Sunday, 19 June 2011

Nomenclature. A trifle for my own amusement

In my last post, several people commented that dressing gown was an unusual term to them. Clothing terms can be regional, in my experience, having lived in 2 English speaking countries and several states of Australia, so here is a short list of possibly problematic regional terms in use in my mid Queensland hinterland, Australia location with pictures for your edification.


Dressing gown


Simplicity 9461 top A


Waistcoat (although purists might claim that a waistcoat requires not only buttons, but a collar)

NL6945 in linen, version e


merino skivvy

Pants (well, more commonly, underpants, but still.....)




Nappy ( my mother's group in Michigan thought this was hysterically funny - I still haven't worked out why, but it was an easy laugh anyway)

Bunny Rug (imagine a baby wrapped in this)



and best of all, confusing native English speakers from 2 continents

Tracky daks! (note, this is slang and my mother hates the term)

and here is one for the Australians from other states


I am fascinated by the range of English, such a flexible language.


KID, MD said...

Bunny rug!! Cutest term ever!!

Ruthie said...

Interesting. OK British English wise I'd say the following
Robe - agreed robe
Dressing gown - agreed dressing gown
Singlet - now this is a vest
Vest - now this to me is a tank top
waistcoat - yes this is a waistcoat
skivvy - this looks like a poloneck jumper to me but hey!
pants - agreed underpants are worn under the trousers.
petticoat - also called underskirt, but not a slip, and they are soooooo pretty.
pinafore - yup or a pinafore dress, as a pinafore is a longline apron open at the back also known as a pinny.
nappy- yup whatever the heck else would you call it?
bunny rug - nope its a baby blanket, and nothing to do with bunnies
jumper - yes indeed a jumper or a pullover
tracky daks - these are tracksuit trousers
port - well that's a suitcase folks.....
Love Ruthie

Tanit-Isis said...

Hmm, Ok, you didn't ask (and probably already know) but here's the list from my end of the globe:

Tank top
cute baby dress
blankie (possibly a receiving blanket, can't see it really clearly)
fleece pants.

Bunny rug is utterly adorable. Where I grew up we called a pullover hoodie a bunnyhug. :)

Tanit-Isis said...

My end of the globe being Western Canada...

sdBev said...

Not from the current British commonwealth, but the US claims to speak English and contributes to the great colorful variety of the language:
Robe: same
Dressing gown: or house coat
singlet: tank
vest: Knit vest
waistcoat: vest
skivvy: Tshirt or knit shirt
pants: underwear, panties, hip huggers bikinis
and along those lines we also get grandma's pants, boxers
and shorts as in men's shorts.
Petticoats: My moms generation would hve agreed Petticoats but I think most of us today would think they are white tiered skirts or broomstick skirts (before broomsticking).
Pinafore: babby bubbles
nappy: vinyls meaning the waterproof covering not the absorbant inner layer. The absorbant inner layer is called a diaper or nasty
bunny rug: receiving blanket
Jumper: sweater; a jumper would be a sleevesless dress worn over a blouse by women and girls usually during cool weather.
Tacky daks: not exactly like that but similar Yoga pants, sweats, track suits
Port: suitcase
Location: Currently MidWest US but have been deep South, West and that state with all the loose nuts California.

Sherry said...

We're pretty similar on the other side of the Tasman too, except I haven't heard bunny rug! Where I come from in the deep south where many are of Scottish descent we don't use the word jumper, and use jersey instead.

Big in Japan said...

And entertained.

Joy said...

"Dressing gown" brings to mind a Sherlock Holmes mystery: a man smoking a pipe by the fire.
Here, "skivvies" means underwear and "jumper" would mean pinafore.
Petticoat? Slip or half-slip.

Many of these variations I've learned just from reading blogs. See? Blog reading IS edifying!

Steph said...

Great post. As much I try to "talk American," after a while it's hard and you just use whatever term comes to mind and explain if necessary. Sometimes I sound like a non-native English speaker...

Trackie Dacks always crack me up.

Debra Martin said...

Your post brought back memories for me from before I started school and learned the American English words. Thanks! :)

Sue said...

And from a reader in the southern end of the same country as you

Robe - robe
Dressing gown - dressing gown ... or bath robe if made out of towelling
Singlet - singlet or tank top (I tend to use singlet more for when they are intended to be worn under shirts - usually by men)
Vest - knitted vest
waistcoat - waistcoat
skivvy - skivvy
pants - yes although I have also adapted to calling trousers pants these days too
petticoat - petticoat
pinafore - pinafore dress
nappy- nappy
bunny rug - bunny rug
jumper - jumper or pullover
tracky daks - tracky daks, tracksuit pants, sweatpants (I think I have become multi-lingual :-) )
port - suitcase

Of course you could have also added in a swimsuit/bathing costume/swimmers/togs/bathing suit into the discussion for even more variety :-)

Enjoyed the post enough to comment ... rare from me!

Carolyn said...

Agree with all, natch!! except the port. We in Western Australia would call that a suitcase! And the petticoat, yes,although to me this term also applies to a dress worn underneath other dresses too... and thanks for sharing the tracky dack term too! I downgrade jeans to tracky dack status once they get a bit daggy, because I but absolutely refuse to wear the fleece version...
And reading Sue's comment, we use the term "bathers" here.

Summer Flies said...

I love this! I always say togs and of course where you put your port at school was the port rack (still called this).
I like the food things too: I remember asking for a "cooked chook" in Ireland when I saw them in a small rotisserie and after three tries I just said "cooked chicken".

Handmade said...

Thongs. Swimmers. Hoodie. Uggies !! Tracky daks (love it). Slippers. Joggers. Gym Boots, Sandshoes, undies, there must be others

littlebetty said...

In my family we call them house coats. My friends find this very funny. You also seem to have forgotten to clarify what a thong is.

Sewing Geek said...

To throw in more humor/confusion if you say:

skivvy - underwear
jumper - sheath type dress worn over a shirt
singlet - men's undershirt

Someimes I wonder where words come from and how they changed from continent to continent.

Carol said...

And that's before you even get into things like pots and middies and schooners! What about the good old American 'fanny pack' and the fact that Canada has stores called Roots?

Anonymous said...

This is a great post and very amusing and interesting comments :-)

I am with you on them all, except am more likely to say "undies" for pants, though would know what you meant.
In NSW where I spent the first few years or so of my life, there were tracksuits, but I picked up "Tracky-daks" from a QLD friend (such a great term :-P)

Port was port in northern NSW and case in southern NSW.

There isn't really and Territoran equivalent for the cold-weather items. Well, not in the Top End though. And in the centre they would be wearing flannies, not skivvies or tracky daks or vests or waistcoats :-D

Cassie said...

Hehe. (Brisbane) Never would call a suitcase a port although I do remember "port racks" in Primary school.

Singlet should only ever describe a thin strapped, stretchy top IMO.

And thong and thongs are totally different things!

And you would put on a pair of togs to hit the pool :)

Spot on with waistcoat and petticoat. Couldnt have come up with any other word for those items of clothing.

fabric epiphanies said...

In New Zealand a thong is a g-string. We got a lot of giggles out of the kids on our Queensland trip recently over that one! Here they are called jandals. They may have a different name but certainly have the same must have status as in Aus.