American English





The two languages, American English and British English, are coming closer together. More and more words that were exclusively American are now used by the British. Similarly, Americans adopt and adapt new British words. There are still many words which have different meanings in the two countries. For example, bathe for an American means to have a bath while someone in Britain expects to take a swim; bill means paper money for an American such as a ten dollar bill while to the British it means an account rendered. Below you can find a short glossary (of some American and British words) which explains many misinterpretations that may arise while visiting the USA or Great Britain. Enjoy!


AMERICAN                                              BRITISH

Alligator pear                                             Avocado

Apartment                                                   Flat

Apartment hotel                                           Service flats

Apartment building                                     Block of flats

Assignment                                                   Homework

Baby buggy                                                   Carry cot, pram

Bags                                                               Suitcases

Barkeep                                                         Barman

Bathrobe                                                        Dressing gown

Bill                                                                  Bank note e.g. a dollar bill

Billfold                                                            Wallet/notecase

Biscuit                                                             Small cake like a scone

Boner                                                               Mistake

Buck                                                                 A dollar

Buddy                                                              Pal or mate

Bus boy                                                            Apprentice waiter

Business suit                                                     Lounge suit

Caddy                                                                Shopping trolley

Candy/ candies                                                  Sweets

Candy store                                                        Sweet store

Caravan                                                             Convoy

Check                                                                  Bill for food or drink


Checking account                                               Current bank account

Check room                                                         Left luggage room

Chips (potato)                                                     Crisps

Commuter ticket                                                Season ticket

Cookie                                                                 Biscuit (sweet)

Cracker                                                               Biscuit (unsweetened)

Cross walk                                                          Pedestrian crossing

Diner                                                                  Inexpensive restaurant

Down town                                                        City centre

Dresser                                                               Chest of drawers

Druggist                                                             Chemist

Drugstore/pharmacy                                         Chemist's shop

Drummer                                                           Commercial traveller

Duplex                                                                Semi-detached

Eraser                                                                 Rubber

Expressway                                                        Motorway

Fall                                                                     Autumn

First floor                                                           Ground floor

Flapjack                                                             Pancake

Flashlight                                                           Torch

Freeway                                                             Motorway

Fresh paint                                                         Wet paint

Fritz                                                                   Out of order

Funny papers                                                     Comics

Garage sale                                                         Jumble sale

Garbage/trash                                                    Rubbish

Garbage can                                                       Dustbin

Gas/gasoline                                                        Petrol

Gas station                                                          Petrol/filling station

Grade                                                                  Form in school

Homemaker                                                        Housewife

Horn                                                                   Telephone

Icebox                                                                  Refrigerator

Information                                                        Directory enquires

Inventory                                                            Stock

Jacklight                                                              Portable lantern

Jammies                                                              Pyjamas

Janitor                                                                Caretaker

Jelly                                                                    Jam

John                                                                    Toilet

Knee pants                                                         Short trousers

Kook/kooky                                                        Eccentric

Ladybug                                                              Ladybird

Lawyer/attorney                                                Solicitor

Legal holiday                                                      Bank holiday

Mail                                                                    Post

Mailman                                                             Postman

Make reservation                                               Book

Math                                                                   Maths

Mean                                                                   Nasty

Mickey Mouse                                                      Insignificant, trivial

Motorman                                                          Train or tram driver

Movie                                                                   Film

Moviehouse /theatre                                            Cinema

Nerd                                                                     Boring person

Newsboy                                                               Newspaper boy

Newsdealer/News stand                                      Newsagent

Newsman                                                              Journalist

Night school                                                          Evening classes

Off the wall                                                           Strange, eccentric

Office (doctor's/dentist)                                         Surgery

One horse town                                                       Small town

One way ticket                                                       Single ticket

Package                                                                  Parcel

Pantie hose                                                             Tights

Pants                                                                      Trousers

Paper                                                                      Money

Parka                                                                      Anorak

Patrolman                                                               Policeman

Pavement                                                                Road

Potato chips                                                             Crisps

Prom                                                                        School/university dance
                                                                                (from promenade)

Public school                                                            State school

Railroad                                                                   Railway

Redneck                                                                   Ignorant person

Rest room                                                                Toilet/cloakroom

Résumé                                                                     Curriculum vitae

Review                                                                     Revise e.g. for exams

Rinky-dink                                                               Inexpensive, cheap

Sand box                                                                   Sand pit

Schedule                                                                    Timetable

Second floor                                                              First floor

Set                                                                             Lay (a table)

Shoestring                                                                 Shoelace/bootlace

Shorts                                                                       Underpants as well as short trousers

Sidewalk                                                                   Pavement

Sneakers                                                                   Gym shoes

Speed way                                                                Motorway

Streetcar                                                                   Tram

Superhighway                                                           Motorway

Suspenders                                                                Braces

Tag                                                                            Label

Threads                                                                     Clothes

Trunk(car)                                                                Boot

Twister                                                                     Tornado

Undershirt                                                                Vest

Vest                                                                           Waistcoat

Wash up                                                                    To wash oneself (not dishes)

Water heater (gas)                                                    Geyser

Wedding band                                                          Wedding ring

Wholewheat                                                              Wholemeal

Windbreaker                                                             Windcheater

Yard                                                                          Garden

Yard man                                                                  Gardener

Zee                                                                             Z

Zip code                                                                    Post code