I began my early Thanksgiving celebration with yesterday's post about four short names that hit their marks. Today: four multisyllabic names—more precisely, three names and one nomenclature system—that tickle my fancy. Tomorrow and Friday: holiday. See you on Monday.
Appellation Mountain: Nice pun on Appalachian Mountains, yes? And an excellent name for a thoughtful, well-written blog about personal names. (Yes, it could have been about wine, but it isn't.) Author Abby Sandel focuses on "obscure gems"—in her words, "names with history and meaning that are seldom heard." There's a daily Name of the Day and a Sunday Summary of naming news. Well played!
TypoSuction: When Jim Norrena handed me his business card at a Bay Area Editors' Forum event, I burst out laughing. The pun on liposuction was perfectly suited to Jim's mission: removing errors from communications as if by suction. And the name is well suited to Jim's personality, too: he's very funny and even a little outrageous, but at the same time quite serious about making sure, as his own web copy says, that "your audience doesn't laugh at you." He extends the liposuction metaphor just far enough: "What's even better is no one has to know you've 'had work done'; they only know when you haven't. Your content-enhancement procedures remain confidential—a secret shared only between you and me."
Audacity: Audacity and audio aren't related etymologically; audacity (confidence, boldness) comes from Latin audax, while audio comes from Latin audire (to hear). Still, what a great name for "free, open-source software for recording and editing sounds." Audacious, even.
Bra-llelujah! et al.: In case you've been in a coma (or a man cave) for the last decade, Spanx is a U.S. company that manufactures "shapewear," the high-Spandex-content tights and "slimming intimates" that are the modern gal's equivalent of corsetry, only sassier. Way sassier. Take a look at what they're called: Bra-llelujah!, Higher Power, Slim Cognito, Hide & Sleek, Undie-tectable, Bod-a-Bing! These upbeat, impertinent names accomplish the seemingly impossible: They make underwear with all the sex appeal of (let's be honest) an Ace bandage seem flirtatious and fun.
By the way, Spanx is itself a noteworthy name. You could read it as a contraction of Spandex (elastene), the stretchy fiber that gives Spanx products their compression and support. But that's not the story company founder Sara Blakely tells. She says she was interested in a name with a "K" sound and SPANKS "hit her like a lightning bolt." (Ow!) It "eventually became SPANX with an 'X' because [Blakely] also knew that made-up names were more successful than real names." Oh yeah? Tell that to the Gap, Amazon, Hallmark ... oh, don't get me started. Damn naming myths.
Bonus link: Slate's Sarah Hepola on Spanx's anti-aphrodisiac properties: "Like so many of these modern contraptions, it's three parts miracle, one part torture: You may feel like your crotch is in shrink-wrap, but damn, look at your silhouette."
* Fascinating fact about Spandex: the name was coined not from "expand" (which would have been logical enough) but from the surname of brothers Bob and Richard Spanjian, who patented the material (it had been developed at DuPont) and used it in their company, Spanjian Sportswear. More about Spandex here (Chemical & Engineering News).