English Usage in the UK and USA
English Usage in the UK and USA
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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.
Spelling and pronunciation differences are not included.

"The British and Americans are divided by a common language"

One Meaning - Two Words

Definition UK Word USA Word
11th June 1998 11/06/98 06/11/98
the dot at the end of a sentence full stop period
unit of paper currency note bill
mathematics maths math
the season after summer autumn fall
day when offices are closed bank holiday legal holiday
small pointed thing used to pin papers onto walls drawing pin thumb tack
mark made when something is correct or selected tick check
the name of the final letter of the alphabet zed zee
angry pissed off pissed


Definition UK Word USA Word
third piece of a male's suit that goes between
the jacket and the shirt
waist coat vest
what women wear over their legs tights (panty) hose
what men wear over their legs trousers pants
a type of soft shoe used in sports or for casual wear trainers,
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 gown bathrobe
a thin cloth from Arabia muslin cheesecloth
large bag carried by females hand bag purse
container carried by females for money purse pocket book
what you put in a baby's mouth dummy pacifier
what you put around a baby's bottom nappy diaper


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 shop store
place from where medicines are bought chemist drug store
payment in a restaurant bill check
place where alcoholic drinks are bought off licence liquor store
shop / store selling metal goods and tools ironmonger hardware store
the business part of a city town centre downtown
law enforcement officer copper cop
what there was before email post mail
code used when sorting mail / post postcode zip code
telephone call where the person called pays reverse charge collect call
free telephone call paid by company free phone toll free
company on the WWW .co.uk .com


Definition UK Word USA Word
four wheeled private vehicle car automobile
front of a car / automobile bonnet hood
rear compartment of a car / automobile boot trunk
metal plate with number on a vehicle number plate license plate
long piece of metal used for radio reception aerial antenna
metal tool for tightening nuts and bolts spanner wrench
glass in front of a car windscreen windshield
metal over the wheel to keep mud off mud guard
multi-lane road for cars motorway freeway
road passing over another flyover overpass
heavy goods vehicle lorry truck
fuel for vehicles petrol gasoline
place to buy fuel petrol station gas 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 biscuit cookie
what you put on bread jam jelly
a gelatinous dessert jelly jell-O
crunchy thin-sliced fried potatoes crisps chips
fried stick-shaped potatoes chips french fries
a large vessel for juice or water jug pitcher
sweet things given to children to rot their teeth sweets candy
rolled up cake with jam / jelly in the middle Swiss roll jelly roll
a sugary liquid like honey treacle molasses
flavoured ice on a stick lolly popsicle
soft long green vegetable marrow squash
meat passed through a device that breaks it up into little pieces mince ground meat
cereal made from oats, sugar and milk porridge oatmeal
Swiss cereal made from oats muesli granola
fluffy sweet item for children candy floss cotton candy


Definition UK Word USA Word
arthropod with six legs insect bug
red insect / bug with black spots ladybird ladybug
dwelling in a large building flat apartment
device for obtaining water tap faucet
container for household waste rubbish bin trash can
portable battery-operated light source torch flashlight
the floor of a building that is level with the ground ground floor first floor
the floor of a building that is one level above the ground first floor second floor
device for carrying people between floors of a building lift elevator
place where films / movies can be seen cinema movie theater
a type of house connected to one other semi-detached house duplex


Definition UK Word USA Word
a self contained section of television programme show
game played on chess board draughts checkers
contest between two teams match game
game played by two teams with bats and balls cricket baseball
player who throws a ball at another player
holding a bat
bowler pitcher
bar on a pivot for children see-saw teeter-totter
simple game of O and X noughts and
tic tac toe
a collection of playing cards pack deck
a portable telephone mobile cellular, cell
a group of people waiting for their turn queue line
the dates of the Second World War 1939 - 1945 1941 - 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 cigarette male homosexual
fanny external female sex organs human posterior
football soccer gridiron
hamper picnic basket full of food basket for dirty clothes
homely pleasant ugly
Indian person from the Indian sub-continent indigenous American
jelly gelatinous dessert fruit preserve
knickers worn under trousers or dress by women trousers that end between the knee and ankle
mad not sane angry
mean stingy aggressive
momentarily for a short while soon
pants worn under trousers worn over underwear
pissed drunk angry
presently soon now
public school fee-paying school state school
queen the head of state male homosexual
rubber implement to erase pencil marks male contraceptive
semi semi-detatched house tractor-trailer
smart well dressed clever
spunk slang for male sexual emission full of "get up and go"
suspenders hold up stockings hold 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


Mecheria 45100
General Revision for pupils
Lexis and rules

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