English-English Dictionary

If you’ve watched both British and American tv shows, you’ll know that citizens of those countries speak the same language but use many different words. Many English-speaking countries outside of the USA often use British terminology but include their own slang, while some countries with other native languages use American terms. It can be confusing, but instead of being nervous consider it part of your global education.

Below is a short dictionary of some differences in word usage between British English and American English that should be useful in your first few months in the USA. And if there’s something we missed, well, it will be a good story.

British English American English
anti-clockwisecounter-clockwise
aubergineeggplant
barristertrial lawyer
bedsitstudio apartment
beetrootbeets
bicarb of sodabaking soda
bintrash can
biroballpoint pen
biscuitcookie
bonnethood of a car
boottrunk of a car
bursaryfinancial aid, scholarship
c.v. (curriculum vitae)resume
car parkparking lot
chamberslaw offices (in England, for a barrister only)
chemist’s shopdrug store
chipsfrench fries
coach
cotton wool
bus
cotton balls
courgetteszucchini
crispspotato chips
cupboardkitchen or living room cabinet
diarycalendar
doctor’s surgerydoctor’s office
dummybaby’s pacifier
engaged (telephone)busy signal
estate agentrealtor
fags (slang)cigarettes
flatapartment
footballsoccer
fortnighttwo weeks
full stopperiod
gear boxtransmission
gear stickgear shift
ground floorfirst floor
gardenyard
hire carrental car
holidayvacation
hoovervacuum-cleaner, vacuum
indicatorsturn signal
jamjelly
Jumpersweater
kitsports uniform
life assurancelife insurance
lettingsproperty for rent
liftelevator
lorrytruck
madcrazy
marrowSquash
minced meatground beef
nappydiaper
naughtzero
number platelicense plate
pantsunderwear
pavementsidewalk
petrolgas
pissed (slang)drunk
postmail
queueline
return ticketround-trip ticket
rubbereraser
rubbishtrash
sconebiscuit
sello tapescotch tape
senior schoolhigh school
serviettenapkin
sixth formlast two years of high school
smartwell-dressed
solicitorlawyer
spring onionsscallions
surnamelast name
sweetscandy
tabletspills
take-awayfood to carry out at restaurant
tickcheck mark
tincan
toiletbathroom
torchflashlight
trainerssneakers
trolleyshopping cart
trouserspants
vestundershirt
wardrobeclothing closet
zedthe letter Z
zebra crossingcrosswalk