I have a furniture (as in the picture below) that based on Wikipedia is called in English "chest of drawers", but it seems to me too long name for such furniture. Is there a shorter name for that in the UK (not in north America) or people really call it "chest of drawers" when they refer to it in everyday life?

Second, why not to call it "drawers chest", it sounds simpler and shorter apparently and also grammatically correct. Isn't it?

a chest of drawers


"Chest of drawers" is its name. It is quite a long name for a common item, but that is what it is called. It has been around for a long time, the expression has been in use since 1670 (etymonline)

Similar items include "tallboy" (a tall chest with drawers in a column), A dresser (usually a bit more than just a chest of drawers, with a top part for display). A bureau (a combination of drawers and a writing desk). But there is no word that means exactly the same as "chest of drawers".

In many situations you don't need the full name.

Put your socks in the drawer!

There are similar examples of other things named this way when the item is a "container" of some sort.

A pack of cards (not a cards pack). A bunch of flowers (not a flowers bunch). A bottle of beer ((when talking about the beer, but beer bottle is also fine when refering to the bottle).

(ngrams searches for card pack and pack of cards "Card pack tends to refer to specialised packs "The game contains an 8 sided die and a card pack showing countries of the world..."

drawer chest and chest of drawer "drawer chest" nearly always phrases such as "a five-drawer chest".

And remember all the collective nouns:

A herd of cows. A flock of sheep. A pride of Lions etc.

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  • So why is a beer bottle different from a pack of cards? Are you sure we can’t say card pack? Or even drawer chest? – ColleenV Apr 13 '18 at 13:24
  • I've edited to include ngrams results. We can say drawer chest, but normally we don't and a learner should expect to use this rather long expression for this item. – James K Apr 13 '18 at 16:43
  • Thanks, I think the added explanation is helpful. Sometimes it’s easy for fluent speakers to forget about less common collocations that can confuse learners. – ColleenV Apr 13 '18 at 17:23

In British English I would call that object a Sideboard, if I wasn't using the simpler Chest of Drawers.

A flat-topped piece of furniture with cupboards and drawers, used for storing crockery, glasses, and table linen.

This is a link to the page of a popular British furniture retailer, Harveys for such items.

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It could also be referred to as a cabinet. Per the Oxford dictionary, that is "a cupboard with shelves or drawers for storing or displaying articles."

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Dresser should be a good enough word for that. Merriam Webster lists one of the definitions of "dresser" as:

Definition of dresser:

3: a chest of drawers or bureau with a mirror

Conventionally, it is a chest of drawers with a mirror on the top, but colloquially if you look at furniture stores etc., it is common to call the ones without mirrors as 'dressers' as well.

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  • 1
    If I'm not mistaken, I think that's an American term. I believe a dresser in British English is some kind of dining room furniture. – Wes Sayeed Apr 13 '18 at 5:29
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    @HighVoltage@Wes Sayeed. Yes Wes Sayeed is correct in British English a Welsh or Kitchen Dresser would be the term for whatbI think is called in American English a China Hutch. I am sorry it's -1 as the OP did ask for a British term.en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dresser – Sarriesfan Apr 13 '18 at 6:28

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