What are the cloths that gonna be washed or just right after washing called?
Based on my naive dictionary there are 2 terms: "laundry" and "washing".

But I would like to know if they are synonyms or matter of differences between the UK English and the US English, or maybe one of them is less common.

  • I've heard them both in the US, but "laundry" seems to be far more common. Dec 16, 2017 at 21:30
  • 1
    "Laundry" is more specific than "washing". You can wash your feet, but horrible to launder them. Dec 16, 2017 at 21:40
  • I think "washing" is an older usage, before washing machines and laundromats became common. (AmE)
    – user3169
    Dec 16, 2017 at 22:47
  • My grandmother who was born in 1911 used to say, "the washing," or sometimes even "doing the wash," but I haven't heard the terms much since she died. (AmE) Dec 16, 2017 at 22:51
  • Washing is still common here (BrE) but both would normally be accepted without comment. 'Gonna' on the other hand... :)
    – Ali Beadle
    Dec 17, 2017 at 8:24

2 Answers 2


In the US, I've only ever heard "laundry," never "the washing." (Although I have heard "the wash," but "laundry" is most common in the US.)


Both words are used - although "laundry" is more specific to clothes (and towels, bedsheets etc).

You use the washing machine to do the laundry. You can also "put a wash through the machine".

In context, you can "do the washing" - if the listener knows you're already talking about clothes. But if you're not already talking about clothes, then "do the washing" could refer to other things: for example doing the washing up (crockery and cutlery).

Perhaps the usage of "washing" is slightly more common in British English (and only within context, as above). However "laundry" is unambiguous on either side of the Atlantic.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .