Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hoover? What's that?

hoover-vacuum-cleanerWhen I first moved to London, my Landlord was asking whether I have a Hoover with me and I was like, "What's that?". Frankly, I'm surprised that that he would entrust his flat to a chap who doesn't have the faintest idea what a Hoover is.

Anyway, I realized that Hoover is the collective name for vacuum cleaners. Apparently, the Hoover brand has been so dominant, at least with vacuum cleaners, that it has become a household name in the UK.

I shouldn't be surprised. I mean, Scotch tape has become the generic name for adhesive tapes, Handyplast (later re-branded as Hanselplast) for plaster, Panadol for painkillers and Lego for building block toys.

I guess that different generic names applies for different regions depending on the marketing efforts of the companies. Come on, I'm sure you can name some!

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lina said...

Maggi for instant noodle

Xerox for photocopying

cchiovitti said...


It's a brand name, but everyone in the US uses it when speaking of facial tissues.

We also say "Band Aid" a lot (for self-adhesive bandages).

gLoR!e said...

there are plenty generic names as the scientific names:) i can't name one memory lost!:( heheh

Meaghan Fitzgerald said...

Oh, that's nothing - my flatmate STILL gives me a hard time for the look of complete shock on my face when she told me that Henry was in the closet.

Oh, and @lina, when I was at school in the states, it was definitely Ramen for instant noodles. :)

Jenny Fletcher said...

I'd say Sellotape is more common for any adhesive tape in the UK.

I heard once that Durex was the common brand name in Oz, which of course is something VERY different in the UK!

Hope you are enjoying London. Was born there and lived there intermittently, but much prefer the South Coast where I live now.

I visited Singapore back in '86 and was interested to see the changes when last week's F1 GP was televised

SheR. said...

Hey CK.
I have a huge collection about quirky English words. You want me to write a post for you?

Emm said...

I wonder if they still use le bic in France for pen? (Or if that was just an urban legend in the first place).

Dutchie said...

The examples mentioned here pretty much sums it up ... I can't think of any at the moment.

Actually I thought Dyson has mde it a household name in the UK. He certainly has made a pile of dosh to buy a pile of bricks n morter !

Hansel plast as 2 words would mean Hansel pee'ed in Dutch *LOL*

C K said...

Gosh, how could I miss that. Maggi has been accompanying me througout all these years, which says much about my diet really.

Another great one. I noticed that Hanselplast is almost unheard of in the States. Somehow 'Band Aid' sounds more... intuitive.

lol, I'm sure they hit you like a ton of bricks the next time you go shopping in your local store. Don't forget to add them to this list then. Cheers!

Ok... what's 'Henry' by the way. I would be shocked if someone tells me that!

I thought that Ramen would be more popular in Japan... :)

Thanks for stopping by! Will ask for 'Sellotape' the next time round. But I do see Scotch Tape having some presence over here. Well, my local Rayson carries it.

Do youu know that Singapore actually run its own version of F1 back in the 60's along a long straight road. Still possible then as the island state wasn't quite build up. Anyway, what changes did you notice?

But of course! Just email it to me at singaporeaninlondon@yahoo.com. Thanks in advance!

Yep, I remember using Bic when I was a kid. But somehow, it's angular edges (the design back then) didn't quite agree with my fingers. But the striped design looked kind of quirky though. :p

I've heard of Dyson... isn't it Hoover's competitor?

Hmm, I was rather taken aback when the change from Handyplast to Hanselplast took place quite a few years back. It's like a childhood friend lost... lol, as a kid, I was rather clumsy and cut myself quite a bit. :)