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Words - Ed's journal

How did that happen? Technically the UK and the US both speak English.
But it's kind a been a while since there was a divergence, so I can understand there being different words for the same concepts (faucets for example).

But what I don't get is how we managed to end up with a different size of 'pint'.
Or for that matter why fannies are on opposite sides of the body in the US.

1 US pint = 0.832673844 Imperial pints
1 US fluid ounce = 1.0408423 Imperial fluid ounces
1 US pint = 16 US fluid ounces
1 Imperial pint = 20 Imperial fluid ounces
1 US gallon = 0.832673844 Imperial gallons

That's definitely confusing me.
4 comments or Leave a comment
ewx From: ewx Date: May 19th, 2004 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)


Originally the units were different for different commodities (i.e. a pint of one thing might not be the same as a pint of another thing). The US and UK made different choices when standardizing to commodity-independent units. Source.

Let's hear it for the metric system.

Don't know about the other things in particular, but it's normal for words to drift in meaning over time.

senji From: senji Date: May 19th, 2004 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
The answer to the pints questions is relatively simple. The US colonists took the pint which had been defined by the Government of Queen Anne to the US with them, and kept it approximately the same size over the years.

Meanwhile in England, the government frequently (every few decades) reviewed weights and measures and over time changed the size of the pint, until we get to the one we have today, which has been standardised for some time now.
jambon_gris From: jambon_gris Date: May 20th, 2004 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
A fanny is a large (1 or 2 gallon i think) cooking pot as well, just to add confusion. I think the UK route to fanny is from FANY, WW1 womens reservists ive no idea how its the arse in the US
nuala From: nuala Date: May 20th, 2004 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Gives whole new meaning to 'fanny pack' and 'smack your fanny', doesn't it.

A good year (at least) after I moved here, I'm sitting in the pub one lovely eve discussing British slang with some English friends. I'm enjoying a pint of London Pride when Claire suddenly pops up with "So have you learned what fanny means yet?" I was gobsmacked. London Pride NEARLY went everywhere. Good job that it's not a word I use on a daily basis, eh? ;o)
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