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Brits Have Huge Debate Over What They Call This Household Item

Emily Brown

| Last updated 

Brits Have Huge Debate Over What They Call This Household Item

Allow me to paint you a picture. You're sitting in the kitchen, munching your way through some biscuits when you realise your feet are surrounded by crumbs that have dropped from the packet in the process. There's a device that could easily suck them away, but what do you call it?

First off, no, it's not your mouth.

Assuming you don't plan on just kicking the crumbs to one side and allowing them to become someone else's problem, some people might grab the 'vacuum', while others will go for the 'Hoover'.

The term Hoover actually relates to a brand. Credit: Pixabay
The term Hoover actually relates to a brand. Credit: Pixabay

You might think it's a case of what you grew up hearing, like the whole 'bread roll/barm cake/muffin' debate, but in fact not everyone calling the item a 'Hoover' is correct, because that term actually relates to a brand.

'Vacuum cleaner' might sound more American, but the term Hoover stems from The Hoover Company, which was founded in the United States and has since established a major base in the UK.

The company's success is evident in the fact that its term for the machines became a generic one for all brands - though admittedly they probably won't appreciate having the name used by people who don't actually have branded Hoovers.

Still, describing any old vacuum cleaner as a Hoover is now common - so much so that you might be surprised to learn that not even good old Henry is a hoover; he's actually a vacuum cleaner, as per the Henry website.


One Redditor who was curious about the difference between 'vacuum' and 'Hoover' took to the platform to question others on their usage this week, writing: "How many people in the UK calls [sic] it a 'Hoover' and not a vacuum cleaner? Specifically for non-Hoover models?"

One person quickly made clear they were all about using brand names regardless of whether they were actually attached to the product as they responded: "Defo hoover. Also celotape [sic] as the general term for sticky tape."

Another user spoke for the entire country as they responded: "There is no one in UK who says vacuum cleaner." There were some counter-arguments to this, however, as one person revealed they worked for a vacuum company which 'rivals' Hoover and therefore didn't want to accidentally do their advertising for them.


They explained: "We have to [say vacuum cleaner] at work. Work for a rival company. Not good when we are promoting a rival brand accidentally haha."

Another passionate person in the industry agreed, saying: "I repair and sell vacuums for a living, I most certainly say vacuum cleaner! F*ck hoovers."

One Redditor admitted their partner 'always corrects' them when they say Hoover, adding: "He just can't seem to accept it's what I call it, a lot of northerners do." Adding to this, however, another person responded: "Ermmm... I live in the south and everyone still says Hoover, both as a noun and a verb."


The responses indicate that despite Hoover relating to a brand, a lot of people are in favour of ignoring that fact and using their terminology whenever it suits them. Even though we might not all be customers, at least the company knows it's made its mark.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Reddit, UK News, Technology, Viral

Emily Brown
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