06 November 2006

Brand names and their extended usages

It seems that when a product sells so well and becomes indispensable to most people, its brand name turns into a synonym for the product or the verb which describes the action of using it.

For example, hoover, originally the name of an American floor care manufacturer, the Hoover Company, which once dominated the electric vacuum cleaner industry, became a synonym both for the noun vacuum cleaner and for the verb vacuum probably in 1926-27 according to Oxford English Dictionary. Xerox may be another example, although it's less used nowadays as opposed to hoover.

More brand names of software and service have been used in this fashion since the Internet became an essential part of our life. I heard people saying google when referring to using an Internet search engine and using MSN and skype when speaking of chatting online through these two programmes.

I'm sure there are more brand names adopted in the English language and used as verbs or common nouns. Nevertheless, have you noticed any high-tech item which is a must for the modern world? Keep a record of some brand names and see if they will become verbs or common nouns in your lifetime.

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