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Wednesday, 03 April 2013 8:15

Pinterest Is A Weird Name

By - Michael Rader

Many unique company names experience quick Internet fame despite their head-scratching and sometimes awkward sound. Pinterest anybody? Say the name about twenty times and you’ll start to get a feel for its inherent oddness. You are probably aware that the name is a combination of the words “pin” and “interest” but is it really?

The name is simply the word “interest” with the letter “p” tacked to its front end. It’s not really pin+interest = Pinterest, it’s p+interest = Pinterest. So I wouldn’t necessarily call this a blend word. It appears to be more of an opportunistic blend word imposter (perhaps coincidental?). But who cares if it isn’t a textbook blend word? Well, Because it isn’t, it makes for a peculiar and outlandish word for most of us. It’s not something we’re naturally familiar with. Here are some common blend words we use quite often:

  • Flame + Glare = Flare
  • Smoke + Fog = Smog
  • Work + Alcoholic = Workaholic
  • Emotion + Icon = Emoticon
  • Snappy + Jazzy = Snazzy
  • Motor + Hotel = Motel
  • Clap + Crash = Clash
  • Blow + Spurt = Blurt
  • Blankout + Beep = Bleep
  • Picture + Element = Pixel (creative blend)

So if Pintrest was an actual blend word it would probably be something like Piterest. That actually has a better and smoother flow to it, although it is still odd.

I can just imagine a room of quiet and anxious thinkers trying to come up with a name for their website, and then the silence breaking Eureka! “Guys! Let’s put a P right here!” Then he or she draws the letter P with a squeaky, low ink, dry-erase marker in front of their magnetic poetry word, “interest.”

The company that launched to rival Pinterest’s feminine feel is called Manterest. I would say this name is closer to the definition of an actual blend word than Pinterest is. The word “manhood” and “interest” are both truncated whereas you get both complete words in the name Pinterest.

Pinterest also has other iffy qualities about it. There are just too many dadgum words inside of it! Here’s a list:

  • Pin
  • Pint (anyone?)
  • Inter
  • Pinter (Harold Pinter, an English playwright and screenwriter)
  • Interest
  • Rest
  • Est. (Just for good measure)

Also, at nine characters, it makes for a very long single word. It almost feels like I am saying, “put to rest.”

But despite their strange and offbeat personality, names like Pinterest make their way into your life and perhaps change the way you do things forever. These names stick for a reason. They demand our attention because we are curious creatures and drawn to new and exciting things. We want to discover what’s behind that interesting name, not discover it in the name. What if the site was instead named, YourInterests? It likely wouldn’t have drawn the attention it has.

Companies with descriptive or keyword names struggle and rarely ever develop a large following like Pinterest has. There is no personal connection with these styles of names. Inspire your audience with your new idea by choosing a unique and catchy name to go with it. Motivate your customers to discover your business by using a great name from Brandroot's name catalogue.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 October 2013 9:36

Michael Rader

With over ten years in web development and design, Michael Rader has expertise and technical know-how. But more than a skilled technician, he is an entrepreneur and innovator who helps startup’s and new businesses identify and define their future with a unique, brandable business name. Michael Rader is the founder and CEO of Brandroot®, a leading .com domain name marketplace. He currently lives in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii where he operates the business and authors a blog dedicated to naming and brand name establishment.


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