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Nine Wonder Brands That Made It to the Oxford Dictionary

Some of the words that we use today originated from brand names of famous products. These words have made it into the Oxford Dictionary (British version).

Hoover

  • hoo·ver [hoo-ver]
    –verb: to clean with a vacuum cleaner (Chiefly British)

It is in fact a trademark brand name of a vacuum cleaner. This brand was named after the American industrialist, William H. Hoover (1849-1942) who commercialized vacuum cleaners as one of the “must-have” household items.

Xerox

  • xe·rox [zeer-oks]
    -noun or verb: a name for a copying machine or the act of reproducing printed, written, or pictorial matter by xerography.

This is a trademark brand name for a copy machine. “Xerox” is an invented name from the word xerography which came from the Greek radicals xeros (dry) and graphos (writing), as there are no liquid chemicals involved in the copying process.

Thermos

  • ther·mos [thur-muhs]
    –noun: a vacuum bottle or similar container lined with an insulating material, such as polystyrene, to keep liquid hot or cold

This is a trademark brand name of a vacuum flask. The word is actually derived from the Greek word thermo or “hot”.

Prozac

  • pro·zac [proh-zak] -noun: a brand of fluoxetine hydrochloride

This is a trademark brand name for a type of drug prescribed for depression. However, it is often widely used to refer to other drugs that treat similar cases of depression.

Spandex

  • span·dex [span-deks]
    –noun: a synthetic fiber composed of a long-chain polymer, used chiefly in the manufacture of garments to add elasticity

This is a trademark of a type of polyurethane fabric. However, it is also widely used to refer to other stretchy fabric material.

Jello

  • jell-O [jel-oh]
    -noun: brand of dessert made from a mixture of gelatin, sugar, and fruit flavoring, dissolved in hot water and chilled until firm

This is an American trademark brand name, i.e. Jell-O. It is also used to refer to other similar types of jelly desserts.

Tampax

  • tampax [tam-pax]
    -noun: tampon used to absorb menstrual flow

This is a trademark brand name for a tampon but it is also widely used as a generic name to refer to similar types of sanitary tampons.

Band-Aid

  • band-Aid [band-eyd]
    -noun: adhesive bandage with a gauze pad in the center, used to cover minor abrasions and cuts

This is a trademark brand name, widely used to refer to other similar types of bandages.

Viagra

  • vi·ag·ra [vahy-ag-ruh]
    -noun: sildenafil citrate, used to treat impotence

This is a trademark brand name, widely used to refer to other similar types of male potency drugs. It is also said that the name comes from the word virility and Niagara.

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  1. i like

    On September 5, 2007 at 7:40 pm


    i like this article. very informative.

  2. Beatrice

    On September 5, 2007 at 9:34 pm


    love the pics!

  3. Lookie

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:35 am


    Good article. Keep it up!

  4. Onflame

    On September 6, 2007 at 7:00 am


    Hey, really nice article. Great work!

  5. Brand Brandigan

    On September 6, 2007 at 11:49 am


    Once again, historical perspective is trumped by “recent memory”. I doubt Viagra will be seen as the common term for this class of drugs in 10 years. It should have been knocked out of this countdown by others such as Kleenex or fridge (short for Frigidaire brand refrigerators.)

  6. dimdog

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:34 pm


    Thats cool…but what about Google?
    There is a verb in the dictionary ‘to google’…doesn’t that count? ^_^

  7. Another one

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:35 pm


    “fridge” short for Frigidaire? I always assumed it went from
    refrigerator
    refridge
    fridge

    I do think Kleenex should have made it, along with Ping Pong.

  8. anonymous coward

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:39 pm


    You forgot “Moxie”

  9. Overstim

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:39 pm


    …Or, as the Chinese call it, “ping pong”.

  10. Leroy

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:41 pm


    I would think Brand names like the afore-mentioned Kleenex, or Crescent Wrench (to mean a generic adjustable wrench) would make it in before the likes of Viagra and Prozac.

  11. Maggie Q

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:41 pm


    Ping-pong FTW!!!

  12. Dan

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:42 pm


    Tivo could be included. No matter what dvr you use, you still say “tivo” to indicate recording something.

  13. kdkauf

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:43 pm


    Q-Tips
    Vise-grips
    Channel-locks
    Jacuzzi

  14. Edley

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:47 pm


    jell-o?! sorry, no1 in uk says tht. same with band-aid. there plasters! and xerox. what the hell even is tht?! (i know what it is, jus sayin!) and tampax are jus tampons.
    stupid americans!!!

  15. no name

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:56 pm


    This article is at least half-lame. Where I live, these words are not common: Hoover, Xerox, Prozac, Tampax, Viagra

    We vacuum, make (photo)copies, take Prozac (that specific drug), use tampons, and take Viagra (that specific drug).

    Kleenex and Q-Tip are far more common.

    “Tivo could be included. No matter what dvr you use, you still say “tivo” to indicate recording something.”
    No, I don’t. I say I recorded something. Tivo is a specific word for an actual Tivo.
    Same goes with Google. That only applies to google.com.

  16. Blah Blah

    On September 6, 2007 at 12:59 pm


    Isn’t the oxford dictionary from Brittian?

  17. Blah blaher

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:01 pm


    Also forgot skidoo

  18. Malignant Tumor

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:06 pm


    Agreed with other posters here that Kleenex, Q-Tip, and Tivo should be on here and Prozac and Viagra should not. Tampax and Hoover are no longer in that position, but they were in previous generations, so I’ll give you those.

    Also, remember in the 80’s when all video games were Nintendo? It didn’t matter what system you played, it was called Nintendo by non-gamers. And that lasted until the Playstation. It looked like that was going to happen with the Playstation for a short time, I remember a couple of years where it seemed like playing all video games were being referred to as playing Playstion. I think the coming of the Xbox nipped that in the bud though.

  19. Jeff

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:14 pm


    Aspirin was a brand name at one point, but you are also forgetting Rollerblades™. Velcro too…

  20. Ben

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:15 pm


    What about Kleenex?

  21. taco

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:19 pm


    the place i am originally from we call all the motorbikes honda and engine oil mobile.

  22. John

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:28 pm


    I love that you have the Toronto Maple Leafs behind the VIAGARA banner ad. :D

  23. jo

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:29 pm


    what about fedex? just fedex it..
    or google? try googling..

  24. John2

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:38 pm


    What about Magnetophon? Or Gallup?

  25. tony

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:39 pm


    I noticed that before the Viagra add you see the last part of a McDonalds ad: I’m lovin it Viagra

    coincidence or clever marketing?

  26. me

    On September 6, 2007 at 1:44 pm


    what abot roller blades

  27. BobOki

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:01 pm


    Forgot “klinex”

  28. John Bishop

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:08 pm


    Trampoline should have waaaaay up there.

  29. spiff

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:10 pm


    “what about fedex? just fedex it..
    or google? try googling..”

    FedEx isn’t generic. It means to ship something via FexEx. The same goes with Google. “Google it” means to search with Google (not Yahoo or some other serach engine).

  30. ultimate

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:32 pm


    what about frisbee?
    Wham-o branded plastic flying disc.

  31. vaseline_lover

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:35 pm


    What about Vaseline? No one says petroleum jelly do they?

  32. dude

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:35 pm


    They completely forgot Kleenex (noun, any facial tissue), Fedex (verb, fast snail mail), and Google (verb, synonym for search).

  33. Tryggvi

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:42 pm


    You can’t leave out Bayer’s Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and the engaging story of how a trademark was wrenched from the hands of the holder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspirin#Trademark_issues

  34. silx

    On September 6, 2007 at 2:53 pm


    Pretty funny the people getting all riled up about these. Really, it’s slang that varies from one geographic location to another. For example, around here Q-Tip and Kleenex are big ommisions from this list. However, elsewhere they may not be.

  35. lather

    On September 6, 2007 at 3:36 pm


    ‘Heroin’ is a trademarked brand name of Bayer’s, also.

  36. fobber

    On September 6, 2007 at 3:48 pm


    KLEENEX was definitely missed on this list! :)

  37. cookie

    On September 6, 2007 at 6:38 pm


    I believe that the terms Kleenex, Google, Fedex and Q-tip (which are more common in America) made it to the Oxford Dictionary the American Version. Mind you the writer focussed on the British version. The suggested terms can’t be found in the British version of Oxford Dictionary. In fact, Google and Fedex have made it into the list (American version) very recently (somewhere in 2006).

  38. Bryan

    On September 6, 2007 at 6:45 pm


    Q-tip

  39. frisbee freak

    On September 6, 2007 at 7:47 pm


    You forgot Frisbee.

  40. ecrivan

    On September 6, 2007 at 8:15 pm


    I see a whole lot of people getting on board with ‘you forgot’. How do they know for sure?Maybe you just wanted to limited your choices.I can be like that sometimes. Anybody mention nylon? There must be some other older ones that cold be mentioned as well as ones associated with games like yo-yo, hula hoop. People
    should know the difference between a trade mark that gets into a language and others which are not common usage,just yet anyways.

  41. yaktastic

    On September 6, 2007 at 10:46 pm


    It may be regional, but I’m amazed no one has brought up “jeep”, though I’ll admit it’s been overrun by “SUV” in recent years.

  42. FedExstaff

    On September 7, 2007 at 6:14 am


    I was told by my trainer that FedEx made into the Oxford too. this article needs to be expanded. good choice of topic.

  43. Kleenex

    On September 7, 2007 at 6:40 am


    Kleenex should be #1

  44. Anonymous

    On September 7, 2007 at 7:17 am


    ah geez. dumb ppl. its just an interest article. you saying “kleenex kleenex” wont change anything really. not like theyre gonna edit it. or keep it updated. just a one off article isnt it. read it, like it or not, just shush already. if you know of better examples, good on you! but just.. shush…

  45. shivani

    On September 7, 2007 at 8:25 am


    kleenex … kleenex … kleenex !!!

  46. Liane Schmidt

    On September 7, 2007 at 3:48 pm


    Dear Sher,

    This is a wonderful article. Interesting and well done.

    Best wishes!

    Sincerely,

    -Liane Schmidt.

  47. Liane Schmidt

    On September 7, 2007 at 3:48 pm


    Dear Sher,

    This is a wonderful article. Interesting and well done.

    Best wishes!

    Sincerely,

    -Liane Schmidt.

  48. alf

    On September 8, 2007 at 12:25 am


    Walkman is a dead one, every brand of portable cassette player was a (and still is) a walkman.

    Just so you know, down under, we don’t say the following:
    Hoover (we vacuum)
    Xerox (we photocopy, or we just copy if we’re lazy)
    We don’t use Prozac or Viagra the way that the article assumes (if you use another brand, you say its name)
    We use elastic over Spandex
    Tampex (it’s a tampon)
    Jell-o (we call it jelly, nobody in their right mind calls it jello. Oh, and jam is jam, not jelly or whatever it is in the states).

    We use Band-Aids to refer to any kind of adhesive bandage, and thermos as well.

    Kleenex can be used to refer to any kind of tissue, but tissue is used more often.

    Sharpies are never ever called Sharpies. It’s either a permanent marker, or a Nikko pen. Q-Tip is never used, they’re cotton-buds. FedEx is Express mail (we don’t have FedEx).

    An interesting Australian specific one is Eskie, which we use to refer to any cooler box, although the name is a TM and at times viciously defended by the brand owners

  49. Darlene McFarlane

    On September 9, 2007 at 9:55 pm


    I found the article interesting and well put together.

    Good job.

  50. i use xerox than photocopy

    On September 20, 2007 at 11:15 pm


    whr i work ppl r used to say “‘xerox’ tht document” instead of “make copies of tht doc.” I suppose tht is why ppl race to become pioneers and innovators instead of just a generic.

  51. more

    On September 22, 2007 at 9:07 am


    love this article. iwant more pls…

  52. Uptownvisitor

    On September 22, 2007 at 9:44 am


    I think more lists made it into the US Oxford dictionary.

  53. downtown resident

    On September 23, 2007 at 6:24 pm


    i agree

  54. remorsefultoo

    On September 25, 2007 at 11:02 pm


    entertaining….

  55. Dram

    On October 4, 2007 at 11:23 pm


    well i had a good lunch

  56. brandconscious

    On October 16, 2007 at 3:37 am


    Innovative ideas and invention will go a long way

  57. beavis909

    On June 4, 2008 at 5:56 pm


    Add Crocs to this list. I’ve owned several pairs of “knock-offs” and everyone refers to them as Crocs…and so do I. And my kids love their “real” Crocs. A great shoe. And now, a great brand.

  58. Humbolt

    On October 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm


    Chap Stick
    Windex
    Scotch Tape
    Saran Wrap
    Reynolds Wrap
    Zip Lock

  59. Brian

    On March 3, 2009 at 12:50 pm


    Please What is the term used for this. thanks

  60. Joe

    On March 19, 2009 at 6:55 am


    The term is Generic or to genericise

  61. Brent

    On September 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm


    iPod?

  62. sun

    On December 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm


    Crock Pot
    Botox

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