
Are we Michiganders or Michiganians? The question has long ignited plenty of fierce debate, and there has never been official consensus on our state's official demonym.Lee DeVito

Examples of demonym in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In line with the paisa spirit (a demonym used to describe people from Medellín), Botero was a profoundly hard worker. Salomé Gómez-Upegui, Vogue, 15 Sep. 2023 At the federal level, page 95 of the style manual of the Government Printing Office lists the demonym for each state, a demonym being a noun used to encompass the residents of a particular place. Detroit Free Press, 12 Aug. 2023 The safest thing is to try to make the demonym end in -an or -ian. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Feb. 2021 The people of Trois-Rivières, or Three Rivers, Quebec, translated their town’s name into Latin to produce a demonym that worked for both its French and English speakers: Trifluvien/Trifluvian. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Feb. 2021 Its demonym comes from neither French nor English though – its inhabitants are Sarnians, from what seems to have been the island’s name in Latin. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Feb. 2021 All due respect to comedy Zoom roomers, but the Des Moines people — who funnily enough do not have a proper demonym (Des Moiners?) — hung tough. Lee Keeler, SPIN, 10 May 2022 With different life experiences, cultures and histories, some Latinos prefer to use their demonym as a way to identify themselves and their place of origin. Abby Cruz and Cristina Corujo, ABC News, 15 Sep. 2021 When part of Canada’s Northwest Territories became Nunavut to settle a land claim with the Inuit people, its residents got a new demonym, from the Inuit language Inuktitut. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 Feb. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'demonym.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


dem- + -onym

First Known Use

1990, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of demonym was in 1990

Dictionary Entries Near demonym

Cite this Entry

“Demonym.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

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