Is there difference between bedding, bedclothes and linen or are consider synonym for the following context?

I want to refer to all of the covers that belong to the bed and its accompanying such as pillows, blanket etc. Are these 3 words that I mentioned above can meet my need?

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    Not an answer, but info. For me, bedding means everything that goes on and in the bed (sheets, pillow cases, pillows, blankets, duvet, etc.) Linens (plural) roughly means the same thing, but has an older feel to it and I don't think pillows would be included in this word. Bedclothes is not a word I have ever seen nor heard. Upon first read, I thought it meant pajamas (something you would wear to bed). – Michael Dorgan Dec 11 '17 at 17:35
  • Linens includes towels, so that's out. Bedding is not used in every day speech unless you are a nurse or suchlike. Bedclothes is fine, but one needs to know your context. What is your context? "The man walks into the room where the bedclothes are in disarray". [film script language, for example]. – Lambie Dec 11 '17 at 18:00
  • Commonly, bedding is quite specific. History: in Colonial Times, bedding [straw tied in bundles] was commonly shaken out or hit with the broom. And that's why we say to "hit the hay" for going to sleep. Bedding refers to the actual stuff a bed has on it. Foam bedding [barely passable but ok], straw bedding [for animals]. – Lambie Dec 11 '17 at 18:04
  • I have never heard linen used in the plural. Apart from being a specific type of fabric woven from fibres of the flax plant, it is a general term for sheets and cloths of any kind. I would say bed linen to refer to bed sheets, pillow cases and duvet covers. – Weather Vane Dec 11 '17 at 19:22
  • Bedclothes is literary and/on a general term for everything on a bed. It is rather literary or journalistic.
  • Linens is all the sheets and pillow cases and towels. Typically, hotels provide fresh linens daily. [they change the sheets/pillowcases and put out clean towels]. Linens can also include linen tablecloths, for example.
  • Bedding refers to the actual stuff a bed is made of and more commonly is used to describe the straw put in barns etc. for an animal to sleep. A dog can also have bedding, made of blankets, for example. It can also refer to the materials mattresses are made up: foam bedding. But it is not used to refer to what one's has in one's linen cupboard for use on beds.
  • Bed linens is also a term, which I just remembered. It is usual, elegant and to the point.
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  • +1 for alluding to the fact that this is can be quite audience-specific. Is the OP a hotel manager looking to write a memo for the housekeeping staff? Or just trying to explain to his mates why he may be late for their weekly poker game? Informally, the word sheets might work; if I said, "Hey, guys, I may be a little late tonight; I'm washing my sheets and can't leave them at the laundromat," no one will give me a hard time if that laundry load also contains a blanket and two pillowcases. Also, maybe it's regional, but I've heard "bedding" to mean sheets and blankets and such. – J.R. Dec 11 '17 at 18:28
  • @J.R. Yes, bedding can mean sheet and blankets and such, at camp, perhaps. Or when a nurse discusses the condition of a dirty bed:) – Lambie Dec 11 '17 at 19:41

Indeed bedding and bedclothes are synonyms, as indicated by Dictionary.com. I found a lot more advertisements selling these items in a web search for "bedding" than "bedclothes," but that may just indicate that "bedclothes" is more common in commerce.

The other term you may be looking for is bed linen. Again from Dictionary.com,

bed linen

  1. sheets and pillowcases.

As noted by Merriam-Webster, the term is sometimes bed linens (plural).

According to the definitions given in those sources, however, bed linen does not include blankets or comforters.

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  • Yes to bed linens. I had forgotten it and actually corrected my answer before noticing this. Sorry. – Lambie Dec 11 '17 at 19:45

Yes, any of those three words would work. I would suggest using 'bedding' since 'bedclothes' is a little old fashioned sounding to me. 'Linens' can refer to sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and also towels. The other two words do not include towels.

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    I'm going down to the laundry to wash my bedding? I don't think so. – Lambie Dec 11 '17 at 18:00
  • @Lambie - I don't know, that sounds fine to me. – J.R. Dec 11 '17 at 18:32

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