On the radar: “Journey”

The London Tube's website features a "Journey Planner"

As I realized when I first looked at London tube maps, in British English, journey basically means trip. In American English, the word is almost always used either metaphorically or to refer to a really long and momentous trip–journey though life, journey into terror, journey to the center of the earth, etc.

Are we starting to adopt the British use? Well, maybe. Megabus–a Canadian-owned company, admittedly–is big on journey. (They also ask for the expiry, rather than expiration, date on your credit card.) And an item in the June 3 Hattiesburg (Mississippi) American notes, “TripIt is one of many apps that helps you organize your journey.” (Possibly the writer was using elegant variation to try to avoid repeating trip.)

Meanwhile, perhaps British use is changing as well. I note that the new Steve Coogan film about a journey (literal and figurative) he takes with his buddy is called “The Trip.” Stay tuned.

7 responses to “On the radar: “Journey”

  1. That band popular in the 80s wouldn’t have done nearly so well if it were named “Trip”.

  2. I’ve tripped over journey occasionally, but I think it will continue it’s present course in the near term.

  3. Megabus is owned by Stagecoach – a scottish company. I suspect the took the britishisms over with them.

  4. It’s odd.

    The journey is what we in the UK take. The trip is what we are on.

    In other words, the journey is how we travel to somewhere, the trip is the holiday (or vacation!) itself.

    “How was your journey?” “It was fine, the train was only delayed by 15 minutes.”

    “How was your trip?” “Blackpool was wonderful, it only rained four days out of the five.”

    Having said that, obvious, being British, we like to use them as generally interchangeable as well. No use having only one word for something when you can have five or six or more!

  5. A trip, in Brit Eng, is a journey made for pleasure. That’s why The Trip is so called. One doesn’t have a dialy trip to work, aor have a trip to one’s mother;s funeral. Those are journeys.

  6. journey is formal, trip is more informal.

    • i.e. “I journey to work everyday” but “I took a trip to the beach last week”. One is formal and regular, the other irregular and informal.

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