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Draught vs Draft, etc.
Exploration and rumination on the word(s) by a cranky old guy
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Bud Webster
Richmond, VA
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Back in the day when I was a young’un, I can recall watching a country music show on television with my dad.   I didn’t much care for the music, being a Beatles fan, but I do remember one of their sponsors (along with BC Powder), a laxative tablet called Black Draught.   What made it memorable for me was the fact that the announcer reading the copy pronouced it “drat” and not “draft.”   I suspect that this was a regional thing, but it was clearly endorsed by the sponsor because I never heard them say it any other way.


The product is still on the market, and I’m curious as  to whether the company itself (or the people thereof, of course) still say “drat.”

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This site says, “(pronounced “draft” or “drawt”)”.

BTW, was the country music show “The Porter Wagoner Show”?

Christopher Murray
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In my Hiberno-English (which is more-or-less British English), we still have the separate words “draught” and “draft” which have merged into a single spelling in American English. It struck me as interesting that one of the meanings of our “draft” is a type of cheque and “cheque” is another word you have altered the spelling of, making it the same as “check”. Again, we still have two separate words with different meanings. Diversity of spelling might make English a difficult language, but it does make distinguishing different meanings more obvious.

New River, AZ, USA
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Christopher Murphy said: It struck me as interesting that one of the meanings of our “draft” is a type of cheque and “cheque” is another word you have altered the spelling of, making it the same as “check.”

Yeah, there’s a LOT of that between British and American English. Confuses the hell outa my spell-check. The tendency of American English to “merge into single spellings” (as you described it) only further complicates matters. Consider that, in addition to the examples you cited, we have in American English:

  • draft: verb, to follow another vehicle closely and take advantage of reduced air drag
  • draft: verb, to produce an engineering or architectural diagram with numerical specifications
  • draft: noun, a (usually) cold influx of air into an otherwise warm area
  • draft: verb or noun, the process or program by which people are inducted into the armed forces
  • draft: verb or noun, the process or product that represents the first version of an article, image, movie, etc.

I rarely see “draught” in print here in the States … maybe occasionally in a micro-brewery bar.   🙂

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I heard this one in the podcast I was listening to last night.


Since I’m originally from England I can speak authoritatively on this one 😉 It’s definitely draught. Why would we use a short word when a longer will works just as well? Either there was a draught through the window or a draught pint on the bar.

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