I was justed asked whether it's a british idiom to say something, for example a car is 'fully laden' as in American English 'loaded' would be used.

Does anyone here know about this issue?

Thanks & greets A. Payne

  • Please refer to the Help Centre about what questions are appropriate on this site: english.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic – TrevorD Apr 14 '16 at 11:01
  • Generally, the word "laden" is only used in the US in certain idioms such as "heavy laden" (which is mostly used in the sense of "beset by woe"). – Hot Licks Apr 14 '16 at 12:33
  • thanks for your reaction! So US would not use it colloquially? ... to describe a car as fully laden? thanks again!! – A. Payne Apr 14 '16 at 13:01
  • In BrE, you would not say the car is fully laden. Laden is a form used in certain phrases but the main difference is NOT BrE versus AmE. Laden means there is a weight on top of something. It is also literary or journalistic. – Lambie Apr 14 '16 at 13:40

I'm from the US (BosWash corridor) and I have never heard of a car referred to as "fully laden". However, laden or lade are used in the US in other contexts.

A cargo ship would be referred to as fully laden. The Free Dictionary says of lade:

to put a burden or load on or in; load: to lade a cargo ship.

to put as a load: to lade coal on a barge.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, Glossary of Shipping Terms defines laden as

Loaded aboard a vessel.

Other uses of laden, as defined by Macmillan Dictionary

carrying something heavy, or supporting the weight of something heavy laden with: Passengers got off the train laden with boxes and suitcases.

heavily laden: trees heavily laden with fruit

A person can be described as "laden with grief", as HotLicks said in his comment.

In summary, laden is a very old word that is used in the US as a technical term in shipping and in a semi-poetic way, but not used for loaded cars.

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