Episode 6

Published on:

2nd Nov 2021

Babari: Genericized Trademarks in Korean, Part 1

Main word:

바바리: Trenchcoat. Comes from the brand, Burberry, of English coats and other such items. Spin-off word, babari maen ("Burberry Man"): A flasher

Linguistic element: Proprietary eponyms/genericized trademarks

Brand names that become widely used by people to mean any of that type of product. (Sometimes still legally protected, sometimes they lose legal protection due to genericization.)

Eg in English: Kleenex (actually still protected legally), Bandaid (also still legally trademarked), Aspirin

Dry ice, escalator, laundromat - also genericized trademarks, which I didn't even realize because they're so common now and I guess this happened before our time.


Other genericized trademarks in Korean. There are many more and I think it’s kind of interesting, so I’ve already named this part 1 and will do part 2 down the road.

매직 (permanent marker)? Sidney Rosenthal in the 50s, felt or other pressed fibers with own ink source, now used for all kinds of markers from highlighters to sharpies for permanent erase markers. I think in the US this was identified with crayola to me.


요플레: Yoplait. Yoghurt. This is a brand name in the US but it’s not a genericized trademark here I don’t think.


지프 (SUV): Jeep. An SUV, but any SUV. Again, a brand name in the US but not genericized trademark here, at least, not for SUVs. They’ve had to take specific action to protect it though. In Ireland, all SUVs also called jeeps.


맨투맨 (crewneck sweater/sweatshirt)

대일밴드 (band aid) sometimes just 밴드


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Theme music: The Boating Trip by LATG Music.

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About the Podcast

Hanmadi Korean Linguistics
The history, sociology, and structure of the Korean language
What do Portuguese explorers have to do with the Korean word for “bread”? Why has the Korean government started using a new word for “website”? And how come there’s a different word for “house” when you’re talking about your grandmother? This biweekly podcast takes you on a deep dive into Korean linguistics through the lens of a single word per episode. Hosted by Jaymin, a native Korean speaker and history professor, and Sara, a 2nd language Korean speaker with a graduate education in linguistics.

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Sara McAdory-Kim