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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
’Tis-the-Season season came early this year! Why, ’twasn’t even Halloween when Saks Fifth Avenue gave us “’tis the treating hour” in a New York Times ad . Page A5, October 29. A Gap ad featured that perennial holiday garnish: the wrong-way apostrophe. November 16. Marine Layer, an aggressively casual* clothing... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Fritinancy
Mastermind: An outstanding or commanding mind or intellect; a person with such a mind. Also: a person who plans and directs a complex and ingenious enterprise, especially a criminal operation. (Both definitions via Oxford English Dictionary online.) The original usage of mastermind – a brilliant person – first appeared in... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Fritinancy
Here’s one of the Verizon “Better Matters” ads currently papering the Montgomery BART station in San Francisco: “A better network is better.” “Well, of course better is better,” you may be thinking with a twinge of annoyance. (“Some copywriter got overpaid for that?”) Ah, but there’s more to the slogan... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2015 at Fritinancy
With 8 percent of 2015 still in the mysterious future, the first Word of the Year (WOTY) nominations have already begun. Oxford Dictionaries made history, and stirred up some controversy, by selecting an emoji – “Face with Tears of Joy” – as its, um, lexical unit of the year. (Emoji... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2015 at Fritinancy
Turketta: An invented word for “turkey prepared porchetta style.” Sometimes spelled turchetta. Porchetta – the word is the feminine diminutive of porco (pig) – is a stuffed and rolled roast of suckling pig; the dish is associated with central Italy and Sardinia. Turketta, aka turchetta, aka turkey porchetta. Photo by... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2015 at Fritinancy
Mars Inc., which owns candy and cat food brands – synergy! – must have figured it had a good thing going with its “Sorry, I was eating a Milky Way” campaign, which debuted back in March. Because a a new holiday ad campaign for Temptations, Mars’s cat-treats brand, is also... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2015 at Fritinancy
Hard can be the opposite of easy or the opposite of soft; we can solve hard problems while listening to hard rock. Or we can think long and hard about two new ad campaigns that use hard in a specific, modern way. Example #1: “Work Hard / Hawaii Hard” A... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2015 at Fritinancy
Limerence: “The state of being romantically infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.” (Oxford English Dictionary) I encountered limerence for the first time in “A New Leaf,” by Dana Goodyear,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2015 at Fritinancy
What is it about this particular sloganclone that accounts for its abiding popularity? I have a theory, which I divulge further down. But first, five fresh examples. An ad in The New Yorker for the Rachel Maddow Show: “Covering America, one story at a time.” * Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2015 at Fritinancy
Cryotherapy: The local or general use of extremely cold temperatures in medical treatment – or, as “whole body cryotherapy” (WBC), to alleviate muscle soreness and possibly improve performance among elite athletes. From Greek words meaning “cold” and “therapy.” Cryotherapy made headlines last week when Chelsea Ake-Salvacion, a 24-year-old employee of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2015 at Fritinancy
From snack food to pet food, from table décor to table games, there are no balls like Glo Balls: No — Kevin Hearne (@KevinHearne) October 13, 2015 For Halloween, Hostess Sno Balls turn into Glo Balls (a registered trademark since 2005). “Very funny if you’re a 12-year-old boy,” snarks... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2015 at Fritinancy
In the Bay Area—and maybe where you live, too—“hella” is hella ubiquitous. I’ve spotted it three times recently in some unexpected contexts. This “hella” looks cute, but it’s jailbait. “Hella Kitty” T-shirt, Grand Avenue (Oakland) sidewalk sale. A parody (and probably an infringement) of Sanrio’s famous Hello Kitty mascot; also... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2015 at Fritinancy
Trick or treat: A Halloween slogan used as an interjection (by children begging for treats and threatening tricks if no treats are forthcoming) or, hyphenated, as a modifier (“trick-or-treat etiquette”; “best trick-or-treat neighborhoods”). Increasingly used as a noun substitute for trick-or-treating (“Trick-or-treat held the Sunday before Halloween in Wauwatosa, and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Fritinancy
On September 30, the Fisker Automotive and Technology Group of Costa Mesa, California, announced a new corporate name and logo: Karma Automotive. The name reincarnates – sorry, couldn’t help myself – the name of Fisker’s only product, a plug-in hybrid that sold for more than $100,000 … when it sold... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2015 at Fritinancy
My October column for the Visual Thesaurus (cross-posted on admires the colorful coinages of autumn, with a close look at fall-ify, a newish verb meaning “to add autumnal touches to something”(décor, clothing, makeup); and the bountiful word-blends created from “October.” Along the way, I navigate the trans-Atlantic autumn/fall divide,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2015 at Fritinancy
Climate changey: An adjective that describes “that feeling when you’re not sure if it’s just hot or if it’s humans destroying the earth.” Proposed by Alexis Madrigal, editor-in-chief of Fusion. “It’s not so easy to talk about the weather anymore,” Madrigal writes in an article published in Fusion October 12.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2015 at Fritinancy
In the spirit of Halloween, here’s Arika Okrent on how morticians reinvented their job title. * Yelp was almost named Yocal; Zappos was originally GeekWire’s Adam Lang tells the stories of what 15 tech brands might have been called. (Hat tip: The Name Inspector.) * Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2015 at Fritinancy
Gameful: Possessing the satisfying properties of well-designed games – “things like agency, emotion, and immediate feedback” (source: SuperBetter blog, June 13, 2012). The concept of “a gameful life” is central to the work of Jane McGonigal, an American game designer and writer with a PhD in the psychology of games.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2015 at Fritinancy
Three outdoor ads, all for mobile services, all spotted in San Francisco over the last week – and each one employing a trendy linguistic device. * “Because Reasons.” Geary and Powell streets (Union Square). On the other side of the kiosk is a charming Kiosk Museum. This ad is for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2015 at Fritinancy
Plogging: Blogging on a platform such as Facebook, Slack, or Medium, rather than on a dedicated blogging site such as the one you’re visiting (hosted by TypePad). A portmanteau of platform and blogging. From “So Long Blogging. Hello – Yep, We’re Going to Say It – Plogging,” by Julia Greenberg... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2015 at Fritinancy
Fritinancy Fashion Week wraps up on a reverent note, honoring a quartet of brands with “Saint” in their names. AllSaints All Saints’ Day is observed on November 1; All Saints is the name of a David Bowie album; All Saints Records is an independent British record label. The pricey fashion... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2015 at Fritinancy
The Seattle boutique Totokaelo – which since 2003 has championed avant-garde Japanese and European fashion in a city better known for flannel and anoraks – recently opened a five-story, 8,400-square-foot outpost in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. “Totokaelo” may appear to be borrowed from the Chinook language, but in fact it’s... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2015 at Fritinancy
Fritinancy Fashion Week marches into the trenches today with a name that aims for edgy, teeters precariously, and ends up lurching over the cliff. Edgy names are nothing new in fashion branding. Here in San Francisco, there’s an upscale boutique for men and women called Acrimony. I’ve seen an online... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2015 at Fritinancy
Fritinancy Fashion Week continues with the story of a venerable retailer, a mysterious ad, and a clever tagline/hashtag. The September 2015 issue of American Vogue contains 832 pages, and on only two of those pages do we see women who aren’t whippet-thin. The women on those two pages are photographed... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2015 at Fritinancy
Waist trainer: A compression garment that squeezes the wearer’s midsection to create an hourglass shape. “Celebrity double wide waist trainer corset” via Groupon; 87 percent latex, 10 percent polyamide, 3 percent elastene. That “double wide” in the name is perhaps unfortunate. It’s fashion week at Fritinancy – language of fashion,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2015 at Fritinancy