Is Cotton Candy The Same As Candy Floss?

If you have ever been to a fair or carnival, you may be familiar with a few popular fair foods such as corn dogs, kettle corn, funnel cakes, and of course, classic cotton candy. But where did this fluffy, sweet treat come from? In the 1800s, cotton candy was created. The machine to make this unique treat was invented and patented by William Morrison, a dentist, and John C. Wharton, a candy maker (via Tennessee State Museum).

According to Tennessee State Museum, the duo originally called it fairy floss and debuted their creation at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. One box of fairy floss sold for $0.25, which is about $8.32 today (per Official Data). It wasn't called cotton candy until a Louisianan dentist came up with the term around the 1920s. But what about candy floss? Is it the same thing as fairy floss and cotton candy?

Americans call it cotton candy; Britons call it candy floss

Cotton candy and candy floss are very much the same things. The only difference is that Americans call it the former while British people call it the latter. In fact, there are tons of other things that Americans and Britons say differently. For example, Americans say zucchini, fries, cilantro, eggplant, arugula, chips, and grilled cheese, while Britons say courgette, chips, coriander, aubergine, rocket, crisps, and cheese toastie, respectively (via Reader's Digest).

There are a few explanations for why Americans and Britons refer to certain things differently, even though they essentially speak the same language. According to Education First, the biggest reason is that words have various origins; cilantro has Spanish roots, whereas coriander has French roots (via Merriam-Webster). Another reason is that American English was purposely spelled differently as a way for Americans to separate themselves further from their former rulers. For example, the removal of the letter "u" from words such as "flavour," "favourite," and "colour," as well as changing words that end with "-ise" to "-ize."