I suppose that as the resident pathetic anglophile I ought to be on the Pathetic Anglophilia beat here at Words&Stuff. Two great nations divided by a single whatnot, and so forth. Here’s a tit-bit, then, for y’all fans of sport: where in American English we use standings, in British English the common usage is tables. If you see a reference to the football tables, it’s what we might call the football standings, but with the round ball. Got it?
Now, on a few occasions this year, including as it happens today, the Premier League table has included Tottenham Hotspur in fifth, Arsenal in sixth, Burnley in seventh, Leicester in eighth, and Everton in ninth. Reading down the initial letters in that portion of the table, we get: TABLE. That’s… brilliant.
Not leaving brilliant enough alone, the Gaurniad’s sport column answers the infrequently-asked question: What is the longest acrostic spelled out in a football table? I won’t spoil the answer, but I will point out that a runner-up is tmesis, which is brill-bloody-ant just because I like the word, but not perhaps quite as brilliant as a table that spells out table.
I should probably leave it at that, but I will add that British and American English divide again in extended use—on our side, we will not generally use standings for non-sports-related lists, such as the top Box Office results or the top Colleges and Universities. We may use ranking or even just list, but rarely standings. In British English, they will happily refer to university tables. I think that if we were to refer to anything’s place any ordered list other than sports as their place in the standings, it would be unusual, and only really understandable as a reference to the sports league standings. Also also, and for reasons I could probably elucidate but won’t, college sports often have both rankings and standings, and they refer to different things.