Movements and philosophies often have a specific term that is used to describe followers of it. For example, Islam and Muslims, the Society of Jesus and Jesuits, Communism and Communists, and even the Grateful Dead and Deadheads.

The analogous relationship between person and place is called Demonymy. Is there such a term for the relationship that I've described?

  • I found this article which you might find interesting. textproject.org/assets/… I have updated my answer accordingly. Hope this helps.
    – Lumberjack
    Jun 14, 2018 at 20:23
  • 2
    I can think of plenty of words which followers of a movement might be called e.g. adherents, acolytes, disciples, students, followers, and perhaps twenty more. But I sense that is not what you are looking for, or are you? In these situations where an OP is seeking a particular word we ask them to supply, by way of example, a sentence with a blank space for the word they seek.
    – WS2
    Jun 14, 2018 at 20:55
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    I believe he's looking for an analogue to demonym. A name for the class of words naming particular types of followers, e.g. Muslims, Jesuits, Communists, Deadheads.
    – Neil W
    Jun 15, 2018 at 4:37
  • Activist - a term that has of late become a little negative in India after the intentions of most activists were exposed.
    – Ram Pillai
    May 8, 2020 at 3:06
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    "Demonymy" seems to be a very rare word, the only dictionary defining it (as far as I can tell) being Wiktionary (which cites only a single example of usage). A web search turns up a few uses, but they seem to consider it to mean "the study of demonyms", not a "relationship". (This is where adhering to the SWR tag guidelines would help, as @WS2 notes.) May 25, 2023 at 19:38

3 Answers 3


adherence - noun

  1. attachment or commitment to a person, cause, or belief.

devotion - noun

  1. Love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person or activity.

  2. Religious worship or observance.

fellowship - noun

  1. Friendly association, especially with people who share one's interests.

See also: association, commitment, affiliation

EDIT: I had a feeling that the words I had provided weren't exactly what you were looking for, so I did some further research. According to textproject.org the term Demonym is not limited to geographical implications:

A person can have many demonyms. If she belongs to a club or a sports team, she may have a demonym that describes that interest. She may have a demonym that comes from where she lives or goes to school. A person can have as many demonyms as he has interests and community connections.

The demonym of a fan group can come from the history of the group or a symbol unique to that group. Do you love to listen to music by Beyonce? Then you may be a part of the “BeyHive.” The demonym BeyHive is a play on Beyonce’s name. The Bey part of Beyonce sounds like bee, the insect. It is as if Beyonce’s fans are bees following the queen bee, or, as Beyonce is sometimes referred to, the “Queen Bey.” The demonym BeyHive takes advantage of the unique spelling and pronunciation of Beyonce’s name.

In the article I linked they cite another non-geographic example: Fans of the Green Bay Packers are called "Cheeseheads."

  • I'd question the applicability of the above from textproject.org to this question and this forum. The focus of the TextProject seems to be on education and basic literacy and may not be intended for the linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts that this forum targets.
    – Ryan C.
    Nov 4, 2018 at 17:22
  • Also, I notice that the definition and usage of BeyHive given by TextProject does not actually work as a demonym. Isn't BeyHive just the name of the group, not the name of the followers of the group? It doesn't make sense to say "I'm a BeyHive"; you would have to say "I'm a part of BeyHive".
    – Ryan C.
    Nov 4, 2018 at 17:58

How about religionym?

While there could be something that better differentiates between "name of a religion" and "name of a religious adherent", I think it's a better choice then demonym for several reasons:

  1. it's more specific
  2. it's likely to be more meaningful to the casual reader because the root word is more clearly visible
  3. it does not appear to contain the word "demon", which may cause the casual reader to make unintended and likely incorrect associations

While the word is not as common as demonym and ethnonym, I've found religionym used in some academic publications, such as Reisigl, M. and Wodak, R. (2001) and even defined in Kader, N. (2016) - see Appendix 1, Table 2, p. 45 (pdf p. 20 of 28)


Reisigl, M. and Wodak, R. (2001). Discourse and Discrimination. Rhetorics of Racism and Antisemitism. Routledge: London. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=WP2CAgAAQBAJ

Kader, N. (2016). A Critical Analysis of Anti-Islamisation and Anti-immigration Discourse: The Case of the English Defence League and Britain First. International Journal for Innovation Education and Research, 4(5). Retrieved from http://ijier.net/index.php/ijier/article/view/538


It varies based on the organization. "Followers of ____," "members of ____," or "believers in ____" all are common.

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