I Guarantee You've Been Using Proprietary Eponyms Unknowingly, And Here Are 19 Examples Of Them

Hello! I just learned a new term called a "proprietary eponym." It's a brand name that is so synonymous with a generic item that it basically becomes the defining word for that product.

Warner Bros

For example, nearly everyone calls "hook and loop fasteners" Velcro, even if the fasteners aren't the Velcro brand.

Comedy Central

And I can't think of someone asking me to go play "novelty flying disc" in the park. Instead, they'd probably just say Frisbee, even though that's a brand name.


So, I got curious...what other proprietary eponyms do we use? Here are 19 I legitimately had no idea about.

1.Dumpster (Generic name: Trash bin)

The word

2.Ping Pong (Generic name: Table tennis)

Escalade Sports acquired the trademark to the name Ping Pong and licenses it to anyone who wants to refer to the sport of table tennis as the brand name.

3.Styrofoam (Generic name: Polystyrene foam)

Dow Chemical Company's Styrofoam is a trademarked term used to reference the polystyrene foam insulation used in construction. The

4.Trampoline (Generic name: Rebound tumbler)

A young gymnast named George Nissen came up with the idea of a

5.Thermos (Generic name: Vacuum flask)

While King-seeley Thermos Co. tried to be protective of their trademarked vacuum flask,

6.Tupperware (Generic name: Food storage container)

The trademark for the word

The trademark for the word "Tupperware" was filed in 1955 by Dart Industries.

Os Tartarouchos / Getty Images

7.Laundromat (Generic name: Self-service laundry)

<div><p>"Laundromat" was <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:originally a trademark;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">originally a trademark</a> for Westinghouse Electric. The first public clothes-washing facility was called a Washateria.</p></div><span> David Zaitz / Getty Images</span>

8.Vaseline (Generic name: Petroleum jelly)

The name was trademarked by Robert Chesebrough, the founder of the brand. It's named after the German word for water (vasser) and the Greek word for oil (oleon).

9.Jacuzzi (Generic name: Hot tub)

The trademarked Jacuzzi brand of hot tubs was invented by the Jacuzzi brothers, who came up with the first underwater jet.

10.Jet Ski (Generic name: Personal watercraft)

Jet Ski is a trademark of Kawasaki, and if you thought the generic name was

11.Bubble Wrap (Generic name: Bubble cushioning)

It's a trademarked name of the Sealed Air Corporation.

It's a trademarked name of the Sealed Air Corporation.

Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

12.Onesie (Generic name: Infant bodysuit)

Gerber owns the trademark for the name, and they have specific name usage terms on their website.

13.Escalator (Generic name: Moving staircase)

The Otis Elevator Company used its trademarked term

14.Taser (Generic name: Electric shock device)

Not all shock devices or stun guns are Tasers, and the company has been trying to combat people using the term

15.Crock-Pot (Generic name: Slow cooker)

It's a trademarked term by Sunbeam Products. Not all slow cookers are Crock-Pots!

16.Fiberglass (Generic name: Glass wool)

It's a trademarked name owned by Owens Corning, which came up with the product in the early 1900s.

It's a trademarked name owned by Owens Corning, which came up with the product in the early 1900s.

Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

17.Granola (Generic name: Whole grain cereal)

<div><p>"Granola" was trademarked by John Kellogg, who <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:was commissioned;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">was commissioned</a> to replicate a healthy breakfast named "granula" that was developed by Dr. Caleb Jackson, a vegetarian who opposed traditional breakfasts and created the product in 1863.</p></div><span> Olivka888 / Getty Images/iStockphoto</span>

18.TelePrompTer (Generic name: Cueing device)

The name with capitals is a trade name from the TelePrompTer Corporation. The term

19.Hacky Sack (Generic name: Footbag)

John Stalberger and Mike Marshall, credited with the invention of the game, called it

Want to see how many people use the generic name versus the brand name? Take this poll!