I'm just curious....

In the USA, how do you explain to a child 'don't put anything in the electrical outlet' or 'don't play with a wall socket'??

How do you say the same thing around the globe?

  • And this Ngram query
    – user98990
    Feb 7, 2015 at 21:12
  • 1
    One of your tags is American-English, in the US 'outlet' is more frequently used according to the Ngram query linked. That said, because your teaching a child you might go with 'socket' and create a rhyming phrase 'if you stick it in the socket, it will shock it!, as children (and adults) often memorize rhymed phrases more easily.
    – user98990
    Feb 7, 2015 at 21:33
  • I would say socket, except that we call them power points. Perhaps that's changed. My adult children perhaps call them sockets.
    – WS2
    Feb 8, 2015 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


I find both acceptable.

Personally, I would be more likely to say "socket" or "wall socket" in the context of a kid playing with it (when the emphasis is on its physical reality), and "outlet" or "electrical outlet" in the context of my wanting to plug something into it (when the emphasis is on its intended function); but I really wouldn't bat an eye if someone else had the exact opposite preference.

  • Thank you, that's really helpful. We call it wall socket here in the UK.
    – dada88
    Feb 7, 2015 at 21:10

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