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March 01, 2012  |  People who work at "___" call themselves "___"  |  51743 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 the names I've collected so far. Most of these are self-reported names, so I can't vouch for their accuracy in every case.

  • Aiven: At this Finnish company, employees are crabs and the employees are collectively the Cast of Crabs. (Thanks to baby capu on Twitter) I do note that their careers page says that they want people who are "sideways thinkers" (i.e., move like crabs), so this name might not have originated organically.
  • Aldus: Aldusians
  • Amazon: Amazonians
  • Ammex: Ammexians
  • Arthur Andersen: Androids ("but not very loudly"). This is disputed (see comments).
  • CIA: Spooks
  • Citrix Systems: Citrites (Thanks to Jenny in the comments)
  • General Magic: Magicians
  • Google: Googlers   Fun: Noogler == "new"+"Googler" (source, via Edward Banatt on Twitter). Update: See also my update on naming at Google.
  • Honeywell: Honeywellers
  • IBM: IBMers
  • Martin Marietta (pre-Lockheed): Martians
  • Meta (formerly Facebook): Apparently Mark Zuckerberg wants to call employees of Facebook a.k.a. Meta metamates. But this isn't organically grown and doesn't seem to be particularly popular.
  • Microsoft: Microsofties
  • Mozilla (Firefox): Mozillians
  • ngmoco: mofos
  • Nordstrom: Nordies (Thanks to Nina in a Facebook comment)
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea: Peetniks
  • Pinterest: Pinployees (via Nancy Friedman)
  • Procter & Gamble: Proctoids ("but not all of them embrace the humor of that name")
  • Quark: Quarkians. (Thanks to Glen in email)
  • Reddit: Snoos (source). A commenter alerted me to a leaked memo from Reddit CEO Steve Huffman with this not-obvious endonym.
  • Shopify: Shopifolk (source). Because of the CEO's fondness for games, executive assistants are also known as expansion packs. (Thanks to Nancy Friedman on Twitter.)
  • Tableau: Tabloids. See post on Tableau and endonyms.
  • Twitter: Twizzles. Twitter user (and now employee) @Name_Inspector has a tweet about this.
  • Washington Mutual: Wamulians
  • Washington Post: Posties
  • WICAT: Wicateers
  • Wikipedia (contributors): Wikipedians
  • Xerox: Xeroids
  • Yahoo: Yahoos
  • Zappos: Zappos Family or Zapponians

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)

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 thoughts?

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."

Anonymous   23 May 19 - 2:54 PM

Hewlett Packard ==> Hippies

Since the split to Hewlett Packard Enterprise ==> Hippee's (note the two e's).

SDS   10 Nov 21 - 10:17 AM

I worked for Andersen in Chicago just before they fell off the map. We did not call ourselves Androids.

mike   10 Nov 21 - 10:56 AM

Added a "disputed" note to that entry. As noted underneath the list, most of these were reported to me, and I didn't make an effort to verify those entries.

Anonymous   13 Jun 23 - 1:36 PM

According to a leaked internal memo, people who work at Reddit are called "Snoos"


mike   25 Jun 23 - 3:35 PM

Thanks for "Snoos"! Sorry I didn't see that earlier. (I'm not getting notified about new comments on the blog for some reason.)

Michael Vnuk   24 Sep 23 - 6:06 AM

The only person I know who worked for Arthur Andersen told me that she left because she didn't want to become 'an Arthur Android' or 'an Andersen Android'. Actually, I can't remember her exact words, but she definitely used the word 'Android'. Our conversation took place in 1992, but I note that she had already left them some years before, after working with them for about 2 years. Among other reasons, she left because of the long hours. 'Android' may not have been used across the all departments of the firm or across all countries or across all years. She lived in Australia, but visited Chicago (Arthur Andersen's head office) twice. Perhaps she was just using a dismissive term because she had left.