20190705_new_demonyms

Husker fan Dann Leffler is from West Point, so he’s a West Pointer. But folks in many Nebraska towns and cities lack a proper name to call themselves.

Surely you’ve heard of Omahans and Lincolnites. But what do you call someone from Broken Bow?

Broken Bowers? Broken Bowhunters? Broken ... um ...

Without a doubt, those from Gothenburg are Gothenburgers. But what are people from Wahoo? Are they Wahooans? Wahooers? Wahoovians? Wahooligans? Ask around and the answer differs by the person.

As it turns out, many of Nebraska’s 50 most populous towns and cities lack a proper name to call themselves — it’s not a legal requirement for cities to establish a demonym, which is a word used to denote a person who lives in or is native to a particular place. Either the residents have too many to choose from or none of the names sounds right. Or nothing ever stuck.

“I’ve never been asked before,” said Erv Portis, city administrator of Plattsmouth. “Frankly I don’t have an answer for it. No matter what you or I choose, somebody is going to be offended. Plattsmouth citizen, Plattsmouth resident, beyond that I don’t know.”

Heck, even Nebraska’s oldest city and its third-largest, Bellevue, can’t make up its mind.

“I’ve lived here my whole life, 57 years, and I don’t know,” said the administrative assistant in the Mayor’s Office.

People from Wayne agree that they like the name “Wayne Americans,” as the water tower proclaims, but even the City of Wayne and Wayne’s chamber of commerce differ between Waynites or Waynians.

Don’t mistake Columbusites for Columbians, even if a few are. Be mindful not to offend a Papillionite by calling him or her a Papillionaire. And don’t you dare call someone from Crete a Cretan.

Across the Missouri River from Omaha, let the record show that those folks are Council Bluffsians, not Council Bluffers or Council Bluffites.

The names Nebraska’s townspeople call themselves are far more fascinating and undecided than one might imagine.

Here’s our unofficial list of the demonyms for the top 50 most populous places in Nebraska, determined using historical records, newspaper clippings and calls to government offices. These names are our best guesses based on research, but if you live in one of these towns and call your townspeople something else, let us know.

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