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Discussion Forum > Diary definition -- UK vs American

I've seen "diary" used for what I'd call a datebook or planner.

Question: Is that just in the UK thing, or do other countries use it too? Where they use diary to mean planner, do they also use it for recording what happened?

Diary in Canada in the US looks backwards, never forwards. It's often associated with teenager girls and private, although some people have work diaries with a limited audience (coworkers but not customers). Usually in book form. Sometimes with dated pages, sometimes not.

A journal is still private, but more mature, sometimes associated with therapy (gratitude journal). Journal can also mean a publication with a tightly-defined topic, such as Journal of Medicine or a town's local paper.

A log is more structured and brief, either because of structure or because it might be used as evidence. (E.g., Exercise log with columns for date, time, distance, weather. Plant log with routine readings, record of anything unusual, notes for the next shift. Captain's log.)

For planning, calendars are in grids, usually one row per week. Datebooks are 1 page per month through 2 pages per year, although many have space for notes, so they become diaries. Planners can be just about any format, from datebook through to detailed form.

How does this compare with other countries?
May 10, 2017 at 19:19 | Registered CommenterCricket

<< How does this compare with other countries? >>

I can't speak for other countries or even other parts of the United Kingdom, but in England the word "diary" has two meanings: 1) a book for writing future appointments and 2) a dated record of what one has done written at the time (or purporting to be). Note that the fact they have the same name does not mean they resemble each other. There are some very famous diaries in the second sense, most notably the Diary of Samuel Pepys.

I don't think we use the word "datebook" at all,

A "planner" tends to be one sheet covering a specified period, e.g. a 2017 wall-planner.

A "schedule" (pronounced SHED-yool) usually relates to a specific event, e.g. "Here is the schedule for your visit". We'd also call this a "timetable", especially if it relates to lessons in a school.

Journal, log and calendar have the same meanings you give.
May 10, 2017 at 20:46 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I'd forgotten the published diary. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Diary of a Fourth Grade Nothing come to mind. I can't think of any recent adult Diary books. Maybe fictional adults don't keep interesting diaries these days. (I've read some great short stories in blog format.)

I can't think of a published book with Journal in the title. Correction: Benjamin Franklin published Journal of Occurences in My Voyage to Philadelphia on board the Berkshire, Henry Clark, Master. From London.

Many short stories use a log format, often humourous because they hint at things that wouldn't be officially recorded.

Planner can mean a single page here as well, to help you plan something specific, and sometimes very detailed. Meeting planner, vacation planner (which becomes a vacation schedule when your coworkers fill it in), vacation planner (from the travel company, so you remember to get your passport and shots in time), move planner (freebie from moving company).

Schedule (SKE-djule) can be for any length of time, in any format that works. Vacation schedule. Schedule for the day. (Bob, what's your schedule for the day like? Can we squeeze in a meeting?)

Timetable makes me think of a grid or table, as in a lesson schedule, but I've also seen it used for any grid-like arrangement of timing information. Tournament or event timetable. Complicated project timetable.

Schedule or timetable. I think timetable is more of a top-level summary, with smaller boxes for the information. Schedule can be more detailed, but doesn't have to be. I'm not entirely positive on that.
May 12, 2017 at 2:47 | Registered CommenterCricket