Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the difference between a 'pram', a 'pushchair', and a 'buggy'?

According to Google:

  • pram: a four-wheeled carriage for a baby, pushed by a person on foot
  • pushchair: a folding chair on wheels, in which a baby or young child can be pushed along
  • buggy: a light pushchair with a soft seat that allows the chair to be collapsed inwards

It appears from the above definitions that a pram has four wheels (so those with three wheels should not be called prams?), while a buggy is a light pushchair (how light?).

I tend to think that a pushchair is the light one with four small wheels, while a pram is the heavier one with bigger wheels. But if a buggy is a 'light pushchair', how could it be that I have heard people calling what I think is a pram, a buggy.

Or can all these terms actually be used interchangeably?

share|improve this question
    
I tried Google Images search (for pram, pushchair, and baby buggy). As far as I can tell, they are similar, though prams tend to look more classic, and baby buggies tend to be lighter and usually fold-able or collapsible. –  Damkerng T. May 25 at 20:59
    
They're all weird British ways to say "stroller". :) –  Martha May 25 at 23:17

3 Answers 3

I don't think the number of wheels is relevant, at least in casual conversation. There might be some technical difference, but in practice I don't think we differentiate.

Pram is definitely British. In the US the most often-used term is stroller.

I've never heard anyone call it a pushchair. I think buggy might also be British (though I'm not positive; it might be dialectical in the US. In some areas of the US, buggy refers to a shopping cart, so the two definitions might conflict).

But all of these words refer to the same item.

share|improve this answer
    
I live in the UK, and people use those three terms. According to Google, they are all British. I am aware that 'stroller' is American. –  adipro May 25 at 20:24

Warning: I am not a native speaker of British English. This may be wrong.

I am under the impression that:

  • a pram is a type of baby-conveying cart in which the baby is laid down, such that it is facing up and backward from the direction it is pushed; in this way the person pushing the pram can see into it and look the baby in it in the face.

  • a pushchair is a type of baby-conveying cart in which the baby is seated upright, such that the baby faces forward (in respect to the direction it is pushed). The baby/passenger in the pushchair faces the same direction as the person pushing them. Such pushchairs often have a lot of baby-containing structure, padding, and onboard features (food tray for the infant, cup holders for the pusher, e.g.) and can even be made almost entirely of rigid material. (Popular in the US right now is a type of baby-conveyance in which a crash-worthy hard-shell baby seat comes with a snap-into mounting for use as a "car seat" in automobiles and a snap-into frame with wheels for pushing as a pushchair, such that one can hotswap the whole infant-seat assembly between your car and your pushchair, without having to unmount the child from the seat.)

  • a buggy, by the definition you found, would sound to be what Americans call a folding stroller: like the pushchair it faces the passenger outward and has them seated, but is built like a typical lawn chair, of metal tubing and fabric stretched between to form the seat and back.

P.S. Just in case that wasn't confusing enough: apparently there is also some sort of hybrid pram-pushchair thing, that allows one to configure it in either the baby-faces-up or baby-faces-forward configuration.

share|improve this answer

A good (but not foolproof) way to learn the differences between and nuances of synonyms is to use the Google images search tool.

I just did that, and confirmed what I suspected:

  • These are baby carriages:

enter image description here

  • and these are strollers:

enter image description here

Baby carriages are more old-fashioned and less collapsible, whereas strollers are more modern and designed for a more on-the-go parent.

Though I don't use the British words very much, I surmised that a pram was more like a baby carriage, while a pushchair was more like a stroller. Google images seemed to confirm that supposition as well.

That said, differences like these aren't always hard-and-fast; there's probably some overlap in how these words can be applied and interpreted.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.