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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
Do insults sound funnier with a Scottish inflection? They do to many Americans, and even to Brits. As evidence, I direct you to Saturday’s events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Trump golf properties in Turnberry and Aberdeenshire, where crowds turned out to mock and protest the visit of the American... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Fritinancy
The design-critique blog Brand New last week reviewed the new look of LNER, a British railway with a nearly century-old history under various names and owners. The most recent owner was Virgin, which operated the line as Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC); the railway is now owned by the UK’s... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Fritinancy
Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor who became famous as the defense counsel for Mike Tyson, O.J. Simpson, and other transgressing celebrities, has had his feelings hurt. Although he claims to be a liberal Democrat, Dershowitz has publicly defended the civil liberties of Donald J. Trump, and because of that,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2018 at Fritinancy
I regret that I learned about the fifth Global Fact Checking Summit – indeed, that I learned that there was such a thing as a global fact-checking summit – only after it took place last month. It sure would have been a good excuse to get myself to Rome. (What?... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2018 at Fritinancy
Welcome to 2018, when a U.S. president takes to Twitter to threaten a 115-year-old American company that it will be “taxed like never before!” in retaliation for the company’s decision to move some production to Europe. The decision came after the European Union imposed a 31 percent tariff on imported... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2018 at Fritinancy
“We are living in the age of tacticool, and the AR-15 pattern rifle is the weapon of the age,” wrote Kelsey Atherton and Ian Boudreau in a March 2018 article for Waypoint, the VICE channel for gaming culture. Tacticool, they continued, “has become a widespread aesthetic expression associated with the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 25, 2018 at Fritinancy
“The use of rainbows as logo design elements has fallen back almost to its pre-1970s level, while the use of rainbow colors in logos has taken off.” (Emblemetric) Image via Emblemetric * Remember tronc, possibly the worst corporate name ever? You can forget it now. (The Verge) * After 27... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2018 at Fritinancy
I’ve been tracking -ery names for while – see my Pinterest board – and my discovery of Sonoma Brinery sent me down a productive rabbit hole, or holery, that I’ve chronicled in my latest column for the Visual Thesaurus. Full access to the column is restricted to subscribers; here’s an... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2018 at Fritinancy
When does a following become so avid, so unquestioning, so blindly loyal that it deserves to be called a cult? That question, and that label, have spiked in recent discourse. “We’re in a strange place. It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?” U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, mused... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2018 at Fritinancy
Earlier this week, a Utah grocery chain pulled thr... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2018 at Fritinancy
The chef and food writer Anthony Bourdain, who died by suicide last week at 61, famously wrote in his 2000 memoir Kitchen Confidential: “Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter-faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a damn.” One can only imagine how Bourdain would have scoffed at... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Fritinancy
You’ve probably seen the emoticon, a stripped-down... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2018 at Fritinancy
Those of you with long memories will recall that this is the second time feckless has been a Fritinancy word of the week. The first occasion was in 2012, when U.S. Senator John McCain used feckless to describe President Obama’s foreign policy. This time around, feckless found itself in hotter... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2018 at Fritinancy
Some names I’ve noticed lately, for better or for worse, on my travels in the real and virtual worlds. I spent a few days in Chicago in late April, where I spotted these Ostrim “sports nutrition meat snacks” on display at a Freshii quick-serve “wellness” restaurant. (Freshii is worth a... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2018 at Fritinancy
An interview by New York Times culture reporter Sopan Deb with the cast of “Arrested Development” – whose fifth season debuts May 29 on Netflix – took a disturbing turn when one cast member, Jessica Walter, spoke through tears about having been bullied verbally by her co-star, Jeffrey Tambor. A... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2018 at Fritinancy
On a recent trip to Costco I bought a box of RXBAR protein bars, which contain several healthful ingredients, none of which, according to the package, is bullshit. Good to know! From the RXBAR website: Guys who are into CrossFit would never indulge in B.S. As you probably know from... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2018 at Fritinancy
Another week, another epithet. Last week we had a look at soy boy, although I’d considered shining a spotlight on incel instead. (For an analysis of this insult, a portmanteau of involuntary and celibate, see Ben Zimmer’s essay for Politico.) This week we have another way to dis (white) men,... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at Fritinancy
Image registered the longest URL in internet ... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2018 at Fritinancy
My May column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at a two-letter word that’s become ubiquitous in brand names and slogans: go. We see it in GoPro cameras, the HBO GO streaming service, Grab & Go airport meals, the Ford GoBike, and much more. Full access to the column is paywalled... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2018 at Fritinancy
Settle in with a nice tofu sandwich and some edamame as I tell you about soy boy and how it became the insult of choice among alt-right troglodytes – the sort of chuckleheads who call Trump “god emperor.” Via Reddit/The_Donald. Note pussy hat. The rhyme makes soy boy catchy, of... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2018 at Fritinancy
The verb to emote has been around for more than a century; backformed from emotion, it means “to express (excessive) emotion, especially in a play, film, or other entertainment.” It first appeared in print in the early years of the twentieth century, originally in the United States. What’s new(ish) is... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2018 at Fritinancy
Cambridge Analytica, the “embattled political consulting firm” that was involved in the Facebook data-harvesting scandal, has filed for bankruptcy and closed its U.S. offices, according to reports yesterday in the New York Times and other media outlets. Out of the ashes has risen something called Emerdata, “a mysterious British company”... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2018 at Fritinancy
“Killing Eve,” the new series created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge*, premiered earlier this month on BBC America. The show – which Vogue called “part spy drama, part serial killer thriller, part absurdist comedy” – is based on novellas by the British author Luke Jennings that are known collectively as the Villanelle... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2018 at Fritinancy
You know how Google names its Android versions after sweets like Kit Kat and Marshmallow? Well, writes Justin Pot, Microsoft should name its updates after dogs. (How to Geek) * Speaking of Kit Kat, the brand is hugely popular in Japan, in part because “Kit Kat” translates to “You will... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2018 at Fritinancy
“Well, Paul Ryan, you’re a free man now,” began the New York Times editorial that appeared on April 11, the day the Wisconsin congressman announced he’d be stepping down as House speaker and leaving Congress in January. Three paragraphs down, the editorial counseled Ryan about how to put his liberation... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2018 at Fritinancy