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Nancy Friedman
Oakland, California
Fritinancy: a chirping or creaking, as of a cricket (Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1913 edition); formerly known as Away With Words.
Interests: follow me on twitter:, get instant name advice at
Recent Activity
Ammosexual: A person who exhibits an extreme love of firearms, possibly to the point of fetishization. Coined from ammunition and sexual, with sonic overtones of homosexual. On June 6, 2014, Bill Maher, comedian and host of the late-night talk show “Real Time,” derided proponents of “open carry” laws that would... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Fritinancy
This “Charlotte’s Web” isn’t the beloved children’s book by E.B. White. But it does have a connection to childhood. Some background first: The five Stanley brothers of Wray, Colorado, grow medicinal marijuana in greenhouses and—now that medical and recreational cannabis are legal in Colorado—outdoors. Federal law prohibits them from shipping... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Fritinancy
The heroic drumroll continues in the world of commerce! Some recent sightings: * Delivery Hero, a Berlin-based food-delivery service that operates in 23 countries, was in the news earlier this month when it announced its acquisition of German rival Delivery Hero was founded in 2011. “Our Hero, Our Values.”... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Fritinancy
Snowden effect: “The increased awareness of the extent and scope of illegal or excessive surveillance in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations; the increased desire to be protected from such surveillance.” (Source: Word Spy.) Paul McFedries of Word Spy traces the origin of “Snowden effect” to the title of a... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Fritinancy
I was making a beeline through Bloomingdale’s in San Francisco, short-cutting through the store to get to Market Street, when a brand name stopped me in my tracks. Not just any brand name: a name I’m proud to claim as one of my very own. Tria hair removal laser 4X... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at Fritinancy
Two news-to-me items: 1. Toyota Europe has sold a “city car,” the Aygo, since 2005. The name is pronounced EYE-go, and it’s meant to express “freedom and mobility”—as in “I go.” 2. For this year’s “new generation” Aygo, Toyota wants you to “Go Fun Yourself.” (Hat tip: Dan Clayton in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at Fritinancy
My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at the centuries-old roots—as in Middle English and even Old English—of thirteen modern brand names. Access to this month’s column is free to all (but you should subscribe anyway!); here’s an excerpt: Hobby Lobby. Founded in 1970 in Oklahoma City, where it... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Fritinancy
Data lake: “A massive, easily accessible data repository built on (relatively) inexpensive computer hardware for storing big data.” (Source: Wiktionary.) “The opposite of a data warehouse, meaning they're huge pools of data stored in its original format instead of being collated, sorted and filed.” (Source: ReadWrite.) The last several years... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Fritinancy
Back in December 2012 I wrote about Be. wines, a Beringer brand targeted at young women. “Be.” is a cute ’n’ sassy truncation of “Beringer,” and each varietal is tagged with an imperative: Be.Bright (Pinot Grigio), Be.Radiant (Riesling), Be.Flirty (Moscato), and so on. So much cleverness obviously begged to be... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2014 at Fritinancy
Media holding company Gannett’s new job descriptions for “the newsroom of the future” (“Content Coach,” “Engagement Editor,” et al.) are pretty close to self-parody. But that didn’t stop some anonymous wag—obviously very close to the machine—from creating a parody. Apply now to be a Bullshit Artist 1, Reduction in Force... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2014 at Fritinancy
Taphephobia: Fear of being buried alive. From Greek taphē burial, grave (whence also epitaph) and New Latin phobia. Also taphiphobia, taphophobia. The Premature Burial (1962). Image via Gallery Hip. The OED has no entry for any of the spellings of this curious word; other sources, including Collins Dictionary and Webster’s... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at Fritinancy
I’m winding up #WeedWeek—a series of posts on the marketing of legal marijuana—with a look at CannaCon, a four-day cannabis convention and expo coming to Tacoma, Washington, next week. “Nation’s Largest Cannabis Expo.” In 2012, Washington State voters passed Initiative 502, which legalized the possession and cultivation of marijuana in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2014 at Fritinancy
I’m generally not a fan of company names that require phonetic pronunciation guides, but I’ll make an exception for Otoké Horticulture, a Colorado-based consultant to marijuana growers throughout the United States. The name story is just too good. It’s “oh-toh-KAY.” P.S. Surely they can improve on the Papyrus typeface. Given... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2014 at Fritinancy
Leafly, which calls itself “the world’s largest cannabis information resource”—and which Business Insider has called “Yelp for weed”—took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times to congratulate New York State for passing the Compassionate Care Act, which legalizes the medical use of marijuana. The ad ran on Page... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2014 at Fritinancy
Budtender: A worker at a dispensary of medical or recreational marijuana who helps customers with their selections. Formed from bud (of marijuana) and bartender. As of July 2014, 23 states and the District of Columbia had laws legalizing the sale and use of marijuana. Two of them, Washington and Colorado,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at Fritinancy
Here we go again. “Get in the funnest sport there is.” Ten industry partners, including the youth-sports organization USA Swimming and several swimsuit manufacturers, are collaborating on a summer-long campaign to encourage kids to join a swim club or team—in other words, to view swimming as a sport instead of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at Fritinancy
You’re cruising along at 25 mph in Oakland when you glimpse a billboard across the street. You see it for about two seconds, across three lanes of traffic, before you drive by. What registers? What’s being advertised? “Siri, find me a place above 50°.” Broadway near 51st Street. I’ll tell... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2014 at Fritinancy
Belittle: To make small; to disparage; to scorn as worthless. From our vantage point in the second decade of the twenty-first century, it’s hard to fathom that belittle was once reviled as vulgar and—as late as 1926, in Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage—“an undesirable alien.” Such, however, is the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at Fritinancy
Twenty-four-hour classical-music radio stations are a dwindling breed, hit hard by competition from online music-streaming services like Pandora and by the stark realities of a graying audience. All the more reason to cheer a healthy and good-humored survivor. “Sanity Now!” KDFC outdoor ad, San Francisco. Love the script typeface. Perhaps... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2014 at Fritinancy
Some days I question my ability to distinguish satire from sincerity. “Gluten free flooring” from Heritage Salvage. San Francisco Chronicle, July 12. In a world where gluten-free shampoo is a real thing*, who knows? Because grain elevators, people! __ * Tip: Keep your mouth closed when you wash your hair.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at Fritinancy
Today I’m guest-blogging at Duets Blog, a publication of Minneapolis trademark-law firm Winthrop & Winestine. My post, “Fly the Tasty Skies,” looks at new airline names borrowed from the produce aisle. JetBlue’s new Mint, which began operations last month, is just the latest entrant in a category that includes Peach,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at Fritinancy
Workamping: Working full or part time while living in a mobile home. A contraction of “work” and “camping.” Workamping is the focus of “The End of Retirement,” an investigative article by Jessica Bruder in the July/August 2014 issue of Harper’s. Access is restricted to subscribers; here’s the nut graf: They... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at Fritinancy
The leaves of Citrus hystrix are used in many South and Southeast Asian cuisines; they’re sometimes called by their Thai name, makrut, but in many English-speaking countries they’ve long been called kaffir lime. That’s changing thanks to a protest “against the racial and religious slur of ‘kaffir’,” writes Tiffany Do... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at Fritinancy
My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at the names of sweet, cold summertime treats, from generics like “ice cream,” “sherbet,” and “sundae” to brands like Good Humor, Eskimo Pie, and Häagen-Dazs. Access is limited to subscribers for three months; here’s a taste: Popsicle: The Popsicle website claims this... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2014 at Fritinancy
Anglish: A form of English “stripped clean of the last 1,000 years of non-Germanic influence, while also being brought up to date in terms of modern syntax, grammar and spelling.” (Source: Tom Roswell, guest-blogging at The World in Words.) Also known as New English. Its complement is Anglo-Norman Conventional Written... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2014 at Fritinancy