I was listening to the public radio show “The Takeaway” today. They had an interview with Thomas Kershaw, who for many years has owned the Boston bar after which the one in the TV show “Cheers” was modeled. Talking about the atmosphere in the city after the recent bombings, he said, “People have places they frequent, that they call their local.”

My ears perked up. This sounded like local in a very British sense, the one usually referred to as the local and defined by the OED as “the public house in the immediate neighborhood.” The dictionary quotes Germaine Greer: “Women don’t nip down to the local.”

After some looking around, I am going to label local as On the Radar. The only possible U.S. use I was able find about wasn’t about a bar at all. It was a March 2012 New York Times article that talked about how a man “came to own his local: the Mud, Sweat and Tears Pottery studio.”

But I bet local will eventually come into its own as a full-fledged NOOB. Probably in Brooklyn.



12 thoughts on ““Local”

  1. Interesting. Relates very much to a local pub, of which there are fewer due to changing culture and social habits.
    As a Brit, the American usage of ‘local’ I associate with is a trade union group, or a neighbourhood fire department.
    No study, just an impression.

  2. I’m with Michael on this; but as for the post, you mean you expect Yanks to drop “bar” from “local bar,” or to replace “neighborhood bar” with “local”.

  3. I’m American whose father was a union bricklayer. For me, ‘local’ has always been a union reference.

  4. It seems like I keep making the same comment over and over in response to these posts. “Local” in this sense – especially in the usage “that’s my local” meaning the place in the neighborhood that one hangs out at most frequently, has been in common use in New York for ages. As long as I can remember, at any rate.

  5. Full disclosure – as Executive Producer of “The Takeaway” – 2 things: I guess we are a NOOB – this weekend marked our 5th year, so we have a way to go to beat the BBC’s “Letter from America”. And if any British-ism do sneak in, then normally I am to blame – it says Hammersmith, W6 on my birth certificate. Hope you enjoy the program. Pip pip.

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