PDF as a Verb

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Feb 3 21:40:17 UTC 2006

At 4:16 PM -0500 2/3/06, Baker, John wrote:
>         I still think of FedEx as being specific to Federal Express,
>whose registered trademark it is.

Oh, OK.  I misunderstood.  When you said that '''FedEx'' has come to
mean overnight shipping', I thought you were applying it to the
process, regardless of the company involved.  I don't overnight ship
much myself, so I don't really have an intuition, but it wouldn't
surprise me to find that there is dialectal/idiolectal variation of
the type for Coke (as discussed in Tom Murray's classic paper in
Names), although I suspect it would be less regionally determined.


>Maybe that just shows I'm not up on
>the current usage.  Maybe it's something that varies by area or context,
>like Coke, a registered trademark for Coca-Cola that means just that in
>some places, but means any caramel-flavored carbonated beverage in
>         Although "to PDF" is specific to Portable Document Format, there
>are a number of companies, not just Adobe, whose software can produce
>PDF files.
>John Baker
>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
>Of Laurence Horn
>Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 3:31 PM
>Subject: Re: PDF as a Verb
>One difference is that "to FedEx", which does indeed mean 'to ship by an
>express/overnight service" doesn't build in the company name, so it's a
>true example of incipient genericide (like "to xerox" was), while "to
>PDF" still assumes the Adobe program and hence isn't a true
>generic--it's more like "to google", which for most people does involve
>utilizing Google itself, rather than just any old search engine--at
>least for now.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list