As you’re walking down the shore, you look out and see rows of wooden planks stretched out over the water. But are these docks or piers? Most people use these terms interchangeably. Yet, there is a difference between the two. It all depends on where you live and what your profession is. Read on to learn more:
American English vs. British English
Americans and Brits speak the same language, but they don’t speak the same dialect. Since 1776, English in America has transformed into something distinctly different from English in Britain. As such, we often use different words for the same object.
In American English, a dock and a pier are the same. They’re human-made structures extending into the water from the shoreline. It is also synonymous with a wharf or quay.
In British English, a pier is a narrow structure that extends out into the water. A dock is an enclosed area of a port for loading, unloading, and repairing ships.
But there’s still a difference for some Americans
In general, we Americans view piers and docks as the same thing. Yet, many professional seafarers see things differently. To them, a dock is where you tie up your boats, while a pier is a transitional structure between water and land. In other words, a dock is like a parking lot, while a pier is like a sidewalk.