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English Usage in the UK and USA

A light-hearted look at some differences between English as spoken on both sides of the Atlantic.
Due to time and space restraints spelling and pronunciation differences are not included.

"The British and Americans are divided by a common language"
George Bernard Shaw

One Meaning - Two Words

Definition UK Word USA Word
2nd July 2019 02/07/197/2/19
the dot at the end of a sentence full stopperiod
unit of paper currency notebill
mathematics mathsmath
the season after summer autumnfall
day when offices are closed bank holidaylegal holiday
small pointed thing used to pin papers onto walls drawing pinthumb tack
mark made when something is correct or selected tickcheck
the name of the final letter of the alphabet zedzee
angry pissed offpissed

Definition UK Word USA Word
third piece of a male's suit that goes between the jacket and the shirt waist coatvest
what women wear over their legs tights(panty) hose
what men wear over their legs trouserspants
a type of soft shoe used in sports or for casual wear trainers, plimsollssneakers
strap to hold up a man's trousers / pants braces suspenders
item to hold up stockings suspenders garters
item of clothing worn in house at night dressing gownbathrobe
a thin cloth from Arabia muslincheesecloth
large bag carried by females hand bagpurse
container carried by females for money pursepocket book
what you put in a baby's mouth dummypacifier
what you put around a baby's bottom nappydiaper

Definition UK Word USA Word
the area next to a street where pedestrians walk pavement sidewalk
place to cross a street on foot pedestrian crossing crosswalk
place from where goods are bought shopstore
place from where medicines are bought chemistdrug store
payment in a restaurant billcheck
place where alcoholic drinks are bought off licenceliquor store
shop / store selling metal goods and tools ironmonger hardware store
the business part of a city town centredowntown
law enforcement officer coppercop
what there was before email postmail
code used when sorting mail / post postcodezip code
telephone call where the person called pays reverse chargecollect call
free telephone call paid by company free phonetoll free
company on the WWW

Definition UK Word USA Word
four wheeled private vehicle carautomobile
front of a car / automobile bonnethood
rear compartment of a car / automobile boottrunk
metal plate with number on a vehicle number platelicense plate
long piece of metal used for radio reception aerialantenna
metal tool for tightening nuts and bolts spannerwrench
glass in front of a car windscreen windshield
metal over the wheel to keep mud off mud guard (wing) fender
multi-lane road for cars motorwayfreeway
road passing over another flyoveroverpass
heavy goods vehicle lorrytruck
fuel for vehicles petrolgasoline
place to buy fuel petrol stationgas station
area to stop off a major road lay-by pull-off
metal container in street for unwanted items skip dumpster
ticket for one journey single one way
ticket for two journeys: out and back return round trip
type of transport run on metal rails railway railroad
a beam supporting railway / railroad tracks sleeper tie

Definition UK Word USA Word
what you eat with milk, tea or coffee biscuitcookie
what you put on bread jamjelly
a gelatinous dessert jellyjell-O
crunchy thin-sliced fried potatoes crispschips
fried stick-shaped potatoes chipsfrench fries
a large vessel for juice or water jugpitcher
sweet things given to children to rot their teeth sweetscandy
rolled up cake with jam / jelly in the middle Swiss rolljelly roll
a sugary liquid like honey treaclemolasses
flavoured ice on a stick lollypopsicle
soft long green vegetable marrowsquash
meat passed through a device that breaks it up into little pieces minceground meat
cereal made from oats, sugar and milk porridgeoatmeal
Swiss cereal made from oats muesligranola
fluffy sweet item for children candy flosscotton candy

Definition UK Word USA Word
arthropod with six legs insectbug
red insect / bug with black spots ladybirdladybug
dwelling in a large building flatapartment
device for obtaining water tapfaucet
container for household waste rubbish bintrash can
portable battery-operated light source torchflashlight
the floor of a building that is level with the ground ground floorfirst floor
the floor of a building that is one level above the ground first floorsecond floor
device for carrying people between floors of a building liftelevator
place where films / movies can be seen cinemamovie theater
a type of house connected to one other semi-detached houseduplex

Definition UK Word USA Word
a self contained section of television programmeshow
game played on chess board draughtscheckers
contest between two teams matchgame
game played by two teams with bats and balls cricketbaseball
player who throws a ball at another player holding a bat bowlerpitcher
bar on a pivot for children see-sawteeter-totter
simple game of O and X noughts and crossestic tac toe
a collection of playing cards packdeck
a portable telephone mobilecellular, cell
a group of people waiting for their turn queueline
the dates of the Second World War 1939 - 19451941 - 1945

One Word - Two Meanings

Word UK Usage USA Usage
Asian person of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi origin person of Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Philippino origin
ass a donkey human posterior
bathroom a room containing a bath or shower a room containing a toilet
bill amount to pay for a service a piece of paper currency
bomb success disaster
buns sticky cake human posterior
bum human posterior unemployed, down-and-out
Caucasian Person from the Caucus republics: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan white person
chips What Americans call "French fries" What the British call "crisps"
fag cigarettemale homosexual
fanny external female sex organs human posterior
football soccergridiron
hamper picnic basket full of foodbasket for dirty clothes
homely pleasantugly
Indian person from the Indian sub-continent indigenous American
jelly gelatinous dessert fruit preserve
knickers worn under trousers or dress by womentrousers that end between the knee and ankle
mad not saneangry
mean stingyaggressive
momentarily for a short whilesoon
pants worn under trousersworn over underwear
pissed drunkangry
presently soonnow
public school fee-paying schoolstate school
queen the head of statemale homosexual
rubber implement to erase pencil marks male contraceptive
semi semi-detatched housetractor-trailer
smart well dressedclever
spunk slang for male sexual emissionfull of "get up and go"
suspenders hold up stockingshold up trousers / pants
tea drink served hot with milk drink served cold with lemon
thong casual footwear item female underwear
tramp unemployed, down-and-out derogatory term for a female of "easy virtue"
vest a garment worn under a shirt the third part of a three piece suit worn between the shirt and jacket
wash up wash dishes after a meal wash face and hands

© 1997, 2020 KryssTal

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