Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 18 21:01:47 UTC 2012

Trying to devise etymology of trademarks is a fool's errand, but I
noticed "relipid formula" in a recent Neosporin commercial and it left
me scratching my head. While its use as a trademark may make sense, it
is clearly meant to sound "scientific". The trouble start if you
recognize what "lipid" is (as most high-school students taking biology,
middle-school students and people with reasonable post-secondary
education should). My back-of-the-envelope estimate suggests (and please
correct me if I am wrong) that the prefix "re-" is productive mostly
with verbs or derivatives of those verbs or derivatives of words that
used to be verbs. Plus there is a handful of words that don't actually
have "re-" as a prefix, but are derived directly from French or Latin
(e.g., "replendishing", "resplandence", "resplendour")--where they might
have had a prefix appended at some point but it is no longer transparent
(and, in some cases, the prefix having only superficial similarity to
"re-" in the early forms). "Relipid", as a neologism, does not fall into
any of these categories, although the transparent "etymology" appears to
be "restoring lipids to the skin" (the expression is associated with
body lotions and eczema ointments).

Of course, "relipid formula" is already formally trademarked, although
there is still plenty of time to object--on trademark, not on linguistic


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