I am going to Bonnaroo tomorrow afternoon with a friend. As we bantered back and forth about what we’d need for the weekend, she asked me if I was going to bring a “book bag.” I said, “a what?” wondering why in the world I would take a bag full of books to a music festival. I work for a publisher and love books but that just seems WEIRD. She quickly clarified that she meant a “backpack.” She just grew up some backwards place where they call “backpacks” “book bags.” She preceded to tell me that she calls a “trunk” a “boot” which threw me for a total loop.
This confusing conversation got me thinking about how regionally people use different words to describe basic things. The most common would be the whole “soda”, “pop”, “Coke” thing. (Be sure to check out this map that spells out the most common name for soft drinks by county.) But here are some others that just make me giggle:
“Purses” – “Pocketbooks” – Or the correct term used by department store buyers around the world “Handbags”
“Sneakers” – “Tennis Shoes” – Or my favorite “Kicks”
“Mayonaise” – “Salad Dressing”
“Stuffing” – “Dressing”
And this one that always bothered me. A “Rehearsal Dinner” is called an “After Rehearsal Dinner” in parts of the South. I mean why do you have to clarify that the dinner is actually after the rehearsal? Have you ever been to a “Rehearsal Dinner” that is before the rehearsal? And you certainly don’t say a “Post-Wedding Reception.” Or maybe you do?
What other funny words have you heard to describe a familiar object?