The old adage about American and England being "two nations divided by a common language" — wrongly attributed to George Bernard Shaw, who never said or wrote it — may still hold true in some quarters. But in the language of U.S. commerce, it's fast losing its relevance. Terms that once seemed quaintly Olde English to Americans — from "bespoke" to "stockist" — are fast becoming the new normal.  Continue reading...
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"What was your latest preneur?"

It's one of the most quoted lines in the 2010 movie The Social Network. The line is proof that -preneur has bid adieu to its entre- associate and become a word part with independent staying power.  Continue reading...
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In mid-March the convention and visitors' bureau for Cleveland, Ohio, unveiled a new branding campaign for the city of about 400,000. The campaign, developed after "years of research" and many focus groups, had a theme, a logo, a website, and a hashtag. What it didn't have, the bureau insisted, was a slogan.  Continue reading...
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"Staycation," "Bleisure," and Other Made-Up Travel Words

Is the travel industry particularly susceptible to making up words like "bleisure" (combining "business" and "leisure") and "staycation" (for a stay-at-home vacation)? Associated Press travel reporter Beth J. Harpaz investigates — with help from our own Ben Zimmer, who says that such neologisms "come in handy in a business sector where there's often a need to come up with clever marketing spin." Read the AP article here.
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In February, Nokia announced a new hybrid device called Nokia X. No, the name is not a generic placeholder until something catchier comes along. It's the official name of the phone. Mysterious and austere, simple yet highly symbolic, the name is representative of a dominant branding trend of our era. In nearly every category of commerce, X marks the spot.  Continue reading...
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In case you haven't heard, today is "Cyber Monday," the day that retailers have decided we should all be flocking to make online purchases for our holiday gift list. Last year, Ben Zimmer explained how the advent of "Black Friday" led to the branding of "Cyber Monday" and other days in the Holy Week of shopping.  Continue reading...
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For about four decades in the 20th century, rhyme ruled American advertising. The period between the 1940s and the 1970s was the golden age of ad jingles and rhyming slogans. Today, ads rarely incorporate verse — and when they do appear, it's often awkwardly executed, derivative, or barely recognizable as rhyme. What happened?  Continue reading...
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