Pop vs Soda

I like to have meaningful conversations at the dinner table—we are usually all together for the meal—but often I have little control over where the conversation ends up. Tonight we got back to the “pop” versus “soda” discussion that we have fruitlessly gotten into many times before. Shirley and I both grew up drinking “pop,” but our children were all born and spent a good chunk of their young lives in St. Louis, where people drink “soda.”

Here is a map showing the distribution of the use of “pop” and “soda” across the United States. Note that the St. Louis area is an isolated island of soda drinkers.

What I really don’t get is all those southerners who use the word “Coke” to cover everything from cola to lemon lime to root beer. If I ask for a “Coke,” I mean “Coke,” not ginger ale!

For an enlarged view, click on the map.


Here in Romania, you can order pop for the family at McDonalds or KFC, and when they give them to you they often say “here are your juices.” I never think of pop as juice, but it does make it sound more nutritious!

Grace and Peace

4 thoughts on “Pop vs Soda

  1. Kyralessa

    I always felt odd over there ordering a “suc” when I meant a soda. But then, that’s nothing compared to the word for computer: “calculator”. :)


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  3. Carol

    I can’t believe I missed this post. I’ve always said “/pop/” is a really funny way to pronounce “S-O-D-A.” But then, I’m from that olive-brownish area in eastern Pennsylvania where 80-100% of folks use “soda” and would make fun of my Pittsburgh cousins who said “pop.”

    I was watching a Food Channel show last week that claimed the term “pop” was invented by the Faygo beverage company, based in Detroit, and was a description of the sound the bottle made as you opened it.
    (See http://www.faygo.com/, History tab, under 1910.)


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