Death Week continues with an odd, quasi-religious product-name pun: Shroud of Purrin, used by Nau International, Inc., for a line of waterproof outerwear. The name is a play on Shroud of Turin, believed by some people to be Jesus’ burial cloth, which has been on display at the cathedral in Turin, Italy, since 1578.
Nau’s Shroud of Purrin jackets look neither funereal nor otherworldly.
Nau Shroud of Purrin Trench for women.
Nau Shroud of Purrin Hoody for men.
But “shroud” has meant “burial cloth” since the mid-16th century—just about the time the Shroud of Turin was moved to Turin. (In Old English, the noun form of “shroud,” or scrud, referred to any garment.) Calling a piece of adventure outerwear seems to portend a dire, “To Build a Fire” outcome.
I confess I couldn’t decipher “Purrin” at all—or rather, I couldn’t help seeing it as “purulent” (full of pus). A customer-service rep at Nau set me straight: it’s meant to represent purring, as in (quoting the website copy here) “feline-soft interior fuzz.”
Perhaps it’s appropriate for Nau to reclaim a word associated with death: the adventure-clothing company, which is based in Portland, Oregon, was itself brought back from the grave not long ago. When I originally wrote about Nau, in 2008, the company had issued a going-out-of-business manifesto. Two years later, it was back among the living, having been bought by another socially conscious outdoor-gear company, Horny Toad, which trimmed inventory and implemented other cost-cutting measures.
Nau, pronounced “now,” is a Maori word meaning “welcome.”
I couldn’t find a trademark filing for “Shroud of Purrin,” but I did find a few other “Shroud” trademarks, including Poly-Shroud (for railway freight car axle bearings), Crimson Shroud (a video game title), Powershroud (portable electric fans), Refrigerated Shroud (refrigeration equipment), Add-a-Shroud (electrical plugs and receptacles), and Butterfly Pallet Shroud (cardboard floor display units).
Alas, the trademark for Snuggle-Shroud (“cloth used for burial of pets”) is deceased, defunct, expired, and, moreover, abandoned.
Miscellaneous non-trademark fact of interest: in British colloquial parlance, according to the OED, “shroud-waving” means:
(a) n. the practice of attempting to gain support for health-care funding by highlighting the life-threatening consequences to patients of underfunding; (in extended use) concentration on the negative effects of a particular policy, etc., in order to influence public opinion; (b) adj. that engages in shroud-waving.
First documented usage: 1967.
Previously on Death Week: Demised.