They're Called Hoverboards, Get Over It

Have you seen those two-wheeled, self-balancing scooter things that all the kids are crazy about? Thanks to the masses, they're now definitely called hoverboards. Get over it.

Many people take issue with the name "hoverboard". Gizmodo did too.

But now, here in 2016, we find ourselves futilely debating over the inevitable. This is a fight that has already been decided. The fix is in. The hovertrain has left the hoverstation. People who buy hoverboards have decided that the generic term is "hoverboard". Not powerboard, or self-balancing scooter (which we'd prefer) or whatever clever name others have come up with.

Thanks to the insane Australian and international public attention — and the nature of language to evolve — they've become widely known as hoverboards.

Saturday Night Live Hoverboard Skit

This SNL commercial parody didn’t have to exaggerate too much to highlight how dangerous they are...

Remember about 10 years ago when some people were fighting over the word "podcast"? Tech reporter Leo Laporte led a concerted effort to call them netcasts. Have you listened to any good netcasts recently? I thought not. We find ourselves in the same position with "hoverboards". If you call them anything else, recognise that you're going to be on the losing side of history.

Your descendants will laugh at your feeble attempts to steer the international lexicon in a way that favours your worldview. Or perhaps more likely, they will forget you or I even existed as the march of time moves but in one direction and a century hence few people will even know we graced this Earth with our impotent bickering and tedious creation of ones and zeroes — each wasted digital breath scattered briefly through the ether. They're called hoverboards. Get over it.

We used to be right there with you. We hated the fact that the term hoverboard was being co-opted for something that didn't hover. See every Giz story tagged "don't call them hoverboards" — whether or not the term was used in a headline.

Gizmodo has been consistently writing about our desire to see a real hoverboard come to market for almost a decade now. For me personally, it's been a childhood dream. And they might some day become a reality... maybe.

But here in 2016, the term hoverboard officially means something else now. Hoverboards don't hover. And that sucks.

We can twist and turn all night — hoping, dreaming, longing for a day when science yet again becomes magic. We can imagine some whimsical floating product built to instil wonder and allow us, if only for a short while, to forget every moment we wasted on this dying planet that continues to pulsate for untold millions with unimaginable pain and unspeakable horrors. But they're called hoverboards. Get over it.

I even remember people fighting over the term "blog" in the early 2000s. People thought that blog was such an incredibly dumb and undignified name. They weren't wrong. Blohhhhhg. The word rolls off your tongue like you've got a mouthful of thick soup that's been sitting in the desert sun for a few weeks. Yes, we all know that these hoverboards don't hover. But that doesn't matter. The word blog comes from the term "web-log" but blogs aren't always written or read on the web anymore. But you moved on. The sun still rose and the stars still shone and we all went about our miserable little lives as insignificant specks temporarily riding Spaceship Earth in a vast sea of undiscovered space that was wholly indifferent to our very existence. They're called hoverboards. Get over it.

Blog is an annoying word, but since "reverse chronological online publishing" doesn't quite have the same ring to it, the term stuck. That's simply how language works. Over time, people just accept whatever the majority might decide is the right term for a given technological product. Frankly, there are still plenty of technologies that I struggle to find generic words for. Like Skype/Facetime/videophones, for example. What's the generic term? I don't know. But I do know what the generic term for those hoverboard things that are getting banned left and right, and yet don't hover. When the last building of the last civilisation finally falls in on itself, crumbling into a heap of ash and dust, only then will we forget the name. They're called hoverboards. Get over it.

They're Called Hoverboards, Get Over It

Feel free to fight the good fight as long as you like. Mash your keyboard with 40,000 word missives on the definition of the word "hover". Type ferociously and let your fingers become as calloused as what's left of your soul. Then type longer still, until your digits bleed; the blood slowly drying on the keys and turning into a crimson shrine of your devotion to the right and proper word for a technological device that does not in any way hover.

They're called hoverboards. Get over it.

Illustration by Tara Jacoby

Click Each GIF To Learn More About These Real 'Hoverboards'



    I believe the correct term is 'Swegway' get it right.


        No, no. Swegway :P Sounds even more douchey than Swagway honestly lol.

    It won't matter once all the restrictions placed on them out weigh the interest in them.

    I call them Moronboards. They burn down houses, injury people the first moment they step on them cause they dont prepare themselves for it (or wear a helmet), and shows the more you whinge about wanting the latest craze the less your parents care about your safety.

    They DONT hover... but what does a Moron know.

    hobbyist: Multirotor, quadcopter, helicopter.....

    no! fuck you! they will never be hoverboards.

    I have invented a real life "Light Saber".

    Oh, its not an "actual" light saber..... its a just a stick with a handle.....but you WILL call it a LIGHT SABER!

    Stupid is as stupid does!

    Okay, my first comment was removed which is fair enough since I resorted to a bit of name calling. I actually came back to edit that out, but too late.

    So, without the name calling, what I said was that this article does little other than make its author Mr. Novak come off as totally obnoxious. I'll be avoiding his articles from now on.

    It's funny that you (Giz/Gawker/whoever you are) posted this again here after it was universally hated on paleo, but I guess you enjoy the controversy or the clicks or whatever.

      Much like all the other previous Gizmodo posts regarding these devices came across as totally obnoxious in their objections against calling them hoverboards.

    They're not hoverboards. Don't call them hoverboards. Call them what they are. Scooterboard, self-balancing scooter, they're all fine. Hoverboard isn't. It's not hard.

    I thought they were called Rage Inducing Flaming Death Traps?

    "wankerboards" is my favourite.
    What we gonna call real hoverboards once they are invented? "Actual hoverboards"? lol

    verb (used without object)
    to hang fluttering or suspended in the air:
    The helicopter hovered over the building.
    the act or state of hovering.

    My work held a competition to rename it and gave one out as a prize. Here are some of the entrants:

    The Lone Ranger!
    Air Board
    Freedom Wheels
    the ankle breaker
    Air Ride
    Travel Assistant
    Duo Smart Wheels
    Gravity walker
    The RollerCoaster (especially for Gold Coasters!)
    whacky wheels
    Electric Traveler
    Lazy walker
    Wheels that walk
    blazing Balance
    Lazy legs. Wheel edition.
    Lazy Wheels
    steg wheels
    Hover smart wheels/board
    Ace high roller
    Feet Ferrari
    The Sidewalk Surfer
    good Aussie name... Come a croppa
    The Speedy Wheel
    The feety mover coz u use just your feet
    Betty White cause like her the Smart Balance Wheel is AWESOME
    Smart glider
    The Evolution Mobile
    The E.T Wheelie
    Wheel Spinner
    Whizz Wheel
    Coordination wheel
    Q Super Roller
    Roller rider
    Lotsa Fun Wheel
    Electric Whip Zipper
    The Wheelinator (As in terminator )
    The Rollinator, The Shredder,
    Balance Pro
    That's how I roll
    Q super board
    Freedom wheel
    Groover Mover
    Hogwarts Express
    Poppa Wheelie
    Glide Board
    McFly Board
    Q Zoom Board
    The face smasher
    Get Balanced'
    Ultimate buzz machine
    The Wheebaliscious
    Free walker
    Storm Balance Trooper
    I hope you have life insurance wheel
    Wheelie wonky
    Hanz -free-wheelin'
    The Swagway
    I would call it The I-Roll. Anything with the letter I in front of it seems to sell well IPad, IPhone etc. and I Roll everywhere when I'm on it.
    0 wheels is a surfboard, 4 wheels is a skateboard, so whats 2 wheel's? A Wheelie board!
    The Glyder
    Walk-a-tron 9000
    The Cool Comfort Coaster
    Space board
    Groover board
    The lazy walker!
    Wheelie Fun
    Scoot Glider
    The Rock 'n' Roller
    HANGIN' 10
    Sway way
    Freedom Flyer
    The Storm Trooper
    shock Glide
    Sonny Bill Williams
    Gliding craft 2000
    Duplexity Board
    Why walk!
    The Frameless Segway
    Joy rider
    The Zapper
    Rock & Rollicker
    The foot escalator
    The Foot Nimbus 2000
    wheel way
    Space skateboard
    Balance board
    Hover cube
    The Balance board
    Flows as smoothly as a river, Glides elegantly like a Phoenix. I would call it a River Phoenix.

    Last edited 11/01/16 4:39 pm

    Its all marketing strategies, they use fancy terms to get people to buy them. But they really should call it "Board on Wheels" or some other term that won't be so misleading..

    Last edited 12/01/16 5:22 pm

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now