Originally Posted by greger
The word bespoke means custom..
The American Heritage College Dictionary (1997) gives the first sense of "bespoke" as "ordered in advance." The first adjectival sense of "custom" is "made to order."
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary (2004) gives the first sense of "bespoke" as "made to order." "Custom" as an adjective is not defined, but "custom-built" is defined as "made to a particular customer's order."
So, according to ordinary US and Britsh usage, you're right, "bespoke" roughly means "custom." But ordinary usage in both countries also says that non-MTM MTO counts as bespoke. But since you deny that regular MTM or MTO counts as custom, this doesn't help your position. In fact, it helps mine a lot more than yours. I said that custom is the genus of which bespoke, semi-bespoke, and MTM are species, with MTO a fuzzy case. So I agree with ordinary usage about the definition of "custom." I just disagree about the definition of "bespoke."
So if anyone in this debate is abusing ordinary language, it's not me.
Are you instead using "custom" and "bespoke" as technical terms, so that "bespoke" requires a from-scratch pattern and several fittings? In that case, what's fair to say is that some experts in the US use "custom" as a synonym for "bespoke" and others don't.
There is a good reason for distinguishing between the technical senses of "bespoke" and "custom." It's useful to have a word that captures all of bespoke, semi-bespoke, and regular MTM. "Custom" is the most natural word to use for that, given the dictionary definitions, and that Savile Row is the world's acknowledged center of tailoring and they have for hundreds of years used "bespoke" but not "custom" to refer to from-scratch pattern with several fittings.