Even before Macedonia's independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, there was a bit of a controversy with the Greeks over the name, which they claimed historical rights to. A whole kerfuffle ensued, with Macedonia taking the official name The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in defiance of the Greeks' bitter protestations. It's more controversial than you may think. The reason I'm spouting all these circumlocutions about FYROM is that just yesterday the two sides announced that Macedonia would agree to become the Republic of North Macedonia, giving thousands of people hope, but then the FYROM president refused to sign, so ignorance prevailed again. I'm pretty annoyed. The appellation Macedonian comes from Greek Makedones, which literally meant "highlander", from makednos, which just meant "tall". This in turn is from makros, meaning "long" or "large", from Proto-Indo-European mak, which also carried the definition of "thin".
Adam Aleksic is a 221-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard University in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd