*UPDATE 02/25/13: As Massey Padgham, a copy editor at the Vancouver Sun, points out, Dumpster is no longer a trademark, at least by itself. The trademark was allowed to expire in 2008. But, proving what happens if a trademark is so associated with the product that it becomes genericized, “Dumpster” lives on in other trademarks, such as My Doggy Dumptser, a pooper scooper; Dumpster Boss, a waste collection service; and Dumpster Diva, whose registration descrbes it as “Repurposing and salvaging of old or discarded items, namely, repairing, refinishing, reupholstering and/or refurbishing of furniture, home and garden decor.” Many people (including this columnist) will have to update their memories.

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Merrill Perlman managed copy desks across the newsroom at The New York Times, where she worked for 25 years. Follow her on Twitter at @meperl.