ENGLISH - AMERICAN DICTIONARY



It doesn't matter how many times I visit the United States, I still manage to confuse an American audience whenever I make a speech by using a British word or phrase. Here is a list of the words which have caused problems for me over the last 3 years, along with their American counterparts. If you've heard me use a British phrase in America that's not included here please email john (at) iml2003.com and let me know.


ENGLISH FOOD & DRINK          AMERICAN FOOD & DRINK
AubergineEggplant
BiscuitsCookies
Candy FlossCotton Candy
ChipsFries
CrispsChips
CourgetteZucchini
Filled Bread RollSub
Fizzy DrinkSoda
Jacket PotatoBaked Potato
JamJelly
JellyJello
MincemeatSweet fruit mixture with suet
Minced Meat/ MinceGround Meat (e.g. Ground Beef)
PorridgeOatmeal
Spring OnionsScallions/ Green Onions
SweetsCandy
Swiss RollJelly Roll
TreacleMolasses
We don't have theseEnglish Muffins
We don't have these either (they're like scones in chicken soup)Biscuits and Gravy
Wholemeal FlourWhole-wheat or Whole-grain Flour
 
Grill (heat source above food)Broil
Barbecue (burning charcoal or wood below food on an open rack)Grill
Fry or Griddle (cooking food on a hot metal surface)Grill
 
 
ENGLISH CLOTHINGAMERICAN CLOTHING
Braces (for teeth)Retainer
Braces (for trousers)Suspenders
Dressing GownBath Robe
LycraSpandex
NappyDiaper
PantsUnderwear
Polo-neckTurtle Neck
Pullover or JumperSweater
RucksackBack Pack
SuspendersGarter Belt
Swimming CostumeBathing Suit
Tank TopSweater Vest
Tights (all kinds)Tights (thicker) or Pantyhose (thinner)
TrainersSneakers
TrousersPants
VestTank Top or Undershirt
WaistcoatVest
Bum BagFanny Pack
FannyVagina
So don't return from a fishing trip and announce to a load of Brits:
"I've wet my pants all the way up to my fanny!"
 
 
ENGLISHAMERICAN
999 (Emergency Services)911
AbseilingRappelling
AcceleratorGas Pedal
Agony Aunt/ Agony UncleAdvice Columnist
Aluminium (pronounced: al-you-MIN-e-um)Aluminum (pronounced: a-LOO-min-um)
AnswerphoneAnswering Machine
Anti-clockwiseCounter-clockwise
Arse/ Bottom/ Bum/ ButtocksAss/ Behind/ Butt
AutumnFall
Bank HolidayPublic Holiday
BespokeTailor Made
Bin/ DustbinTrashcan
BogieBooger
Bonnet (of a car)Hood
Boot (of a car)Trunk
Capillary (pronounced: ca-PILL-ary)Capillary (pronounced: CAP-ill-ary)
CashpointATM
CheersThank You (or a toast if you're holding a glass of alcohol)
ChemistDrug Store
Childhood slang for germs or liceCooties
Cling FilmPlastic Wrap/ Saran Wrap
Clothes PegsClothes Pins
CondomRubber (slang)
Corporal Punishment/ CPCaning, Paddling or Spanking
Cottage (noun)/ Cottaging (verb)Tearoom (noun)
Council HousePublic Housing
Cubicle (toilet)Stall
Current AccountChecking Account
C.V. (curriculum vitae)Resume
 
 
ENGLISHAMERICAN
CutlerySilverware
Daddy Long-Legs (has wings)Cranefly
Disorderly CommotionKerfuffle (as in "stop causing a kerfuffle!")
Do It Yourself (DIY) storeHome Improvement store
Dole/ Jobseeker's AllowanceWelfare
Drawing PinThumbtack
DummyPacifier
DustmanGarbage Man
"E" (ecstasy)"X"
EiderdownComforter
EscapologistEscape Artist
Estate AgentRealtor
Estate CarStation Wagon
FaceclothWash Cloth
FilmsMovies
FlatApartment
FlatmateRoommate
Food HallChow Hall
FootballSoccer
FortnightTwo Weeks
Fringe (hair over forehead)Bangs
Full Stop (punctuation)Period
Gear LeverStick Shift
General Practitioner (GP)Primary Care Physician
Hand LuggageCarry-on Baggage
Head Teacher/ Headmaster/ Headmistress/ "The Head"The Principal
Hen-NightBachelorette Night
KerbCurb
Kilo (in weight)2.2 Pounds
 
 
ENGLISHAMERICAN
Kitchen RollPaper Towels
LadybirdLadybug
Lift
(The 'Ground Floor' in the UK is the 1st Floor in the US,
the 1st Floor in the UK is the 2nd Floor in the US etc.)
Elevator
Lollipop LadyCrossing Guard
LovebiteHickey
Mobile (Phone)Cellphone
MotorwayFreeway/ Highway/ Interstate
MumMom
NaffNot very good
Noughts and CrossesTic-Tac-Toe
Number PlateLicense Plate
Off LicenceLiquor Store
Off the pegOff the rack
PavementSidewalk
PetrolGas
Phone BoxPhone Booth
PlasterBand-Aid
Play FightingRoughhousing
Post/ Postbox/ PostmanMail/ Mailbox/ Mailman
Post CodeZip Code
PotholingSpelunking
Pram or PushchairBaby Buggy or Stroller
QueueLine
Quid (money)slang for "Pound"
Reef KnotSquare Knot
ReturnRound Trip
 
 
ENGLISHAMERICAN
Reverse ChargesCall Collect
RubberEraser
RubbishGarbage
Shopping TrolleyShopping Cart
Skirting BoardBaseboard
Skip (noun)Dumpster
Sleeping PolicemanSpeed Bump
Stanley KnifeBox Cutter Knife/ Utility Knife
Stone (in weight)14 pounds
Subway (for pedestrians)Underpass
Take-awayTake-out
TannoyPA System
TapFaucet
Tea TowelDish Towel
TickCheck Mark
Tic-Tac-ToeNoughts and Crosses
TillCash Register
TippexWhiteout/ Liquid Paper
Toilet/ Lavatory/ Loo (name for the whole room)Restroom/ Mensroom
TorchFlashlight
TruncheonNight Stick
TyreTire
Ultra VioletBlack Light
"The Underground" (or "The Tube" in London)Subway (or "The L" in Chicago)
VerrucaPlantar Wart
WaspYellow Jacket
Whip RoundPassing the Hat
Windscreen (of a car)Windshield
Zebra CrossingCross Walk


Slang English words with multiple meanings:


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