Hi everyone, it’s Min here!
Recently I have been intrigued by brand names that have turned into generic terms or common words. It all started when I was asking a Japanese friend of mine to pass me a stapler. She looked a little surprised as she didn’t know what I was referring to. It was then when I recalled stapler being called ホチキス hochikisu in Japanese, and not ステープラー suteepuraa.
The term ホチキス hochikisu might have originated from the American stapler company ‘Hotchkiss’ back in the 20th century. When I first heard of ホチキス hochikisu, I had no idea what it was until I googled (here’s another brand name that has turned into a commonly used verb) it as well.
I then began to think about what other brand names have turned into generic terms and below are a few of them:
– Band-aid (adhesive bandage) 絆創膏
– Scotch tape (clear adhesive tape) セロハンテープ
– Wite-out (correction fluid) 修正液
– Jacuzzi (hot tub) 泡風呂
– Ping Pong (a brand of table tennis products) 卓球
– Sharpie (permanent marker) 油性マーカー
It’s amazing how these brand names have turned into generic terms. Although there are many English-speaking countries around the world, I’m sure we all name our products differently. In Australia, we refer to correction fluid as wite-out, but I know there are countries that haven’t adopted wite-out as a generic term.
Another example is ‘band-aid’. Here in Australia, any adhesive bandage is referred to as ‘band-aid’. I’m pretty sure Americans call them ‘band-aid’ too, but according to my British friend, they call it ‘plaster’ in the UK.
So I find it interesting even when I’m speaking to my English-speaking friends from different parts of the world.
Let me know if there are any more items I have missed out here.
I really want to know!
Hi, I am Min and I live in Melbourne, Australia.
I am a freelance translator and during my time off, I like to run, swim and do crafts.