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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: http://twitter.com/fritinancy, get instant name advice at http://clarity.fm/nancyfriedman
Recent Activity
Feeling romantically challenged this Valentine’s Day? Maybe it’s time to join – or reactivate – that dating-site membership. But before you upload your gently embellished personal details, make sure the service’s name is the perfect match for you. Herewith, my analysis of 10 dating-site names, from dated to dateworthy. 10.... Continue reading
Posted 11 hours ago at Fritinancy
Fun with words and names, from some of the smart people I follow: Fun with ambiguity: For all your fish play needs. pic.twitter.com/K7vKwiEpcG — Sarah Lyall (@sarahlyall) February 3, 2016 Unnecessary dental work is the most expensive kind of dental work. @Fritinancy pic.twitter.com/Ls4Y4JJN0p — Andrea Behr (@AndyBehr) January 29, 2016... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Fritinancy
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Berniebro: “A white, male Bernie Sanders supporter who haunts Internet comment sections” (Amanda Hess, Slate). “A cohort of intense, sexist Bernie Sanders fans on social media who harass journalists they deem not adequately pro-Sanders” (Adam Johnson, AlterNet). Coined from Bernie (U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Fritinancy
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I spotted this ad from 511.org, the Bay Area’s transit and traffic hub, last weekend on the back of a 10-Townsend Muni bus in San Francisco: “Every minute in traffic is a dream come true, said no one ever.” It was the said no one ever that caught my attention.... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Fritinancy
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And yet, somehow, it did. Outdoor ad for Lyft. Harrison between 8th and 9th streets, San Francisco, January 30, 2016. I zoomed in to get the shot, but it’s still hard to read, right? Sorry about that. Here, I’ll make it a little easier: Yeah, still hard. Here’s what it... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2016 at Fritinancy
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Pantsula: A street dance that originated in the black townships of apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. The dance has been described by one writer as “a cross between hyped-up hip-hip and Irish line dancing.” In the Zulu language, pantsula means “to waddle like a duck.” A white South African... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2016 at Fritinancy
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My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at the ways we use – and overuse – the word excited. One recent language change I examine: “excited for (instead of about) an event.” Access to the full article is restricted to subscribers. Here’s a preview: Excite first appeared in English... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2016 at Fritinancy
There are three unrelated businesses called What the Truck, a Flight of the Conchords fan site called What the Folk, two radio shows called WTF, a typeface-identification website called What the Font, and a book about women’s health called – I kid you not – What the Yuck? WTF does... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at Fritinancy
Well-being: The state of being healthy, happy, or prosperous (said of people); or of being able to flourish (said of things). First seen in English in the mid-16th century; modeled after Italian benessere. Well-being is a catchword and linchpin of the billionaire Koch brothers’ campaign to change the way their... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2016 at Fritinancy
On Tuesday, Sarah Palin, wearing a hypnotically sparkly garment that sartorial conservatives might have impugned as inappropriate for a daytime event, delivered a 20-minute endorsement of real estate developer and former Democrat Donald J. Trump, who, as you may have heard, is running for president as a Republican in order... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2016 at Fritinancy
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It’s been a while since I’ve written about nearly sweary advertising here. (It’s not as though I’ve taken a vow of purity: I’ve been shoveling that stuff over at the Strong Language blog.) But when I spotted a trifecta of fecal facetiousness within a span of a week, I just... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2016 at Fritinancy
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Crowler: A 32-ounce or 750-milliliter aluminum can filled to a customer’s order with beer or cider at a brewery. Also the name of the machine used for making the cans. A blend of can and growler (a 64-ounce vessel, traditionally made of glass, for take-home beer). Image via Dixie Canner.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2016 at Fritinancy
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The ABC Family network, stigmatized by that F-word in its name, now calls itself Freeform. Network president Tom Ascheim told the Television Critics Association that the new name “not only elicits the moment of transition in the medium and a sense of ‘creativity’ and ‘spontaneity’ but also evokes [a] younger... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2016 at Fritinancy
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Feardom: “The state of living in fear or being subject to laws and policies based on fear” (source: Word Spy). Often contrasted alliteratively with freedom. Feardom was Word Spy’s word of the year for 2015, topping a list of neologisms that includes manspreading, gig economy, goat cheese curtain, and sea-lion.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2016 at Fritinancy
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In the spring of 1955, the first Totsuko transistor radio, the size of a large pack of cigarettes, rolled off the production line in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. It never went on sale – its grille bent and peeled off in hot weather – but it was promising enough that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2016 at Fritinancy
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On the evening of Saturday, January 2, a group of armed protestors commandeered the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a federal preserve near Malheur Lake, about 30 miles south of Burns, in eastern Oregon. The group, which includes Ryan and Ammon Bundy, sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy – who had... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2016 at Fritinancy
Cinemagraph: A still photograph in which an element is animated with a small amount of video. A blend of cinema and graph. The first cinemagraph was created and named in 2011 by husband-and-wife photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, who work in New York City. Photo: Cinemagraph via Reverie Of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2016 at Fritinancy
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Janopause: “An annual challenge to abstain from drinking during the month of January.” Source: Eatymology: The Dictionary of Modern Gastronomy, by Josh Friedland, published in 2015 by Sourcebooks. Friedland’s witty and informative little lexicon credits a January 31, 2002, article in the Daily Mail (UK) with coining Janopause. The article’s... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2015 at Fritinancy
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The WOTY party has begun, and I’m arriving fashionably (or maybe just breathlessly) late. Back in early November, Allan Metcalf nominated basic for the honor; a couple of weeks later Dennis Baron, aka Dr. Grammar, anointed singular they and Oxford Dictionaries selected an emoji, “Face with Tears of Joy.” Merriam-Webster,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2015 at Fritinancy
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Today is Festivus, the holiday for the rest of us made famous and beloved by “Seinfeld.” This year, a Florida man named Chad Stevens designed a rainbow-hued Festivus pole that he hopes to display –according to a story in Slate – “in Republican-dominated states—Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Michigan—as a protest... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2015 at Fritinancy
My new column for the Visual Thesaurus is a year-end list of the most interesting and significant brand names of 2015 – not necessarily the coolest or the richest, but the newsiest and most onomastically compelling ... in my estimation, anyway. Access is restricted to subscribers, UPDATE: No longer paywalled!... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2015 at Fritinancy
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Birthmas: A birthday that falls on or near Christmas (sometimes expanded to the entire month of December). A portmanteau of birthday and Christmas, without the religious overtones of -mas (a shortening of mass, the eucharistic service). Birthmas celebrants may feel shortchanged – or even cursed, as a recent AdWeek post... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2015 at Fritinancy
Into the final weeks of 2015 with one final link roundup! * Lucy Kellaway, who writes about language and writing for the Financial Times, has created Guffipedia, “a repository for the worst jargon I’ve seen over the years.” All the devils are here: onboard more resource, flex-pon-sive, diverse hairdos, etc.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2015 at Fritinancy
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Like snowflakes, the ’tis the season headlines at first seem pretty, harmless, and unique. And then the flurry turns into a sodden blizzard. * “’Tis the season to celebrate the birth of the Bill of Rights.” Two-page ad in the New York Times (Science Times section) on December 15 –... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2015 at Fritinancy
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Hot take: Journalism term used derisively to describe a provocative or controversial commentary, hastily written with little research, on an otherwise pedestrian story. The phenomenon of the hot take, if not the term itself, originated in sports journalism, as explained by Tomas Rios in an August 2013 article for Pacific... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2015 at Fritinancy