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Five brand names that made it to mainstream English

Editorial Staff

It's a double edged sword: if your brand makes it into common use as a verb or a common noun, then that's great coverage.

But it comes with a price.

 

Hoover

Do you vacuum clean or "hoover?"

When you see someone scoffing their food, do you say they are "hoovering" it up?"

Betcha use "hoover" as a verb far more than you use it as a noun.

Google

No one "yahoos" or "bings" but we all "google" - to the point where the company's name has become both a verb - and an adjective to represent a near monopolistic, invasive approach to everything.

Google took the internet search engine world by storm by doing one thing well, and without distractions. Even today, the primary search page at Google.Com is little more than a logo, a search box and a submit button. By making that initial stage of searching what was then a new and intimidating internet, Google made the WWW accessible. Whatever happened behind, or after, that almost empty screen did not matter: users were immediately convinced that Google would be there to simplify and to help them navigate the web.

What happened next, of course, was sneaky, bordering on the sinister, where Google's declared intention to index all the internet soon moved over into the storage and analysis of personal information and the wholesale removal, albeit by uniformed consent of users, or their lack of interest in protecting their personal data.

As a company, Google, now renamed Alphabet, is the darling of stockmarkets and intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the bê te noire of privacy groups, regulators and national legislators and courts.

Bubble Wrap

Here's one that surprised us when we found out: who'd have thought that something so descriptive was someone's trademark? Well it is: two guys in the USA were tryin to make a new type of wallpaper and accidentally invented bubble wrap in 1957 (another surprise) and protected its name when they formed Sealed Air in 1960. By now, as everyone calls the air-bubble-filled plastic sheets using their name, they presumably sit in a corner popping the bubbles. Everyone else does when the fun stops!

Dumpster

We almost laughed our socks off over this one: first, it's now so generic that it hardly ever appears with a capital D now and the owners of the trademark have all but given up enforcing it, even when its applied to a product similar to their own. Let's face it, when the term "dumpster diving" came into use, the value in the name was lost. Secondly, the original dumpster was created by two brothers called Demster. They decided on a fun name: "the Demster Dumpster." We like that!

Post It

Possibly the most famous modern accidental invention: peelable glue. Put it onto the back of paper squares and you have an instant office tool that is the most useful thing after a paper-clip. Why after the paper-clip? You can't pick your teeth with a Post It. Computer programs use electronic yellow sticky squares to replicate it (some use a paper-clip but no one understands what a paper-clip means in a PC application).