‘NEOM’: Etymology Of The Name and ‘M’

Crown Prince sought to express of the project's culture & universality. Desired result was to unify the significance of project's name, NEOM.

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

The Saudi megacity in the northwest draws a lot of 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, sorting and testing the lists of names proposed by the consulting team.

The list included 2,000 names, which was further reduced — per the standards and requirements — to 150 and then to five. However, none of the names was 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 not in favor said that the Crown Prince being chairman 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 for words representing the fundamentals of the project. 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” of the Arabic script. “Mim” is the first letter of “mustaqbal,” the Arabic word for future, and the first letter of the name of Prince “Mohammed” bin Salman. “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 enriched life in a city built for all humanity.

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