All of the ones I can think of are specific products that have come to represent their kind. This is usually either because it is the first of its kind, as in a Xerox machine (the first office photocopier), or it arises from popularity, as in Sharpie or something like "Google that" (though I'd say that's a bit informal/debatable).

Other examples I can think of off the top of my head are:

  • Kleenex
  • Post-it
  • -1 The top answer has definitively and permanently answered with a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. The second answer its trying to replicate the first link.
    – Hugo
    Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 5:03

6 Answers 6


What you are looking for is called a genericized trademark, generic trademark, or proprietary eponym, and Wikipedia has a huge list:

It includes all the examples mentioned by chaos and yourself, and many more.

See also this related question:

  • 1
    +1 for a comprehensive answer. The Wikipedia link also covers something I was thinking of... that the usage of many of these generic trademarks may be country-specific. For instance, though I call post-its post-its, I don't call facial tissues kleenex or vacuum cleaners hoovers.
    – Tragicomic
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 10:25
  • Aqualung
  • Aspirin
  • Astroturf
  • Band-aid
  • Bubble wrap
  • Butterscotch
  • Cellophane
  • Chapstick
  • Coke (only in some regions)
  • Crock pot
  • Cuisinart
  • Dumpster
  • Dry ice
  • Escalator
  • Frisbee
  • Jeep
  • Jello
  • Jetski
  • Hacky sack
  • Heroin
  • Hoover (mainly in the UK)
  • Kerosene
  • Laundromat
  • Linoleum
  • Muzak
  • Q-tip
  • Tarmac
  • Taser
  • Thermos
  • Trampoline
  • Velcro
  • Walkman
  • Yo-yo
  • Zipper
  • iPod (I've seen many people use iPod to refer to any MP3 player)
  • Xerox
  • Zip-lock
  • Duck tape
  • George Foreman grill
  • Palm Pilot
  • Scotch tape
  • 4
    I think the generic usage of "duck tape" as a distortion of "duct tape" actually predates the manufacture of the Duck Tape brand of duct tape. It's actually the phenomenon OP is asking about in reverse.
    – chaos
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 8:42
  • 1
    Not completely; I'm dubious of the "duck tape" origin, though hey, could be. But even if it's true, it's an origin in a generic, not in the current Duck Tape trademarked product. Duck Products only even claims to go back 20 years.
    – chaos
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 8:48
  • 1
    Scotch tape is US usage; in UK it would usually be called Sellotape.
    – chimp
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 10:11
  • 3
    @chimp I hear that it is called Durex in Australia - which must lead to some interesting misunderstandings.
    – MikeJ-UK
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 12:20
  • 1
    Why would "George Foreman grill" be generic? I've never heard it used to refer to random grills.
    – John C
    Commented Oct 9, 2011 at 14:43

Left out Jacuzzi - the generic term is hot tub; and perhaps fridge, which according to the Online Etymological Dictionary is:

shortened and altered form of refrigerator, 1926, perhaps influenced by Frigidaire (1919), a popular early brand name of the appliances.


Some of the words that I find in common use nowadays in their domain are as follows:

  1. Blogging (Posting articles on web-logs)
  2. Magging (Shooting)
  3. Facebooking (Online on facebook)
  • 6
    I think these are just general neologisms. Nobody ever had a trademark on "blog", did they? Facebooking isn't a generic; nobody would say they're Facebooking while they're on Myspace.
    – chaos
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 8:46
  • I just meant that these are some words that are turning familiar. And yes the word "Blog" is a trademark.
    – ikartik90
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 8:54
  • 5
    Really. Whose trademark is it?
    – chaos
    Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 8:57

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