My November column for the Visual Thesaurus looks at British (or “chiefly British”) words that are increasingly popular among American slingers of marketing lingo. These words—from bespoke to stockist—are often employed, I write, “to sound old, established, or ‘classy.’ Then again, sometimes a Britishism simply fills a gap in the language for which there’s no adequate American equivalent.”
Full access to the column is restricted to subscribers. (Hint: a subscription makes an excellent holiday gift!) Here’s an excerpt:
Book (verb): Americans traditionally reserve a table at a restaurant or a seat on a plane, but we don’t have a dedicated verb for getting, say, theater tickets. The Britishism book works for all situations, which may explain why it’s catching on here. The London-based restaurant-reservation site BookATable.com, for example, now serves New York City; the U.S. travel site Expedia urges visitors to “score a pile of travel points when you book American Airlines flights.” Another travel site, Bookings.com—based in Amsterdam but owned by Priceline, which is American—reinforced booking in a 2013 ad campaign that turned the company’s name into a mock-expletive. (“Look at the booking view!” “It doesn’t get any booking better than this!”) According to Ben Yagoda, who tracks the Americanization of British words in his Not One-Off Britishisms blog, to book began its American surge in 1993.
Read the rest of “Plimsolls on Offer: British Borrowings in American Marketing-Speak.”