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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: http://twitter.com/fritinancy, get instant name advice at http://clarity.fm/nancyfriedman
Recent Activity
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Drought-shaming: Calling public attention to the wasteful use of water during a drought. Drought-shaming gained currency in 2015, as California’s dire lack of rainfall reached crisis proportions. But the concept emerged in 2014, when the state emergency was first declared. “Californians Keep Up with the Joneses’ Water Use,” tsk-tsked a... Continue reading
Posted 13 hours ago at Fritinancy
For many of my naming clients, the definition of “an available name” has expanded beyond trademark and domain to include a wide range of social media—not just Twitter and Facebook but also, in some cases, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, and other platforms. Checking each service was a chore until I discovered... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Fritinancy
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There’s lots of advice out there for creating company and product names. (Some of that advice is available right here on this blog.) It’s much harder to find out what to do after you’ve developed and vetted that list of names. How should you reveal your top name candidates to... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Fritinancy
Hokey: Characterized by hokum; sentimental; mawkish; overly contrived, especially to win popular opinion or support; phony. In early citations, sometimes spelled hoky or hokie. 'Hokey" is now a positive political standard: D and R operatives thought HRC's rollout was clever for being hokey. http://t.co/RSVwE6isOc — Elizabeth Drew (@ElizabethDrewOH) April 15,... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Fritinancy
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Don’t read “How to Name a Baby” to learn how to name a baby. Read it for insights into historical baby-naming trends and to confirm your hunches (e.g., “the popular girl name Reagan is for Republicans”). Also: charts! * Given names are “one of the last social acceptable frontiers of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2015 at Fritinancy
My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at the term “sharing economy” and the evolution of share from Old English—where it was a noun meaning “a cutting” or “a shearing”—to its use as a verb in 12-step meetings and beyond. Access is free this month! Here’s an excerpt I’m... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2015 at Fritinancy
Gnomologist: A person who practices gnomology; a collector or researcher of quotations. Coined from the Greek gnome (thought, judgment, saying, or maxim) and the Latin suffix -ologist. Gnomologist first appeared in English in 1813 (“the gnomologists, or versifiers of short moral apophthegms”*); the adjective gnomic showed up two years later.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2015 at Fritinancy
Stan Freberg, a man of myriad talents who was often called “the father of funny advertising,” died Tuesday in Santa Monica. He was 88. Freberg was born in Pasadena and grew up in Los Angeles; he turned down scholarships to Stanford University and the University of Redlands in order to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2015 at Fritinancy
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Full-page ad from Adobe Document Cloud in the business section of today’s New York Times: “THIS IS BULL SHEET.” Note that bull is slightly obscured by the folds in the paper. “Bull sheet” is defined in the small type as “tedious paperwork”; sheet is meant to be a punning reference... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at Fritinancy
Infrapreneur: An entrepreneur who specializes in enterprise infrastructure*. Infrapreneur is a blend of two 19th-century additions to English: infrastructure (originally a military term; literally, the installations beneath the structure) and entrepreneur (originally the manager or promoter of a theatrical production, then a business manager in general, and now a person... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2015 at Fritinancy
Gone are the days when an aspiring wine brand had to sound aristocratic. Today’s successful wines have names like Jealous Bitch, The Ball Buster, and Le Vin de Merde. “Dirty Wine,” my new post on the Strong Language blog, examines the trend and catalogues the players. Take a look, but... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2015 at Fritinancy
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Two German companies. Two ads. Two strikingly—suspiciously?—similar slogans. “The Ultimate Lighting Machines.” Holtkötter. Page 161, New York Times T Magazine, March 22, 2015. In non-logo appearances, the name is spelled Holtkoetter. “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Screen grab from the 30-second BMW “Hello Future” spot that aired during the 2015 Super... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2015 at Fritinancy
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Kipe (also kype): To pilfer or steal; to swipe. North American slang (20th century). Kipe is a word I associate with my childhood—it was a word used only by kids—but have heard only rarely since. Indeed, I’d have laid odds that the word was as dead as gadzooks or prithee.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2015 at Fritinancy
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One side of a sandwich board in front of the John Fluevog store on Grant Avenue, San Francisco: “Know You’re Weird!” The other side: “No, You’re Weird!” The resemblance to the “Keep Calm and Carry On” oeuvre is probably not coincidental, but the weirdness and wordplay are pure Fluevog. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2015 at Fritinancy
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I’ve been collecting examples of strikethrough in print advertising for several years now.. The latest examples to have caught my eye are ads for the PBS production of “Wolf Hall,” based on the Hilary Mantel novels about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII, and Anne Boleyn. (This is not the production that’s... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2015 at Fritinancy
Libel tourism: “The act of suing a writer for alleged defamation in a foreign jurisdiction where there are weak libel laws.” (Source: Dictionary.com). Often, that jurisdiction is Great Britain, as NPR reporter Ari Shapiro noted in a March 21 report, “On Libel and the Law, the U.S. and U.K. Go... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2015 at Fritinancy
Apple’s newest device will be offered in three models: Watch Sport, Watch, and Watch Edition. The significance of those names—and the strategies behind other sub-branding programs—is the subject of my latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, “The Cues and Clues of Sub-Brands, from Cabin Class to Apple Watch.” Access is... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2015 at Fritinancy
Here’s a spirited celebration of St. Patrick’s Day: “Mudebroth, an Ejaculation of St. Patrick.” It’s on Strong Language, so expect naughty words. * “Clickspittle: an unquestioningly loyal follower who obediently shares every trivial thought of their idol on social media.” Post-modern portmanteaus from The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2015 at Fritinancy
Grolar bear: A hybrid animal that’s part grizzly bear (Ursus arctus) and part polar bear (Ursus maritimus). The word is a blend of grizzly and polar. Eva Holland wrote about grolar bears last week in the online magazine Pacific Standard: I thought it was a joke when I first heard... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2015 at Fritinancy
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“A name doesn’t define who or what you are,” declares No Name, a National Beverage Alliance brand of alcoholic drinks. The copy goes on, redundantly: “Sometimes a name doesn’t matter. A name doesn’t matter.” You can repeat it as much as you want, but No Name Steaks will still have... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2015 at Fritinancy
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In New York City, you can summon a limo with an app called Gett. TechCrunch calls Gett “Uber without surge pricing.”“Gett rides are $10 in central Manhattan, anywhere between Houston and Central Park South, no matter what day of the week.” You can tell your Gett driver to take you... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2015 at Fritinancy
Pallesthesia: The sensation of mechanical vibration on or near the body. From Greek pallein, to quiver, and aisthesis, feeling. Pallesthesia shows up mostly in medical reference books and journals—in, for example, a 1953 article in Nature on “depression of vibratory sense levels in lupus erythematosus.” But John McPhee, the eminent... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2015 at Fritinancy
I’m marching to the beat of the Strong Language drummer, with a new post about naughty-sounding brand names with innocent meanings. It may be the only post you’ll read today that has the tags appliances, beverages, pee, and smegma. * Also: March 4 is National Grammar Day, an occasion for... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at Fritinancy
Shipping: “A fandom practice that involves imagining relationships between two fictional characters from a show, movie, or book series.” (Source: Know Your Meme.) The TV Tropes site notes that the word “ostensibly derives from ‘Relationship’ (though it might as well be ‘Worship’; in some fandoms, it's Serious Business).” TV Tropes... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2015 at Fritinancy
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I recently heard about a consulting gig with a San Jose creative agency. The firm does strong work in branding and web design, and it has a dynamic website. But one thing made me hesitate. The agency’s name. WebEnertia. If there’s a name less likely to inspire, to motivate, to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at Fritinancy