flatbed vs. flatcar

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Senior Member
As far as I know a flatbed is the generic term for (as AskOxford.com says) before another noun denoting a vehicle with a flat load-carrying area. And I could not find flatcar in this dictionary.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/club car
Besides, this American dictionary does show the word flatcar to specifically refer to flatbed cars (as in train wagons).

My curiosity, though, has to do with the difference between AmE/BE.
Do BE speakers only say flatbed cars or flatbed wagons and never flatcars?
Do AmE speakers only say flatcars and never flatbed cars?

I'd be glad to know other regional uses of the word too.

  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think you are getting into the realms of English which is only likely to be understood by rail enthusiasts or those in the industry. I think US and UK rail terms are very different, so I wouldn't be surprise if what you say is true.

    Google comes up with very few hits on "flatcar" when restriced to "UK", and many of them are in reference to US rail-stock. There were one or two hits for "flat car" (two words): the British tend not to concatenate words as much as they do in the USA. I think you will need to ask those we call "trainspotters" (rail enthusiasts) in order to get a good answer to questions like this.


    Senior Member
    Here are typically AE uses of flatbed and flatcar:

    Flatbed is used mostly as an adjective to describe a type of truck. At times it is used colloquially to name such a truck.

    Flatcar is a railroad term for a kind of rolling stock.

    What both have in common is a lack of sides or roof.

    Flatbed, adj., is also used to describe a scanner or copying machine.


    Senior Member
    Thanks cuchuflete, I had already "investigated" for quite a while so those terms where clear for me at the moment I wrote the post. Anyway, I appreciate your help.:)

    And, yes, MatchingMole, I think you are right. Too specialised vocabulary...I'll try to contact some retired train lover. ;)
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