Flash torch?

Well I guess I keep learning new English words from British TV because I was watching another episode of Inspector Lewis last night (which makes that two nights in a row of Lewis enjoyment) and Lewis' sergeant said "flash torch" instead of the American English word "flashlight".

I've often heard Brits say "torch" when referring to "flashlight" but I hadn't heard the word "flash torch" until last night. Honestly, I think that using the word "torch" for a battery-operated item seems odd because a "torch" has a flame, so it needs no batteries. Like the Olympic torch. If an American used the word "torch" for a flashlight, people would think they're really weird, or at least a British wannabe. And "flash torch" sounds almost sci-fi.

Do the Brits come from such an ancient civilization that they had to refer to a modern device using an older term? It's like technology evolved and someone said, "Hey, let's just call it a torch--we don't have much time to think of something else!" If only they could've looked to us Americans to provide a good word for it. Then they wouldn't be walking around using elemental concepts for evolutionary instruments.


Mad Minerva said...

I've just started watching Inspector Lewis! What fun!

Margaret Larkin said...

It's a show I never want to miss! Unfortunately, I didn't see all the Inspector Morse episodes and I don't want to buy the DVD. Maybe I should try the library to see if they'll loan it out.