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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
Has it really been two years since my last roundup of “Mister” brands? Time to fill the gap with a long list of new-to-this-blog “Mister” names. If you’re joining us late, here’s how the game is played: The name must consist of “Mister” or “Mr.” plus some generic noun (or,... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Fritinancy
Janky: Of extremely poor or unreliable quality. U.S. slang (chiefly African-American); earliest citations are from the early 1990s. Sometimes intensified as janky-ass or truncated as jank. Janky was one of a clutch of words added to in February 2015. (Other additions included vishing, McTwist, and teachable moment.) The word’s... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Fritinancy
Let us briefly imagine the brainstorming session at Polish Eats, of Garfield Heights, Ohio, that led to this travesty. “WHYYYYYY WHY WHY. Why.” -- K. Sekelesky, via Instagram/Twitter. (“Ditto.” – Fritinancy.) Now let’s unimagine it, if we can. Pierogi are Polish dumplings. Sophie’s Choice is the title of a novel... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2015 at Fritinancy
I’ve been working on a massive update to my series on “Mister” brand names (coming soon!). Meanwhile, I stumbled across a couple of Misters that deserve special mention of their own. Meet Mr. Product Volume 1 and Mr. Product Volume 2. Image via Brand New. The books, by Warren Dotz... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2015 at Fritinancy
My new column for the Visual Thesaurus—yes, the second one in a week!—is inspired by the spectacular new images of Pluto sent by the space probe New Horizons. In the column, I investigate the origins of Plutonian lingo, including flyby, Ralph and Alice, Charon (Pluto’s largest moon), plutonium, and plutoed.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2015 at Fritinancy
Billennial: A member of the “millennial” generation—born between the 1980s and early 2000s—who is fluent in two languages, usually Spanish and English. A portmanteau of bilingual and millennial. Also an adjective (“billennial generation”). The Texas-based Spanish-language television network Univision used billennial to describe its 2015-2016 programming, introduced in May at... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2015 at Fritinancy
Your counterintuitively spelled business name of the month is It’s so bad, writes Domain Name Wire, that “the company includes the pronunciation in its logo.” Reminds me of Nyoombl. * How an artist brought an obscure 17th-century word, “parbunkells,” back to life. * Mike Pope introduces us to Matthew... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at Fritinancy
My new column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at the shifting and varied meanings of special—a word that can mean particular, extraordinary, dear, and having an intellectual disability. I consider special delivery, BlueLight Special, Afterschool Special, and more. Access to the column is open this month (but a subscription is... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2015 at Fritinancy
Laches: Negligence in the performance of a legal duty; delay in asserting a right, claiming a privilege, or making application for redress. “Laches is not to be confused with the ‘statute of limitations,’ which sets specific periods to file a lawsuit for types of claims (negligence, breach of contract, fraud,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2015 at Fritinancy
I’m pleased to introduce Mast Mobile, which was named by my company, Wordworking. Mast is a new kind of mobile-telecommunications platform for businesses and their employees: a carrier, software platform, and device manager all in one. It gives business owners the power to manage productivity, costs, and security, and it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at Fritinancy
Hollanderizing: A proprietary process for cleaning fur garments, named for its inventors, A. Hollander and Sons Fur Care (originally of Newark, New Jersey, and later of Toronto and Montreal). “Hollanderizing: Canada’s leading garment care professionals since 1930.” ( Hollanderizing was immortalized in “Take Back Your Mink,” written by Frank Loesser... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at Fritinancy
And Plenti’s plenty for me, since the name has been claimed twice. In May, American Express launched Plenti, a loyalty program that allows consumers to earn “Plenti points”—one for each dollar spent at 10 brick-and-mortar retailers. The catch: Until some time in the future to be determined, you can redeem... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2015 at Fritinancy
I realized just the other day that I’ve never written here about my involvement with the question-and-answer site Quora. I’ve been participating since 2013, answering questions about names, taglines, and verbal-branding strategy. Anyone can post a question, and anyone can answer; the platform is free for users, and the tone... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2015 at Fritinancy
Jiggery-pokery: Deceitful or dishonest manipulation; hocus-pocus, humbug. It was first documented in 1893, but a related term, Scots joukery-pawkery (clever trickery, jugglery, or legerdemain) is attested from 1686. The latter term is a compound of jouk (a sudden elusive movement) and pawky (artful, sly, shrewd, roguish). Jiggery-pokery was in the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2015 at Fritinancy
Remember when the lads from Pied Piper on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” won TechCrunch Disrupt? That may have been a sign that “disruption” in all its grammatical forms had, well, disrupted the shark. On the other hand, maybe disruption was done for when Taco Bell created a position called “Resident Disruptor.”... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2015 at Fritinancy
How are you doing with that search for a .com domain that costs less than $25,000? Mired in frustration, you say? Maybe what you need is a creative alternative. I know, I know: .com is the gold standard. It’s the default. It’s traditional. But it’s not the only option—especially if... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2015 at Fritinancy
Mayhem: Violent behavior, physical assault, or disorder. In criminal law, mayhem is the infliction of physical injury on a person so as to impair that person’s capacity for self-defense. The word entered English in the late 15th century from Anglo-French maihem, which means “injury, harm, damage”; it’s related to maim.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2015 at Fritinancy
I’m over at the Strong Language blog today with a new post about advertising that flirts with naughty words without tipping over into actual obscenity—from “FXing serious” (AMD processors) to “a shiatsu-load of masseuses” ( Read “Nearly Sweary Ads.” And happy solstice! Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2015 at Fritinancy
The headline is inaccurate and inadequate— “words” don’t “become startups”—and I take issue with the snarky attitude, but this list of short “real” (dictionary) words used as names of startups is worth a look. And the way they’re organized is downright poetic. (Hat tip: Karen Wise.) * Speaking of poetic,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2015 at Fritinancy
This new book by Mark Schatzker looks interesting. The title, though, troubles me. There is no “Dorito.” The trademark is DORITOS, which only looks like it’s plural. In fact, it’s singular.* “But,” I hear you cry, “how do I say I want just one robustly flavored corn-based snack-food product manufactured... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2015 at Fritinancy
Yuccie: A Young Urban Creative, as defined and described by David Infante, “a 26-year-old writer who lives in a gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn,” in an article for Mashable published on June 10. Infante calls yuccies “a slice of Generation Y, borne [sic] of suburban comfort, indoctrinated with the transcendent power... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2015 at Fritinancy
You already know about Tinder, the dating app that made “swipe right” the new “like.” Now meet Tendr—not once but twice, and missing that second E both times. Tendr #1, founded in February 2013 and based in Brooklyn, got first dibs on “Elegant” aside, this is a virtual begging... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2015 at Fritinancy
Earlier this year, AdWeek called it “perhaps the country's most unassuming tourism ad campaign.” Maybe. Or maybe it’s a multiple-choice question. “Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice.” Via Option 1: Nebraska, United States: Population 1.882 million. (Yes, the Republican runs through it.) Average temperatures (Fahrenheit) in the state capital, Lincoln. Option... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2015 at Fritinancy
Pent room: An extra or attached room in a house or apartment. Sometimes spelled pent-room or pentroom. Pent room has been cropping up with some regularity in San Francisco’s overheated real-estate market. The earliest usage I’ve found is in a 2007 book, Linda Applewhite’s Architectural Interiors: Transforming Your Home with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2015 at Fritinancy
I was meandering through Costco, looking for some yummy tofu-skin noodles I’d sampled during a store demo a few weeks earlier. I never found the the noodles—Costco can be like that—but I did spot True Story, a new-to-me brand of organic meat products. Hmm. You can tell a story, hear... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2015 at Fritinancy