This is a word you may not be familiar with, but you’ve surely seen one. If you watch news, particularly cable news, the chyron is the section in the lower third of the screen where the station shows names, headlines, a news feed, or a stock ticker. It’s basically all the graphics layed over whatever else is being shown. The chyron can be altered remotely by multiple parties.
It gets its name from the first software used to produce these graphics, which was originally spelled “Chiron”. The company that makes the software changed its own name in 1975 to Chyron Corporation, to capitalize on the popularity of the software, and on the timeless cool of the letter “Y”. Today, “chyron” is a thing, not just a product or a company.
This often happens for companies that invent a popular new product or service; the company name becomes a word, such as xerox, fedex, google, wifebeater, and spoon (named after Edvard Tobias van Spuhn, its designer — the 1940′s original is still available through the Design Within Reach catalogue — for $700 or kr3,478).
Yesterday I posted a word I love: “chyme“. If I apply the same reasoning, “chyron” should be a word I love, but it isn’t, because “chyron” is a stupid word for the thing it describes. “Chyron” sounds like a Buck Rogers brand, or at least Star Trek brand, of evil robot, not a video-graphics package. But now it’s too late, this thing is established and we’ll be hearing about chyrons for years. Given time, it will be verbed just like xerox and google and bukkake.