Soda, Pop, or Coke?

I have always been one to use the term “pop”, as in, “Can you pick up some pop when you are at the store?”

I’ve always found it quite strange when someone calls it “soda”. Whenever I hear “soda”, I immediately think of “Baking Soda.”

I understand that in much of the Southern US they call it “coke” even if it’s a Dr. Pepper. That’s just odd to me… but I suppose it’s not all that different from using the brand name Kleenex when you want a tissue, or saying “Frigidaire” when referring to a refrigerator. Branding is a powerful force.

What do term do you use? Is it different from the above, and if so, what do you use and why?

30 thoughts on “Soda, Pop, or Coke?”

  1. Glad you brought this up… I actually thought this only happens here in the Philippines!

    Anyway, here we usually refer to soda (or “pop” as you call it) “soft drinks”…

    For other things:

    Colgate – for toothpaste

    Frigidaire (or more acurately “prijider”) – for refrigerators… though this is more commonly used by older people as Frigidaire is no longer popular here

    xerox – for photocopy (but I think this is a global phenomenon)

    Pampers – for diapers

    “Take out” – instead of “to go” (in the case of restaurants/fastfood chains)

    McDo – for McDonald’s

    Pentel Pen – for permanent markers

    That’s all I can think of right now. πŸ™‚

  2. I have heard of most of those.

    I’ve never heard of McDonald’s as “McDo”, and I’ve never heard of a permanent marker referred to as a “Pentel Pen.”.

    Interesting, thanks!

  3. I’m more of a diet Coke kind of guy.

    When I make a shopping list, I might write down sodas or soft drinks, never pops. No need to put hard drinks on the shopping list when I can make my own. πŸ˜‰

  4. Oh yeah! Well the French equivalent of soft drink is, “boisson non alcoolise,” which is a mouth full for a non-native French speaker.

  5. Clem – Just don’t sell it! πŸ˜‰

    Garrick – You should start calling it “pop” over there. Start a revolution. Maybe it will spread to France, and English speaking visitors will have a much easier time. πŸ™‚

  6. We lived in Atlanta, GA for 8 years when I was younger (from age 4 to 12), so I’ve always called everything “Coke”. I also call the cooking elements on an oven “eyes”. Around here (WV), I notice that people call them “burners”. I say “shopping cart” or just cart, while the norm here is “buggy” – my kids even call them carts! LOL.

  7. I’m from Colorado, it was Pop. I moved to chicago and people thought it was funny to punch you when you said pop, and yell at you that it was soda. Now I’m in the northeast, and I call it soda pop because I don’t care what they call it. And if anyone punches me again, I’ll lay them out flat.

  8. ETW – We call ’em burners also. And we also use the term buggy. But I have never lived outside of WV, so calling them anything else seems strange.

    Kyra – Be sure and catch that on video. πŸ™‚

  9. It’s always ‘soda’ around here. Since my Mother is from Texas, we’d always go there every summer and there they said ‘pop’. Never heard it called ‘Coke’, collectively.

    Burners here.

    We also ‘turn off the lights’, not ‘switch them off’

    Iced tea is called just that, not ‘sweet tea’ or ‘unsweetened’…you tell them that after you order.

    Dinner is your evening meal (or supper)….not your noon meal here.

    We also refer to ‘white trash’ or ‘rednecks’ as ‘hoosiers’…and it has nothing to do with Indiana.

    We call ’em ‘carts’ or ‘shopping carts’.

  10. I’m from California where it always has been soda. Also “coke” has been used as a general term. Lately though, I hear people refer to what they want rather than generalizing.

    “Hey honey, hand me a diet coke”…rather than saying “soda”.


  11. Irvin – Yes, he is from the Philippines.

    Efen – Hoosiers? What’s that all about? Is that a knock off of the Canadian slang “Hoser”?

    Hilly – The term “coke” immediately gives me a mental image of a white powdery substance, not a carbonated beverage. Maybe I have seen too many episodes of COPS.

  12. I think the most interesting of these regional idioms is the way in which the word tobaggan is used in West Virginia to refer to a stocking cap. Everywhere else in the world a tobaggan is a type of sled.

    I don’t know how anyone ever determined that it would be a good idea to put a big sled on your head.

  13. What a strange thing for me to happen across this blog today! Not only am I a ‘pop’ drinking West Virginia gal, I’m sitting here this very minute drinking a can of Dr. Pepper! This has to be some kind of sign, either I’m drinking too much pop or I’m online way too much..hahaaa!

    What a great blog and a great laugh for the afternoon!

  14. Garrick – I always heard that when I was a kid. “Put a toboggan on your head or you’ll catch cold!”

    Paul – Another Coke head, huh?

    Efen – Interesting!

    Sky – Welcome, and thanks for stopping by. I always like when former, current, or future West Virginians leave me comments. Ok, I really like comments from anybody, anywhere, but the ones from West Virginian’s are a teency bit more special. πŸ˜‰

  15. Catscratch – That must get confusing.

    Patricia – Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb seem to be big players in the South.

    3699 – I have never heard the term “fronch room”.

    CMG – I still here “crick” a lot around here…and “warsh”.

    Stephanie – Dinner. I don’t care if it is 3pm or 7pm, it is still dinner.

  16. Here in Colorado, we call it pop, but the coin-operated device you buy one from is always called a Coke machine, even if it says PEPSI across it in big letters.

  17. Employee No. 3699, I grew up in Chicago, have lived here my whole 41 years and it has always been called pop. Go south and it goes to soda, then soda pop then sodi. I travel with work and when I ask for a pop at lunch I will always get asked if I am from the midwest.

    Here is a quiz on your American accent, I took it and low and behold right on the money.

    “You may think you speak “Standard English straight out of the dictionary” but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like “Are you from Wisconsin?” or “Are you from Chicago?” Chances are you call carbonated drinks “pop.””

  18. Haha- I was doing research for phrases and words used here in West Virginia and came upon this post. I say pop- always have. The odd thing, most associate the word “pop” as a southern thing, but I have relatives in northern Ohio and in Michigan, who were not born or raised here, yet say “pop”- I can’t stand calling it soda lol

    Beths last blog post..Perfectionism Is Not A Requirement.

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