weed whacker questions

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

What is the correct spelling, Weed Wacker or Weed Whacker? Is it a brand name or just a generic term? If it is a brand name, what is the name of the company?

-- Randall Bratton (randallbratton@netscape.net), December 21, 2004


I have been contemplating this very question myself. I can tell you this much: it was originally a brand name. More specifically, it was the name which Sears used for their line of trimmers. So, if you can find an old Sears catalog with a Weed Wacker/Whacker in it, you will at least know how they spelled it back then. I can't remember.

On the other hand, the term also seems to have become generic, similar to Kleenex, etc. However, I don't know if anyone still sells trimmers under that brand name. Now, here's a question: assume that a trademarked name has made the prestigious jump to being used generically, and that the trademarked name is no longer used as such (in this case, if Sears stopped using the trademarked "Weed Wacker"/"Weed Whacker," and nobody else picked up the trademark). What would our native-speaker (native-speller?) intuitions about the name's spelling be?

-- David Stein (nospam@nospam.com), December 21, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ