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. Sorry, but Nick's right...spickets are outside and faucets are inside.

    But then again, I've been diagnosed with Regional Asberger's so....

  2. 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.

  3. I don't distinguish between inside or outside. I'd use faucet these days but I'll bet I've used "spicket" in the past. Tap sounds formal to me. Like there out to be a mournful trumpet blowing when the water is released.

  4. I have to side with Nick on this one. Spicket is the term I would use and the definition is accesibility to an outdoor water source. Actually I would probably say "I'm going out back to the hose" because the hose is always connected to the spicket. The term tap makes me think of beer. To me, the term faucet isn't interchangeable indoors / outdoors.

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

  6. Thanks for the laugh, I really needed that today!

    Siding with Nick here that it's a spicket outside. I have never in my life called anything a tap (except for a beer keg tap).

  7. 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.

  8. 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.)

  9. 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."

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

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

  14. Yeah, gotta go with Nick on this one. He's right. A tap is where beer comes from or what you do to some ... oh wait, sorry 'bout that. This is a family blog.

    So, to sum up, outside it's a spicket where you connect your hose, and inside it's a faucet where you get your tap water. ;)

  15. Have to side with Nick on this one. It's a spigot (pronounced spicket) outside. But, honestly, I'd probably just say the hose. Since there's always a hose attached (in my experience, anyway). Tap is for beer. Faucet is inside, although I'd probably say "turn on the sink."

    Also, is there a joke about Asberger's? Because it's Asperger's. I assume I'm missing something, not that you spelled it wrong!

  16. 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.

  17. i never hear "tap" used for anything but barrels or kegs but that may be me. i definitely say faucets inside (to me faucets are more decorative) and spigots are outside (the more utilitarian/less pretty ones) but i probably say "spicket" too... the northeast will give you some nasty speach.

  18. FoggyDew: bahahahaha!

    Also, Lisa, I think it does bear mentioning that evidently, one synonym for spigot is cock: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spigot?show=0&t=1291765305

    Also, I have always heard and pronounced it as spi-gut, not spicket. I think that must be a regional thing.

  19. I love you guys, but seriously! So many of you on Nick's side???

    Anonymous - That msde me giggle. I wonder what region?

    Hillary - One for tap! As for "turn on the hose" - you're the first I've heard of that, but several people online and in person said the same thing.

    lacochran - Hahaha. Reveille plays with the faucet. Taps plays with the, uh, tap.

    HKW - You are in the majority, that's for sure. Most people here and everyone in my office that I asked thought I was odd for using "tap" for what I consider the tap.

    Maiden Metallurgist - Sigh. I like it better when most people agree with me.

    Tia - I'm glad! And yes, yes, another spicket user. Sigh

    Susan H - I was surprised at the number of people who call the whole thing a hose.

    Keenie Beanie - This makes sense with what Texpatriate said. And "hose point" - I can so totally hear it. Like "cash point." And I'm soooo glad you don't don the English accent. I always want to stab people when they do that.

    Megan - Yes! We totally say tap water and water from the tap...but then how come nobody here seems to say tap??

    Lisa - Now that you've said that, I wonder if I would say that as well. Turn on the sink...I will have to pay attention.

    Luna - Two of my colleagues call it the outside faucet.

    Texpatriate - Oh, thank you thank you thank you. This makes so much sense to me now! And also why Hillary and Go-Betty use tap. Hugs to you!

    Anonymous - One of my colleagues also calls it that! Today is the first time I've ever heard that term!

    FoggyDew - Oh, hilarious! You were dangerously close, my friend. :)

    cla517 - I'm finding all of this so interesting! I'm totally going to pay attention to how others say all these things now.

    And no, no Asberger's joke. I read an article about it in the New Yorker a few years ago and ever since then, I regularly diagnose people with it. I, who have no clinical training and am relying solely on this one article. But in a few cases, I really think I'm right.

    Go-Betty - For me tap is the same, and it's fine to call them all taps.

    And I have a couple friends with Asbergers. We don't have the same sense of humor, but then again, I don't have the same humor as a lot of people.

    jen - I don't know where spicket is from. Nick grew up in NJ but then lived in Alabama for a long time. I assumed it was a southern thing (but have been proven wrong here today).

    A.S. - Oh, I love you! Thank you for teaching me that little bit of awesome information!

  20. 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!

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

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

  23. The actual thing itself is a faucet inside and a spigot outside. I do say drink out of the tap for both though.

    I sat around saying spigot for five minutes, trying to determine if I say spiget or spicket. I can't tell; they sound awfully close to me. How else would you pronounce it?

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

  25. Faucets are inside, spigots are outside. If I were to use the word "tap" on a regular basis, I would use it in reference to an inside faucet. My husband says "spicket" (I ridiculed him mercilessly the first time I ever heard him say it), as do quite a few others out here in the Chicagoland area. Maybe it IS regional. I never heard anyone say "spicket" back home in Connecticut.

  26. I'm at least a 3rd or more generation DC area person and when I first saw it in print as a child, I was surprised to see that "spicket" was actually spelled spigot. And I think "Asbergers" is pronounced that way, but is actually spelled Asperger's. The outside water comes from the spigot, prounounced "spicket" and the inside water comes from the faucet. I've heard people from other areas say tap so it's all good.

  27. 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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