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March 01, 2012  |  People who work at "___" call themselves "___"  |  12379 hit(s)

For Friday Fun this week, I asked around about what corporate employees use as their nickname. For example, I work at Microsoft; we call each other Microsofties. I have it on excellent authority that people who work at Amazon call each other Amazonians, and so on.

For help, I asked my Facebook Friends, who are mostly folks in high-tech. I also enlisted the aid of naming expert and well-connected word person Nancy Friedman, who took the question with success to various lists of which she is a member.

Here are some preliminary responses. Note that these are all self-reported names, so I can't vouch for their accuracy in every case.

6 March 2012 Update! Added several that folks have sent me.A couple of responses I got sounded a bit, dunno, corporate, tho I'm assured that these are in fact the right names:
  • Disney: Cast Members
  • Starbucks: Partners
There are some companies that I really wanted to get names for, but so far no luck:
  • Adobe (based on Aldusian — a company absorbed by Adobe — I thought at least some contigent in that company might call themselves Adobians)
  • Apple
  • Boeing (two Boeing people told me they're unaware of any such nickname)
  • Nordstrom See above!
6 March 2012 Update I asked someone today who works at Tully's if they have a name like this. Not that she knows of, she said.

I'd be delighted to expand this list, should anyone be aware of more. (There must be hundreds, I imagine.)

Then there is the question of what we might call a nickname like this. A name based on a place is a toponym. A name for people from a city or region is a demonym. I solicited some ideas for this, too. We threw around corporanym and employeeonym. Someone suggested "idionym, which should mean roughly 'your own name'."

The most interesting suggestion was from Colleague Clay, who knows his way around a number of languages. He suggested ergazomenonym ("from modern Greek εργαζόμενου= employee"). I like it tons, although I'd need some coaching, perhaps, in how to pronounce it properly.

Another interesting exercise, which I have not delved into, is to try to deduce what sorts of rules might be at play in how these names are formed. When Nancy Friedman wrote about demonyms a little while ago, she referenced some rules that I won't repeat here but that go into some detail about the phonological basis for some of the names, and the various additional factors that obtain. I have no doubt that a similar (and similarly complex) set of rules could be deduced for the creation of these ... uh, ergazomenonyms.

So. Your thots?

Update, 2017 Sep 19: More on this fun topic here: Update on what employees call themselves

Jenny   04 Mar 12 - 7:36 AM

Here's another one for the list: People who work at Citrix Systems, Inc. are called Citrites. I've also used the term to denote the impenetrable corporate double-speak that fellow employees sometimes use. Example: "Sorry, I don't understand what you want from me; I don't speak Citrite."