Author Topic: Spillover  (Read 600 times)


  • Eulexic
  • ***
  • Posts: 3053
  • Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, England
    • View Profile
« on: November 22, 2020, 07:14:54 AM »
I happily typed in overspill in yesterday's standard puzzle & was astonished when it came up as rare.  Although I had never come across it I tried spillover & it was common.  I have long been familiar with overspill.  Bletchley was one of the first overspill towns for people moving out of London.  I'm wondering if I've lost the plot a little but I honestly don't think I've ever heard of spillover as one word before.  Is this another example of the difference in words in our different countries?  or is it just something I've simply forgotten? ;D
If life gives you lemons, add a large gin & some tonic...


  • Paronomaniac
  • ******
  • Posts: 358
  • Pass the dissection kit ...
    • View Profile
Re: Spillover
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2020, 07:30:53 AM »
This one puzzled me as well. Overspill is pretty frequently used in the UK, though I suspect it might be less familiar in other parts of the Anglophone world ...
Remember: if the world's bees disappear, we become extinct with them ...


  • Cryptoverbalist
  • *
  • Posts: 636
    • View Profile
Re: Spillover
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2020, 09:58:55 AM »
I've heard of spillover in the political sense, overspill is not a word I've heard often.
I drink to make other people more interesting.


  • Eulexic
  • ***
  • Posts: 3356
  • Brooklyn, NY
    • View Profile
Re: Spillover
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2020, 08:03:45 AM »
I have seen spillover fairly often.  This quote from Google shows the way I've seen it used most often:

Spillover definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
Nov 27, 2020 A spillover is a situation or feeling that starts in one place but then begins to happen or have an effect somewhere else. Some jobs are quite likely to have a negative spillover into family life. Spillover damage from the building's demolition was confined to some broken glass.

I don't think I've seen overspill, but its meaning seems pretty comprehensible when I looked it up.   I don't think we use it - we'd more likely use something like "suburban sprawl."

Alan W

  • Administrator
  • Eulexic
  • *****
  • Posts: 4284
  • Melbourne, Australia
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Spillover
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2020, 02:29:39 PM »
The current situation regarding the spillover / overspill pair results from a discussion in 2018.

I don't intend to reopen the issue, but I can add something to the previous discussion regarding the matter that anona brought up then, of possible regional variations. It seems the use of overspill is strongly concentrated in Britain and Ireland. In the News on the Web corpus, the word is used 0.26 times per million in Great Britain, but only 0.01 times per million in both the US and Canada. By contrast, spillover is used somewhat more often in the US than in Britain, but not dramatically so: 0.63 times per million vs 0.35 times per million.

So while the two words are used with similar frequencies in the UK, overspill is very rarely used in North America.
Alan Walker
Creator of Lexigame websites