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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
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 4 hours ago 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 3 days ago 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 5 days ago 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 7 days ago 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
Linear TV: A television service that requires the viewer to watch a scheduled TV program at the particular time it’s offered, and on the particular channel it's presented on. Synonyms include time-and-channel based TV, appointment-based TV, and traditional television. (Source: ITV Dictionary.) Non-linear TV comprises on-demand formats as well as... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2015 at Fritinancy
Almost overnight, it seems, the world has fallen head over heels for Slack. “I am basically in love with Slack,” declares founder Tony Conrad in a testimonial on Slack’s home page. “Slack, a messaging tool designed for team collaboration, is the working digital world’s latest paramour,” writes Scott Rosenberg... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2015 at Fritinancy
Friends, have you ever asked yourselves: “What’s the very best way to express my deep and abiding gratitude for the edifying and entertaining mini-essays and critiques that Fritinancy has been serving us—gratis!—for lo these nine years? Are there no tip jars? Are there no ‘like’ buttons?” No and no, but... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2015 at Fritinancy
Dad Bod: “A nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” – Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson, who popularized the term by writing about it in The Odyssey Online, a publication that serves college communities around the United States. Also spelled dadbod. From Pearson’s essay, published March 31, 2015:... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2015 at Fritinancy
My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus expands on a subject I touched on a couple of years ago here on the blog: the curious metamorphosis of the nouns pout and smile. In makeup branding and beauty journalism, pout has become a ubiquitous substitute for mouth; in dental marketing, smile... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2015 at Fritinancy
Trilby: A soft hat, traditionally made of felt, with a narrow brim and indented crown. The trilby hat style takes its name from Trilby, the title and principal character of an 1894 novel by the British writer and caricaturist* George du Maurier (grandfather of Daphne du Maurier). In Du Maurier’s... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2015 at Fritinancy
Trademark “When Simon Tam dropped out of college in California and moved to Portland, Ore., to become a rock star, the last tangle he imagined falling into was a multiyear battle with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over his band’s name.” The trademark tussle over “The Slants,” which the... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2015 at Fritinancy
Weddings are a $55 billion industry in the United States; in 2014 the average wedding—average!—cost about $31,000. Doing their share to boost that sum are wedding magazines: Unlike much of the suffering publishing world, they have a captive, eager, and free-spending readership. Dozens of wedding magazines succeed, month after month,... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at Fritinancy
Mx.: A gender-neutral honorific that may be used in place of “Mr.,” “Mrs., “Miss,” or “Ms.” Pronounced mix or mux. Mx. was in the news this week after Jonathan Dent, assistant editor at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), told the Sunday Times (UK) that the term is being considered for... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2015 at Fritinancy
If you’re considering a coined name for your company or product, it’s helpful to keep in mind a general rule of English pronunciation: When a vowel precedes a single consonant that’s followed by an e, the first vowel is long. Double the consonant and the vowel becomes shortened. Later: long... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at Fritinancy