Thursday, May 1, 2008

Zipper Falls Prey to Genericide

A zipper by any other name...is still a zipper. When the word zipper was first trademarked it was considered a proper noun that was capitalized, it was only through repeated usage that the word zipper became a generic name for any product that resembled and performed the same function as a zipper. The term genericide was coined to describe the process by which a trademarked or brand name becomes a generic name for the product category. According to the website WordSpy, the first recorded use of the word genericide was in an article in Legal Times in 1983.

Some other familiar brand names that have suffered from genericide include: aspirin, escalator, granola, heroin, yo-yo and linoleum. Aditionally, the San Fransisco Examiner lists the following brand names as endangered (though I would argue that some of them have already fallen prey to genericide): Band-Aid, Xerox, Realtor, Jeep, Rollerblade and Coke.

2 comments:

lpgraziani said...

Thermos and Kleenex are also two words that fell prey to genericide.

Anonymous said...

in British English, the verb hoover (vacuum clean) comes to mind...

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