Xerox? photocopy? copy?

Yes, we know that Xerox® isn’t a verb. For years we’ve been carefully trying to say, “I photocopied this document,” instead of “I Xeroxed this document.” But now the photo- prefix seems to be disappearing. Some people are even puzzled at the verb photocopy, asking if I mean copy.

Maybe it’s just because I’m a teacher, but somehow it’s not the same thing; copying a paper has all the wrong connotations. And yet, Xerox’s own website says copier throughout, not photocopier. Where did the photo go? More important, when did it go?

Categories: Life, Linguistics