So what’s up with the “u”?

According, to Wikipedia, the athletic clothing company Under Armour was started in 1996 by “Kevin Plank, a 23-year old former University of Maryland special teams captain for the university American football team. Plank began the business from his grandmother’s basement in Washington, D.C.”

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15 responses to “So what’s up with the “u”?

  1. Creeping Britism? No, just a desire for distinctiveness. Just be thankful it’s not Armour-All for yor car.

  2. I’ve noticed that American wedding invitations often request ‘the honour of your presence’. I assume the idea is the British spelling is supposed to look sophisticated.

  3. What’s up with the tattoo? Orientalism in the USA?! Someone should start a blog!

  4. The Chinese characters say, “I’m not a British model but I want you to believe I’m one.”

  5. The Chinese tattoo is a bit distorted and if I’m reading it right it’s also a bit weird. The first word means soft or gentle and is the same word as the first word in “Judo”. The second word means art. The art of being gentle?

    • ‘The gentle art’ is a name for Brazialian JuJitsu.

      • Not just Brazilian jujitsu, but jujitsu in general.

        The tattoo is in Japanese, not Chinese (although it’s written with the same characters in Chinese, just as a loan word from Japanese). 柔術 is simply ‘jūjutsu’ in Japanese, and it is the name of the sport jujitsu.

        (Incidentally, there’s never an i sound in the Japanese word; if you pronounce it as ‘jūjitsu’, you’re instead saying 充実, meaning ‘rewarding, filling, substantial’)

  6. I bet the U makes it more easily trademarkable in the United States/.

    • Altering the spelling doesn’t make a mark more protectable. Just try registering a trademark for Koka-Kola.

      From where I sit (I’m a company/product name developer), the U in Armour was added for symmetry with the U in Under, so that they could create that interlocking logo.

  7. I’m loving your blog – seeing the way that you, as an American, are intrigued by the creeping influence of British spellings, words and phrases into your dialect. I’ve always grown up with the ‘ou’ spelling which has a superfluous ‘u’, which I believe indicates that the word came into English English from the French (along with William the Conqueror). I’ve mentioned your blog on my own – I’m an English teacher and I’m fascinated by the mutability of English. Have you heard of Melvyn Brag’s book “The Adventure of English”? I think you’d like it. Thanks, Judy.

  8. Dunno about his tattoo, but you have to be very careful what is written but not understood, (or even overlooked).

    I’m reminded of a pub sign in Westminster some years ago featuring the Prince of Wales’ Feathers with its (German) motto “Ich Dien”.

    When the sign was refurbished, no one noticed for a very long time that the motto was replaced, appropriately, in Welsh: “Twll Din Pob Sais”.

    .

  9. David Armstrong

    I think the Chinese characters are a clue to the choice of spelling. Wasn’t there a hit Hong Kong martial arts film starring Jackie Chan, which was released in the US with its original English spelling as “Armour of God”? This might be homage to it.

  10. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but it strikes me that in this context the UK spelling very much resembles the French “amour” for love :-O

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