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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
The Northern Hemisphere’s summer solstice – literally, “the point at which the sun seems to stand still” – occurred at 9:24 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, June 20. But for some brands, the solstice never ends. 2013 Northern Solstice Rose from Martha Clara Vineyard on Long Island, New York. (“The... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Fritinancy
After a gunman opened fire June 14 on a Republican congressional baseball practice, responses from the public and the media tended to focus less on American gundamentalism than on the mood that fuels it. One word was used over and over to describe that mood: vitriol. “It didn’t take long... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Fritinancy
Fox News is dropping its “Fair & Balanced” slogan, which was invented by Roger Ailes when he launched the network in 1996. Ailes died last month. “In the annals of modern advertising, ‘Fair & Balanced’ will be considered a classic,” writes Gabriel Sherman for New York. “The slogan was Ailes’s... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2017 at Fritinancy
The fidget spinner – a handheld, two- or three-pronged gadget with a ball bearing in its center that makes the prongs go around very fast – is this year’s toy fad, popular with school-age kids and sometimes touted as a stress reliever for people of all ages. Versions are available... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2017 at Fritinancy
I’ve been holding my tongue and staying my pen since January, when Fiverr – the online marketplace that matches skinflint budget-conscious business owners with freelancers willing to work for as little as $5 a gig* – launched its first ad campaign, “In Doers We Trust.” But my initial distaste for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2017 at Fritinancy
Interviewed on May 31 at a media and technology conference hosted by Recode, former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “spoke at length about Russian involvement in the 201 [presidential] contest,” according to a New York Times report. “How did they know what messages to deliver?” Clinton asked.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2017 at Fritinancy
Stephanie Campisi notified me via Twitter of a name change she found noteworthy: Lystable is now Kalo. I’d missed the news, but I was intrigued enough to do some digging. What I found were some lessons in how not to name a company and how not to introduce a new... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2017 at Fritinancy
When is a press briefing not a briefing? When it’s a gaggle, sometimes held en route to somewhere, sometimes in the James Brady Press Briefing Room, sometimes excluding the biggest media outlets in the U.S. “White House Excludes Several Outlets From Press Gaggle,” NBC News, February 27, 2017 A Wikipedia... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at Fritinancy
Should you spend $1.5 million on a domain? Almost certainly not. As A Hundred Monkeys puts it: “While your emotions should guide you in naming dogs, kids, and boats, they need to take a back seat while you mull over dropping seven figures on a domain.” * An illustrated glossary... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2017 at Fritinancy
A tweet from @Mededitor last month sent me down the vegan equivalent of a rabbit hole. @Fritinancy @LouiseHarnby @stronglang @gdoslang You get the sense that FoodKick is channeling the voice of Thug Kitchen: — Mededitor (@Mededitor) April 11, 2017 I’d written about Thug Kitchen a few years ago, but... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at Fritinancy
(Part of my Naming 101 series.) I frequently talk with company founders and executives who need a new name but don’t have the budget for professional naming services. Because I believe that everyone deserves an effective, appealing name, I do my best to show them how to tackle the challenge... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2017 at Fritinancy
America, we have lately been told – mostly but not exclusively by conservatives – has a “smug liberal” problem. The problem is characterized by “a condescending, defensive sneer toward any person or movement outside of its consensus, dressed up as a monopoly on reason,” wrote Emmett Rensin in Vox last... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at Fritinancy
Welcome to another installment of “Brands That Don’t Understand English Vowel Sounds”! Our subject today comes courtesy of David Lloyd Clubs, established in 1982 and headquartered in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK, so unfamiliarity with the language is most likely not an excuse. The company calls itself “Europe’s premier racquets and fitness... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2017 at Fritinancy
If you’ve followed college controversies over the last couple of years, you’ve heard about microagressions and safe spaces, both of which were on my 2015 Words of the Year list (and the lists of many other people). Both of those terms arose out of 1970s New Left movements in the... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2017 at Fritinancy
The names of some of the world’s most successful brands – from Accenture to Zantac – were widely ridiculed when they were first announced. In my latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, “Why Do We Hate New Names?”, I look at the causes of name aversion and the reason we... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at Fritinancy
It’s rare that a nonce word – a word invented for a single situation, also called an occasionalism – takes root in the language and continues to thrive centuries after its original use. But that’s the case with defenestration, which was created from Latin roots meaning “out the window” and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2017 at Fritinancy
Recreational cannabis has been sold legally in Oregon since October 1, 2015; since January 1, 2017, dispensaries have been required to apply for and receive licenses from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. In early January, the Portland Business Journal reported* that the OLCC had received 1,907 recreational marijuana license applications... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2017 at Fritinancy
Jennifer R. Bernstein wasn’t the only one stumped by this sentence, lifted from an article by Michael Hafford in Playboy whose headline reads “F—k Your Chella Bod. I Love Mine As Is and I’m Still Going to Coachella.” what do words even mean anymore — Jennifer R Bernstein (@jenniferrenu)... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at Fritinancy
Last week Taser International, maker of stun guns, body cameras, and technology for transmitting law-enforcement data, announced that it was changing its corporate name to Axon, the name of its body-cameras. As part of the rebranding, the company is offering a free body camera to every police officer in the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2017 at Fritinancy
“I see that the word ‘duffer’ is defined as ‘a person inexperienced at something, especially at playing golf,’” illustrator Barry Blitt told Françoise Mouly, the art editor at The New Yorker, about his cover for the magazine’s April 10 issue. “That’s the word that comes to mind as I watch... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at Fritinancy
“Broadly speaking,” Winston Churchill may or may not have said*, “short words are best, and old words when short are the best of all.” With Oath, the name of the new division that will house AOL and Yahoo’s media and business-to-business properties after those two companies merge, parent company Verizon... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2017 at Fritinancy
When your livelihood involves plying words rather than, say, grinding coffee beans or uploading cat photographs or welding slabs of sheet metal, your success or failure depends on skill and knowledge, to be sure. It also depends on a sixth sense that, even though the words in question may be... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2017 at Fritinancy
Last week five Democratic congressmen introduced a bill that would require the Trump administration to release the visitor logs at the White House or wherever else the president holds court – including Mar-a-Lago, the Trump-owned private Florida club that the president likes to call the “Southern White House” and which... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2017 at Fritinancy
On Monday, the Current Occupant announced a new executive department: the White House Office of American Innovation, to be headed by his 36-year-old son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Like #45, young Master Kushner has never served in government or the military or worked for anyone other than his father – as a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at Fritinancy
On March 24, Republican Congressional leaders withdrew the American Health Care Act – H.R. 1628, also known as AHCA, TrumpCare, RepubliCare, and RyanCare (after the House Speaker) – a mere 16 days after it was introduced in committee. The bill had been slapped together as a fulfillment of the “repeal... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2017 at Fritinancy