In my day job as copywriter, I spend a decent amount of time coming up with names for companies, products, and services. Sometimes it’s an easy lift like, say, when I’m tasked with incorporating the owner’s namesake. (The George Foreman Grill comes to mind.) But more often than not, it’s a process that requires in-depth research, tedious trademark queries, and copious complaining.
It isn’t just a question of creativity, but an issue of availability. The digital age has ushered in a proliferation of brands and, thus, brand names. Sure, sure, there’s the old adage about all the good men being taken, but I’m more concerned about the shortage of good names.
I credit this dearth of monikers for the slew of brands that drop letters. Can’t create a name you love that isn’t trademarked? Drop an E like Tumblr. Want to go full Team Consonant? Drop allllll the vowels and create a name like MNDFL, which offers the added benefit of doubling as a game of Wheel of Fortune.
Since I’m fond of all letters, I can’t bear to exclude any. I typically begin a branding exercise at that darling of naming wells for pharmaceuticals and day spas: Latin. The problem? My names end up sounding like Harry Potter spells.
My favorite naming experience was when our ad agency was asked to come up with a name for a client’s food truck. The team created a list of fantabulous foodie names. As we presented to the client, a look of consternation crossed her face. She took a long pause and said, “When I said I wanted you to name my food truck, I meant an actual name. Like Susan or Joanne.”
All of this naming angst made me appreciate the 2021 list of new words. My favorites aren’t the official ones added to Merriam-Webster, like “dad bod” or “amirite” (shudder) or “deplatform,” but the humorous ones that people coin just for funsies. Here are a few notables:
Blamestorming: Figuring out who to blame.
Cellfish: When someone pays more attention to a phone rather than a person they’re with.
Dudevorce: When two men end a friendship.
Epiphinot: An epiphany that’s kind of a letdown.
Pregret: Regret over something you haven’t done yet. (I have had many pregrets.)
Typerventilate: Sending multiple texts very quickly.
After Clap: The last person to clap after everyone else has stopped.
Fauxpology: An insincere apology.
Preteentious: A pretentious pre-teen.
Textpectation: When you’re expecting a text.
Nonversation: A pointless conversation.
Of course, all of this comes to mind when I’m naming characters or creating the title of a book. Both are a kind of branding exercise and require thoughtful discernment. And, perhaps, a sense of fun.
So tell me, dear readers, which neologisms (listed or not) make you laugh? Do you have any good naming stories from books or elsewhere?
Photos by Skitterphoto and Vinu00edcius Vieira ft Pexels.com