Feb 13th, 2011, 12:36 pm
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Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
| | Re: the difference between cellar and basement.
No it's not a US/UK difference. Your definition is fine. It's a matter of the use of the space, as you say. A cellar is for storage (possibly in a house but also eg a wine cellar in a vineyard), while a basement is used for something. So a shop might have a basement level (as you say) or you might live in a basement flat. You'd never use "cellar" in this context.
Another slightly different use for cellar is "an underground room used to shelter from tornadoes", usually called a storm cellar. Remember the Wizard of Oz?
Level vs single room is also important though. Under our apartment block is a space divided into about 40 lockable storage areas (one per apartment) divided by corridors. That for me is the basement - possibly also because to get to it you have to go outside the house and back in through another door. A cellar, for me, has an entrance through the floor of the house.