I haven't been around these parts for quite a while so I'll just introduce myself. I'm a Londoner but I've lived in Sardinia for twenty years, teaching English.
Anyway, what I'd like to know is this. How many words are acceptable in Amercan English to describe a knitted garment covering the top half of the body and arms? The only one I'm sure of is 'sweater'. For me British English accepts four words for this article: sweater, pullover, jumper and jersey. It was actually the last one, jersey, that started me thinking, as I listened to Sky News over breakfast this morning and noticed the use of 'yellow jersey' to translate the 'maillot jaune' worn by the leader in the Tour de France cycling race. This is obviously just a T-shirt and an abnormal use of 'jersey'.
It's interesting how sweaters have inspired mangled English in other languages: 'pull' in French and 'golf' in Italian. If an Italian asks you if you like his new red golf he may not be talking about his car but about his pullover.
Similarly, Germans use the English word 'handy' for a mobile phone. Are there any English-speaking countries where this is used or is it simply a product of the Teutonic imagination?
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I haven't been around these parts for quite a while so I'll just introduce myself. I'm a Londoner but I've ... I'm sure of is 'sweater'. For me British English accepts four words for this article: sweater, pullover, jumper and jersey.

BrE also has cardigan, guernsey (gansey).
It was actually the last one, jersey, that started me thinking, as I listened to Sky News over breakfast this ... leader in the Tour de France cycling race. This is obviously just a T-shirt and an abnormal use of 'jersey'.

The 'maillot jaune' is rather more than a T-shirt. In the team 'contre la montre' yesterday the Maillot Jaune was wearing an all-in-one maillot jaune. But the standard item is a long sleeved zip up jobbie.
Though there is a short-sleeved version for the hotter days. 'maillot' is what the French call an undervest, a swimming suit and a shirt worn by footballers. This latter term is what Brits also call a jersey.

John Dean
Oxford

"John Dean" (Email Removed) ha scritto nel messaggio
For

me British English accepts four words for this article: sweater, pullover, jumper and jersey.

BrE also has cardigan, guernsey (gansey). John Dean Oxford

Yes, but a cardigan has buttons up the front, whereas sweater, pullover, jumper and jersey are basically the same thing. I've never heard of a guernsey. What is it?
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For

BrE also has cardigan, guernsey (gansey). John Dean Oxford

Yes, but a cardigan has buttons up the front, whereas sweater, pullover, jumper and jersey are basically the same thing. I've never heard of a guernsey. What is it?

Just another island. See Jersey.
By the way, "pullover" is common in AmE. "Jersey"
is not unheard in AmE, but usually signifies a fine, lightweight knit, or, alternatively, a shirt made
for sportsmen.
"Jumper" is the word that most Americans find
bizarre.
When I arrived in Australia and suddenly discovered that it was not all tropical, I went to buy a heavy wool sweater but had to settle for a "greasy wool jumper" (which, I'm happy to say, worked just as well).

Michael West
Melbourne, Australia
For

BrE also has cardigan, guernsey (gansey). John Dean Oxford

Yes, but a cardigan has buttons up the front, whereas sweater, pullover, jumper and jersey are basically the same thing. I've never heard of a guernsey. What is it?

I always assumed it was a jokey alternative to "jersey" - Jersey ang Guernsey are the two largest of the Channel Islands.

Then of course, there's the sleeveless pullover, known as a "tank top". Perhaps this should be re-christened an "alderney"?

(Just being Sark-astic).
Mike M
My father called any kind of knitted sweater, whether pullover or button-through, a cardigan. I think that was a personal idiosyncrasy though.
I always assumed it was a jokey alternative to "jersey" - Jersey ang Guernsey are the two largest of the Channel Islands.

No, it's not a joke. There is a whole class of fishermen's shirts which are called jerseys, guernseys and so on. They are generally close-fitting, and knitted in a tightly-spun worsted-like yarn. If you watch the film "Man of Aran", you can see another version of the same thing.

I think that there is a difference in construction in guernseys, although I can't really remember what it is: something to do with how the shoulders are done.
Fran
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"Mike Mooney" (Email Removed) ha scritto nel messaggio
I always assumed it was a jokey alternative to "jersey" - Jersey ang Guernsey are the two largest of the Channel Islands. Then of course, there's the sleeveless pullover, known as a "tank top". Perhaps this should be re-christened an "alderney"? (Just being Sark-astic).

A garment for men, women and above all herm-aphrodites.
No, it's not a joke. There is a whole class of fishermen's shirts which are called jerseys, guernseys and so ... construction in guernseys, although I can't really remember what it is: something to do with how the shoulders are done.

See http://www.jumper.guernsey.gg/
My siblings and I wore these as children, for sailing holidays and suchlike, but I found them rather stiff and scratchy. I think at least one of my brothers still regularly wears a guernsey.

Katy Jennison
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For

BrE also has cardigan, guernsey (gansey).

Yes, but a cardigan has buttons up the front, whereas sweater, pullover, jumper and jersey are basically the same thing.

You wanted words to describe "a knitted garment covering the top half of the
body and arms". If you had caveats about buttons, you shoulda said.
I've never heard of a guernsey. What is it?

It's a knitted garment covering the top half of the body and arms. It's also the term Australians use for the garment worn on the top half of Rules Footballers - http://www.anu.edu.au/ANDC/Austwords/guernsey.html

John Dean
Oxford
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