bollards, bolsters, who cares?

Lynne Murphy m.l.murphy at SUSSEX.AC.UK
Wed May 9 11:59:31 UTC 2007

But do 'traffic bolster' and 'traffic bollard'  refer to different things?

I'd imagine that a 'traffic bolster' is what I'd call a 'Jersey
barrier'--since Jersey barriers are shaped kind of like crib bolsters.

A traffic bollard is pole-shaped --and it's not a word that I came across
until I moved to the UK.  I blogged on it here:


AHD lists it as 'chiefly British', but the direction of comments after my
blog post seem to indicate that it has some currency on the west coast.


--On 08 May 2007 23:54 -0400 Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> FWIW, "traffic bollards" sounds all right to me. "Traffic bolsters"
> sounds laughable. Perhaps it's mere slip of the keyboard.
> -Wilson
> On 5/8/07, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> ----------------------- Sender:       American Dialect Society
>> <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky"
>> <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>> Subject:      bollards, bolsters, who cares?
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> -------
>> NYT op-ed piece by Colum McCann, 5/8/07:
>> My children might ask me about the complexities of SWAT teams on Wall
>> Street, or why there are traffic bolsters around the synagogue on
>> East 87th Street, or why...
>> -----
>> the only relevant google hit on "traffic bolsters".
>> "traffic bollards", on the other hand, gets over 20k.
>> arnold
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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Dr M Lynne Murphy
Senior Lecturer and Head of Department
Linguistics and English Language
Arts B135
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QN

phone: +44-(0)1273-678844

The American Dialect Society -

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