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I read this term shave cream in NY Times today. According to the results in COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English), shaving cream (I also found this word in the dictionary) is far more common than shave cream in American English. I would like to know if there's any difference between these two terms.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

In English in general, shaving cream is far more common:

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However, the two products are the same. Having done a quick Google search of "shave cream" and "shaving cream", both generate the same results. The Wikitionary article on "shaving cream" also lists the term shave cream as a synonym.

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The specific product the NYT is referring to, Alba Botanica, uses the remarkably nonstandard and misleading terminology "cream shave". Perhaps the author was trying to combine the two terms? – wfaulk Aug 10 '11 at 17:32
Perhaps -- "cream shave" is even less common – simchona Aug 10 '11 at 17:35

As others have pointed out, both terms are correct and both refer to the same product.

However, don't use them both unless your goal is to specifically confuse your audience. When you are writing, use the term "shaving cream" as it is by far the more common and understood term. Public writing is done for the reader, not the writer.

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I seriously doubt too many people will get confused if you use shave cream. Unless you use both terms in the same work. – Chad Aug 10 '11 at 20:50

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