Chris Brown wrote:
Can you think of any change to the language perpetrated by marketing
that was good?
To pick a random example, we have the verb "to hoover", which avoids
overloading the noun, "vacuum" by turning it into a verb.
Wow... I've never heard the verb "to hoover". I think my ears might bleed
if I did.
(I'm sure the folks at the Hoover company wouldn't be too
happy about it, either.)
As for "vacuum" being verbed, that is not a recent development; it seems
to have been used as such for about as long as vacuum cleaners have
existed, and I'm not sure it originated with marketing. In any case,
the earliest example in OED of "vacuum" as a verb is from 1922, while
the noun colloquially meaning "vacuum cleaner" dates back to 1910. I'd
rather see "vacuum cleaner" used formally (as would the nice folks at
Oxford), but "vacuum" doesn't bother me much; it beats "to hoover" by a
country mile, at least.
Or for something more modern, and with more international currency, try "to
google" - much more managable than "to search the Internet".
I really hope that one never makes it past pop-culture slang.
It is worth noting, in that case, that the word "google" actually has
another meaning, one that has almost certainly already been destroyed
beyond hope of recovery.