Our lives are so full of brand names that half the time, we forget we're even using them — when you say, "Let me Google that," you're not thinking of the massive tech company that created the world's most popular search engine; you're just thinking about the best way to find out what pizza places near your house are still open at 11 p.m. But that's not the end of the role that brand names we think of as generic words or general terms play in our lives. A wide variety of words that we simply think of as normal nouns — aspirin, escalator, laundromat, even heroin — were all brand names at one point, until the company that trademarked them let their copyright lapse, turning them into normal words with brand name origins.
But even stranger are the number of brand names that are still currently under copyright, but which most of us have no idea are actually copyrighted brand names. When you call a tissue of unclear origin a "Kleenex," you know that you're using a formal brand name as a noun — but did you know you're probably doing the same thing when you talk about a hula hoop (that name is copyrighted by Wham-O; anything produced by another company is technically a "toy hoop").
Wonder what other words that you use in your every day life are actually brand names? Then the 13 examples below are going to blow your mind. Hang on to your ice lollies and front loader waste containers, people!
The Internet loves the phrase "dumpster fire" — but technically, we should all be saying that things that we hate are actually a "front loader waste container fire," as dumpster is actually a name trademarked by Dempster Brothers Inc. But, yes, it doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
Have you ever wondered what the difference between a Jacuzzi and a hot tub is? Simple: Jacuzzi is a word trademarked by Jacuzzi to describe their line of hot tubs; any other hot tubs are referred to as "hot tubs" or "whirlpools." So, no, it has nothing to do with size, depth, or where those little bubble-blower thingies are placed.
At the end of a long, exhausting day of being 6 years old, you were probably ready to relax with a nice ice lolly — the actual name for all ice pops not manufactured by Good Humor-Breyers, the company that trademarked the word.
4. Seeing Eye Dog
The term "seeing eye dogs" refers specifically to dogs trained at the Seeing Eye Inc. of Morristown, New Jersey — other dogs that assist the blind are called guide dogs (but they're all vewy, vewy good puppies no matter where they were trained, aren't you? Aren't yoooooou?).
If you're keeping your mouth area moist using a product that isn't produced by Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, you're not using Chapstick — that there is lip balm, my friend!
Have you ever casually referred to any friend going to school for their real estate license as studying to "become a realtor"? Well, turns out you might have been wrong — though most of us use the word "realtor" to mean any real estate agent, the word actually only refers to people who are members of the National Association of Realtors and work according to their code of ethics.
Do you refer to your one-piece summer romper as a "onesie"? Well, not only are you technically using a brand name; you're also technically using it incorrectly. "Onesie" is a registered trademark of Gerber Childrenswear and refers to one-piece garments for infants...so, you know, not that thing with the spaghetti straps that you wear to pool parties.
8. Ping Pong
You're only playing ping pong if you're playing a game created by Parker Brothers, the company that trademarked the name — otherwise, you're playing table tennis.
Your cool '80s retro sneakers might be made using Velcro — but since that's a brand name, there's also a chance that they're made using "hook-and-loop fasteners."
10. Super Glue
The Super Glue name is owned by the Super Glue Corporation — otherwise, you're fixing your broken porcelain bust of Cher with the much-less-glam-sounding cyanoacrylate adhesive.
If it's not made by Johnson & Johnson, it's an "adhesive bandage," not a "Band-Aid."
12. Bubble Wrap
Don't you just love the feel of popping inflated cushioning? (That's what you're doing, unless you're buying actual Bubble Wrap from the Sealed Air Corporation.)
If you bought it from Wham-O, it's a frisbee; if you didn't, it's a flying disc. But either way, you can definitely still use it as a plate in a pinch (not that I know that from experience or anything).
Images: Pixabay; Giphy