DENVER (KDVR) — Are Colorado residents Coloradans or Coloradoans?
People may still individually debate which term they prefer, but the most widely and officially accepted demonym — or term to denote a person who lives in or was born in a certain place — is Coloradan.
This recognition of “Coloradan” extends up to the federal government, whose style manual for federal publications recognizes the version without the “o” as the official way to refer to people from Colorado.
Why is it Coloradan and not Coloradoan?
A general rule for demonyms is to add “-an” to places that end in “o.” Idaho becomes Idahoan, Ohio becomes Ohioan and Chicago becomes Chicagoan.
This would mean that the correct demonym would be Coloradoan. However, there’s a catch.
The name Colorado is of Spanish origin, and means “colored red.”
For names of Spanish origin that end in “o,” like Colorado, the demonym rule is generally to remove the “o” and add “-an.”
Think of places like Mexico, Puerto Rico, San Diego and San Francisco. The demonyms for each follow the same rule as Colorado: Mexican, Puerto Rican, San Diegan and San Franciscan.
Where is Coloradan used?
Besides the federal government recognizing Coloradan as the official demonym for the state, you can find Coloradan used widely.
FOX31 most often uses the term Coloradan in its articles, though it has used Coloradoan in the past.
Also, if you were to go to the official state government website, chances are you’ll see residents being referred to as Coloradans a decent amount.
Does that mean the term Coloradoan is “wrong?”
A number of dictionaries, from the Cambridge Dictionary to Merriam-Webster, regard the two demonyms relatively interchangeably.
In its definition of Coloradan, Cambridge includes Coloradoan in its examples of how to use the word in a sentence.
So despite “Coloradan” being more widely used officially, that doesn’t mean that anyone who prefers the term “Coloradoan” is necessarily wrong.
Additionally, there’s the daily newspaper the Fort Collins Coloradoan, which retains the “o” in its name.