It’s called a refrigerator, yet many of us refer to it simply as a fridge. Usually, abbreviations simply cut down the spelling of a longer word. So what’s up with the added “D” in fridge?!
Maybe it was your inquisitive kid who asked the question. Maybe the grammar police in you is curious yourself. Whatever the case, it’s time to nail down why is it refrigerator and fridge?
There’s a lot of speculation out there. For instance, while some American dictionaries describe the “frig” spelling as British, you’d be hard-pressed to find a British dictionary that uses such a form. Macmillan, Collins, Longman, etc. list only fridge for the short form of refrigerator.
What seems to be the most compelling argument for the usage of the “D” in the abbreviated word for refrigerator comes from the Oxford English Dictionary. The principal historical dictionary of the English language describes fridge as “a colloquial abbreviation for refrigerator,” and says that the “frig” spelling was likely influenced by the brand name Frigidaire.
Despite frig being pronounced the same way as fridge, the natural pronunciation of the latter complements the sound of the second syllable in refrigerator. And besides, saying frig just sounds kind of naughty doesn’t it?!