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

Office Clichés Best Forgotten in 2010

The Brooke, an equestrian welfare charity in the UK, surveyed 3,000 people to identify the most annoying office clichés of 2009. Some of my pet peeves are on this list. Let’s banish them forever! See below for the top 20 annoying clichés.  I would add those annoying old ones that people still use:  “Taking it to the next level” and “Pushing the envelope”.

1. At the end of the day
2. What goes around, comes around
3. It’s not rocket science
4. Thinking outside the box
5. Flogging a dead horse
6. Don’t shoot the messenger
7. Going forward
8. By the close of play
9. Give you the heads up
10. Live and learn
11. C’est la vie
12. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
13. Hit the ground running
14. Always look on the bright side of life
15. Suck it and see
16. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth
17. Don’t worry, be happy
18. I know it’s a big ask
19. I’m out
20. There are no flies on me

Read more about the survey here; and, if you work in a cubicle, this rendition of  The Cubicle Song is worth another listen.

World Digital Library – April 2009

Here is a fantastic new resource, the World Digital Library , which just launched in April 2009. It makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, and includes manuscripts, maps, books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, and photographs. You can browse by place, time, topic, type of item, or institution. The Library was developed by a team at the U.S. Library of Congress, with contributions by national libraries and with the support of UNESCO, companies and private foundations. (Google contributed $3 million.)


More from the About page:
U.S. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington proposed the establishment of the WDL in a speech to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO in June 2005. The basic idea was to create an Internet-based, easily-accessible collection of the world’s cultural riches that would tell the stories and highlight the achievements of all countries and cultures, thereby promoting cross-cultural awareness and understanding. UNESCO welcomed the idea as a contribution toward fulfilling UNESCO’s strategic objectives, which include promoting knowledge societies, building capacity in developing countries, and promoting cultural diversity on the Web. UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura designated UNESCO’s Directorate for Communication and Information, led by Dr. Abdul Waheed Khan, to work with the Library of Congress to develop the project.

LIFE Photo Archive through Google

anne_charles_small  When I was young, my family’s subscriptions included the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Telegram, The New Yorker and LIFE magazine. The newspapers were of interest to me mainly for their comics, particularly the coloured ones that were delivered on the weekend. The stories in The New Yorker (delivered on Saturdays – we still had Saturday mail delivery in those days) helped nurture my lifelong love of literature. But it was the pictures in LIFE that captured my imagination, from those early ones of my namesake Anne and her brother Charles (the picture above is from 1954), to the spreads on the young Senator Kennedy and his beautiful wife with her little round hats, to the scary coverage of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And, of course, I loved all those shots of such notables as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley and The Beatles. (They’re here again and what a ruckus! )
Google has done it again. You can look at tons of pictures from LIFE magazine through Google’s LIFE photo archive. From the site:
Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.

If you prefer, you can search the photo archive through Google Images and simply add source:life (e.g. sputnik source:life). This one is really fun: woodstock source:life.

Feel the warmth!

A November morning at the cottage that Bernie built …