hoover/vacuum

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susie1611

Member
Hungarian- Hungary
British speakers:

is hoover an old-fashioned word, and would you normally use 'I need to vacuum'?

(Or 'use the vacuum cleaner' even??)
 
  • teksch

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Hoover is the name of a company that manufactures vacuum cleaners. One could say "I need to vacuum" but it would be clearer to say "I need to vacuum the living room floor."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Despite the fact that we are surrounded by Dysons, we use them to hoover.
    I'm going to do some hoovering.
    I've just hoovered the kitchen.
    etc
     
    Last edited:

    vanya1238

    Senior Member
    English--United States
    I'm not British but I maybe can help. Hoover is a well-known brand of vacuum cleaners. So it is sometimes (more often in the past, I think) used instead of "vacuum." I haven't ever heard it used as a verb, only as a noun.

    Here in the U.S. it would be very unusual to use that word (unless you were maybe someone older); I don't know about Britain. "I need to vacuum" sounds just right; "use the vacuum cleaner," while grammatically correct, isn't how people say it (again, here).
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I have never heard anyone in the US, regardless of age, speak of "hoovering" a rug instead of "vacuuming" it. I have always thought of using "hoover" to mean "vacuum" to be a British usage.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    If you use the search function on this thread, you will see that this topic has been treated exhaustively in the past. So much so, in fact, that the life has been hoovered out of it.

    See, for example, hoover.
     

    Sprache

    Senior Member
    English/inglés
    I have never heard anyone in the US, regardless of age, speak of "hoovering" a rug instead of "vacuuming" it. I have always thought of using "hoover" to mean "vacuum" to be a British usage.
    Neither have I. Here, Hoover is a brand of vacuum cleaners and that's it. Americans say "vacuum" generally. However, I have always said "sweeper". For some reason, a lot of people around here don't vacuum, they run the sweeper. No idea where that came from. :confused:
     

    susie1611

    Member
    Hungarian- Hungary
    If you use the search function on this thread, you will see that this topic has been treated exhaustively in the past. So much so, in fact, that the life has been hoovered out of it.

    See, for example, hoover.

    I did see that thread, indeed (I by no means aim to waste anyone's time y'see!). But there were mostly replies by Americans, hence my new thread asking specifically!


    Thanks for all your replies!
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I'm reviving this discussion because at the moment in the Italian-English forum we're drawing up a list of words where the British and American translations are different.
    What has surprised me is that "hoover" is being indicated as the British term, while "vacuum-cleaner" is given as the American term. I grew up in south-east England and in our family, which was not particularly enthusiastic about adopting americanisms, "vacuum-cleaner" was perfectly normal. I was aware that many families used "hoover", but if I said "vacuum-cleaner" no one was surprised. I don't know if it's changed since I've been in Italy (since 1977), but I'd like to know what other Brits think.
    I see from this and the other threads that both terms exist in the USA too, but that "hoover" has gone out of fashion (but would still be understood). Sometimes I wonder if we look for AmE/BrE differences where they don't exist, or exist only vaguely.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I use 'vacuum cleaner' too and I've never thought of it as an Americanism. My mother used to say "I've got to vacuum upstairs", so we even made a verb out of it.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    What has surprised me is that "hoover" is being indicated as the British term, while "vacuum-cleaner" is given as the American term.
    Perhaps there's a little confusion here: both Collins and Oxford only list the lowercased hoover as a verb -- so there's no direct comparison with the American noun vacuum cleaner. (I'm not suggesting that there isn't some British person who uses hoover for the machine, but the two dictionaries only mention it as a verb, with the capitalised Hoover as trademark for the vacuum cleaner made by the Hoover company.)

    Americans certainly talk -- or used to talk -- about "the Hoover" when referring to a vacuum cleaner, but we don't use the machine to hoover anything.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I've always used hoover and vacuum (as n. and vb.) interchangeably:

    Run the hoover/vacuum over that, will you, Jane?
    Go and fetch her ~ she's hoovering/vacuuming in the west wing.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I can only say that I would never hoover a carpet in the USA. I would magnavox it.

    I would really only use "vacuum" in the USA. I have heard "other English speakers" use "to hoover".
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes, over here we say "hoover the carpet" meaning to clean the carpet with a vacuum cleaner.

    "Hoover" is of course a brand name, but came to be commonly used as simply a synonym for any make of vacuum cleaner.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Can you use it like this, Donny?

    A) Sally threw some cereal behind the fridge.
    B) Should I hoover it up?
     

    Jezicar

    Member
    Serbia, Serbian
    What sounds more natural?
    She is cleaning the windows and her sister is hoovering.
    or
    She is cleaning the windows and her sister is doing the hoovering.

    Would a native British speaker also say: "She is doing the vacuuming"?
     

    Jezicar

    Member
    Serbia, Serbian
    Thank for the reply DonnyB. I've seen that thread, but it still doesn't answer my question. I'd like native British speakers to tell me what sounds more natural.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    We do use both.

    Possibly now that the brand "Hoover" doesn't have as large a market share as it used to, you're more likely to hear the "She is doing the vacuuming" option.
     
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