Friday, 16 September 2011

Join the ‘chintz(y)’ debate

When I settled on Chintzy Cherry as a brand/Etsy name, the definition of ‘chintzy’ that I have always had in mind is one summed up perfectly by Urban Dictionary:

A vintage style pattern used originally for wallpaper and furniture coverings. Chintz has transformed over the decades from an old Granny style fussy pattern, to a modern, sexy style emblem. 

I also have images that conjure up this word perfectly for me:
 
Chintz Fine Bone China by Maxwell & Williams (image taken from www.whiteporcelain.co.uk)
 

The master bedroom in the country residence of the late Yves Sant Laurent (image taken from www.mysticmedusa.com) 


Sweetheart Chintzy Cookies by Peggy's Cupcakes (image taken from www.notonthehighstreet.com)
 

Makower Classic Rose Chintz Ivory Patchwork Fabric (image taken from www.rainbowcrafts.eu)


Pottery Barn's Arlington Chair (image taken from www.apartmenttherapy.com)

However, Melizza form Pincushion Treats has kindly opened my eyes to a darker definition of ‘chintz(y)’, one that I’d never associated with the word before. Maybe I’m just not down with the kids, or maybe I’m just plain stupid, but a bit of digging has unearthed these kind of definitions:
Chintzy

Shitty and cheap.

Characteristic of being a habitual, pathological liar.

A person or act that has the intent to screw somebody over.

 Chintz

Very cheap and low quality.

Will sacrifice quality for quantity.

To be cheap, miserly, not willing to pay for quality, or wanting to just get by as opposed to making a good investment.

There does seem to be a UK versus US split to the whole definition thing, which is illustrated in the online Oxford Dictionary, which gives the following three definitions for ‘chintzy’:

(British English) covered in or decorated with chintz 
(North American English, informal) cheap and not attractive 
(North American English, humorous) not willing to spend money

Knowing all this though, how can I continue with
Chintzy Cherry as my name, even if I love it so! I’m really grateful to Melizza for pointing this out to me, but I’m also gutted about being back at square one again.

Did you know about the darker definition of ‘chintz(y)’? Is it just a US thing or is it a UK thing too that has just passed me by? Am I really this out of touch?!?

21 comments:

  1. OMG!!! I had NO idea about the US meaning of the word Chintzy/Chintz!!! Wow...definately not a good choice of name then if you want to appeal to the wider market. Damn, that must be frsutrating.

    But you know what - that's why these blogs are so great and useful...because it saves you setting up your whole shop under that name and THEN finding out!

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  2. I feel so bad for raining on your parade but I felt I had to tell you what the word brings to my mind. You can keep the name and perhaps add a tag line defining what it means? Or maybe some people with take it as ironic, because obviously your stuff won't be 'tacky, ugly, cheap'.

    I totally feel like I kicked your puppy :(

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  3. Gosh I've never heard that before. As the UK definition says, I've always associated chintz with flowers, but then I'm English so that makes sense.
    I remember that IKEA add back in the 90s 'chuck out your chintz' and have a giggle when I see pretty florals on display in IKEA now...

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  4. Melizza, what did my poor puppy ever do to you? Haha, only kidding! I am seriously glad that you told me, as Suzie said, it's so much better to find these things out before it's too late! You could have kept quiet and watched me fail from afar, but instead you shared your wisdom and I thank you for that!

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  5. Awww! Thats such a shame. Thank god you found out now!! I'd never heard that, and its just wrong... Oh well, good luck with your second attempt!

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  6. I speak "north american english" since I'm American, and I must say that I have never hear that used like that. Are you sure it's not just out of date slang like "the bee's knees" or something? I think of flowers for chintz, like your pictures. I would make a poll and ask around more before scrapping it!

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  7. Thanks Molly, that's really helpful to know! Maybe it is slang and maybe just some parts of the US?!? A poll sounds like a good idea!

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  8. Just switch them and go with Cherry Chintz and now it's a noun and not an adjective so that it can't be confused.

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  9. I'm sorry to say this (but I want to be honest), but chintzy means cheap to me. I'm from the Midwestern US. I now live in the Southwest. I don't hear the word used very often in the US, but every time I've heard it used in conversation--that's what it means.

    That being said, as a sewer, I also know that chintz is a type of flowered fabric. And that's your demographic, right?

    I thought you were being cheeky by choosing that name. I don't inherently see it as a bad thing.

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  10. Though I am still new around here, which means you can ignore my opinion, I would take a few nights' sleep before committing to a name that could have negative connotations. If you decide to keep the name, then the extra time will help you stand behind it with confidence. If you're still wavering after a couple of days, open up to new ideas just to see how they feel. What about "Charming Cherry" or "Ruby Rouge" if you're going for a non-pigeonholed red-themed name and like alliteration? My guess is that once you let go of the stress, the perfect name will come to you - even if it ends up being the same name you've already chosen.

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  11. I'm afraid you can't blame the Yanks for this one. The earliest citation of the word chintzy in a disparaging sense was in a letter in the 1850's written by Britain's own scandalous rebel, George Eliot.But own it and reclaim it, if you like.

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  12. Momo - that could be a good solution!

    Trisha - I appreciate the honesty and you make some great points there.

    Amy - new or not, you talk a lot of sense! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and I love your name suggestions!

    Anonymous - please can I blame it on the Yanks? It'll make me feel better ;o)

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  13. I had no idea of either definitions (I'm from the US). But you definitely don't want to be associated with cheap. Look on the bright side, at least you found out about it when you did. Rather than being established and learning about it. As I mentioned in the other post, I'm horrible at naming but if I come up with something I'll send it your way.

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  14. I love chintzy! Yeah I think I've heard the other definition. It's often used in novels to describe crappy hotel rooms.

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  15. As an American, "chintzy" means cheap, but "chintz" is just the flower pattern, so Momo's suggestion is a great one.

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  16. Oooh, I just posted on yesterday's entry. I think it is out of date slang, but it is slang for cheap none the less. I think it originally was meant to refer to chintz fabric being cheaper and lower class than something like silk. I like Momo's suggestion Cherry Chintz sounds super cute! and you can rework the logo a little and be good to go. Chintz as a noun doesn't have that connotation.

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  17. I'm in Australia and don't know of any special connotations to the word here... however there are a couple of high-end home dec fabric shops here in Sydney called "No Chintz". I think they were established many years back during an anti-floral (ie anti real chintz) period, so nothing more sinister than that.

    Good luck - hope you can work it out!

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  18. I have never actually used the word before, so I am oblivious to these multiple meanings. It's always interesting how language differs amongst countries/regions. I like the name you chose:)

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  19. I've never heard of that negative meaning, and I'm all for the name "Chintzy Cherry". Even with that negative meaning, it's a bit cheeky. I vote to keep it, I adore it! The name is going to be whatever you make it, right?

    Just think, what would Shakespeare say?! (A rose by any other name...)

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  20. Thank you all so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it! Reana Louise, as always, I love your attitude ;o)

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  21. I would say it's Chintzy that's the problem and not chintz. To me, chintz is just floral fabric, usually a bit stiffer that was used on everything in the 80's. A chintz sofa, chintz pillows, etc. Chintzy is the one I associate with cheap.

    So Cherry Chintz is what I would go with.

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