frypan/frying pan

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Thu Feb 12 02:43:46 UTC 2004

>In Australia there appears to be a bifurcation between "frypan" and
>"frying pan". The latter is a skillet; the former an electric one,
>perhaps from a product name supplied by the manufacturer of the first
>popular such product. Many Australian speakers, though, deny such a
>distinction and use one term or the other for both implements. I note
>that MW has "frying pan" as the head entry. AmSpeech (v38, 1963),
>according to OED, notes that the electric implement's launch prompted
>the use of "frypan".
>Is there a bifurcation like this in AmE? What is the status of
>"frying pan" nowadays?

My jejune impression: "frying pan" is probably more usual (powered or not);
"fry-pan" = "frying pan" (powered or not).

MW3 and RHUD show this equivalence.

Reviewing US newspapers on-line I find "fry-pan" meaning "frying pan"
(non-powered) in apparently continuous use from 1852 to 2003.

I guess I'd take DARE's word on the regional preferences, and I don't know
how statistics may have changed over time.

-- Doug Wilson

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