Sometimes you know what a company is getting at in its naming process but the execution fails due to powers beyond their control. Take Theodent, for example:
The innovative ingredient in this toothpaste is described as “Rennou™, a non-toxic proprietary blend of a naturally-occurring extract found in chocolate” is derived.” Leaving aside discussion of “Rennou,” I note that since theobromine is the alkaloid found in the cocoa bean, it wasn’t hard to figure out how they put “theo” and “dent” together to form “theodent.”
But there’s a catch: I’ll lay odds (having recently been to Las Vegas) that “theo” is far less commonly recognized as suggesting chocolate (though this company is trying to prove otherwise, deliciously so) than it is as referring to religion.
Theos, in ancient Greek, means god or gods. Our language is full of theo- and –theist words: theology, theocracy, apotheosis, monotheism, ad infinitum. Theobroma, for chocolate? The food of the gods.
So when I see Theodent, I don’t think chocolate – I think religious or godly teeth. And then I think there’s something nefarious going on, which is of course overthinking, but I can’t be the only one with that takeaway, can I?