Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Spigot? Faucet? Tap?

The other day Nick said he was going out back to...well, I'm not exactly sure what he was doing.

Something with the tap. Except that he called it a spigot. Which he pronounced "spicket" - thus focusing my entire attention on his vocabulary and not on the content of the sentence.

In any case, he was doing something with the outside water source. The one with the handle you can twist. The one to which you can hook up a hose.

Coincidentally, during this conversation, I was standing at the kitchen sink, and had just turned on the faucet.

He got kind of annoyed when I interrupted his course by asking him to repeat the word he'd just used a number of times. And then to get him to explain, impatiently, that faucets are inside. Spickets are outside.

This, he claims, is how it is. According to everybody.

Except me.

I call it a tap. Or maybe a faucet, although if I were asked to make a distinction, I'd say faucet would be inside and tap would be outside. But I think they're pretty interchangeable.

I don't know that I've ever used the word spigot. And certainly not spicket. I'm not opposed to the word. It just never occurs to me.

I think this must be regional. Which, quite honestly, is my answer to almost everything. "Oh, it's probably regional." Except when the answer is "Asberger's." Which is, of course, my favorite diagnosis.

Regional Asberger's would be a whole nother ball of wax. Whatever that means.

Christ. This is turning into one of those posts that make Nick email me and be all, "What the hell were you talking about?"

So: Spigot. Faucet. Tap.

Do you make a distinction between inside and outside, and if so, which word for what? Is this regional?


  1. Hmm. Inside it's definitely a tap. Outside ... well I just refer to it as the hose even though I know it's made up of the hosey part and the turny on the water part. It's just "turn on the hose." Maybe it's a Canadian thing. That's my excuse for pretty much everything.

  2. Sorry dudette, Nick is right on this one.

  3. I'm out west, and we call it a spigot if outside, and faucet if inside. Tap? Nope, never. I think I'd end up calling the whole thing the hose too.

  4. Gotta go with Nick on this one. Inside? Faucet. Outside? Spigot.

    Unless I'm visiting my in-laws in England, in which case, inside = tap and outside = hose point. And my vocabulary is so chameleon that I actually do change the words I use based on who I'm talking to. Fortunately without a faux English accent, which just sounds ridiculous on me. (Though not as ridiculous as the Husband's American accent, which nearly makes me piddle myself laughing whenever he attempts it.)

  5. Faucets are only inside. I would use spigot too - but more for outside. I would rarely use tap. Only for "tap water" or "water from the tap."

  6. I call it a faucet and my husband says spigot. He might even use it for inside too, I don't remember. Maybe he just says sink. "Hey go to the kitchen and turn on the sink!"

    Tap makes me think of beer.

  7. I think I'd probably call it the outside faucet...

  8. You get "tap" from Dhaka and India.
    Wikipedia: "In the British Isles and most of the Commonwealth, the word (tap) is used for any everyday type of valve, particularly the fittings that control water supply to bathtubs and sinks. In the U.S., the term 'tap' is more often used for beer taps, cut-in connections, or wiretapping. 'Faucet' or 'spigot' are used to refer to water valves." Homeowner geeks unite.

  9. To further complicate things, my husband calls it a hose bib when we are referring to the outside faucet.

  10. For the sake of simplicity it's a tap to us. They are all taps to me really. I have heard them called spigots and faucets but I think tap is just as good. lol
    My nephew has Aspergers, I like him he shares my sense of humour.

  11. Oh my god this post (and comments!) is (are?) hilarious! To me a tap is a tap is a tap. Faucet, spigot (what?). So I think not only is there a regional difference but also a continent one (continental?). Heh heh!

    Faucet reminds me of these very British very VERY difficult repeat clients we used to get when I was a safari guide. They were horrendous. And they KEPT coming back, I don't know why. Their surname was Fawcet and we all called them the Leaky-Fawcets. They were so bad it got to the point where camps were refusing to take their bookings!

  12. Nick IS right. Although I wish you were because i generally like to support my female comrades.

  13. tap is outside, faucet is inside. I totally agree with you. Spigot I understand but would never use

  14. Obviously I'm in the minority, but I use faucet and tap interchangeably. I've never used spigot.

  15. In my mind:

    spigot = the short, plug-looking kind with a twisty knob you turn (no levers); usually it's outside

    faucet = in the kitchen or bathroom

    tap = at the bar :)

    outside = where the hose is.

    What an interesting question! :)


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