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!

mj 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.