Airtight vs watertight

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Jedrulla

New Member
Polish
Hello,

Can somebody explain me difference between airtight and watertight when these words describe a noun? For example: The proof was airtight/watertight. Are these two words mean exacly the same? Thanks in advance:)
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Unlike Parla and sdg, I'd use "watertight" rather than "airtight" to describe plans/proofs/cases/arguments etc.

    This might, I suppose, be another BrE/AmE difference. Or it could just be personal preference...:D

    PS. Welcome to the forums, Jedrulla!
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm with you Loob. I've never seen or heard "airtight" used figuratively - always "watertight".
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think both are fine. Online dictionaries supply the same definition for both. i.e. "No loopholes or flaws".
    You are rather missing a point. They are not both fine because there appears to be a BE/AE difference. That is supported by the OED which describes the figurative use of airtight (as in "cannot be faulted, incontrovertible") as originally US, first appearing in 1901 and having appeared on the east side of the Atlantic only recently. So, if you want to communicate in BE, much better to use "watertight" which has been used figuratively for over 350 years. If in AE it seems both will do, but airtight is, perhaps, to be favoured.
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    In my BE experience, alibis, excuses, etc, always aim to be watertight, not airtight.
    .
     

    TheKingOfSpain

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    You are rather missing a point. They are not both fine because there appears to be a BE/AE difference. That is supported by the OED which describes the figurative use of airtight (as in "cannot be faulted, incontrovertible") as originally US, first appearing in 1901 and having appeared on the east side of the Atlantic only recently. So, if you want to communicate in BE, much better to use "watertight" which has been used figuratively for over 350 years. If in AE it seems both will do, but airtight is, perhaps, to be favoured.
    Yes, sorry Andy. Probably more what I meant to say is this: "Both sound fine to my (Canadian) ears." Clearly it seems to be exclusively "watertight" in BE.
     
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