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Is bespoke associated with the American South, as "bonafied" (bona fide, properly) is to me? When I hear the latter, it brings to mind aristocratic Southern gentlemen sipping mint juleps; when I hear the former, it brings to mind some Negro sharecropper telling his son, "we're gonna get you your first bespoke suit..." I can't recall where these images come from, exactly....

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closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, Nicole, Edwin Ashworth, ScotM, Ellie Kesselman Apr 25 '15 at 3:30

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I've lived in California - Northern and Southern - all my life, and I've only met a few people who pronounce "bona fide", or "bona fides", correctly. "Bonnafied" is definitely not just a Southernism. Even (most of) the lawyers I know pronounce it as "bonnafied." Ick! – MT_Head May 15 '11 at 17:20
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Bespoke is definitely a Briticism, though I wouldn't be surprised if it is popular in the South. I would think that Americans would sooner use tailor-made, however.

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I think we Brits are deserting bespoke in favour of tailor-made too. Certainly I never heard of bespoke cigarettes as distinct from hand-rolled ones. But the poor students of today, talking longingly of what they can't afford, will be the rulers of both society and language tomorrow. – FumbleFingers Apr 19 '11 at 0:19
Tailor-made is certainly the standard term in most of the U.S. I don't know about the South, however. – Peter Shor Apr 19 '11 at 0:35
Some British web-builders speak of "bespoke" websites, meaning requiring more than an out-of-the-box solution. – James Apr 19 '11 at 1:29
I'm a Southerner, and I've never heard "bespoke" except as the past-tense of "bespeak," and even that's uncommon. Yay for learning a new word! – kitukwfyer Apr 19 '11 at 13:50

Bespoke is indeed a popular British term for anything custom made. The word is (IMHO) over-used by academics and consultants there to refer to anything from a piece of engineering to a business process. In translating documents to American, I typically replace Bespoke with Custom.

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This doesn't address the issue OP is interested in: in American English, is the word more associated with a Southern dialect? – Dan Bron Apr 23 '15 at 13:37

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