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‘NEOM’: Etymology Of The Name and ‘M’

Business'NEOM': Etymology Of The Name and 'M'

Jeddah: Inspired by the future, NEOM is a megacity beyond imagination, where people’s well-being is prioritized over transportation and infrastructure, as in traditional cities and environments that are free from roads, cars, and emissions.

The Saudi megacity in the northwest draws considerable attention, and its name, “NEOM,” has intrigued people.

According to the official website of NEOM, the Crown Prince deliberated the matter with the members of the Founding Board and experts to develop an appropriate name for the global project.

In the search for a name, the Crown Prince sought an expression of the project’s culture and universality. The desired result was to unify the significance of the project’s name, global identity, and incredible ambition.

The actual name designation journey began by defining criteria, qualities, and conditions, all of which bear a clear and firm vision for selection; then, the lists of names proposed by the consulting team were sorted and tested.

The list included 2,000 names, which were further reduced—per the standards and requirements—to 150 and then to five. However, none of the names were found acceptable.

The Founding Board considered incorporating Prince Mohammed’s name within the project’s name. Two names, “NEOVIA MBS” and “NMBS,” were suggested but could not be agreed upon.

The team that was not in favor said that the Crown Prince’s chairmanship of the NEOM Board of Directors is sufficient to communicate the connection between the Crown Prince and the project.

They did, however, support Prince Mohammed’s principal idea that the name should be neither Eastern nor Western and not belong to a specific language or culture, in addition to being neutral and open to the entire world.

The Board members then brainstormed words representing the project’s fundamentals. They chose the initials of the sectors involved and merged the initials to form “NEO MSTACBEL.” The initials MSTACBEL represent the main project sectors: energy, media, sport, and technology.

“MSTACBEL” was then symbolized by the letter M, representing “Mim” in the Arabic script. “Mim is the first letter of “mustaqbal,” the Arabic word for future, and the first letter of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s name. “NEO” is Greek, which means new.

NEO and M merge to form a name that is the beacon of change in the world. The subsequently developed “NEOM” was adopted unanimously by the Board.

Finally, the Founding Board endorsed NEOM as the project’s official name. NEOM represents the vision and the eventuality—God willing—a promising future for the new generation and an enriched life in a city built for all humanity.

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