I have been traveling quite a bit in the last few weeks and while that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to write, it allows me to watch out for well-motivated and poorly-motivated terms.
Here is one that several German terminologists approved of the other day at a meeting in Styria. The house in the picture on the left was designed by architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser and is called Augenschlitzhaus (literally translated: “eye slit house”). The picture on the right shows the model and several of the houses, which are built into the earth. One look at the house and we understood why they were called Augenschlitzhaus.
I also saw a good example of what I would consider a poorly-motivated term. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture. But you are probably all familiar with candles that have a fragrance, some are obnoxious, some are pleasant. They are referred to as fragranced candles. And then industry invented something called defragranced candle. When you look at the term it makes you think that a candle was produced, fragrance was added in the process and then removed again. I am not an expert in candle making, but that is the image I got when I read the term. It distracted me enough that I didn’t buy the candle.
Can you think of terms that worked really well or didn’t work? Feel free to share them.