Hamptonite, Hamptonian or Hamptoner? What’s in a Name?

Hamptonite, Hamptonian or Hamptoner?
Hamptonite, Hamptonian or Hamptoner? Photo: Voyagerix/iStock/Thinkstock

Recently, I’ve read various newspaper accounts of life in the Hamptons, and of the “Hamptonites” who inhabit the Hamptons. There have been numerous articles in Dan’s Papers referring to the locals as Hamptonites. This caused me to ponder what we really should be called out here, because about a year ago, I was in the U.K., and noticed that people in Southampton, England are referred to as Southamptonians.

So, I did some checking. According to an article written by Keith Hamilton in The Southern Daily Echo in the U.K. a couple years ago, “Sotonian” was the term used for Southamptonians years ago because they couldn’t fit the longer word in the newspapers, so they used the shorter Sotonian, and used “Soton” for Southampton. Quote: “The derivation of Soton and Sotonian has a rather more mundane origin as both were coined to describe the city and its residents by journalists at The Daily Echo, who found Southampton and Southamptonian far too long to fit easily into the newspaper’s headlines.” Reminds me of the “All the News That Fits” takeoff of The New York Times byline.

I don’t think, though, we’ll be seeing any references to summering in Soton in the near future.

My friend Edward Callaghan mentioned there was a local magazine a few years back called The Hamptonian, which was distributed on the Hampton Jitney. In addition, I recall another local publication, The Improper Hamptonian, which was launched in the spring of 2001, covering Hamptons lifestyles and events. But they eventually dropped “Hamptonian” from its name, and focused on the rest of Long Island, in addition to the Hamptons.

So, back then we were Hamptonians, but now we’re Hamptonites. Perhaps the Great Recession had something to do with scaling back our perception of ourselves and what we call ourselves.

If you head further east to East Hampton, the locals typically are called East Hamptoners. I did find some references to Southamptoners on the web, though. Also, there are Westhamptoners, but no Westhamptonites. Not sure what people from Quogue, Montauk and Hampton Bays are called. (Hampton Bayers? Hampton Baysites? Montaukers or Montaukians? Quogueites? Quoguers? But that’s a subject for another article.)

There is a relatively recent type of resident known as Hamptonistas. It’s a term typically used to describe people out here who are all-knowing in the fashion, media and financial worlds (fashionistas, anyone?). However, it seems to have acquired a more negative connotation for hangers-on and Hamptons wannabees who call the Hamptons home but are more transient, particularly in the summer.

I’m also not sure where this word came from, since when I hear any word with “nistas” at the end of it, I’m reminded of the Sandinistas, who were members of a Nicaraguan revolutionary group named after Augusto César Sandino, Nicaraguan nationalist leader of the revolutionary movement that took control of Nicaragua in 1979. So, perhaps Hamptonistas are members of a movement?

I guess if I had a preference, I would prefer to be called a Hamptonian. It sounds more patrician, more upscale than Hamptonite, which sounds more like a rock from outer space. Hamptoner is not bad, but sounds more like an adverb than a noun. And I definitely don’t want to be known as a Hamptonista. So, let’s go back to our English roots with Southampton as the first English settlement in New York, here in the Hamptons, and forever call ourselves “Hamptonians” from this day forth.

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