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Preview: Fritinancy


Names, brands, writing, and the language of commerce.

Updated: 2017-07-27T06:30:00-07:00


July linkfest


Linguist Arnold Zwicky examines the “ostentatious euphemism” beat the snack out of, as seen in a recent Jack Link’s ad. I’ve written about ostentatious euphemisms myself – “Ship my pants,” “Look at the booking view,” “Do you give a cup?” – and am glad to know what to call them....

Word of the week: Popinjay


The perfectly calibrated insult is a rara avis nowadays – ass- and douche- compounds don’t really count – so when someone resurrects an elegant 16th-century epithet, attention must be paid. So: Scaramucci will be fine working with Reince. Even if Reince continues to loathe the popinjay. — Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon)...

Perchance to dream: The names of mattress companies


Until the 1990s, if you lived in the U.S. and needed a new mattress you probably began and ended your search with the letter S. Simmons (founded in 1870), Sealy (1881), and Serta (1931) were the CBS, NBC, and ABC of the mattress world: anything else was on the far...

Word of the week: Overstand


I first encountered overstand only recently, while I was catching up on the most recent season of “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix. When I heard the word twice in that episode, I wondered whether it was a Kimmyism like “What the fudge?” or “Troll the respawn.” But no: overstand...

So many words, so little impact


When is a billboard not a billboard? When it’s a freakin’ 227-word manifesto – 239 if you include the headline. “This is our only billboard. We need it to say a lot.” No you don’t. Yes, I counted the words in this screwy outdoor ad from Public Mobile, a Canadian...