When it comes to babies it seems to be a whole different language. That is where Different Englishes: Babies comes in. While I mostly learnt the American English terms from watching the The Rugrats when I was little, the recent obsession with the Royal Family and Downton Abbey has turned things on their head. Here is your guide to “adult” baby language.
Key: UK vs. US word
- This is the all-in-one outfit that babies wear. A piece of clothing that covers them from head to toe and can include a hood to keep them cosy.
Note: unfortunately we have become very familiar with the US term ‘onesie’ in the UK as adult onesies have become more popular. Often themed like animals and worn by students or for being lazy at home, however some people have gone so far as to wear them to the supermarket, as you can imagine looking like overgrown babies.
- The metal buttons that pop/snap together when pressed, and open by pulling them apart rather than undoing them like normal buttons.
- The vehicle that babies sit in to be pushed around from place to place – hence ‘pushchair’.
- While the US term remains the same, however in the UK a pram refers to an old fashioned pushchair that the baby can lay in, rather than sit, to be pushed around. Used particularly for young babies.
- The bed, often wooden, that babies sleep in. It typically has a bed area with high sides all around so the baby cannot fall.
Note: In the US a cot is used to refer to a roll-away guest bed.
- The plastic and rubber object that babies suck, often given to them by parents to stop them crying.
Milk teeth vs. Baby teeth
- The teeth that babies grow before they lose them for their adult teeth.
- The material or paper that is wrapped around a baby’s bottom/behind (another UK/US difference!) so that he or she can go to the toilet without making a mess.
Whinge vs. Whine
- The noises and words used when a baby or child complains about something.
Don’t forget, there is always more practice at our English Language Differences page.