Brand Names Turned to Common Nouns

Whether we’re talking about Sony’s Walkman or a 3M’s Post-it Note, there are some of the landmark brand names that made it so far that their trademarks turn into common nouns. And this should be the good part of branding: a brand name on everybody’s lips.

Meanwhile there are cases that we use such a noun without even thinking that the word itself used to be a registred brand name, say escalator for example. This is the downside in terms of branding.

Well, these words are called eponyms.

An eponym is a general term used to describe from what or whom something derived its name. Therefore, a proprietary eponym could be considered a brand name (product or service mark) which has fallen into general use.

So, what leads a brand name to become eponym? Well, for one thing, other brands of similar nature must exist; but even more importantly, the original product, even if discontinued, must still function pronominally. In other words, a specific can be used to designate a class of generics with no loss in meaning. A usual result: lower case transcription of the brand name.

In this matter there is the American Proprietary Eponyms website, which have some of the most common eponyms in english language.

4 thoughts on “Brand Names Turned to Common Nouns

  1. We came up with a few of these – frisbee, coke, sellotape, kilner jar, hoover, biro, jeep, brillo pad, speedos. There’s lots of them but really hard to think of!! Ask your friends to think of some – there’ll be long moments of silence interrupted by smug answers!! We use these words more often than we realise. I’m pretty sure Heroin and Aspirin are (or were?) registered names also. (Smug).

  2. We just made this our little game of trying to think of as many brand name words turned common day words. We so far came up with Q-tip, kleenex, pampers, and windex! We going to see how many we can fin!

  3. Science has given us a lot of products and I asked a group of children if they could come up with some during a primary school science lesson.
    Teflon, nylon, polythene, styrofoam, Lucozade, Pampers, and Nescafe were some examples

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *