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-clockwise counter-clockwise
aubergine eggplant
barrister trial lawyer
bedsit studio apartment
beetroot beets
bicarb of soda
bin
baking soda
trash can
biro ballpoint pen
biscuit cookie
bonnet hood of a car
boot trunk of a car
bursary financial aid, scholarship
c.v. (curriculum vitae) resume
car park parking lot
chambers law offices (in England, for a barrister only)
chemist’s shop drug store
chips french fries
coach
cotton wool
bus
cotton balls
courgettes zucchini
crisps potato chips
cupboard kitchen or living room cabinet
diary
doctor’s surgery
dummy
engaged (telephone)
calendar
doctor’s office
baby’s pacifier
busy signal
estate agent realtor
fags (slang) cigarettes
flat apartment
football soccer
fortnight two weeks
full stop period
gear box transmission
gear stick gear shift
ground floor first floor
garden yard
hire car rental car
holiday vacation
hoover vacuum-cleaner, vacuum
indicators
jam
turn signal
jelly
Jumper sweater
kit
life assurance
sports uniform
life insurance
lettings property for rent
lift elevator
lorry truck
mad crazy
marrow Squash
minced meat ground beef
nappy diaper
naught
number plate
zero
license plate
pants underwear
pavement sidewalk
petrol gas
pissed (slang) drunk
post mail
queue line
return ticket round-trip ticket
rubber eraser
rubbish trash
scone
sello tape
biscuit
scotch tape
senior school
serviette
high school
napkin
sixth form last two years of high school
smart well-dressed
solicitor lawyer
spring onions scallions
surname last name
sweets candy
tablets pills
take-away food to carry out at restaurant
tick check mark
tin can
toilet bathroom
torch
trainers
flashlight
sneakers
trolley shopping cart
trousers pants
vest undershirt
wardrobe clothing closet
zed the letter Z
zebra crossing crosswalk