British vs American English: Commonly Used British Words not Widely Used in the United States

British vs American English: Commonly Used British Words not Widely Used in the United States

British vs American English

American English is the form of English used in the United States. It includes all English dialects used within the United States of America. British English is the form of English used in the United Kingdom. It includes all English dialects used within the United Kingdom

Most people are well aware of some of the most obvious differences between British and American English. For example, American English omits the “u” in colour, neighbour, honour, etc. However, you might not have noticed that there are many British words which are not widely used in the United States.

[the_ad id=’12880′]

Commonly Used British Words not Widely Used in the United States

(This list is intended as a guide only)

No
British English
Meaning
American English
1Accountancy keeping financial accountsaccounting
2All changethe public-transportation announcement for the last stopAll out
3(Be) arsed(informal) to be made to get off one’s arse, usually as a negative or conditionalbe bothered to
4Barmycrazy, unbalancedbalmy
5Biccie, bicky, bikkya biscuitcookie
6Boiled sweettype of confectionhard candy
7Bureau de changean office where money can be exchangedcurrency exchange
8carer a person who cares for another, such as a child, elderly, or disabled personcaregiver
9Car bootstorage area of cartrunk
10Cool boxbox for keeping food and liquids cool(US and UK also) cooler
11Crispsvery thinly sliced fried potatoes, often flavoured, eaten cold as a snackpotato chips
12Current accountpersonal bank account used for everyday transactions checking account
13Cuppa[cup of] teaa cup of tea
14Dodgyunsound, unstable, and unreliablesketchy
15Dogsbodysomeone who carries out menial tasks on another’s behalf; a drudgegrunt
16Draughtsthe board gamecheckers
17Drawing pinpin with a large, flat head, used for fixing notices to noticeboardsthumbtack
18Economy classthe cheapest class of passenger airline travelcoach or coach class
19Electric firedomestic electric heaterspace heater
20Engaged tonetone indicating a telephone line in usebusy signal
21estate agenta person who sells property for others realtor, real estate agent
22flyover a road crossing over another roadoverpass
23footie(slang) footballsoccer
24foot-path, footpathpath that is only for use by those on foot that may or may not be alongside a road. Not usually used for paved or widened path that directly abuts the road at a kerb, which is referred to as pavementSidewalk
25funfair a travelling fair with amusements, stalls, rides etccarnival or traveling carnival
26gaol a prison, mostly historicaljail
27gearboxsystem of gears in a vehicle or other machinery transmission
28gear-lever / gearstickhandle for changing gears in a vehicle or other machinerygearshift
29go-slowa protest in which workers deliberately work slowlyslowdown or work to rule
30green fingerstalent for growing plantsgreen thumb
31half- [as in ‘half-eight’] meaning thirty minutes past the hourHalf past
32high streetprimary business and shopping streetmain street
33hire(v.) to borrow for a set period of timeto rent
34hot up to become more excitingheating up
35invigilatorperson who monitors an examinationproctor
36knickers girls’ and women’s underpantspanties
37ladybirdred and black flying insectladybug
38learntpast tense of “learn”learned
39life assurancealso described as life insurance regardless of coveragelife insurance
40letter box a slot in a wall or door through which incoming post is deliveredmail slot, mailbox
41lorrya large goods-carrying motor vehicle truck
42lootoilet (usually the room, not just the plumbing device)bathroom, restroom
43mainpipe that carries gas or waterline
44mathsmathematicsmath
45mince ground meat, especially beef ground beef
46mobile phonecell phone
47move house, move flat, etc. to move out of one’s house or other residence into a new residencemove, move out
48newsagent strictly a shop owner or shop that sells newspapersnewsdealer
49nicked arrestedup the river, busted
50oughtn’t A contraction of ought notshouldn’t, ought not
51petrolrefined mixture of hydrocarbons, used esp. to fuel motor vehiclesgasoline, gas
52phone boxpayphone, public phone. See also “telephone kiosk” phone booth
53pram, perambulatorwheeled conveyance for babiesbaby-carriage
54provisional licence, provisional driving licence a licence for a learner driver, who has not yet passed a driving testlearner’s permit
55quietenused in the phrase “quieten down”quiet down
56quidthe pound sterling monetary unit; remains quid in plural form (“Can I borrow ten quid?”)US buck, meaning dollar
57road-worksupgrade or repairs of roadsconstruction; roadwork
58rubbera pencil erasereraser
59rubbishworthless, unwanted material that is rejected or thrown out; debris; litter trash, garbage
60saloona four-door car sedan
61shan’tA contraction of shall notwon’t
62skintinformal) out of moneybroke
63spot onexactlyright on
64suck it and seeto undertake a course of action without knowing its full consequencestake your chances
65tea towel a cloth which is used to dry dishes, cutlery, etc., after they have been washeddish towel
Skip to toolbar