Now there’s a combination you don’t normally see, but they are, or at least seem to be, favorites of Amy Bishop, the American woman convicted of murdering three of her colleagues at the University of Alabama-Huntsville in 2010. Patrick Radden Keefe recently published a long article about her case in the New Yorker, and in it a line of dialogue spoken by a “pompous scientist” in one of Bishop’s unpublished novels:
“And you want to change nappies, wipe snotty noses, and shovel green glop into a baby’s mouth like any fat, stupid Hausfrau?”
If you are unfamiliar with the term and the context clues are insufficient, nappy is British for diaper. I don’t know if the pompous scientist is supposed to be British, but I can affirm that nappy has virtually never been used anywhere else in the U.S., even among the hipsters of deepest Williamsburg.
Elsewhere in the article, in discussing Bishop’s religious feelings, Keefe writes: “Amy told me she accepts Christ as her Saviour, and she has been reading the Bible in prison.”
The most common U.S. spelling is savior and has been since the 1930s. In the Google Ngram chart below, the green line is British use of saviour, red is U.S. saviour (note the NOOB uptick on the right), yellow is U.S. savior, and blue is British savior.
Despite the recent NOOB uptick in U.S. saviour, the u-less version is very much the standard here. The New York Times Style Guide mandates Savior in religious contexts, savior in secular ones (such as “the new goalie will be the savior of the hockey team”). The Associated Press Style Guide (followed by most U.S. newspapers) calls for lower-casing both. The New Yorker, true to its idiosyncratic self, calls for hockey saviors and a Christian Saviour.
The nappy may be Amy Bishop’s; Saviour is very much the New Yorker’s.