Basement & Cellar Basement & Cellar What is the difference in american English?
Feb 15, 2017 10:55 AM
Answers · 3
I had an intuitive answer for this, and have done a bit of searching. There are various results, some of which agree with me, some don't. My intuitive impression is that a basement forms part of a buildings foundations, and a cellar is merely a room. Also, we tend to think of cellar as a place for storage (a wine cellar, for example); and a basement as something that can be used as you wish: "I am going to turn the basement into a gym" for example. However, some research suggests that you can use them interchangeably. Possibly it is the case that there once was a distinct difference in meaning that has been eroded over time and now people use basement/cellar as if they were the same. Sadly I have no definitive answer for me, but the most satisfactory answer I found from research was on quora: "A basement is the lowest floor a building that is mostly or entirely below ground; it is typically part of (or at least occupies the space between and around) the structural foundation of the building. A cellar is a room below ground level that is typically, but not always, either attached to or beneath the house it serves. This room is built for a specific purpose, and the name is often times a good indicator, such as with wine cellars, root cellars, or storm cellars. The terms are often used interchangeably, so it's understandable that there could be some confusion. Often times a cellar can be part of a basement, so you could be considered as entering both of them at once by descending a flight of stairs or equivalent. The distinction is that a basement is an area below ground that is part of the building's foundation but doesn't have a specific purpose, and a cellar is a below ground level room that you are using for its cellar-like traits (temperature and shelter) but doesn't have to be part of the home's foundation." https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-a-basement-and-a-cellar You can see this matches, more or less, my intuitive answer.
February 15, 2017
Basement usually means an underground space under the house (or building). A cellar usually is an underground space for wine (or food) storage. A basement can double up as a wine cellar, but the chances of spoilage increases if the conditions are not cool or dark enough.
February 15, 2017
https://www.italki.com/question/75486#! Run a search in your favorite search engine , as I did, and you'll find other instances of this question on italki. I would add that many years ago on farms, cellars were merely a hole dug into a hill and then lined with wood or cement blocks that was used for cold storage.
February 15, 2017
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