Vol. 43 No. 3 (1995)
Research Article

From Trade Name to Generic: The Case of Coke

Published 1995-09-01



As a shortened form of Coca-Cola, Coke has been used since at least 1909 to describe a particula'r carbonated beverage; it has been a registered trade name of The Coca-Cola Company since 1945?At about the same time that Coke became the legal property of The Coca-Cola Company, it also began to be used by a few people as a generic term to describe other kinds, of carbonated soft drinks. The responses of nearly 9,000 U.S. informants chart the geographic spread of generic Coke from the 1940s to the 1990s. While it is still not as common as soda or pop, coke is used generically by thousands of people, especially in the southern half of the country.


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