It’s my yearly roundup of brand names that made headlines and were linguistically interesting, including a few I’ve written about here: Velar, Keurig, Oath. Access is restricted to subscribers for three months (give yourself a gift!); here’s an excerpt.
Bonobos. Founded in 2007 as an e-commerce site, the menswear company Bonobos grew into the largest U.S. clothing brand built on the web. This year, it was bought by Walmart for $310 million in cash, an acquisition that was called more significant in terms of retail disruption than the Amazon–Whole Foods deal, also finalized this year. The Bonobos name is a nod to the endangered ape native to the region south of the Congo River. It's a curious choice for a company that sells only men's clothing: Lower-case bonobos live in female-led groups and are notable for their altruism, empathy, and peaceful behavior. The bonobo name was first used in 1954 by two European scientists who may have misspelled Bolobo, the name of a town near where the first specimens were collected.
Other names that made my list: Juicero, Gothamist, Mattress Mack, Pepsi, RompHim, Shero. Read the full column.