Articles tagged "Brand Name Vocab"

Brand Name Vocab: Hale and Hearty


Hale means healthy, vigorous, robust. As in, You’re looking hale today.

Hearty has nine different definitions, according to Random House Dictionary:

    1. warm-hearted; affectionate; cordial; jovial: a hearty welcome.
    2. genuine; sincere; heartfelt: hearty approval; hearty dislike.
    3. completely devoted; wholehearted: hearty support.
    4. exuberant; unrestrained: hearty laughter.
    5. violent; forceful: a hearty push; a hearty kick.
    6. physically vigorous; strong and well: hale and hearty.
    7. substantial; abundant; nourishing: a hearty meal.
    8. enjoying or requiring abundant food: a hearty appetite.
    9. (of soil) fertile.

It seems #7 is the definition most suitable to the New York City soup chain whose logo appears above.

Of course, hearty is easily confused with hardy, which means sturdy, strong, courageous, vigorous, or capable of enduring hardship, and which appears — quite deliberately, I’m sure — in the name of The Hardy Boys, stars of a series of adventure novels that first appeared in 1927, and in that of The Hardy Boyz, a WWE pro wrestling tag team.

Brand Name Vocab: Consolidated Edison


Most of us in New York get our electricity from a company called ConEd, which is short for Consolidated Edison. However, companies with “consolidated” in their names are not hard to find: consolidated means “joined into a whole” and usually indicates that the company was once two or more smaller companies. Sure enough, Wikipedia tells us that, “In 1884, six gas companies combined into the Consolidated Gas Company” which eventually became ConEd.

A similar word for bringing things together is amalgamated. You may know an amalgam as a dental filling (so called because it is made with more than one metal), but the word occurs in the name of many labor unions: for instance, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, which was involved in the famous Homestead Strike in 1892. Also interesting: iron and steel can themselves be amalgamated (using the meaning of amalgamate “to mix with mercury”).

Do you have some stuff you want to join together?

You could also fuse, meld, aggregate, or agglomerate it!

If you want to stick a small thing onto a big thing, you could annex it!

If you want to stick some things together end-to-end, you could concatenate them! As in, If you want to make your own chain mail, you’ll have to concatenate each link onto the one before it.

Brand Name Vocab: Dysport


Dysport is a brand of botulism toxin that can be injected into the face to relax wrinkles; in other words, it’s a competitor to Botox. Just as “Botox” is a contraction of “botulism toxin,” the “dys” in “Dysport” seems to be saying something bad — dysfunction, dystopia, etc.


However, the name “Dysport” also has a positive connotation, at least for those who know the word disport, “to divert or amuse oneself.” As in, The children happily disported on the playground all afternoon.

You know how I love to divert or amuse myself? Needles in the face! Positively needles in the face. The disportment never stops!

(p.s. I was being facetious).

Brand Name Vocab: Acme and Zenith


As a general rule, if a GRE word reminds you of a company name, you can infer that that word at least means something good. Companies rarely name themselves Odium, Iniquity, or Fetidness.

If you’ve ever seen a Looney Tunes cartoon, you’ve probably seen the fictional Acme Corporation’s products. Acme makes “Earthquake Pills,” “Dehydrated Boulders,” and the “Iron Carrot (Fool Your Friends!)” Many real companies are also named Acme — if you can still find a Yellow Pages, open it to the locksmiths or contractors, and you’re likely to find plenty of local businesses using the name. It’s a good one, because it comes very near the beginning of the alphabet, and it means “highest point, summit, peak.”

The Looney Tunes are owned by Warner Brothers and do not endorse this blog.

Zenith was a popular television brand in the 1980s, and still sells consumer electronics today. Here’s an old-school ad from the company that developed the modern remote control:

A zenith is a high point or culmination, or, literally, “the point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer.”

In sum: an apex is usually the top of something like a mountain, and a zenith is a high point in the sky, but they can both be used metaphorically to refer to the peak or top of anything. For instance, He’s at the acme of his career, or Our relationship reached its zenith during our Hawaiian vacation; it was all downhill from there.

Of course, the opposite of the zenith is the nadir. Other good words for being at the top include apex, summit, pinnacle, and apogee.

Brand Name Vocab: Thanks for the Extra Consonants


Arrid is a deodorant. Nexxus is a line of hair-care products. What they have in common is that each of them has added an extra letter to a GRE vocabulary word, probably to make the name easier to legally protect.

Arid means dry, barren, sterile. Arrid will make your armpits arid.

A nexus is a core, center, or means of connection.
Nexxus will make your hair pretty.

Next time I start a product line, I’m going to call it Granddddiloquent.

Brand Name Vocab: Torrid


Torrid means burningly, scorchingly hot, like the Sahara, or like a summer trip to Israel that your parents send you on as a teenager. The word also means ardent or passionate.

Torrid is a line of young, hip clothing for plus-size women.

The company’s name means “really hot.” Makes sense!

The word “torrid” is often used in expressions such as “a torrid romance” or “a torrid affair.”

A quick Google search brought up several companies that also use the word “torrid” in their names: Torrid Marine (“the most trusted name in marine water heaters”),
Torrid Oven (yep, they sell ovens, all right), and Torrid Romance, where, by sending in “nearly thirty personalized details,” you can obtain a personalized romance novel “that features you and your lover as the hero and heroine.”

Torrid indeed!

Brand Name Vocab: Alleviate with Aleve


Aleve is a painkiller whose name derives from alleviate: to lessen or make easier to endure. Pretty good name for something that kills headaches, no?

English is replete with words for this concept: mitigate and palliate are pretty direct synonyms (palliate occurs often in the term palliative care, which is medical care provided to people with incurable illnesses).

Other words related to the idea of decreasing or diminishing include abate and attenuate. Words related to diminishing the anger of others, specifically, include placate, propitiate, conciliate, and appease.

Interestingly, nearly all of these words denote an action performed by someone on something or someone else. As in, Some people find that chewing gum attenuates the desire for sweets, or I’m headed over to grandmother’s house to attempt to palliate the damage caused by the risqué wedding DJ.

Abate, however, can be used with an object (The Senate voted to abate the tax) or without an object (The rain abated). These differences can be important in GRE Antonyms and Analogies questions.

Brand Name Vocab: Battle of the Shampoos


As the jingle goes: “Sometimes you need a little Finesse … sometimes you need a lot.”

Can this shampoo give you 1) extreme delicacy in actions or tastes?
2) skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation?
3) a trick, artifice, or stratagem?

While a nattily-dressed person could be said to have a pert outfit, one’s parents might very well say something like “Don’t be pert with me, young lady!” That is, pert has a few different meanings.

Can this shampoo make you impertinent?
Chic? Lively?

Now, if only someone made a shampoo called Omniscient or Pecunious.