"Foam" <vs> "froth" <vs> "bubble"

panzerfaust0

Senior Member
mandarin
Hello. I think that these three words, froth, foam, and bubble refer to very similar things, right? I think the differences are that 1. foam and froth are roughly the same in size, and that they are both smaller than bubble; and 2. foam and bubble are used to describe inanimate things whereas froth is used to describe animals and humans. Am I correct?

Context 1: yesterday at work me and a coworker were watching and stirring a big pot of butter. She then told me to "watch out for bubbles on the surface of the liquid", because that meant the butter had melted and was boiling.

Context 2: My mattress has foam in it so it feels very comfy.

Context 3: "Look at that mad man standing on the street corner. He is frothing at the mouth saying things that nobody can understand". And "the horse, after running for 8 hours straight, is now frothing at its mouth".

Thanks.

P.s. UK posters and North American posters equally welcome to reply.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    A bubble is a single thing: a roughly spherical hollow in a liquid. Bubbles form in liquids when you boil them, and the foam of a fast-moving river or sea is made up of bubbles. This mass of bubbles on a river or sea can be called foam or froth. So can the 'head' on beer. But your mattress's artificial foam can't be called froth.
     

    tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Froth and foam can be used interchangeably. That man and that horse could also be foaming at the mouth. The word foam in foam mattress refers to something different. It is not liquid, although it is made up of material that is full of bubbles. Bubbles are what make up froth and foam. There is no distinction between animate and inanimate objects when using these words.
     
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