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I am indebted to Dr. Beren S. Ewen for providing a lot more words which are different in the U.K. and America - the comments in green are my own.

Ground Floor First Floor

Contributed by Chris Johnson




* Nik Shearer advises this is known as a "dummy tit" in Scotland and Newfoundland

underground subway
angry mad
tights pantyhose

In the US, tights and pantyhose are different things: pantyhose are sheer, whereas tights are thicker.


taxi cab
mad crazy
dustbin garbage can
single ticket one-way ticket
shop store
ill sick
timetable schedule

All the above contributed by Elma Pavlikova

ring (telephone) call
biscuit cookie

Sent in by Thomas Highden - thanks

jumper sweater
nappy diaper
caravan trailer or motor home
chemist pharmacist

In England I've never heard someone call a plaster (bandaid) an elastoplast, I think that's the full name for it whereas plaster is the more commonly used version.

Chloe Osman

I think this must be an 'age' thing. When I was a child plasters were often referred to as Elastoplast as this was the main (if not only) make of plasters available: I assume this is why they are known as Bandaids in other parts of the world. Over the years many other makes have evolved and, as you so rightly say, most people now call them 'plasters' here in the UK.

estate agent realtor
jacket potato

Niall Garvie has pointed out that in Scotland a jacket potato would normally be called a baked potato.

In fact, I think that, these days, in the UK both terms are widely used.


baked potato
fortnight  (a term used to cover 'two weeks')

e.g.  I will be away for a fortnight.

Niall has also pointed out that the term "fortnight" is not used in the USA.
jam jelly
jelly jello
lead leash
mac or mackintosh raincoat
marrow squash
peckish hungry
football soccer
no true counterpart football
garden yard

A garden is specifically the part with a lot of plants, whereas a yard could be just grass.


postal cost/post code zip code
power point/plug/socket electrical outlet/outlet
pram (short for perambulator) baby carriage


Daniel Ausema

pub (short for Public House) bar

A pub serves food, whereas a bar might or might not. (I would say a pub is a type of bar in US English.)


to be made redundant laid off, lose your job
sacked/ get your P45 get fired, get a pink slip or become unemployed
refectory (not used much these days - canteen is usually used especially in workplace) cafeteria
rucksack backpack
Sellotape scotch tape
sideboards (this has really come about due our poor pronunciation as a "sideboard" is a piece of furniture usually found in the dining room of a house) sideburns
sleeping policeman (I say nothing!) speed bump
smalls underwear
snooker billiards or more commonly pool (I am not sure I agree with this one as in the U.K. these are three entirely different games.

Pool and billiards are also different games in the US: in pool you try to get the balls into holes, whereas in billiards there are no holes. I've never heard of snooker in the US.


solicitor lawyer/attorney

William Hitch advises that general public tend to call them lawyers but they call themselves attorneys.

(here again I am not sure about this one and in the U.K.  solicitiors, lawyers and barristers have different roles)

sultanas raisins (in the U.K. we have sultanas, raisins and currants)
A surgery doctors office
sitting in a tailback stuck in a traffic jam.  A tailback is a position in a US football team (Now that could cause a raised eyebrow!)
tap faucet
tin can
torch flashlight
articulated lorry tractor trailer
trainers sneakers
treacle molasses
vest undershirt
waistcoat vest
lounge living room
banger fatter, thicker version of a sausage

In the UK we also use the term "old banger" when talking about a clapped out car.

bap hamburger bun
candyfloss cotton candy
clingfilm plastic wrap

We also say "Saran wrap" as well as "plastic wrap."


pork scratchings pork rinds
porridge oatmeal
tomato sauce/ketchup catsup or ketchup
white sauce gravy  (in the U.K. gravy is usually brown as it originated from meat juices whilst cooking).
Duncan Gollihugh comments as follows:-

Mac/Macintosh vs Raincoat: In America, "a Mac" always means an Apple computer

Marrow vs Squash: If you said "marrow" to an American they would assume you were talking about the substance found inside bones.

Peckish vs Hungry: I have heard Americans use the term peckish but it usually implies only a slight hunger.

Tap vs Faucet: We refer to the hardware as a "faucet" or sometimes a "spigot" in the south. However, "tap water" (as opposed to bottled water) is what comes out of the faucet.

Tractor trailers are also called "big rigs", "semis", or "18 wheelers"

Sneakers are also widely called "tennis shoes". This is true even if they aren't being used for tennis.

This subject has created a great deal of interest and input from visitors.  For ease of use these have been split into several different pages including:-

Differences between Australian, British and American English.

a chart listing some of the differences between the more commonly used British/American words and phrases

Differences between some of the more common British and American words and phrases.

Then there are all the suggestions of language differences (23 and 4) which have been sent in by visitors which are shown on three more pages.





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