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What are the differences between
British English and American English?









 

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http://projectbritain.com/americanbritish.html

 

There are many British words which are different to American words.
For example:

  • A lorry is a slimmer truck.
  • A lift is an elevator.
  • A fortnight is two weeks.
  • A chemist is a person who works in a drugstore.
  • A dual carriageway is a freeway.

Lisa and Sofia Efthymiou, an American mum and daughter, have listed below a few of the differences between British and American words.

Visit also our Glossary of British Words

We have arranged the words in categories to make viewing easier for school work.

 British and American Vocabulary

Clothes Parts of a Car
At School In and around the House
On the Road People
Buildings / Shops Sport
Let's Eat! Other Words
British and American Spellings Test Yourself

Clothes

In the UK, we would be embarrassed if people saw our pants. why?

 British English

 American English

Trousers
Pants
Pants / Underwear / Knickers
Underwear / panties
Jumper / Pullover / Sweater /
Jersey
Sweater
Pinafore Dress
Jumper
Vest
Undershirt
Waistcoat
Vest
Wellington Boots / Wellies
Galoshes
Mac (slang for Macintosh)
Rain Coat
Plimsolls
Gym Shoes
Trainers
Sneakers
Braces
Suspenders
Suspenders
Holds up stockings
Dressing Gown
Robe
Nappy
Diaper
Pinny / Apron
Apron
Polo Neck
Turtle Neck
Dressing Gown
Bath Robe
Swimming costume / Cozzy
Bathing Suit

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At School

"Stop mucking around and get on with your work,"
shouted the teacher to two students who were off task.

 British English

 American English

Friend / Mate Friend
Glue Gum
Rubber Eraser
Maths Math
Public School Private School
State School Public School
Holiday Vacation
School dinner Hot Lunch
Staff Room Teachers Lounge
Plimsolls Gym Shoes
"Mucking Around" / Off Task Off Task / Fooling Around /
"Goofing Off"
Play Time / Break Time Recess
Open Day / Open Evening Open House
Marking Scheme Grading Scheme
Drawing pins pushpins or thumbtacks

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On the Road

In the UK, we drive slowly over sleeping policemen.
Are we afraid of waking them up?

 British English

 American English

Sleeping Policeman /speed bump Speed bump
Car park Parking Lot
Car Journey / drive Road Trip
Zebra Crossing / Pedestrian Crossing Cross Walk
Lollipop Man or Lady Crossing Guard
Motorway Freeway
Traffic Jam / Tailback Traffic Jam
Lorry Truck
Articulated Lorry Tractor Trailer /
 Trailer Truck
Petrol Gas / Gasoline
Pavement Sidewalk
Petrol Station Gas Station
 Skip Dumpster
Diversion Detour
Fire Engine Fire Truck
Phone Box Telephone Booth

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Buildings / Shops

 British English

 American English

Semi-Detached House Duplex
Flat (one storey) appartment Apartment
Terrace (row of houses joined) Town House
Chemist Drug Store / Druggist
Cafe / Caff (not 24 hrs) Diner
Bungalow House (one story)
 Ranch House

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Food

Are you Peckish? (Are you Hungry?)

What's for afters? Have you had your pudding yet?

Are you feeling peckish (hungry)?

That food looks very scrummy (delicious)

 British English

 American English

Biscuit / Bickie
(A cookie is a large biscuit)
Cookie
Scone Biscuit
Fairy Cake Cup Cake
Courgette Zucchini
Sweets Candy
Sausage / Banger Sausage
Crisps Potato Chips
Chips
(French Fries in McDonald's)
French Fries
 Starter Appetizer
Puddings / Afters / Dessert /
Sweets
Dessert
Jacket Potato / Baked Potato Baked Potato
Jam Jelly
Jelly Jello
Aubergine Eggplant
Sandwich / Butty / Sarny Sandwich
Ice lolly Popsicle
Bill (at restaurant) check
Grill Broil
Food / Grub / Nosh  Food
Rasher A slice of bacon
Eggy bread (fried) French Toast
Runner beans Green beans
Soldiers (We dip soldiers in our soft boiled eggs) Finger sized slices of toast.
Take-away Take out
Scotch Pancakes Flapjacks
Flapjacks in England are oats mixed with honey and/or golden syrup and baked then cut into slices. sometimes raisins are added to the mixture.

Find out more:

Back to the Top

Parts of a Car

 British English

 American English

Bonnet Hood
Windscreen Windshield
Boot Trunk
Reversing lights Back-up lights
Exhaust pipe Tail pipe / Muffler

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In and around the House

I watch the telly whilst lying on the settee.

Whilst is used in British English. It is another word for while

 British English

 American English

The Toilet / Loo / The John /
Bog / WC / Visiting the little boys (little girl's room).
Bathroom / Restroom
Bathroom - the room where the bath is. If you asked us for the bathroom we will think you want to have a bath!
Tap Faucet
Garden Backyard / Yard
Wardrobe Closet
Bin / Dust Bin Trash Can
Telephone / Blower / Phone Telephone
Television / Box / Telly/ TV TV / Television
Cooker Range or Stove
Couch / Sofa / Settee Sofa
Hand Basin / Sink Sink
Run the bath Fill the tub

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People

 British English

 American English

Girl / Lass Girl
Boy / Lad Boy
Man / Bloke / Gentleman / Guy /
Chap
Man / Guy
Lady / Woman Lady
Policeman / Bobby / Copper Policeman / Cop
Postman Mailman
Dustman Garbage Man
Friend / Pal / Chum / Mate /
Buddy
 Friend / Buddy
Cashier Teller
Lollypop Man Crossing Guard
Nutter Crazy Person
Mum / Mummy / Mom Mom

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Sport

 British English

 American English

Football Soccer
Rounders Baseball
Bat (table tennis) Paddle (ping pong)

Back to the Top

Other Words

 British English

 American English

Torch

Flashlight
Plaster Band-Aid
Autumn Fall
Bank Holiday National Holiday
Lift Elevator

Queue

There's a queue.

Stand in a Line

There's a line.

Quid (slang for pound) Bucks
Surgery Doctor's office
Trodden on Stepped on
I'm knackered I'm Beat
Kip / sleep sleep
Nick steal
Wireless / Radio Radio
Starkers / naked Naked
Come round Come over
Off you go Go ahead
It's gone off It's spoiled
Lady bird Lady bug

Test yourself

British vs. American English Words

British vs. American English Vocab

British vs. American English Spelling

 

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Events and special days in the UK
British Life
Pooh down the River Thames

email© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013- please read
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© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites projectbritain.com and primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.