The words we Americans choose say a lot about us. Sometimes they define us as being rural or urban. Other times, they uncover what region of the country we are from. And, more often than not, they are simply the words our parents or schoolteachers taught us to use. Even so, we still decide which words to use.
What do you call the long piece of furniture in your living room? Is it a couch? Or a sofa? Or a davenport?
What are the names of those flying, glow-in-the-dark insects? Fireflies? Lightning bugs? Firebugs? Glowworms?
And how about the clothes you slip into on your bottom half, one leg at a time? Are they pants? Trousers? Slacks?
What word(s) do you use to define the comfortable shoes you put on your feet? Sneakers? Or tennis shoes?
Some of us still use cash, but where do we store it? In a billfold? Wallet? Pocketbook?
One of the most geographically defined words is the name of that fizzy stuff we sometimes consume. Do you call it pop? Or do you say soda? Or coke? Or the blandest choice, soft drink?
When you have a pop or a soda or a coke or a soft drink with evening food, do you call that meal dinner? Or supper?
Let’s not forget about breakfast and one of its most beloved menu items. Depending on where you reside, you may call them pancakes. Or flapjacks. Or hotcakes. Or Johnnycakes. Or silver dollars. The name doesn’t matter to me, as long as they are covered in maple syrup.
When you get food to go, do you call it takeout or carryout? Or both?
When you buy food, do you do so at the grocery store or the supermarket? And do you put your food items in a grocery cart or a buggy or a carriage?
And, last but not least, here is my favorite word distinction. What do you call the pieces of bread on the ends of the loaf? Are they the heels? Or crusts? Or butts?
What ones did I miss? Send me a note and let me know.
Have a great Friday, and thanks for reading.