(Closed) American lingo

posted 6 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 3
4363 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I’m from the UK and would love to know the answers to these too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 4
9053 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010


Prom – we only get one in Canada at graduation 

Junior prom – My understanding is that this is grade 11

Quinceanara – Latin American formal event when girls reach 15. Are these events held at every school? Correct but hosted as a birthday party personally, not a school event. 

Debutante ball – Also hosted as a personal party. Has to do with a socialite family introducing their daughter to the social scene as aN adult. 

Cotillion – Not common. I think these are hosted privately as well but are young girls like 13ish. 

Homecoming – Usually has to do with an important football game and is when alumni are expected to come back and watch and theN the school hosts a celebratory dance. 



Post # 5
583 posts
Busy bee

No, it’s confusing!  Only prom, junior prom, and homecoming are school sponsored events.  Homecoming happens every year in the fall and is an American football game where all the graduates of that high school come home.  The homecoming dance is usually just the current high schoolers though.

You’re correct about the proms.

Quincianera is the 15th birthday party for a Hispanic girl, similar to a Sweet 16 birthday party.  It’s hosted by the girl’s family.

Cotillion is a group of girls in the south of America who learn social niceties and have dances with boys of the same age (I think, I’m not southern though I live in the south now).  A Debutante ball is the graduation ceremony for Cotillion in which the girls who did Cotillion “enter into society.”  All of this basically ONLY happens in Southern states or places that have strong Southern ties.

Post # 6
3968 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Prom –  Prom occurs (for me anyway) grade 11 and 12 (the last 2). The Junior prom is the 11th grade, the senior prom, 12th grade.

Quinceanara – Latin American formal event when girls reach 15. Correct! These events are family events, not school-related.

Debutante ball – This is more complicated. It’s not as common as proms. It is a “coming out in society” party. Wealthy families (historically) would throw a ball and invite all the eligible young men and their families in the area, more or less, to show off their beautiful daughter, so hopefully she’d get some suitors ASAP.

Cotillion – Someone else will have to address this one. I am American, and never had one of these. I hadn’t even heard of it until I met people in college.

Homecoming – Homecoming is a slightly less formal dance in high school, usually the weekend of a big football (American) game against a rival school. It’s usually when alumni come back to visit, too. Hence, homecoming.

Post # 8
2950 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

@love108:  This was the exact same for us. Junior and Senior year proms….. Homecoming etc.

Post # 9
3968 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@ozpeony:  Well, if you were “lucky,” a senior boy would ask you when you were in 9th or 10th grade to go ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 10
2281 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Junior prom is grade 11. The Prom, which is often described without the definite article for some reason, as just “Prom,” is usually just a single formal at a school, and the juniors (11th graders) call it their Junior Prom and the seniors (12th graders) call it their Senior Prom. Even though they’re all there together.

Debutante balls are usually held by community groups, often committees of really old ladies, who were themselves once debutantes. So there’s one in North Carolina where the women in my family have “debbed” for generations (I skipped mine – boring!), and they invite girls from particular families who’ve been doing it forever, from lots of small towns in that region. But a large city, like Atlanta or Charlotte, might have dozens of debutante balls held by different communities within that city.

Cotillions are similar, and I never did one, but I think they’re sort of dance classes for kids, and often feed into debutante balls (same groups do both). But I know of people who do Cotillion through their country clubs. So they’re not always connected. Officially, it seems to be a particular type of dance, though, similar to what you see in regency-period movies like Pride & Prejudice. But I’m pretty sure some groups just do it as classes for middle-school-age kids to learn formal dancing, ending in a big ball they have to dress up for. 

Homecoming is an alumni weekend, usually centered around sporting event (often football but can be basketball or something else at schools that don’t have football programs) but it also has a dance (semi-formal) and picnics and stuff. Current students go to the dance, alumni go to the other stuff. 

ETA: While Debutantes and Cotillions are more common in the south, there are plenty of them in wealthy communities in New England. I know people who’ve been to Cotillion and Debutantes in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. 

The topic ‘American lingo’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors