Did you know that many of the words we use to refer to common, everyday items are actually trademarked brand names? So when you get a papercut and ask for a Band-Aid, you're running afoul of copyright law (don't worry, we won't tell). Some of these terms might be ones you’re familiar with, while others may surprise you.
As a brand name, Kleenex refers to a wide range of paper products produced by Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. In common use, it refers to facial tissues that come in a box or a pocket-size pack.
What would we do without ChapStick to moisturize our lips? We’d use lip balm. ChapStick has been around since the late 1800s and is now owned by Pfizer. Specifically it refers to lip balm that is sold in a cylindrical tube and applied like lipstick.
Who doesn’t like to hang out and relax in a Jacuzzi? If you wanted to call it by its non-brand name, however, you’d just say hot tub or whirlpool. The original Jacuzzi company was founded by seven Italian brothers in Northern Italy. Their last name? Jacuzzi. Today, most people use the word to refer to any hot tub or whirlpool bath, not just those produced by the company.
Rollerblades are the cooler cousins to roller skates. Instead of having two rows of wheels on the left and right of the skate, there is only a single row of wheels down the middle. Rollerblades gained popularity in the 1980s when hockey players added them to their training regimen, and then they earned major street cred with all types of people. Try to say inline skates, and you'll just sound like a nerd.
Although Xerox (the company) makes more than just photocopiers, most people say “xerox” when they make paper copies. The two words are pretty much synonymous now.
As a brand name, Band-Aid is owned by Johnson & Johnson, and the generic name is adhesive bandage. Think back to all the cool different designs of Band-Aids you could choose from as a kid. Can you imagine asking for an adhesive bandage when you had a cut or scrape? Too many syllables. It’s easy to see how Band-Aid became the everyday word for adhesive bandages.
What’s interesting about Velcro is that it’s the actual name of the company that invented and patented hook and loop fasteners. The original invention was two fabric strips, one with small hooks on it and one with smaller loops. The word Velcro itself is a portmanteau of two French words: velour (velvet) and crochet (hook).
This list would be incomplete without Polaroids Those quick camera shots that print themselves in front of your eyes are pure magic. The generic name is instant camera.