I know that generally autumn is the British term and fall is the American one, but what is the geographical distribution of the two terms outside these countries?

I'm fairly sure that no British person would use fall. Do Americans sometimes use autumn?

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    I've never heard before that autumn is preferred to fall in Britain, nor vice versa. – JSBձոգչ Jul 27 '11 at 18:42
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    I've never heard a British person use Fall, and I've lived in the UK for 30 years. – Omar Kooheji Jul 27 '11 at 18:44
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    Autumn is definitely used in the US, although Fall is more common. I don't know about regional variations, but I do believe Autumn is considered more formal. – Peter Shor Jul 27 '11 at 18:55
  • I use "Autumn" and I'm a Merkin. – user362 Jul 27 '11 at 20:05
  • @Omar Kooheji: Too right! We don't refer to the hood and trunk of an auto either, but I bet fall for autumn is rarer than even those usages, in the UK. – FumbleFingers Jul 27 '11 at 20:38

Fall is more American and Canadian usage, while Autumn is mainly used in UK.

Here I found also a short but rather explanatory article about the history of usage of the two words, I'll paste it here for ease of reference:

Changing colour to color can be blamed on American dictionary maker Noah Webster, but Fall for Autumn deserves another look.

Taking the vocabulary of Old English as a starting point, both Fall and Autumn as names for the season between summer and winter are late-comers. Fall derives from an Old English verb, but it wasn’t used as a noun to designate the season until the 16th century. This use most likely developed from the Middle English expression “fall of the leaf.” So what did Old English speakers call the season? Harvest.

The need for a new word arose from a population shift that made cities more important than farmland. From being a word for the season, harvest came to refer only to the agricultural event that occurs in that season.

Autumn as a word for the season came into common usage about the same time as Fall did. The English who settled the eastern American seaboard brought the word Fall with them from the homeland. The English who stayed home eventually adopted the word Autumn. Nowadays in England “Fall” sounds archaic and poetic, but in U.S. English “Autumn” has those connotations.

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    Autumn is not uncommon in North America. – tchrist Apr 5 '13 at 17:35
  • The Old Germanic calendar actually only had two seasons: summer and winter. Look at the different words for the seasons in Germanic languages: (English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Danish): winter, winter, Winter, vinter, vinter; summer, zomer, Sommer, sommar, sommer; spring, lente, Frühling, vår, forår; autumn/fall, herfst, Herbst, høst, efterår. While winter and summer are all derived directly from the season name in proto-Germanic, the nouns for spring are all different, and only three of the languages use harvest for autumn. – Peter Shor Dec 20 '13 at 1:11

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