Flatmate / Roommate / Housemate – What’s the Difference?

Houseshare flatmate roommate definition lego dictionaryWhilst planning this blog, we came across a variety of different terminology to define people living within shared accommodation. Arrgghh, so which do we use in our blog posts to engage with the most people!?

First we thought it was a fashion thing, and your chosen term defined just how ‘hip’ you are. After checking dictionary definitions and researching further, we’ve now finally come to realise it’s a mixture between cultural / regional differences and the actual setup of the shared accommodation in question.

Check out our findings below, to get your head round it all:

Flatmates living in a flatshare

Use of the term ‘flat’ is predominantly a British thing, as a flat in American English is in fact an ‘apartment’. And before you ask, the terms ‘apprtmentmate’ or ‘apartment share’ are not in the USA vocabulary (although apparently ‘suitemate’ is sometimes used – a bit snobby if you ask me)!

Roommates or roomies

In America, whether a bedroom is shared or simply a residence with separate rooms – the people you share with are referred to as your roommates. The term ‘roomies’ is popular amongst the younger generation and originates from student dorms (student halls for us Brits). In the UK, the term roommate would normally be associated with those you share a bedroom with.

Housemates living in a house share / share house

The term ‘housemate’ is used throughout the world to describe the people you share residence with. Share housing is Australian in origin, whereas ‘house share’ is a widely used term for shared accommodation used throughout America, Canada, Australia and Europe.

So, in summary it seems we’re best to use ‘housemates’ and ’house share’, or perhaps a mixture of all the above in our blog writing…

(Image courtesy of Kyle Tsui)