Words at Play : Top 10 Words from Trademarks, Vol. 2

#5: Velcro

When Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral had burrs stick to his clothes on a hunting trip in the Alps in 1941, he got the idea for the fastener known as Velcro.

Appropriately, the name he gave his product joins two words together: velours (meaning "velvet," in French) and crochet (meaning "hooks").

Astronauts were among the first to use Velcro, but it soon proved helpful in regular gravity as well. The term Velcro is now widely used for "a closure consisting of a piece of fabric of small hooks that sticks to a corresponding fabric of small loops."

Velcro parents, meanwhile, is a new term that's emerged for those who cling to their college-bound kids. We'll see if it sticks.

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