Brand names make it to the OED!

I first created this post in 2007, and apart from the home page, it has been the most viewed page on my blog (over 6,000 views). So here it is again, with a link to the latest OED update.

It’s fascinating to peruse the new words added to the OED. (Here is the latest update, December 2010.) Brand names often enter the language as generic terms, and I’ve listed a few of them below. (I wonder who they have in mind with the word “flip-flopper”. And what on earth is a cotylosaur? I thought “chicklet” meant a little piece of gum, but I was disappointed to discover that it means a small chick or girl.)

Goo·gle – verb: to use the Google search engine to find information on the Internet.

botox.jpg Botox
bo·tox – noun or verb – A proprietary name for: a preparation of botulinum toxin which is injected into specific muscles to create temporary paralysis, as part of the treatment of various medical conditions and in the cosmetic treatment of wrinkles of the face (esp. frown lines and crow’s feet). Also: treatment by this means; a course of such treatment.

popsicle.jpg Popsicle
pop·sicle – noun – A proprietary name for: an ice lolly.

hoover2.jpg Hoover

hoo·ver – verb: to clean with a vacuum cleaner (Chiefly British)

kleenex.jpg kleenex2.jpg Kleenex [see more ads]
klee·nex – noun: the proprietary name of an absorbent disposable cleansing paper tissue.

xe·rox – noun or verb: a name for a copying machine or the act of reproducing printed, written, or pictorial matter by xerography.

thermos_jug.jpg Thermos
ther·mos –noun: a vacuum bottle or similar container lined with an insulating material, such as polystyrene, to keep liquid hot or cold

pro·zac -noun: a brand of fluoxetine hydrochloride
spandex.jpg Spandex
span·dex –noun: a synthetic fiber composed of a long-chain polymer, used chiefly in the manufacture of garments to add elasticity

jello.jpg JELL-O
jell·o -noun: brand of dessert made from a mixture of gelatin, sugar, and fruit flavoring, dissolved in hot water and chilled until firm

band-aid_small.jpg Band-Aid
band·aid -noun: adhesive bandage with a gauze pad in the center, used to cover minor abrasions and cuts

viagra_hockey.jpg Viagra
vi·ag·ra -noun: sildenafil citrate, used to treat impotence

frigidaire.jpg Frigidaire
frig·i·daire – noun: the proprietary name of a brand of refrigerator.

Site Meter

This blog on Wordle – January 8, 2010

These word clouds are fun to make on Wordle. This is a representation of this blog, today (atvtoronto).

The MMR-Autism Connection

Clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare
In a series of articles starting this week, and seven years after first looking into the MMR scare, journalist Brian Deer now shows the extent of Wakefield’s fraud and how it was perpetrated.

The  alleged MMR/autism fraud was exposed this week by the British Medical Journal. Below are the links to the main documents in this case.

The original article:
Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, Linnell, Casson DM, Malik M, et al. Ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 1998;351:637-41.  Full Text

The retraction:
Retraction–Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 2010 Feb 6;375(9713):445.

The BMJ editorial:
Godlee F, Smith J, Marcovitch H. Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent [editorial]. BMJ January 5, 2011;   342:c7452.

Journalist Brian Deer’s article in the BMJ:
Deer, Brian. Secrets of the MMR scare: How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed. BMJ January 5, 2011;342:c5347

Brian Deer’s blog entry:
Piltdown medicine: The missing link between MMR and autism. Jan. 6, 2011.

Globe & Mail article:
Picard A.  Medical fraud revealed in discredited vaccine-autism study. The Globe and Mail, Jan. 6, 2011.

Determination on Serious Professional Misconduct (SPM) and sanction [of] Dr Andrew Jeremy WAKEFIELD. This case is being considered by a Fitness to Practise Panel applying the General Medical Council’s Preliminary Proceedings Committee and Professional Conduct Committee (Procedure) Rules 1988. Date: 24 May 2010
Fitness to Practice Hearing – General Medical Council. Date: 28 January 2010

Issues in CME – Minnesota Medicine, November 2010

Most of this issue is devoted to discussing various aspects of continuing medical education. Here are some highlights:

  • Deye DL. CME ASAP. Minn Med 2010 Nov;93(11):30-1.

View the PubMed records for the above articles.    View Minnesota Medicine.

Word clouds via

Here is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Wordle is pretty addictive.  Below are a couple of word clouds I created from the facebook and Twitter accounts for the Index to Chiropractic Literature and the Canadian Association of Continuing Health Education.

Index to Chiropractic Literature


Canadian Association of Continuing Health Education