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I am trying to give a piece of software a name but for non-native English speakers it's sometimes hard to avoid awkward associations with names because you don't live with the language. Sometimes word meanings and connotations can be really diverse depending on the context.

So, does the word "thumbtick" have any awkward, strange or bad connotations that would make it inappropriate as a software name?

I am intentionally not giving away the purpose of the software, so as to not introduce any bias.

UPDATE: The purpose of this software should be a simple easy to use time tracking webapp with mobile phone interface support. The main screen has a button named "tick" to start and stop actions quick and easy and create time-sheets which can be filled with further information later on.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Thumb is associated with the literal thumb; to thumb through, in the sense of reading or searching; and to thumb, referring to hitchhiking. There's also thumbs up and thumbs down for approval or disapproval, as in voting. A tick is a small mechanical sound (as of a clock), a short period of time, a parasitic insect, or another name for a tickmark or checkmark, indicating that something has been seen, selected, or verified.

I don't see any way in which these meanings could be combined that would be offensive or excessively awkward, especially given that the intended meanings should be apparent from the software itself, or, say, from its logo. If your logo were a thumbs-up sign and a tickmark in a box, "thumbtick" would obviously refer specifically to those two concepts.

Thumbtick also looks a lot like thumbtack, a pin for posting paper on a board, which could be another good association if your software involves bulletin-type information.

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So, as a compound, I can't say I've ever heard thumbtick in any context. However, decomposing it into thumb and tick would lead me to believe it's a parasitic insect that attaches to your thumb. Assuming that's NOT what it is, you may want to avoid associating it with the insect ticks which generally have a bad reputation as disease-carrying parasitic nuisances.

Out of curiosity, what is the software, and how did it lead you to choose that name?

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I'll reveal the usage of the software at the "end"… –  dStulle Nov 15 '10 at 20:15
    
Fair Enough. I'll continue to think up alternate possibilities in the mean time =D (E.g. perhaps a thumb has a tick in the sense of tap so you're using a thumb tap as some sort of input) –  Dusty Nov 15 '10 at 20:26
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to me it sounds like "thumbtack", so i imagine a pointy thing. i didn't get the parasite connotation until i read this answer –  Claudiu Nov 15 '10 at 21:17
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A "tick" is an insect that is known to inhabit/infest stray animals.

When pets are bitten by ticks the insect can sometimes transmit life-threatening diseases - some of which are also life-threatening to humans.

'b' and 't' (thum bt ick) are quite awkward next to each other. You can probably design around that.

Find a UX/marketing skilled person to develop a user study around the name.

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