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I'm starting a new online business in the US, and hope to attract customers in Europe as well. I'm thinking about using the word wrangler in the name of the business. The meaning I'm intending is "to gather, tame, subdue, organize", etc. In the US, this is a common usage, as far as I know (correct?).

But in Europe, is the word wrangler commonly used this way? Or is it used mainly to mean arguing/disputing? And would English-speaking Europeans not quickly/easily understand this "gathering" meaning?

Thank you!

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  • I was surprised to find this is a relatively new word, only dating to about 1897 in the sense of breaking horses. Jul 30, 2021 at 13:33
  • If the 'customers in Europe' are not native speakers of English, much will depend on whether their knowledge of the language is primarily based on having learnt it in school (which is likely to be British English) or primarily on having picked it up from the Internet, television, etc. (where American English, and the culture associated with it, dominates).
    – jsw29
    Jul 31, 2021 at 14:52

3 Answers 3

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In the UK a wrangler is a person engaging in a lengthy and complicated dispute and a wrangle is such a dispute. The US meaning isn't common here, though people my age may remember hearing the word used to mean a person in charge of horses or other livestock on a ranch (same link) in old cowboy series on television and may therefore know why Wrangler jeans are so named.

There are no ranches here. Probably the nearest equivalent of American wranglers would be the agisters of the New Forest, who round up the semi-wild ponies from time to time.

It's hard to predict how quickly your own meanings of the word - someone who gathers, tames, subdues, organizes - would catch on here and replace its current disputatious meaning. In the rest of Europe, as long as the jeans are known, the word may not seem too strange, though only a fairly proficient English-speaker would know its meaning, I think. For some Europeans it might be the first word they've encountered starting with wr.

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  • 'For many Europeans it might be the first word they've encountered starting with wr' - you mean apart from words like 'wrong', which is undoubtedly very common! Jul 30, 2021 at 17:14
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    @Kiloran_speaking: And 'write'! I'll edit it. TVM. Jul 30, 2021 at 17:16
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    I agree that the US meaning is not widely known in the UK, but anyone who has read Zane Grey will know what a wrangler is. Jul 30, 2021 at 18:14
  • To me (speaker of American English) wrangler means somebody who gathers, tames, subdues, or organizes uncooperative things. I don't know what things the OP wants to wrangle, but just gather doesn't seem like a good definition. Jul 30, 2021 at 19:01
  • In the UK, a wrangle is generally something we don't want to get into, and if we are in one, we want to get it over. Nobody wrangles out of habit or inclination. – Jul 30, 2021 at 22:51
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At Cambridge University in England, the students who obtain first-class degrees in mathematics each year are called 'Wranglers', and the one with the highest marks that year is known as the Senior Wrangler. It has been described as 'the greatest intellectual achievement attainable in Britain'. The Cambridge undergraduate mathematics course has been called 'notoriously difficult'. That this is true is illustrated by the fact that famous second place winners include James Clerk Maxwell, J. J. Thomson, and Lord Kelvin, and third to twelfth places went to (among others) William Henry Bragg, GH Hardy, Alfred North Whitehead, John Venn (of diagram fame), Bertrand Russell, John Maynard Keynes and William Henry Fox Talbot.

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Don’t use it in Britain. It’s a well known make of jeans.

See: https://eu.wrangler.com/uk-en/home

PS

And if the reason for my valuable advice is not obvious, regardless of any trade mark problems, it seems commercially unwise to risk association of one product with a pre-existing one. And no, wrangle is uncommon in general usage in Britain.

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  • @jsw29 — The poster asked about the usage of the word "wrangler" in Europe. I told him that it was associated with a well known make of jeans here and advised him not to use it. What more is there to say? Companies normally do due diligence on things of this sort. Do you know why the British vapour rub "Vick" is marketed under the name "Wick" in Germany? Even if there aren't legal problems there is a false mental association that is obviously best avoided. Rather than being downvoted the poster should pay me for my advice.
    – David
    Jul 30, 2021 at 22:21
  • @David - 'wrangler' is a noun; 'Wrangler' is a proper noun. We here in Europe can tell the difference. Jul 30, 2021 at 22:51
  • @MichaelHarvey “I’m thinking of using the word wrangleR in the name of a business”. Some of us in Europe read past the title.
    – David
    Jul 31, 2021 at 7:02

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