Kleenex vs tissue

A tissue can be a piece of a living plant or animal, thin paper which provides filler to gift bags, and thin, absorbent paper one can use to blow one’s nose. The adjective form is tissuey and it comes from the Latin word for weaving.

Kleenex is the name of a brand of tissues that one can use to blow one’s nose. It should always be capitalized since it is a proper noun as the name of a company. The plural is formed by adding an es at the end.


While usage would suggest that this term be fully absorbed into the language and lost the capitalization, the name is trademarked and official sources must keep the uppercase K.


To study tissue samples, doctors and researchers use stains or dyes that stick to the particular structure or molecule they are looking for. [The Hindu]

Here’s his reply, but you may want to grab a tissue first, reports the Irish Mirror. [Mirror]

The wedding dresses that Humberto Spíndola fashioned from treated tissue paper are both fragile and stunning, giving a tactile dimension to the anguish seen on the canvas, which was painted after Kahlo divorced Rivera (they later remarried). [New York Post]

The next winner is Dani, whose dish was hot and rich, just like her, and also, apparently, “tissuey”. Tissuey. Honestly, that’s what they said. [Sydney Morning Herald]

No guests have been announced, but miss it at your peril and don’t forget the Kleenex. [Los Angeles Times]

Typically, nosebleeds last from a few seconds to more than 10 minutes, requiring a few Kleenexes to clean the bloody mess. [Medical Daily]


Check Your Text


  1. GoatGuy says:

    Please xerox this, would you?But Ma! I don’t have a kleenex! Want to play some pingpong with me? (1901 “Ping Pong”)

    … like rollerblade, popsicle, breathalyzer, crockpot, jacuzzi and bandaid. Even words like sharpie, tupperware, velcro, taser … and yes, dumpster were once all trademarks.


    • Michelle Maffei says:

      Hi, GoatGuy. Most of these names, such
      as Jacuzzi® Brand, Band-Aid® Brand and Crock-Pot® are still brand names and are
      registered trademarks of the company and legally require proper punctuation and
      registration marks. By implying that they have been deemed generic by any
      jurisdiction when they have not could leave you subject to legal action. Tread

      • GoatGuy says:

        Do not confuse the legality of representing accurately the trademarks of a company by the company, or its representatives, and the unimpeachable liberty of the public to use the terms informally any way they wish.

        See… I actually have 3 registered trademarks, and have paid royal lawyer’s wages to hear about the nuances of this particular issue.

        In this discussion, which is protected as Free Speech (as any dialogue between persons is), I am breaching no law that encumbers me (or you) with the responsibility of writing Band-Aid® instead of bandaid.

        To wit: typing in “bandaid” doesn’t even trigger the ubiquitous Apple Mac auto-correction daemon to put a red squiggly line underneath the generic term.

        So again: unless I’m representing some aspect of the Johnson and Johnson brand Band-Aid®, I do not have to distinguish between their brand and the ubiquitously generic term.

        Same goes for jacuzzi. Same goes for crockpots.Same goes for coke. (the drink)

        That last one is the most humorous, actually, as down south when you’re asked at a diner, “what would you like to drink?”, if you answer “coke” (but not “Coca-Cola”), they waitress will immediately ask, “What flavor?”. Expect “7-up” (ironically) to be an unchallenged term of endearment for any lemon-lime carbonated beverage regardless of its pedigree.

        Best to you.GoatGuy

  2. Jim Fox says:

    Australia, UK; “Hoover”
    NZ; “Lux”

    Rational universe; “Vacuum [cleaner]”

  3. Jim Fox says:

    I like American English, generally. They have tried to rationalise and simplify but STILL get it wrong. So much of English is French in origin, yet English pronunciation mangles French.
    WHY do we insist that ‘centre’ is not spelt the way it sounds- ‘senter’?? ‘Center’ is more rational. WHY indeed must we have so many letters in the alphabet [alfabet!] ? Why both c and k that sound the same even when combined ck?? Why not drop the ‘soft’ c and use s ? And drop the silly ck altogether? Q- another stupid letter! MUST be followed by u but the sound is kw- so drop Q and use kw!! Arabs use q with no u!

    What an unholy mess is English?

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