15 Items You’ve Been Calling by the Wrong Name

“If it’s not from iRobot, it’s not a Roomba”

In 2002, iRobot created the Roomba robot vacuum, making this previously unpopularized technology a household name. Since then countless brands have created robot vacuums, flooding the market, and households, with this new vacuum standard. And it’s a common misconception that robot vacuums are called “Roomba.” We’re probably all guilty of doing this at least once. But have you ever thought about all the other commonly used products that we might be calling by the brand instead of the product name? We’ve created a list of 15 items you may or may not be calling by the wrong name.

1. Kleenex

Do you ever find yourself asking someone for a “Kleenex”? Well if they have Puffs on hand, they might just say no because the correct term would be “tissue.” More specifically, facial tissue.

2. Word / Powerpoint

People often refer to a typed document as a “Word doc” and any slideshow as a “PowerPoint”, even though these are the names of Microsoft software. Despite the emergence of word processors and presentation programs on many different platforms, these remain probably the most commonly used terms.

3. Band-Aid

adhesive bandage

Adhesive bandages come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. And I bet you didn’t know that they’re actually called “adhesive bandages” because they’re most notably called “Band-aids”. Band-aid, is in fact simply a brand of adhesive bandages.

4. Photoshop


Say you need to edit a photo. What do you do to it? You Photoshop it. But did you know that Photoshop is an Adobe software, not the action of editing? If you’re using any software or app that’s not Adobe, it would be referred to as editing. And any other editor like Preview, Microsoft Photos, Canva, or Gimp are just photo editors.

If you’re getting started with photography, you’ll absolutely need some photo editing software. Check out our blog Essential Photography Items for Beginners for more things you’ll need as a photographer.

5. Google

Google it. We’ve ALL said this or been told this. With so many search engines out there: Yahoo, BING, DuckDuckGo, etc. Google has managed to take over the internet and become the golden standard for searches. Anything you want to know, just Google it.

6. Scotch tape

What do you use when you’re wrapping gifts at Christmas time? Scotch tape? Or just tape? Either way, we’re still all calling it by the most notable brand there is for tape, Scotch.

7. Sharpie

Sharpies come in handy quite often. Especially when you’re trying to write on hard-to-write-on surfaces like metal or wood. Well actually, what I should say is that permanent markers come in handy quite often.

And you should know if you ever accidentally mark something with a permanent marker, you can use a paper towel to dab the stain with rubbing alcohol.

8. LEGOs

Those building blocks that your kids LOVE to play with. You know the ones. You’d rather step on nails than step on them? What are they called again? Oh, that’s right, LEGOs. But wait, are they? Or are they just interlocking building blocks.

LEGOs are a specific brand of building toys, and while they are the most ubiquitous, there are other building block toys. MEGA is another brand that produces similar interlocking block-building sets.

9. Crock-Pot

It was the first and is still probably the most widely used one, but the Crock-Pot isn’t actually the name of this popular small kitchen appliance. The appliance is actually called a slow cooker, Crock-Pot is the brand that invented it and made it famous.

10. Shop-vac

This one may be used less frequently these days, but for a long time, any wet/dry vac was called a Shop-vac. However, with the emergence of so many high-quality wet/dry vacs, this common misconception has kind of corrected itself over the years.

11. Q-tips


Probably at the top of the list of most commonly misused product names is Q-TIPS. Cotton swabs, as they’re actually called, are the product that the Q-TIPS brand makes. You can even find the trademark infringement rights on the Q-TIPS website.

12. Walkman

For anyone born before the 2000s, you may remember the best way to enjoy music was with your Walkman. This Sony-made portable device grew in popularity so rapidly that it became the unofficial term for any portable media player, no matter who made it.

13. iPad


Since Apple took over the electronics market in the early 2000s, its products have become industry standards for phones, tablets, and computers. So it’s no surprise that nowadays any tablet is referred to as an iPad.

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14. Chapstick

When your lips are feeling dry and cracked, what do you use? Many people will answer “chapstick”. What they actually mean is “lip balm” because ChapStick is only one of countless lip balm manufacturers.

15. Germ-X


Before 2020, most hand sanitizers were commonly called by the most well-known brand of hand sanitizer, Germ-X. You’d ask “Do you have any Germ-x?”. However, with the sky-high demand for hand sanitizers these days and constant CDC recommendations to “use hand sanitizer,” this misuse is dying out as people are buying out EVERY brand.

16. Soda/Coke: What do you call it?

Regional dialect also plays a huge role in what we call everyday items. One example of this is the name for soft drinks. Soda, pop, a Coke are three of the most common variations when talking about soft drinks. What do you call them?