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Is there a difference between a "sports jacket", a "sport jacket", and a "sporting jacket"? Or are these merely dialectal differences?

For instance, why do various outerwear and sportswear brands call some pieces "sports" and others "sporting" within a same collection or line?

It sounds to me like "sporting" designates only those pieces associated with recreational countryside/outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and bird watching, and so a "sporting jacket" would be a sort of country-style, multi-pocket, mid-length waxed/waterproof coat with or without a hood.

That said, we say "sporting house" and "sporting lady" as euphemisms for "brothel" and "prostitute", and "sporting goods" has a sense of sportswear items at large to it rather than a specific range.

Unlike "sporting", I guess "sports" and "sport" might have some relation -- to a lesser or greater degree -- with cars, back in the old days when the activity of driving an automobile would imply a certain attire, composing mostly of a jacket, a cap, and a pair of gloves. From these bygone days might have originated the terms "sports" and "sport" found in "sportswear", "sports/sport car", "sports/sport coat or jacket", etc.

  • Is there a question here? You seem to be calling a for discussion, not asking a question. – David M Mar 1 '14 at 22:29
  • @DavidM You bet there is. I'm asking if there's some kind of difference between the terms specified in the OP. – Elian Mar 1 '14 at 22:34
  • I have edited to make the question clearer. If you do not agree feel free to roll back. – David M Mar 1 '14 at 22:41
  • @DavidM Sure, no problem. – Elian Mar 1 '14 at 22:50
  • I'm not going to play the edit game with you. The opening line should be is there a difference. Or is it a matter of dialect. The hairbreadth of difference is not particularly descriptive or useful here. – David M Mar 1 '14 at 22:55
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Sport/Sports jacket is the same thing. It is a a suit jacket that is less informal than your normal business suit. In the midwest US I hear sports used more but when on the east coast I hear sport. The meaning is the same.

Sporting jacket is something that I have heard but it is not commonly used. If someone said they had a sporting jacket, the first thing that would come to my mind is hunting. It would bring up visions of men prancing around on their horses chasing foxes. Either way I wouldn't use this term in normal speech unless I was trying to convey hunting mixed with either upper-class or in some sort of dated story.

  • How about for "sporting store" vs. "sports store", "sports goods vs. "sporting goods", and "sports/sport" sweater vs. "sporting sweater"? Would a sporting sweater not be one with stitched elbow and shoulder patches and a crew neck, generally worn in the military and by hunters, fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts? – Elian Mar 3 '14 at 10:17
  • On the store naming, as far as the US it depends on where you are from. It is really by area and sports/sport/sporting all range from selling normal sports equipment (baseball, football, soccer, tennis...) to hunting/fishing stuff. In my area sporting is used for hunting/fishing but this is not a rule. For sweater, maybe. It is just a dated term that was never used much. If you wrote a story set in the pre-80s and there was hunting involved then yes but I would look for something else. – RyeɃreḁd Mar 3 '14 at 16:08

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