Nokia’s “Lumia” name means “prostitute” in Spanish

By on October 27, 2011
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Genuine mistake or clever marketing ploy?

Hours after the name of Nokia’s new Windows Phone Mango based handsets were announced, someone obviously had to check out the validity of this seemingly obscure name. And sure enough, MSNBC figured out that the word “Lumia” from the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 handsets actually translates to “prostitute” in Spanish slang .

The proof can be found at the Real Academia Espa’nola which specifies “lumia” as the synonym for “prostitute”. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if Spanish natives haven’t heard this term so much, if at all, it’s because of the way the word snuck into the vocabulary. Futher research revealed that there’s a German book called ”Der Gitanismo im spanischen Argot” or “The Gypsy in Spanish slang” wherein the origins of the slang are revealed. Basically “lumia” came into the Spanish language as used by gypsies, and wouldn’t be heard in the modern day without Gypsy influence.

Still, this is no excuse for a a corporate as huge as Nokia to not do thorough research into a brand name for their upcoming flagship handsets. On the other hand maybe someone did realize what this meant, but decided to go ahead with the “Lumia” name anyways because of all the controversy it’ll create. No such thing as bad publicity after all.


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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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