The manager who hands files to an assistant and says “Xerox these” rarely means “Go find the nearest Xerox-brand machine, and make copies.” He or she really means “Go make copies on whatever’s out there. And collate!”
When A Popular Product Stands for Everything Just Like It
A brand or product has made its mark on society when its name becomes the catch-all for other products or uses in the same category. Xerox is a brand, but it also represents copiers, generally, and is the verb for making copies, even if not on a real Xerox copier.
I can’t decide whether they should like other brands being called by their name, or if they should like being synonymous with “document production.”
Think of when you’ve used a specific product name when speaking generally: “Chapstick,” when you only meant “scented lip balm;” “Kleenex,” when you just wanted a “non-bathroom tissue;” or “FedEx,” when you meant “to send via snail mail, but not the Post Office, because I hate waiting in line at lunch time on a Tuesday.”
Photoshopped, Or Digitally Manipulated?
And since the advent of digital photography, we say “photoshopped” when speaking of any digitally-altered photo, whether the editor actually used the official application called “Adobe Photoshop,” or another that does the same thing.
“Oh, hey. I just tweeted you.”
“But I don’t have Twitter.”
“You know what I mean. I sent you an electronic message of about 140 characters to tell you something random and inconsequential, rather than use my phone to call you and leave a message… because that’s silly.”