What’s in a name?

Well, quite a bit, actually.

It is all a matter of striking that delicate balance between authenticity, hyperbole and understatement (the only reason I wrote that was to use the word “hyperbole”, which is a funny word due to transatlantic ambiguity as to how to pronounce it… look it up).

At one end of the spectrum is that cheap and cheerful drill, grinder, sander, you name it at your local DIY centre. It is branded as Profi. Hmmm, now let’s consider the connotations of that name: Profi, professional… it brings images such as: quality, long-lasting and well thought out design. Yet probably it is not, these are, as I said above, often cheap and cheerful Chinese knock-offs. A truly professional tool is called, I dunno… Hilti, Milwaukee or something down those lines.

Hyperbole? Probably.

At the other end of the spectrum is understatement. I spotted this compressor in the toolshed of Caspar, our friendly neighbouring landscape gardner:

Okay Power? Seriously? As in, Not-Totally-Rubbish power? Or Slightly-Better-Than-Average power? This is not really selling me this compressor either.

Understated? Probably (although in this specific case, just to complicate matters, for all I know this may actually be a mediocre, cheap and cheerful Chinese knock-off, in which case it would make the brand name authentic).

Then there is the puzzling case of the Petzl OK, which always gets me thinking.

What is Petzl actually saying with that name… OK? Do they really mean that, this karabiner is merely ok? No, on reflection, what OK is an abbreviation for, of course, is Oval Karabiner. Which it was – initially… until Petzl changed the radii on the body (compare the images above and below).

If your definition of an oval connector is that the attachment points sit in the middle of the minor axis, which strikes me as being a reasonable definition of an oval, this is then no longer an oval karabiner. Making it… the Petzl NOK, maybe? Doesn’t really roll off your tongue very readily.

Welcome to the confusing world of nomenclature and branding.