Welcome to Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and see what interesting things we can find. Today we’re heading out to the highway, parking lot, or your garage and thinking about cars. How many of you auto owners have named your car?
I recently purchased a new car to replace my 13-year-old Honda Civic, which was named Keiko. Now I’m looking for a nickname for my Toyota Camry. So how does one choose a name?
Here are some ideas:
Proper name. You can pick a first name for your vehicle. Cars are often considered female, though not always. Where I live, proper-named cars often sound like Southern belles: Bessie, Mary Beth, Emma Lou. If you’re looking for inspiration, though, you can check out the Social Security Administration’s website with the most popular baby names for any year from 1880 to the present. If you named your car Sophia or Jacob, then it’s right up there with the top baby name for 2012. Now you might recognize this car with a proper name:
Color. You can consider the color of your car when naming it. You can opt for a straightforward reference to its hue, like calling the car Scarlet or Ebony. You can use it in the description with another word, like Gray Ghost or Green Machine. The color also might inspire a connection to another word, like a black car that you name Licorice or a red car that you refer to as Apple. One interesting example I found on the Internet was a man who owned a pink car; he named it Floyd.
How it looks. There was a guy at my high school who drove a vintage truck. It looked similar to this, and everyone called it The Goose.
Then there was my high school friend whose car was completely falling apart, and she referred to it as the Bomb. (Truly, we had no idea when that thing might go kaboom!)
So the way it looks could inspire a name–anything from Monster to Snug Bug to Bruiser. Whatever represents the appearance of your car can become its name.
How it drives.
Why, this car could be systematic
Why, it could be Greased Lightning!
C’mon, you had to know that was coming. If you never saw the 1979 classic movie Grease, you may have at least seen Pixar’s Cars with Lightning McQueen. How your car maneuvers–or how you wish it would maneuver–might inspire the perfect name for your vehicle. Maybe you’re driving the Bullet or the Beast or even Pokey.
Famous rides. Your car can conjure up a familiar name–a famous ride of one kind of another. It could be a horse like Trigger or Black Beauty. Or watercraft like the Love Boat or the Titanic. Or maybe a spaceship like the Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon or Firefly (the ship was actually the Serenity). Plenty of cars are named for famous rides in real life or in fiction.
Another famous car. I already referred to Greased Lightning, T-bird Kenickie’s refurbished car. But there are a few other cars you might recognize and want to borrow their sweet name for your own vehicle. Let’s take a look:
Of course, you can call your car anything you want. It’s not like your automobile will object to being named anything from Fluffy to Mrs. Danvers.
So have you named your car? What other tips do you have? And if you want to suggest names for my car, go right ahead!