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Preview: Fritinancy


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

Updated: 2017-04-26T06:15:00-07:00


New writing for the Visual Thesaurus and Strong Language


The names of some of the world’s most successful brands – from Accenture to Zantac – were widely ridiculed when they were first announced. In my latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, “Why Do We Hate New Names?”, I look at the causes of name aversion and the reason we...

Word of the week: Defenestration


It’s rare that a nonce word – a word invented for a single situation, also called an occasionalism – takes root in the language and continues to thrive centuries after its original use. But that’s the case with defenestration, which was created from Latin roots meaning “out the window” and...

How Serra got its name


Recreational cannabis has been sold legally in Oregon since October 1, 2015; since January 1, 2017, dispensaries have been required to apply for and receive licenses from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. In early January, the Portland Business Journal reported* that the OLCC had received 1,907 recreational marijuana license applications...

Word of the week: Thirst trap


Jennifer R. Bernstein wasn’t the only one stumped by this sentence, lifted from an article by Michael Hafford in Playboy whose headline reads “F—k Your Chella Bod. I Love Mine As Is and I’m Still Going to Coachella.” what do words even mean anymore — Jennifer R Bernstein (@jenniferrenu)...

They are Axon


Last week Taser International, maker of stun guns, body cameras, and technology for transmitting law-enforcement data, announced that it was changing its corporate name to Axon, the name of its body-cameras. As part of the rebranding, the company is offering a free body camera to every police officer in the...