For the electrical appliance that cleans surfaces through suction, North Americans tend to use vacuum cleaner, or just vacuum, and Britons tend to use hoover. Both words also function as verbs, inflected vacuumed, vacuuming, hoovered, and hoovering. By metaphorical extension, hoover also means to consume completely. It’s usually followed by the preposition up. When you are very hungry, for example, you might hoover up your dinner. Vacuum isn’t commonly used this way.
Hoover also appears elsewhere in the U.K., as well as in Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, but nowhere is it quite as common as in England. Meanwhile, outside North America vacuum cleaner and its corresponding verbs are known and appear often. This same is not true of hoover in the U.S. and Canada, though it is recognized by most people who have had some exposure to British media.
When they are hauled in, fish are pulled into the hold by suction tubes, like giant vacuum cleaners. [New York Times]
Meanwhile, I removed everything from the drawer under the stove and vacuumed it out. [Grand Forks Herald]
A dust which however often I hoovered, mopped and dusted, would reappear after a few hours. [Telegraph]
The temptation to hoover up the food because you’re starving and get a few drinks in early to steady the nerves is always a mistake. [Daily Mail]
But in the previous decade, it mutated into an acquisitive monster with a voracious appetite, hoovering up anything in its sights. [Sydney Morning Herald]