British vs American English: Commonly Used British Words not Widely Used in the United States 1

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

British vs American English! What’s the difference between British vs American English?

British vs American English

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 vs 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.

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
1 Accountancy  keeping financial accounts accounting
2 All change the public-transportation announcement for the last stop All out
3 (Be) arsed (informal) to be made to get off one’s arse, usually as a negative or conditional be bothered to
4 Barmy crazy, unbalanced balmy
5 Biccie, bicky, bikky a biscuit cookie
6 Boiled sweet type of confection hard candy
7 Bureau de change an office where money can be exchanged currency exchange
8 carer  a person who cares for another, such as a child, elderly, or disabled person caregiver
9 Car boot storage area of car trunk
10 Cool box box for keeping food and liquids cool (US and UK also) cooler
11 Crisps very thinly sliced fried potatoes, often flavoured, eaten cold as a snack potato chips
12 Current account personal bank account used for everyday transactions  checking account
13 Cuppa [cup of] tea a cup of tea
14 Dodgy unsound, unstable, and unreliable sketchy
15 Dogsbody someone who carries out menial tasks on another’s behalf; a drudge grunt
16 Draughts the board game checkers
17 Drawing pin pin with a large, flat head, used for fixing notices to noticeboards thumbtack
18 Economy class the cheapest class of passenger airline travel coach or coach class
19 Electric fire domestic electric heater space heater
20 Engaged tone tone indicating a telephone line in use busy signal
21 estate agent a person who sells property for others  realtor, real estate agent
22 flyover  a road crossing over another road overpass
23 footie (slang) football soccer
24 foot-path, footpath path 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 pavement Sidewalk
25 funfair  a travelling fair with amusements, stalls, rides etc carnival or traveling carnival
26 gaol  a prison, mostly historical jail
27 gearbox system of gears in a vehicle or other machinery  transmission
28 gear-lever / gearstick handle for changing gears in a vehicle or other machinery gearshift
29 go-slow a protest in which workers deliberately work slowly slowdown or work to rule
30 green fingers talent for growing plants green thumb
31 half-  [as in ‘half-eight’] meaning thirty minutes past the hour Half past
32 high street primary business and shopping street main street
33 hire (v.) to borrow for a set period of time to rent
34 hot up  to become more exciting heating up
35 invigilator person who monitors an examination proctor
36 knickers  girls’ and women’s underpants panties
37 ladybird red and black flying insect ladybug
38 learnt past tense of “learn” learned
39 life assurance also described as life insurance regardless of coverage life insurance
40 letter box  a slot in a wall or door through which incoming post is delivered mail slot, mailbox
41 lorry a large goods-carrying motor vehicle  truck
42 loo toilet (usually the room, not just the plumbing device) bathroom, restroom
43 main pipe that carries gas or water line
44 maths mathematics math
45 mince  ground meat, especially beef  ground beef
46 mobile phone cell phone
47 move house, move flat, etc.  to move out of one’s house or other residences into a new residence move, move out
48 newsagent  strictly a shop owner or shop that sells newspapers newsdealer
49 nicked  arrested up the river, busted
50 oughtn’t  A contraction of ought not shouldn’t, ought not
51 petrol refined mixture of hydrocarbons used esp. to fuel motor vehicles gasoline, gas
52 phone box payphone, public phone. See also “telephone kiosk”  phone booth
53 pram, perambulator wheeled conveyance for babies baby-carriage
54 provisional licence, provisional driving licence  a licence for a learner driver, who has not yet passed a driving test learner’s permit
55 quieten used in the phrase “quieten down” quiet down
56 quid the pound sterling monetary unit; remains quid in plural form (“Can I borrow ten quid?”) US buck, meaning dollar
57 road-works upgrade or repairs of roads construction; roadwork
58 rubber a pencil eraser eraser
59 rubbish worthless, unwanted material that is rejected or thrown out; debris; litter  trash, garbage
60 saloon a four-door car  sedan
61 shan’t A contraction of shall not won’t
62 skint informal) out of money broke
63 spot on exactly right on
64 suck it and see to undertake a course of action without knowing its full consequences take your chances
65 tea towel  a cloth which is used to dry dishes, cutlery, etc., after they have been washed dish towel