Making Things Up: Why Fake Words COULD BE Right for YOUR BRAND-NEW Business Name

By creating entirely new words, you might be able to create a truly unique name for your business.

The next excerpt is from Brad Flowers’s The Naming Book. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

There are two types of names you can create out of spare parts: compound and blended words. Compound words remain recognizable as names manufactured from two words. Blended words go a step further – they’re sometimes recognizable, however, not always.

Now let’s go one step past that: Let’s discuss creating words that don’t have any clear trace of their origins.

There’s a French term called bricolage . It roughly means “to tinker” or “DIY.” In art, this means that everything we create contains items of other things. For example, functions by Picasso contain items of Cezanne which contain items of Pissarro. It can be that there aren’t truly made-up words but that they’re just cleverly disguised bits of bricolage.

The primary reason to create a brand in this way is basically because you are feeling strongly that your company must have a distinctive name. It’s a bold strategy to use. Feeling bold? Below are a few methods to start creating new words.

Vowel Substitution

Pick some words from your own brainstorming set of business name ideas. You can begin changing what by swapping out vowels. For example, I picked the term “small” from my list. “Smoll” and “smull” don’t look or sound particularly attractive. “Smill” is interesting, though. Even though I was positive I’d just made up this word, as it happens it already exists on the web and has some meanings I would not want connected with my company. So, I’ll move to other options.

Consonant Substitution

Also you can try swapping consonants, though that is sometimes harder. Continuing with the “small” example, spall and stall already are real words. Sdall and Sball appear to be mistakes. Scall and skall are strange-looking and appear to be “skull.” How about smahh or smaff? That is a tricky approach to creating new words, nonetheless it can be worthwhile if you can see through the weird words you might produce on the way.


Onomatopoeia is whenever a word is spelled just how it sounds: Meow, chirp, roar, and tick-tock are good examples. Try writing down the sounds of the items you hear. For instance, if you want owls, try spelling the sound they make as you hear it. It probably won’t be “hoot,” although that’s an onomatopoeia, too.

Below are a few made-up names:

  • Bebo
  • Etsy
  • Lexus
  • Häagen-Dazs

When coming up with up words, there’s one good test you should use to determine if the term is likely to work very well: the rhyme test. Will there be a genuine word that rhymes together with your made-up word? If so, it’s much more likely the name will be adopted. Which means the name includes a common construction even if the letter combination is exclusive. You’ll notice there are rhyming words for every of the names in the list above: placebo, Betsy, Texas…OK, there isn’t really whatever rhymes with Häagen-Dazs. That’s as the founder wasn’t trying to make a word that sounded English. He wanted a thing that sounded Danish and that could position them alongside European confectioners.

When you constitute a word, you’re choosing a name that doesn’t have a literal meaning. But you’ll have a substantial advantage if it feels just like a real word. Hold your names up to the rhyme ensure that you observe how yours fare.

Blended Words

A blended word is a fresh word that’s made up of two parts. It’s similar to a compound word in the sense that you’re creating a fresh word out of component parts, however the result is fairly a bit different. The finish name looks less familiar and sticks out from the start. Below are a few examples which were once very strange but seem obvious and familiar now:

  • Group + coupon = Groupon
  • Pin + interest = Pinterest
  • Unique + clothing = Uniqlo
  • Microcomputer + software = Microsoft
  • Accent + future = Accenture

In the examples above, why is Groupon better to say than Uniqlo? When making these words, there’s one very important rule to check out: Avoid something called awkwordplay . The word describes a common mistake namers make when making blended words. The theory was coined by Christopher Johnson, writer of Microstyle and creator of The Name Inspector blog. The word itself is an exemplory case of a universal problem with blended words. It isn’t clear which syllable to emphasize. The first syllable of “awkward” and the first syllable of “wordplay” should both be emphasized. When they’re blended into “awkwordplay,” you don’t know which syllable to stress, the first or the next. It sounds weird in any event.

So be clear which syllable is emphasized. Groupon follows this rule and is simple to pronounce, as is Pinterest. Uniqlo doesn’t do that, and the pronunciation is ambiguous. The next syllable of “unique” and the first syllable of “clothing” are emphasized. When they’re blended, it isn’t clear if the next or third syllable of “Uniqlo” ought to be emphasized. Due to that, the term feels awkward.

Pull 10 wor

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