I'm not sure whether or not I am posting this in the correct forum, since it actually has more to do with vocabulary than grammar, but lets give it a try...

How is the following device called?

Imagine, it is winter, you are at home, and it is ice cold. There is this device behind your sofa or somewhere else in your room, and when you turn in on it makes you feel warm again.

What is this device called in english? In school we learned it is called "central heating", my uncle, who has passed away once said "radiator". In a movie they once said "heat", but which one is now correct?

What would you say to your spouse/fiance/boyfriend/girlfriend/parents/friend

"Turn on the central heating" or
"Turn on the heating" or
"Turn on the heat" or
"Turn on the heater" or
"Turn on the heaters" or
"Turn on the radiator" or
something else?

Please do not quote dictionaries, that tell me "The device in a main building that dispatches heat is called central heating" and "a device that produces heat by means of heating water in a building or car is called radiator". I would like to know what you really say actively. That is why I would like an American/Canadian/British/Australian or any other native speaker to answer this please, just write please what you actively say, not what is "correct".

Thank you so much guys! Emotion: smile
Do you speak a language where theres is only one way of saying a thing? You will struggle with English, then, because there is often a multitudes of ways of saying things! All of the things you say above could be used.

Your own observations have shown that, and watching films and reading books will often help more than mere dictionaries!

We call the whole heating system the central heating, often just referred to as "the heating" and I believe Americans call it just "the heat"

the individual metal thing on the wall is a radiator, or a heater. If it is part of a system it is more likely to be called a radiator, if it is free standing with its own power source it is likely to be called a heater.
If I was awfully cold and I wanted to get warmed real quick I didn't know which word to use I would then say, please turn me on.
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If someone in our family wants another member of the family to turn the heating on (or if you don't like split infinites - turn on the heating!) we shout (as presumably s/he is in another room)

".....(name)........can you put the heating on please."

I hope this is "descriptive" enough, I can't make it any more "descriptive" because that is what we say!

Thank you.


I'm not a native speaker, but, if you want to know, my vote goes to 'heat'.
 suzi's reply was promoted to an answer.
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