Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 09-14-2012, 10:49 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 23,778
Creme or Cream - proper usage

Google bugs me with their helpful message "did you mean Cream?"

I use cream in coffee or hot tea. Paint color is creme. Makeup is creme too (see link).
http://wonderfulwortelworld.files.wo...reme.gif?w=510

Whats the official use of these two words?
#2
Old 09-14-2012, 11:03 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 13,420
Creme is generally an affectation from the French spelling, crème. So it is used in contexts where a French, "exotic" or luxury connotation is desired, as in cookery, cosmetics etc.

The colour is cream, unless you are being pretentious. But it's crème caramel, crème fraîche, Cadbury's Creme Eggs etc.
#3
Old 09-14-2012, 11:05 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
I would say that if you are talking about a color you should always use "cream" (whatever some paint manufacturer's marketing department may like to pretend); if you are talking about a texture or consistency, you may use "creme", but "cream" is acceptable too (and less pretentious). Possibly a creme tends to be a little more solid, or, rather, "jelled", than a cream.

Last edited by njtt; 09-14-2012 at 11:08 AM.
#4
Old 09-14-2012, 11:06 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 9,115
I think "cream" is a dairy product and "creme" is a made up word for things pretending to be like cream. I doubt "creme" has any official standing. Likewise I could make up any horrible stuff I wanted and name it "chawklet", and nothing official has happened.
#5
Old 09-14-2012, 11:12 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier View Post
I think "cream" is a dairy product and "creme" is a made up word for things pretending to be like cream. I doubt "creme" has any official standing. Likewise I could make up any horrible stuff I wanted and name it "chawklet", and nothing official has happened.
There is a way for words in English to get "official standing"? (Well, there is the OED, but that is always, and inevitably, way behind the curve....and I bet it has "creme" in it anyway.)
#6
Old 09-14-2012, 11:25 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 25,158
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
There is a way for words in English to get "official standing"? (Well, there is the OED, but that is always, and inevitably, way behind the curve....and I bet it has "creme" in it anyway.)
There are rules about what you can call something if you're packaging and selling it.
#7
Old 09-14-2012, 11:40 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Traipsing through Europe
Posts: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
There are rules about what you can call something if you're packaging and selling it.
Yeah. For example, Bavarian cream (crème bavaroise) is a type of pastry cream made with milk, sometimes cream, and eggs, thickened with gelatin instead of corn starch. My local grocery store stocks some god-awful looking, banana-yellow "Bavaria Creme" on the shelves of the baking supplies section. It more or less resembles that nasty shelf-stable stuff that fills cheap-o birthday cakes, and is made of mostly preservatives, oil, sugars of various sorts, and gelatin. I imagine there are rules against slapping the word "cream" on this stuff.
#8
Old 09-14-2012, 01:35 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 23,778
Thanks everyone.

That helps with a story I'm writing. I wasn't sure which to use creme or cream.

I sometimes like to use British spellings. Like colour instead of color. I got busted by a writing teacher. Are you British? "She asks". I should have said, "Blimey, I sure as bloody hell am." LOL But, she knew my accent too well.

Last edited by aceplace57; 09-14-2012 at 01:37 PM.
#9
Old 09-14-2012, 02:38 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NW Fairfax County
Posts: 2,646
Just guessing that women are more likely to buy Creme du Soir Pour la Visage, rather than Facial Night Cream.
#10
Old 09-14-2012, 10:55 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 14,840
And what of the distinction (if any) between "complete" and "compleat" (often used in book titles)?

FWIW, Johnny L. A. did an OP on this back in 2003 (which collected a total of 1 response).

What I want to know is why a certain variety of ornamental flowering tree is called a Crape Myrtle instead of a Crepe Myrtle.

ETA: Added link to the earlier thread.

Last edited by Senegoid; 09-14-2012 at 10:57 PM.
#11
Old 09-14-2012, 11:17 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
What I want to know is why a certain variety of ornamental flowering tree is called a Crape Myrtle instead of a Crepe Myrtle.
Probably because it (its leaves or something) have a crinkly texture, rather than being like a pancake.
#12
Old 09-14-2012, 11:23 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
There are rules about what you can call something if you're packaging and selling it.
Apparently they do not preclude you from calling a creamy textured product creme though, so they aren't really relevant to my point. Napier seemed to to implying that creme is not a "real" word, but if people use and understand it (which they do), it is.

Last edited by njtt; 09-14-2012 at 11:25 PM.
#13
Old 09-15-2012, 12:56 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Traipsing through Europe
Posts: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeinva View Post
Just guessing that women are more likely to buy Creme du Soir Pour la Visage, rather than Facial Night Cream.
Nitpick: Crème de nuit.
#14
Old 09-15-2012, 01:15 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Traipsing through Europe
Posts: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Apparently they do not preclude you from calling a creamy textured product creme though, so they aren't really relevant to my point. Napier seemed to to implying that creme is not a "real" word, but if people use and understand it (which they do), it is.
Well, if you look closely at the grocery store, you'll see "creme" all over the place; Cookies and Creme bars, Cadbury Creme eggs, Vanilla Creme puffs. The FDA doesn't allow you to put the word 'cream' on something that contains no cream at all. So 'creme' is close enough for many people not to even notice, and has the benefit of looking like a French word that means the same thing (crème).

Obviously with cosmetics it's different. You can still buy shaving cream, and though some cosmetics companies call their products crèmes, plenty of anti-aging creams and eye creams are sold.

So... what's the official use, as you asked in your OP?
Creme is a word used when the product sold has no cream in it. Like "frozen dessert product" on wanna-be ice creams that have no eggs or cream. Or "orange drink" on Sunny D.
Crème is the French word for cream and is sometimes used to make cosmetics sound fancier.
Cream is either a dairy product consisting of at least 10% milk fat (or so; different countries have different classifications) and up to about 40%, or else it's a semi-solid pharmaceutical preparation that's a mix of oils and water and other things.
#15
Old 09-15-2012, 04:27 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 4,875
Interestingly the OED has both crème and creme.

crème is listed as something make with cream or custard - and they note crème brûlée and crème caramel.

creme is listed as an obsolete (with an example of use from 1398) form of cream.

Last edited by Francis Vaughan; 09-15-2012 at 04:32 AM.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:36 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: kosher gelatin vegetarian titanium test opposite of phobic techno lyric how's tricks origin jefferies tube recessive blood type arizona unsweetened tea alcohol electrolytes pork bouillon cube solder glasses frame ejaculate before orgasm rocky egg what to do with broken microwave does lowes cut tile don't be that guy pcu do jeopardy contestants know the categories ahead of time how to give someone diarrhea where can i buy nitrous oxide canisters noise cancelling shooting headphones diarrhea after eating too much magic the gathering deckmaster 1995 fat guy in star wars fever of 107 degrees in adults does ice cube still smoke weed lablue family house fire