Washboard (belly) Vs Six pack (abs)

Hello everyone,

When talking about "a stomach with well developed abdominal muscles", I found that there are two options in English: washboard (belly) and "six pack (abs)". I recently heard from a friend of mine that only "six pack" is used in current English in the USA. But the problem is that Merriam-Wesbter says "washboard" is also possible. My question: Which option is used in current everyday English?

Examples I made:

She has a washboard. Vs She has a six pack.
John has a washboard. Vs John has a six pack.

Meaning: their abdominal muscles are very developed and you can easily see it.

Thank you in advance!
 
  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    If you just say "washboard", it'd mean the board used to wash clothes or the musical instrument.

    You need "She/John has a washboard stomach".

    I don't know about the US in particular but I hear both used, and I think "six-pack" is more common. "Six-pack" sounds more casual to me.
     

    Delvo

    Senior Member
    American English
    I hear both, but I also understand them with slightly different meanings. A washboard is flat; it doesn't have six distinct blocky bulges. So a flat belly is a washboard and one with the six bulging muscles is a 6-pack. As a result, "washboard" is more common for describing women, and "6-pack" is more common for describing men, although there's crossover in both directions.
     

    jmichaelm

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The expression "six-pack abs" is more common today in the US due I think to advertising.

    I've also heard men make the joke that their "beer belly" is a "six pack".
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    The expression "six-pack abs" is more common today in the US due I think to advertising.

    I've also heard men make the joke that their "beer belly" is a "six pack".
    Mine's a keg . . . . :D

    I agree that "six-pack" has become more common than "washboard abs;" I suspect this is because six-packs are common but I haven't seen a washboard since I was ten. (I'm referring to the actual items, not the muscles.)
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    A washboard has ripples.
    The six-pack metaphor is also more apt than the older washboard metaphor. People's ideas of how much muscle is "good" have changed over the years as well.
    If your abs are rippled like this, you're doing it wrong. ;)
    81rfzko%2BXiL._SY679_.jpg
     
    Top