I was in some american company and during preparing a coffee I asked some girl with asian face "where is refrigerator?" She got confused and asked me "what do you mean???". I asked with details "where is a milk?", she answered "oh, in freeze".

So my question is if milk is stored in refrigerator why people use freeze word or she is mistaken?

Can somebody spread the light on this problem?

  • 1
    I have never, to my recollection, heard "freeze" used to refer to a freezer (or refrigerator) in the US. It is possible that she said "fridge" and you misunderstood.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 2, 2016 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


Here in the United States, people call the place where you store milk the refrigerator or just the fridge. Ice cream is stored in the freezer, which is much colder than the fridge. (You would not want to store milk in the freezer, because it would freeze solid!) This seems to be quite standard terminology. Perhaps the girl was not a native English speaker and was not familiar with the proper words for "refrigerator" and "freezer"; or (more likely) she said "fridge" but you heard "freeze."

  • RHK Webster's shows that the two words are synonymous, and Collins that they were once more synonymous. The 'below freezing' constraint does apply, meaning that only devices (even if efficient fridges rather than true 'freezers') held below this temperature should be called 'freezers'. Jul 2, 2016 at 10:27
  • looks like not native ( as I remember), makes sense, thanks Jul 2, 2016 at 10:27
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    @EdwinAshworth RHK Webster's defines "freezer" as "a refrigerator, refrigerator compartment, cabinet, or room held at or below 32°F (0°C)", so it's not a direct synonym. I've never in my entire life heard a freezer called "a refrigerator" in common usage. I do believe that they were once synonymous, though, since until recent times it was usually just known as "the icebox" :) Jul 2, 2016 at 10:28
  • @Nick Weinberg A 'synonym' is defined as 'a word which may be substituted for another in some usage/s with no/very little effect on overall meaning.' Hence the possibility of being 'more synonymous' (being more widely interchangeable and/or being even closer in meaning where interchangeable) Jul 2, 2016 at 10:31
  • 1
    Good question! I've heard them informally called "coolers" ("I have to grab a gallon of 1% from the milk cooler") though it seems like there must be a better word for them. The section of the store that has the coolers is called the "refrigerated section." Jul 2, 2016 at 10:37

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