In tupperware means just for tupperware product or plastic container in general? I asked if Tupperware is used as a plastic container and I got answers saying it used as generic term and called generic trademark.

I found an article explaining that Tupperware is not used to mean a plastic container in Australian English. I'm not sure if it's right because the writer is not a native speaker.

I think generic trademarks differ strongly in each country. Is there a way to know in which country the generic trademark is commonly used?

  • Just a note, I had voted for this as being off-topic, but not because of research. More because I think this question would be more appropriate in Meta because it's about how to learning English, rather than the actual learning of it. – Teacher KSHuang May 16 '17 at 9:20
  • In the meantime, perhaps ngrams would help? You could filter results by various kinds of English: books.google.com/ngrams, but its database is limited to Google Books. – Teacher KSHuang May 16 '17 at 9:29
  • And I see stangdon's comment under Peter's answer and would just like to add that "hoover" is kind of genericized in the US: urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Hoover. Unless I'm mis-interpreting what we mean by genericized? – Teacher KSHuang May 16 '17 at 9:31
  • @TeacherKSHuang - Here in the US, I've never heard anyone use "hoover" to mean "vacuum", like "I should hoover the floor". I'm not saying it never happens, but it isn't what I'd call common. – stangdon May 16 '17 at 18:39
  • To the OP: I agree with stangdon's comment; it isn't common. And in fact, I myself had never heard it used as slang either until I was 15 and watching the teen movie, "She's All That" (in my defense, I was a teen at the time :D). And it hadn't meant vacuum; it had meant more like the idiomatic "S*ck it" :O. Heh, and @stangdon, the above is just FYI, though it's probably more like TMI :D. – Teacher KSHuang May 18 '17 at 7:56

The best way to know is through practice and usage.

However, another good place to start is to understand is where the product is manufactured and used, since the usage will probably begin locally and then spread. However, this is not always the only indication, especially given that the UK and the US both "speak" English and both cultures are influenced by each other's media.

A thought might be to look up words in either The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (AmE) or The Oxford English Dictionary (BrE)

For example


From the wiki entry:
Hoover is an American vacuum cleaner company that started out as an American floor care manufacturer based in North Canton, Ohio. It also established a major base in the United Kingdom and for most of the early-and-mid-20th century it dominated the electric vacuum cleaner industry, to the point where the "Hoover" brand name became synonymous with vacuum cleaners and vacuuming in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Merriam Webster's Lerner's Dictionary shows

[British (verb): vacuum]

whereas The Oxford English Dictionary shows

noun British trademark - A vacuum cleaner, properly one made by the Hoover company.
verb British - with object Clean (something) with a vacuum cleaner.

Another example is


In Merriam Webster's Lerner's Dictionary

trademark - — used for a paper tissue (sense 1)

and in The Oxford English Dictionary

noun trademark - An absorbent disposable paper tissue.

Both references seem to indicate AmE forms to be the default (no specific AmE mention).
In looking up brolly clearly, a BrE term, both references show it to be of British use, the same is true of lift.

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  • Agreed; the only real answer is "ask some native speakers in each country". I know it differs from place to place - for example, hoover became genericized in the UK (all of the Commonwealth?) but not in the US. – stangdon May 15 '17 at 17:19
  • @stangdon: I left a comment under the OP re: "hoover." Please let me know what you think when you get a chance. – Teacher KSHuang May 16 '17 at 9:31
  • @stangdon +1 That is a great example! – Peter May 16 '17 at 9:39

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