[Ads-l] on the WOTY watch--"unicorn" and "unicorn poaching"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 6 05:30:45 UTC 2015

A recent Vanity Fair article credited Aileen Lee with coining
"unicorn" (in the billion-dollar venture-capital sense), and this
comports with the earliest citation given in Ben's Wall Street Journal
article. Below is an excerpt with another neologism employing the
"uni" prefix: "unicorpse".

Website: Vanity Fair
Timestamp: September 1, 2015 5:30 am
Article: Is Silicon Valley in Another Bubble . . . and What Could Burst It?
Author: Nick Bilton


[Begin excerpt]
"We basically doubled the number of unicorns in the past year and a
half," says Aileen Lee, the founder of Cowboy Ventures, who has
herself become a mythic creature in the Valley after coining the term.
"But a lot of these are paper unicorns, so their valuations may not be
real for a while." Others, Lee acknowledged, may never see their
balance sheets add enough zeros to justify the title. They will be
given a new sobriquet: "unicorpse."
[End excerpt]


On Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 9:38 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: on the WOTY watch--"unicorn" and "unicorn poaching"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Didn't have room to talk about that one in my WSJ column, but Paul
> McFedries covered it on Wordspy around the same time:
> http://wordspy.com/index.php?word=decacorn
> On Mon, Aug 24, 2015 at 3:59 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>> A single horn is now hopelessly passe. The Silicon Valley press
>> demands ten-horned beasts: decacorns.
>> Website: TechCrunch
>> Title: There Is No Silicon Valley Crash Coming -- For A While
>> Author: John Rampton
>> Date: August 23, 2015
>> http://techcrunch.com/2015/08/23/there-is-no-silicon-valley-crash-coming-at-least-for-a-while/
>> [Begin excerpt]
>> Additionally, the media points to the emergence of unicorns -- those
>> companies valued at more than $1 billion, like Slack -- and now the
>> "decacorns," which are those valued at more than $10 billion, like
>> Uber (which has been given the illustrious valuation of $50 billion).
>> [End excerpt]
>> Garson
>> On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 12:34 PM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
>>> On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 12:12 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>>> http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/19/technology/unicorns-hunt-for-talent-among-silicon-valleys-giants.html
>>>> Ben will probably tell us that they've been around for a while, but I do
>>>> like trying to guess at what someone (like me) who encountered "unicorn
>>>> poaching" out of the blue would come up with for a meaning (perhaps
>>>> the preferred way to prepare unicorns if you're a health-savvy consumer,
>>>> perhaps with a garlic sriracha dipping sauce).
>>> I covered tech "unicorns" back in March for my WSJ column:
>>> http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-unicorns-became-silicon-valley-companies-1426861606
>>> (Now paywalled, but you can get around that by Googling for the
>>> headline, "How Unicorns Became Silicon Valley Companies.")
>>> More from me in this Fox Business interview:
>>> http://finance.yahoo.com/video/why-silicon-valley-calling-billion-181328298.html
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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