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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
God, or those who claim to speak on His/Her/Their behalf, has had a busy week. In Rowan County, Kentucky, an elected official named Kim Davis, apparently misremembering that she is paid to render unto Caesar, cited “God’s authority” as the reason she has defied the law of the land and... Continue reading
Posted 3 hours ago at Fritinancy
Spotted at Bed Bath & Beyond: From the BB&B website: “Spelled in either direction, this white bone china by Fitz and Floyd® is pure heaven.” “Nevaeh” is an ananym: heaven spelled backward. In 2006, the New York Times reported on “the spectacular rise of Nevaeh” as a girl’s name in... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Fritinancy
Gee, it seems like only last week that I brought you tidings of “family” and “museum” being used as verbs. Hang on – it was last week! And now I can make it a trifecta: the cable network TCM (Turner Classic Movies) has launched a new ad campaign that verbifies... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Fritinancy
Shade ball: A black plastic ball, 4 inches in diameter, designed to block sunlight from the surface of a reservoir. Also spelled shadeball. On August 10, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released 20,000 shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir. (Watch: video of shade ball release.) According... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Fritinancy
Verbifying a noun is a popular (lazy) way for ad copywriters to say “Look at how creative and action packed we are!” Two current marketing efforts, from Tylenol and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, perpetuate the trope. Tylenol’s campaign, from J. Walter Thompson New York, isn’t about... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2015 at Fritinancy
Pee wall: An exterior wall in a public place that has been treated with urine-repellent paint. Also called anti-pee wall and pee-proof wall. In July, the city of San Francisco, where public urination is a rife and malodorous problem, coated nine walls with a special super-hydrophobic substance called Ultra-Ever Dry.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2015 at Fritinancy
Earlier this week, Sprout Pharmaceuticals announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had granted approval of Addyi (pronounced “ADD-ee,” as though the “i” weren’t there), a once-daily, non-hormonal pill for the treatment of low sexual desire in premenopausal women. The prescription drug, whose generic name is flibanserin (fly-BAN-ser-in), will... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2015 at Fritinancy
“Gen Z” is a lazy name, says the BridgeWorks consulting firm, which wants to replace it with “GenEdge.” * You say Zomato, I say Zulily: The Name Inspector has been wondering about the Z-substitution trend in company naming. * The Australian bird known as the Bell Miner doesn’t mine anything,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2015 at Fritinancy
Cuckservative: An insult used against a Republican who is perceived to be “too soft or disingenuous,” according to a story published August 13 in the New York Times. The lone definition posted on Urban Dictionary (dated July 29, 2015), is harsher: A cuckservative is a self-styled “conservative” who will cravenly... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2015 at Fritinancy
My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, published today, expands on yesterday's post about Alphabet, Google’s new holding company. The column considers Alphabet in the context of other company names borrowed from the lingo of language and grammar—Acronym, Palindrome, Semicolon, and more—as well as at other Alphabet names (and one... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2015 at Fritinancy
Google’s surprise announcement, on Monday afternoon, that it was restructuring under a new holding company called Alphabet – on the Web – was greeted with a mix of enthusiasm (“a brilliant move”), skepticism (“the memorable, if unsightly, U.R.L.”), puzzlement (“Ohio man with @alphabet Twitter handle has ‘interesting’ end... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2015 at Fritinancy
Brosé: Rosé wine favored by twentysomething men (“bros”). Brosé has been in the news this summer on both sides of the Atlantic. It lends itself to rhyme: “Make Way for Brosé: Why More Men Are Drinking Pink” – Details, June 12, 2015 “Yes Way, Brosé: Men Finally Realizing Rosé Is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2015 at Fritinancy
Read all about ’em: names, slogans, and acronyms in the news (and the funny papers): * “[Donald] Trump confuses copyright with trademark registration, and seems to forget that he actually did register the phrase as a service mark.” Mark Liberman, in Language Log, on “Make America Great Again.” (Read the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2015 at Fritinancy
Rogue: Scoundrel, knave, scamp, mischievous person (noun; usually a man); aberrant, corrupt, uncontrollable, mischievous (adjective). Also a verb used in horticulture and agriculture: to weed out inferior or untypical (“rogue”) plants. Rogue has been in the news because of the U.S. theatrical release, on July 31, of the fifth installment... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2015 at Fritinancy
Spend even five minutes searching for business-naming help and you’ll discover a lot of self-proclaimed experts dispensing free advice. In many cases, those “experts” are entrepreneurs themselves with one or two naming experiences to their credit—unlike professional name developers (me, for example) who’ve named hundreds of companies and products. As... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2015 at Fritinancy
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 Jul 29, 2015 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 Jul 27, 2015 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