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Posted: 27 June 2017 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Do Americans use this term? I don’t recall hearing it much in US movies and TV. It also never hit me until I checked it that it’s an abbreviation of caravan.

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Posted: 27 June 2017 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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If you’re talking about the automobile variety, yes, absolutely.

Edit:  It occurs to me that you may mean van as a verb.  I’ve never heard an American use it that way.  Whenever there’s a group traveling together I’ve always heard caravan.

[ Edited: 27 June 2017 10:59 AM by donkeyhotay ]
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Posted: 27 June 2017 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Or, Aldi, are you thinking of trailers, travel trailers, mobile homes and the like?  I stream a lot of British TV and the usey the word ‘’caravan’’ a lot for things that would be called trailers and mobile homes here.

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Posted: 27 June 2017 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’ve heard it often enough in American movies and TV shows. The term is used in True Lies, Twilight, Dumb and Dumber, for instance.

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Posted: 27 June 2017 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes, van , for the type of vehicle, is commonly used here in Leftpondia.

Caravan, meaning a mobile home or camper, is not. Nor would most Americans recognize the phrase white van man.

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Posted: 27 June 2017 08:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I recall seeing, years ago, a t-shirt for sale at science-fiction conventions that had a cartoon of a helmeted warrior and a bearded wizard in a vehicle like a VW microbus.  The caption was a (slightly condensed) quote from The Return of the King: “Aragorn and Gandalf went in the van.”

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Posted: 28 June 2017 03:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I remember from my university days (a long time ago in Rightpondia) seeing an ordinary small van with its name painted on the side. It was called “Ludwig Van”. Does this push the etymology back to the early 19th century?

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Posted: 28 June 2017 05:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I used to cook my beeths in one of them.

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Posted: 28 June 2017 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Meant the noun and I’ve clearly blanked all the American usages. So would camper be the normal term for caravan, Dave, or mobile home? And in fact I’ve just recalled the old Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz film from the early 50s, The Long Long Trailer, I’m pretty sure that’s a caravan.

I must say I can’t regret forgetting the American van usage though as Ludwig Van and the Gandalf cartoon make the thread totally worthwhile.

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Posted: 28 June 2017 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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An ageing rocker writes: There’s a 1973 David Bowie song called Panic in Detroit which he wrote whilst touring America which starts ‘’He looked a lot like Che Guevara/Drove a diesel van’’. Also an American rock band called Camper Van Beethoven.
I read somewhere that Steve Jobs drove a VW bus round India in his early hippie days and I imagined this to be some kind of Ken Kesey coach affair until I found out it just meant a modest camper van. Caravans are always towed by cars in the UK but vans are standalone vehicles, as said. The Stranglers used ‘’charabanc’’ for coach in their song Peaches and this word is still used sparingly.

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Posted: 28 June 2017 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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But where did Van go?

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Posted: 28 June 2017 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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aldiboronti - 28 June 2017 08:57 AM

Meant the noun and I’ve clearly blanked all the American usages. So would camper be the normal term for caravan, Dave, or mobile home?

There is overlap between the terms. But yes, camper = caravan. Recreational vehicle or RV are used for the motorized versions. The term mobile home, however, is something different. While most mobile homes are theoretically mobile in that they are built on a chassis, they are rarely moved. For the most part, they are prefabricated structures that are towed to one place where they sit until demolished.

A van differs from an RV because a van will not have kitchen, bathroom, bunks (unless installed aftermarket), etc.

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Posted: 28 June 2017 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I recall seeing, years ago, a t-shirt for sale at science-fiction conventions that had a cartoon of a helmeted warrior and a bearded wizard in a vehicle like a VW microbus.  The caption was a (slightly condensed) quote from The Return of the King: “Aragorn and Gandalf went in the van.”

When I was a child my mother used to keep us kids amused on long car journeys by declaiming Macaulay’s Lays of Ancient Rome; she had had “How Horatius Kept the Bridge” off by heart since her own childhood. We regularly corpsed when she came to -

Fast by his royal standard,
O’erlooking all the war,
Lars Porsena of Clusium
Sate in his ivory car.

Going back to van, though, let’s not forget that for over three-quarters of a century a van was a horse-drawn vehicle; there was a specific type of horse bred to pull them, called a vanner.

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Posted: 28 June 2017 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 28 June 2017 10:46 AM

Going back to van, though, let’s not forget that for over three-quarters of a century a van was a horse-drawn vehicle; there was a specific type of horse bred to pull them, called a vanner.

That one I didn’t know. First cite in OED is 1888. And interestingly I learn from that entry (which in company with the posts here shows the US currency of van) that the word was revived in the US in a different sense.

2. N. Amer. An owner or operator of a van, esp. one who uses the van for recreation.

1973 Hot Rod Nov. 71/3 Hot Rod editor Terry Cook and art director Jervis Hill indulged their..fantasies by forming vans into what may be the largest “Keep on Truckin’” ever created. The vanners were willing to help.

[ Edited: 07 July 2017 01:10 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 29 June 2017 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Aargh… the quote boxes, the quote boxes...

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Posted: 29 June 2017 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Fixed. Didn’t notice the excessive white space in the first box. Nothing wrong with the second though. Or are you objecting to all quote boxes?

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