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I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 35 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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When the Sun-Times appointed me film critic, I hadn't taken a single film course. One of the reasons I started teaching was to teach myself.

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First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 6/2/2024

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Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 9:57 PM Pacific


  10:53 PM

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

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