A century ago, dozens of American girls were named Milady because of the success of a new product: the Milady Décolleté Gillette safety razor, developed to remove underarm hair. (And did you know that “underarm” was coined as a euphemism for “armpit”?) (Baby Name Wizard)
“Most verbs stay basically the same in different grammatical roles. ‘Walk’ looks like ‘walks’ and ‘walked.’ But the word ‘be’ looks nothing like the word ‘am,’ which looks nothing like the word ‘were.’” (Arika Okrent for Curiosity.)
When I wrote about mansplain, in September 2010, the earliest citation I found for the word was from an April 2009 Urban Dictionary entry. Now lexicographers at the OED have antedated mansplaining to a May 2008 comment about the TV show “Supernatural.”Katherine Connor Martin, Oxford University Press’s head of US dictionaries, says the OED usually waits a decade or so before adding new words, but makes exceptions when a word “is deemed important enough.” (Quartz)
The official Trump typeface – as seen on hotels, airplanes, and campaign logo (but not on the failed steaks, wine, or university) – is Akzidenz Grotesk.
Budweiser has announced that it’s rebranding its beer “America” for the duration of the U.S. election season. It’s not the first America-first stunt the brewery has pulled, notes Mark Wilson in Fast Co Design: previous summer-only editions have featured the Statue of Liberty and the American flag. But this bit of revisionism is especially thorough: “Almost every bit of type on the Budweiser label has been scrubbed away by Easter Egg patriotism, with new text citing the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, and America the Beautiful—all rendered in newly developed hand lettering, inspired by Budweiser’s archives.” For what it’s worth, Budweiser’s parent company, InBev, is headquartered in Belgium and Brazil.
Canadian retailer Kit and Ace – see my post about the company name here – is adding coffee shops to its boutiques: The first Sorry Coffee opens tomorrow in Toronto. “Sorry” can mean “worthless” or “inferior,” but here it’s “an attempt to poke fun at Canadians — a winking nod to the quick-to-apologize stereotype,” co-founder J.J. Wilson toldthe Star. Be sure to pronounce it the Canadian way: SORE-ee.
“Spelled in either direction, this white bone china by Fitz and Floyd® is pure heaven.”
“Nevaeh” is an ananym: heaven spelled backward. In 2006, the New York Times reported on “the spectacular rise of Nevaeh” as a girl’s name in the United States: it had broken into the top 1,000 baby names in 2001 at No. 266, “the third-highest debut ever.” In 2005, Nevaeh “was the 70th-most-popular name for baby girls, ahead of Sara, Vanessa and Amanda.” From the Times story:
The name has hit a cultural nerve with its religious overtones, creative twist and fashionable final "ah" sound. It has risen most quickly among blacks but is also popular with evangelical Christians, who have helped propel other religious names like Grace (ranked 14th) up the charts, experts say. By contrast, the name Heaven is ranked 245th.
Nevaeh continued to rise in popularity over the next few years, reaching 25th (according to Social Security Administration statistics) in 2010 before falling off slightly.
Nevaeh’s surge, the Times observed, “can be traced to a single event: the appearance of a Christian rock star, Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D., on MTV in 2000 with his baby daughter, Nevaeh. ‘Heaven spelled backwards,’ he said.”
But there was trouble in paradise.
In 2011, the Baby Name Wizard blog reported that an online survey had identified Nevaeh as “the most-hated name in America.” “Grounds for objection included look, sound and origin, the whole package,” commented blog author and name expert Laura Wattenberg.
I haven’t been able to find out how long ago Fitz and Floyd (“for half a century … synonymous with excellence in design, quality and style”) introduced the Nevaeh line, which is sold exclusively on the Bed Bath & Beyond website and in BB&B stores.
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, the New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead consideredthe favorite words of some writers (mostly British and Irish)—Hilary Mantel loves nesh, Taiye Selasi celebrates the Ghanaian colloquialism chale—and added a favorite of her own.
“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 USPTO has deemed “disparaging” and thus ineligible for protection. (For a more technical perspective, see this Brent Lorentz post at Duets Blog.)
The strange charm of cutthroat compounds like pickpocket, scarecrow, and, well, cutthroat: Stan Carey on these rare English words“that have a long, colourful history and constitute a very interesting category.” (I wonder how the newish fondleslab fits in?)
The 2014 Social Security Administration stats on baby names are out, and the Baby Name Wizard blog has discovered some interesting trends in the data. The biggest trend? What naming expert Laura Wattenberg calls “the great smoothing of American baby names”: goodbye “chunky” names (Jayden, Jessica), hello “silky,” vowel-rich names (Amanda, Mia, Noah, Liam).
Speaking of popular names, here’s a fun tool to discover what your “today baby name” would be, based on the ranking of your own name in the year you were born. The tools works backward too: If I’d been born in the 1890s, chances are I’d have been named Minnie. More than a time-waster, the tool can be a big help in character-naming. (May take a while for the tool to load.)
“She originally went by Flo White, then Lord of the Strings. She eventually settled on the Period Fairy. It was more straightforward.” A new ad from category-busing Hello Flo, which sells a Period Starter Kit to adolescent girls.
Don’t read “How to Name a Baby” to learn how to name a baby. Read it for insights into historical baby-naming trends and to confirm your hunches (e.g., “the popular girl name Reagan is for Republicans”). Also: charts!
Given names are “one of the last social acceptable frontiers of class war.”Also: nominative determination, implicit egotism, and how the Internet has made baby naming more difficult. Part 1 of a four-part podcast series about names from Australian radio network ABC. The presenter, Tiger Webb, has an interesting name story himself. (Hat tip: Superlinguo.)
The not-so-secret jargon of doctors is full of acronyms: a flea—fucking little esoteric asshole—is an intern, an FLK is a “funny-looking kid,” and an “SFU 50 dose” is the amount of sedative it takes for 50 percent of patients to shut the fuck up.
Ever wonder what value-creating winners do all day? Here’s Business Town to enlighten you. It’s “an ongoing project attempting to explain our highly intangible, deeply disruptive, data-driven, venture-backed, gluten-free economic meritocracy to the uninitiated. With apologies to Richard Scarry.”
“The decision is made. The name won’t be changed.” – Tim Mahoney, head of marketing for Chevy, speaking to the Detroit Free Press about the Bolt electric vehicle, whose name is strikingly similar to that of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. In fact, a Spanish speaker would pronounce the two names identically. (Hat tip: Jonathon Owen.)