Soccer or Football?
K: I will concede that football is the better word. It more accurately describes what you're doing.
Z: With American football you're mostly running with a ball in your hands. Where does soccer come from? *looks it up* It apparently is a shortened word for "association football".
K: But what is "association football"?
Z: FIFA and organizations like that.
K: So what is it if you do it in your backyard?
Z: Black market football.
Cart or Trolley?
Z: I don't have particular feelings one way or the other. I think of a horse drawn cart when I hear cart.
K: Is that not what the thing is? It's the no-horse-needed version. What's a trolley then?
Z: I don't know. Rhymes with brolley. I don't know. I don't have strong feelings.
K: I do because a cart is a word with a clear origin. Whereas for me, a trolley means something different.
Z: I bet it's fucking French. *looks it up* It's English and it comes from TROLL?
K: How does it come from troll?
Z: It's a Suffolk dialect of "to roll".
K: Oh. Cart's still better. Trolley is just a word born of a specific dialect's contraction.
Trolley or Tram?
K: For me, it kind of goes both ways.
Z: I see them as two distinct methods of transport. The tram is what we used in Dublin and the trolley is what you get in San Francisco. The trolley has a distinct old timey feel even though trolley apparently only comes from the early 19th century.
K: Yeah, I live near a trolley museum and for me a trolley is an older and usually open air thing on a rail and a tram is a more modern, closed thing on a rail usually with connecting carts.
Z: What about the Boston trolley?
K: I guess it's a trolley based on age? When did tram start being used?
Z: *looks it up* A tram is from the early 19th century in German and Dutch coming from "trame" which was a beam in a mine on which public street cars were modeled.
K: I guess tram is definitely the right word in Amsterdam. It seems like we really can't nail down a difference.
Z: I'll call it a draw and say whatever the company names it is right in that context. Maybe trolleys are a subset of trams. I don't know.
K: There's an added complication that in America we call those golf cart trains trams as well. These words are impossible.
Elevator or Lift?
Z: They both mean the exact same fucking thing.
K: I conquer. Both words 100% valid.
Z: Roald Dahl is very British and he called it "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator", not lift.
K: Well, he was Welsh.
Z: That's no excuse. Wales is mountains and valleys anyway; there's no place for lifts. However I do think lift might imply more goods and elevator might imply more people. I think it only depends on what country you're in. But then again what do you call a lift that carries food?
K: A dumbwaiter. Wait, did you mean food in a restaurant or warehouse items?
Z: Warehouse items.
K: Then, elevator.
Z: A goods elevator.
K: Just an elevator. Maybe some people get specific about it but not typically.
Apartment or Flat?
K: Here's the thing: Apartment is technically wrong because they're connected but they are apart from freestanding houses. On the flip side, what the heck is a flat? That could mean anything.
Z: It's something that happens when one of your tires gets punctured.
Z: It's a not commonly known fact that flats in the UK are made of tire.
Z: *long pause* Remember that time you asked me what a prefect was and I just read you the description on a Harry Potter Wiki?
K: I'm an idiot. Sorry.
Z: *looks it up* It comes from the Scottish for a floor of a house and Old English "flet" for a dwelling, floor, or ground.
K: So it could be anywhere that you chose to live?
Z: Pretty much so long as it is flat, the adjective.
K: So both words are problematic. Is there one that seems better?
Z: Not particularly. I think some things are more appropriate for either word.
K: Such as?
Z: If you lived in council accommodation, a high raise concrete block, then it's a flat.
K: But it's called that because that's what you use in England.
K: So that doesn't mean anything to this argument.
Z: Well, I think flat is more associated with lower quality housing. If I was getting a place in the Shard I would say it was an apartment.
K: I guess that makes sense actually. A flat does sound cheaper. It's kind of like how there's a difference between a tenement and an apartment building.
Truck or Lorry?
Z: In the UK, truck, lorry, and van are all different methods of conveyance. A van is what you would think of. A truck has to be flatbed in some way.
K: Here a truck can be a pick-up truck or a tractor trailer truck which are vastly different.
Z: *sends picture* This is a truck.
K: So a farming truck? It's a bigger version of a pick-up.
Z: The front needs to still look like a car. It has to have a bonnet. *sends picture* This is a lorry.
K: That's a tractor trailer truck. So essentially you use different words and we call everything a truck. Where does lorry come from?
Z: *looks up* Origin obscure. Meaning "to lug" or "pull around". Possibly comes from words meaning cow dung or heavy.
K: I think Americans just went the simple route. So which is better: tractor trailer truck or lorry?
Z: I'm not sure. There's not a big difference either way.
K: I would say that tractor trailer truck is a better word because it clearly describes what it is but that it's convenient to have a different word to distinguish a tractor trailer truck from a regular truck.
Z: I guess if you needed a shorter word for tractor trailer.
K: We'd say truck. Context always seems to clear things up without any more words needed.
Z: I don't really have an opinion.
Waiting in Line or Queuing?
K: In America we use "queue" but mainly to mean something like a "Netflix queue". Something more inanimate, I guess? Waiting in line makes sense as a phrase but then I don't know the origin of queuing.
Z: *looks it up* Originally used for "tail" in French then became "line of dancers" in middle English and then extended sense to "line of people" by 1837. Queuing is actually different from waiting in line here. You queue for services like at the supermarket but for a bathroom you wait in line.
K: Is the bathroom not a service? I've had to pay to use a bathroom in England.
Z: I think it's contextually sensitive. You wouldn't say, "I queued for tickets", you wait in line for tickets. Queuing implicitly implies shopping while you could wait in line for anything.
K: So then why is queuing even a thing? Why keep the word around as verb? As a noun I can understand its practicality because "line" is a vague word and at least in the way Americans use "queue" there isn't really a better word for it. You could call it a "Netflix list" for instance but queue implies priority that list doesn't necessarily.
Z: Queue is shorter than waiting in line. It's superior in that sense.
K: But is it better when it has such limited uses?
Z: Maybe I'm overestimating the times when you can't use it. Queuing is better.
K: I maintain that waiting in line makes more sense in construction and is more practical since it can always be used but that queue as a noun is useful,
Chips or Crisps?
Z: It's an onomatopoeia. It IS crispy. Crisps aren't chipped potatoes; they're shaved. It more effectively describes what they actually are.
K: I would like to point out that when we first met and got into a chips v. crisps v. fries debate I said that would should agree to never say chips because it was a vague word in all senses and that we should both only use crisps and fries and you declined. With that in mind, the next one . . .
Fries or Chips?
K: Fries. Fries is a better word because they are fried and chips is vague.
Z: No. Chips are chipped potatoes like wood chips or cement chips. Chips are a subset of fries. They are steak fries but it's a better word.
K: But a chip can also be something small, like a chip in a teacup. A chip from a potato would be more like the indent left behind when you dig an eye out of it.
Z: I think they're both acceptable terms.
K: Well, I think the fact that chip can be applied to two entirely different things that just happen to be made of the same vegetable says something. Chip doesn't denote a size. It is a flawed word. Crisps and fries are far more specific. Both countries should throw out "chip" as a word.
Z: Fish and Fries.
K: It's got nice alliteration.
Eggplant or Aubergine?
K: I agree. There's no egg in eggplant. The word makes no sense.
Z: It doesn't even look like an egg.
K: I am curious where the word aubergine comes from though just for my own interest.
Z: *looks it up* It comes from the French which comes from the Catalan from the Arabic from the Persian from the Sanskrit.
K: Oh sure.
Zucchini or Courgette?
K: They're both vastly different words for the same thing so I guess it's a question of where they come from or what they imply. I just find it weird that the British use the French instead of the Italian when they should have decided to get rid of it out of spite by now.
Z: Nice point. I actually found a whole website for this one. Apparently they are different because they refer to different stages of development even though they are in the same vegetable family. If they are harvested before they grow to 15-20cm they are courgettes and if they get bigger they are zucchini.
K: That's stupid.
Z: Yeah. There's an even split across the English speaking world in whether they use zucchini or courgette. Except in Scandinavia they use squash because what the fuck do they know.
K: My conclusion: whatever.
Z: It's a matter of when in Rome or when in Paris.
Sink or Wash Basin?
Z: I would say basin because sink doesn't refer to what happens in a basin. It doesn't sink, it drains.
K: I inclined to agree but if you take "wash" out of the equation, sink and basin are equally vague from a visual standpoint. And it's not called a sink because the water sinks; it's a sink because it is sunken in.
Z: *looks it up* Basin comes from water vessel in vulgar Latin.
K: Well, when have you ever used sink when not referring to water in some way. What does one usually sink in?
Z: Self doubt?
K: I think they're both good words. To me sink conjures the image of a kitchen sink because it is a sunken portion of the counter while a basin is more what you have in a bathroom.
Z: They both work but I don't think sink is quite as good.
K: I understand that. I might even agree.
Cell or Mobile?
K: Mobile is an easier word to grasp. They both are capitalizing on different aspects of the phone and it's mobility is probably more obvious than its cellular nature.
K: Nothing else?
Z: I don't really care. Everyone says phone anyway. In German, it's "mein handy."
K: So the Germans win.
Uburger or Gourmet Burger Kitchen?
Z: Oh fuck you.
K: Because you know Uburger in Boston is better than the UK's beloved GBK.
Z: I refer you to my previous "Oh fuck you."