Just For Fun ~ Differences In Us English And British English Words... - TheBritishBaker Blog at Allrecipes.com - 181709


Just for fun ~ Differences in US English and British English words... 
Jun. 20, 2010 2:59 pm 
Updated: Jun. 30, 2010 6:16 am

I have lived in America now for over 2 ½ years and I still have the odd problem being understood.  Sometimes it’s my accent that throws people, sometimes it's the words I use. So I thought it would be fun to share a few of our language difference’s with you.  How many did you know? And which words were a complete surprise????

British English     American English


Football ~ Soccer

On the Road

Pavement ~ Sidewalk

Lane ~ Pavement

Underground ~ Subway

Dual Carriageway ~ Divided highway

Car Park ~ Parking lot

Car journey ~ Road Trip

Zebra crossing ~ Crosswalk

Lollipop Man/Woman ~ Crossing guard

Satellite Navigation (Sat Nav.) ~ GPS

Lorry ~ Truck

Estate Car ~ Station Wagon

Petrol ~ Gas

Skip ~ Dumpster

Diversion ~ Detour

Lay-by ~ Pull off

Cul-de-sac ~ Dead end

Roundabout ~ Traffic circle

Fly over ~ Overpass

Fire engine ~ Fire Truck

Caravan ~ Trailer

Car Parts

Boot ~ Trunk

Wing ~ Fender

Bonnet ~ Hood

Windscreen ~ Windshield

Number Plate ~ License Plate

Gear Leaver ~ Gearshift

Exhaust Pipe ~ Tail Pipe/Muffler

Buildings & Shops

Bungalow ~ Ranch

Lift ~ Elevator

Semi detached house ~ Duplex

First floor ~ Second floor

Ground Floor ~ First floor

Doctor’s Surgery ~ Doctor’s office

Café ~ Diner

Charity Shop ~ Thrift Store

Iron Monger ~ Hardware store

Newsagent ~ News stand

Off License ~ Liquor store

Bureau de change ~ Currency exchange

Bill ~ Check (restaurant)

Chemist ~ Drug store

Lift ~ Elevator

Clothes & Body Parts

Trousers ~ Pants

Knickers ~ Panties/underwear

Waistcoat ~ Vest

Wellington Boots (Wellies) ~ Galoshes

Braces ~ Suspenders

Suspenders ~ Hold up stockings

Tights ~ Panty Hose

Dressing Gown ~ Robe

Swimming Costume ~ Bathing Suit

Trousers ~ Pants

Fringe ~ Bangs

Nappy ~ Diaper

Trainers ~ Sneakers

Stiletto’s/Court shoes ~ Pumps

Bottom/Bum ~ Fanny/Butt

At School

Rubber ~ Eraser

Maths ~ Math

Notebook ~ Pad

Public School ~ Private school

Holiday ~ Vacation

Playtime ~ Recess

Head teacher ~ Principal

Caretaker ~ Janitor

Food & Drink

Scone ~ Biscuit

Sweets ~ Candy

Swede ~ Rutabage

Jelly ~ Jello

Jam ~ Jelly

Caster Sugar ~ Extra Fine

Tinned Food ~ Canned Food

Washing Up Liquid ~ Dish Soap

Spring Onions ~ Green Onions

Supermarket ~ Grocery Store

Fairy cake ~ Cup Cake

Courgette ~ Zucchini

Crisps ~ Chips

Chips (French fries at McDonalds) ~ French Fries

Starter ~ Appetizer

Aubergine ~ Eggplant

Ice Lolly ~ Popsicle

Grill ~ Broil

Bap ~ Bun

Double Cream ~ Heavy Cream

Pop ~ Soda

Biscuit ~ Cookie

Corn Flour ~ Corn starch

Desiccated Coconut ~ Shredded Coconut

Icing Sugar ~ Confectioners Sugar

Marrow ~ Squash

Swiss Roll ~ Jelly Roll

Treacle ~ Molasses

Shopping Trolley ~ cart

Candy floss ~ Cotton Candy

Queue ~ Line

Plain Flour ~ All purpose flour

In the Home

Toilet ~ Restroom/Bathroom

Tap ~ Faucet

Garden ~ Backyard/Yard

Wardrobe ~ Closet

Torch ~ Flashlight

Bin ~ Trash Can

Soil ~ Dirt

Spanner ~ Wrench

Plaster ~ Band aid

Mobile Phone ~ Cell Phone

Settee ~ Sofa/Couch

Bath ~ Tub

Wood ~ Lumber

Work surface ~ Counter

Cupboard ~ Cabinet

I have so many funny stories of times when I have tried to get myself understood.  A trip to the local hardware store was rather funny.  I hunted the store for some outside oil lanterns, but could not find an,y so decided to ask an assistant who promptly told me where to find the Garage door openers….

On a visit to a local furniture retailer, I asked about the cost of delivery as I was planning on furnishing my whole home from the one store.  The assistant was very brisk and told me that she could not understand me as I didn’t speak English very well… That one I found too funny!!!

I am constantly complemented on my accent (I still have my strong British accent) and occasionally I get “what a gorgeous accent, what part of Australia are you from?”  Or you sound just like my friend Wolfgang from Germany!

Then the other problem I have is with myself.  At first before discovering Allrecipes, I was still using my good old trusted cookbooks dragged all across the Atlantic with me.  I could hunt the aisles of the grocery store and still not find the ingredients I was after until I started to learn their correct names over here, and then when I finally started to use American ingredients having no idea what I was looking for…

It’s certainly been an interesting adventure, and one that I am enjoying living.  Its funny the more time I am here, the more natural it is for me just to think of the US English words, then I return to England for my twice annual vacation’s and end up confusing everyone over there!!!

Have you come across some additional words that I have forgotten to mention????

Jun. 20, 2010 3:11 pm
did I miss jumper - sweater ?? or do you not use that word anymore?
Jun. 20, 2010 3:12 pm
Yes we still use that word, forgot that on my list. Thank you...
Jun. 20, 2010 3:22 pm
Interesting, I didn't know all of these different words. English is not my first language, so when I finished college I went to England to learn the language and to this date I love the accent and the proper grammar British people talk. After I finished my student exchange in London and came to US I did notice a huge difference.
Jun. 20, 2010 3:22 pm
I could never understand the "public" and "private" school designation. Is biscuit and cookie the same, or is it just scones-biscuit?
Jun. 20, 2010 3:26 pm
...can't forget "willie" ;o)
Jun. 20, 2010 3:28 pm
Though I don't have any words to add, I wanted to let you know that this was an interesting (& fun) blog. It is interesting to note that here in the states words sometimes mean different things depending on what area of the country one is in. One example is what we here in the midwest call "pop" people on the east coast call "soda"!
Jun. 20, 2010 3:29 pm
How about ring (call).....
Jun. 20, 2010 3:31 pm
Eake ~ You naughty girl ;) swchef we call a cookie a biscuit, the only time we would refer to a cookie is when we are discussing the chocolate chip variety of biscuits. What you call a biscuit here to us in England is a scone, we would more than often serve it with jam and cream and serve with afternoon tea. Fit&Healthy Mom ~ Thank you for your comments,its good to see you.
Jun. 20, 2010 3:32 pm
Just yesterday, a friend from Whales, who's here on holiday, asked me in front of my daughter if I was going outside for a .....my 14 year old just about fell off her chair!! (honey, it's a cigarette, I said) She couldn't get over it!!
Jun. 20, 2010 3:34 pm
And I am married to a guy named Randy....I can't say about that!!!
Jun. 20, 2010 3:36 pm
AS - This makes me laugh. I wish I was at the office so I could pull my file. I do a section of this in my Intercultural class and make my students take a quiz with British English words. It's a wonderful discussion. Do you still use "brolly" and "pram"? Also, do you use some of the words Australians do, for example "chilly bin"? I'm going to check this list against my own tomorrow and supplement my quiz - Thanks!
Jun. 20, 2010 3:56 pm
Hi Dutchgirl its good to hear from you again, yes Brolly is still used along with pram but I think they are more regional words. That is just too funny, MrsRPM.
Jun. 20, 2010 3:58 pm
andee ~ You certainly do have a word to add. Oh my goodness how on earth did I forget to add 'Pop". We always call soda, pop over in the UK. Fizzy pop to be exact! Moaa - Yes, people would say ring, (I will ring you tomorrow), although the word call could also be used...
Jun. 20, 2010 4:32 pm
we have jello and I know oyou call it something else
Jun. 20, 2010 4:50 pm
yes jello is jelly correct? And jelly here a jam made with the seeds strained out.
Jun. 20, 2010 4:54 pm
You are correct Sarah-May, we have jelly and jam!
Jun. 20, 2010 4:59 pm
You left out "Fanny" apple.strudel! A totally different meaning on "This" side of the pond right?!!!
Jun. 20, 2010 5:00 pm
And another: Aubergine = Egg Plant
Jun. 20, 2010 5:01 pm
I should have known you would come up with that one Trishie ;)
Jun. 20, 2010 5:02 pm
Soil = Dirt
Jun. 20, 2010 5:02 pm
My father was stationed in England during WWII. He dated a very nice girl from a very conservative family. After returning from a mission, he went to her home to see her and nearly died of shock when she greeted him with "Oh good, you've knocked me up!"
Jun. 20, 2010 5:04 pm
I guess I should add that meant he had come to call on her.
Jun. 20, 2010 5:05 pm
Down south they call every brand of soda/pop a coke or coke cola. Unless it's an RC (brand of cola), or a Sundrop (the south's answer to Mt. Dew!
Jun. 20, 2010 5:07 pm
I was SOOOOO shocked on my first visit to the States with my first child when she was almost 2, and we went to a BBQ at a family friends house and all of them were commenting on what a "Cute little Fanny" my daughter had. My brother, who lives in America, and KNEW what they meant, almost pee'ed himself laughing at the face I was making thinking they were all PERVERTS!!!
Jun. 20, 2010 5:16 pm
That is funny Trishie, I had also forgotten about soil!
Jun. 20, 2010 6:43 pm
A S, that is a wonderful and helpful list. Good story's too. I just got through reading a book about a guy who lived in London with his family and goes to Scotland for a job opportunity. He used some of the words you mentioned too. I figured the Lorry was a car/truck but wasn't sure what Braces were. Thanks! Braces are what my son gets off his teeth next week! You learn something new everyday! Nice blog:)
Jun. 20, 2010 8:24 pm
"Flat" for apartment, "washing up liquid" for dish soap, and "tinned" food! Also "swing bin"- not sure if that's common, but when we lived in Scotland for a year, we had to fill out a checklist of items that came in the flat we rented, and swing bin was on it- we had to ask the landlord what it was so we could make sure we hadn't lost it! And "charity shop" instead of "thrift store". And "castor sugar". Thinking about this makes me really want a cup of tea!
Jun. 20, 2010 8:30 pm
I did know about 90% of these. I was very close to a guy from England when I was younger and the rest I learned from reading Harry Potter.
Jun. 20, 2010 8:34 pm
Don't forget that tights are pantyhose, a ladder is a run in your hose, the loo or lav is the bathroom/restroom, the underground is the subway, lager/pint is beer, a chap is a guy, a spanner is a wrench and spring onions are green onions. I had an employer who was from somewhere in London (she never would admit exactly where). She would flip flop between British and American terms, often leaving us a little baffled as to what she meant. Thanks for the smile.
Jun. 21, 2010 1:48 am
This is a great blog! I'm an American who moved to England about four months ago and some of the food words in particular are really helpful. I never knew a trip to the market could be confusing before I moved here! Thanks!!
Jun. 21, 2010 4:16 am
If you are in a long que at the grocery store, you're going to have to just wait your turn.
Jun. 21, 2010 5:56 am
This was really interesting! I see many of the recipes on the site refer to Heavy Cream and Vanilla Extract. I'm from South Africa, English is my first language. Is Vanilla Extract the same as Vanilla Essence and can anyone let me know what "heavy" cream is? I'm so glad you mentioned that confectioners sugar is the same as icing sugar - thanks :)
Jun. 21, 2010 6:08 am
To kiss is to snog; to be drunk means you're p!ssed (will AR let me type that word?); you can thank someone with 'cheers'; if something is weird or strange it's 'mad'; a notebook is a pad... and I don't know if there is anything worse than British peanut butter... :)
Jun. 21, 2010 6:17 am
i am american and my boyfriend is english, so i have, over the course of knowing him, become familiar with many of these terms. I will add that some of them are a little interchangable based on context (we have cul-de-sacs here too but not all dead ends are cul-de-sacs) but otherwise a good list! its always fun to read the differences... as churchill said...two countries separated by a common language!
Jun. 21, 2010 6:32 am
I have a British friend and we always have a laugh when someone mentions "pants" - to me pants are trousers while to her its underwear. In South Africa, panties = underwear.
Jun. 21, 2010 6:51 am
In America, the head of a school is spelled "principal" not principle.
Jun. 21, 2010 7:33 am
Fringe = bangs in America. Games = Sports or PE. In Britain it is just Hospital not THE Hospital - a Sister is an RN not a Nun. Fun blog. Thanks.
Jun. 21, 2010 7:40 am
Thought of a couple more....Biro = ball point pen & Plaster = Band Aid.
Jun. 21, 2010 7:51 am
serviette = Napkin. If you ask for a napkins you could get diapers (Nappies) To me a Bungalow is a one story house. The Jelly vs Jello has caused much disagreement in our family. My father who is British made trifle with Jello - my SIL made it with Jam (ie: jelly) Both were in a snit and producing British recipes! That debate lasted for years!
Jun. 21, 2010 7:52 am
A couple I know, mostly from reading Bridget Jones' Diary and the Georgia Nicholson books! - In American English, you dump your boyfriend, in British English you chuck him or finish with him. Barrister = lawyer. Cuppa = cup of tea. "Pudding" can often refer to any dessert in British English. And I've always liked the way British English speakers say things like "I'll have you over at mine". That's more of a different turn of phrase than a different vocabulary though, I guess.
Jun. 21, 2010 8:35 am
Great blog! Lucy, heavy cream is whipping cream-32%
Jun. 21, 2010 9:17 am
swede=rutabaga Have and Uncle from England who almost got into a fight with a guy in the sporting goods store in the U.S., when my Uncle asked for a football and the guy brought him an American football. My Uncle say's that's not a football and the guy and him started arguing. My Uncle wanted what we call a Soccer ball. lol
Jun. 21, 2010 9:35 am
We always called our living room "the lounge". An English friend who came and stayed here asked the waiter at Spaghetti Factory if they had any salad cream and he looked very puzzled.
Jun. 21, 2010 9:43 am
The salad cream comment made me laugh! My Auntie Joyce was visiting here and ordered salad with French dressing - what she wanted and expected was oil and vinegar dressing - imagine her surprise!
Jun. 21, 2010 9:45 am
Thanks everyone ~ I have updated my list to include your words. Can't believe I had missed them out!
Jun. 21, 2010 10:08 am
How about "loo ~ bathroom" and "trolley ~ cart"? Great blog! I was ROFLMAO when I came to "rubber ~ eraser"!! I can just picture a child in school here in America asking their teacher for a "rubber" LOL!
Jun. 21, 2010 10:11 am
What do the English call an American Biscuit? Like a Pillsbury breakfast biscuit?
Jun. 21, 2010 10:30 am
I bet you get alot of silent reactions as well. Last week my neighbor said,"Guess what my husband is doing.....watching football." I just smiled and didn't say anything and just figured he was watching re-runs until I got home and world cup was on hahaha.
Jun. 21, 2010 10:46 am
Great list! Love the insight - I knew most of them from reading and relatives who used to live there, as well as Australia....I always wondered what "Ta" meant - my cousin and aunt said that often and finally they told me it was "thanks"! I was going to say what Jennifer said about cul-de-sacs...also, my British friend used a different word for a certain kind of fire truck, the ladder or scope...I can't recall what it was!
Jun. 21, 2010 11:07 am
Has anyone heard of a washcloth being called a flannel? I was very confused when my boyfriend first used this word with me. His mother is from Ireland. He was born in England.
Jun. 21, 2010 11:25 am
i am never calling it a cupcake again! also, dessicated coconut sounds violent! pop to soda isn't a british-american thing, though. i consider it more a west coast USA vs east coast US thing. the first time i talked to a person from washington state, i was thrown when he said "i drank 12 pops today". i actually say some of these, since i went through a serious british tv/book phase. i say Jam, Bum, and tinned, and spell most things british-style. very cool stuff!
Jun. 21, 2010 12:26 pm
Flannel is a word I have come across, mostly heard it from my grandparents, we would mostly call a wash cloth a face cloth. Not sure on the fire truck, only ever come across a fire engine. Ta is a regional slang word to mean thank you. Cindy we don't really have what you call biscuits here. The nearest item to that would be a scone, which is available mostly plain or with currents (Fruit scone) or cheese, although of course you will get a few variations.
Jun. 21, 2010 12:29 pm
Oh my goodness, not sure what has gone wrong with the blog, hopefully it will sort its self out soon....
Jun. 21, 2010 12:47 pm
Fun blog AS. I've heard most of them as well and few that are new to me, like salad creme for instance. To Sporky, I agree with you on the West coast/ east coast pop/soda debate. I live on the west coast and we drink pop here, but anyone that drinks 12 in a day is setting themselves up for diabetes. It doesn't matter where they live.
Jun. 21, 2010 12:54 pm
I've heard of quite of few that you listed. I knew what a skip was from watching a program on the BBC channel,"How Clean is Your House?" This is an excellent topic!!
Jun. 21, 2010 12:55 pm
YowwwwwZaaaaaa...what the heck happened?????????????
Jun. 21, 2010 9:41 pm
Well - the blog went ZZZZZZZZZZIIIIIIIIIIXXXXXXXX ! Maybe, it's a British thing - teasing!
Jun. 22, 2010 6:08 am
I was wondering if the British differentiate between jelly (seeds strained out) and jam (preserves with seeds or chunks of fruit), or does jam cover both things? I am glad to finally understand that jelly means Jello. That clears up some misunderstanding! Baking Nana, that was funny about the trifle. My boyfriend's Irish mother makes trifle with just Jello and sometimes with jam and Jello both. She kept telling me jelly was in it, and I was confused.
Jun. 22, 2010 6:44 am
Jam covers both, although we get seedless jam.
Jun. 22, 2010 7:11 am
Apple , great blog ! I was reading the blog to my son and we were laughing so hard because my husband is going to be so lost in translation when he gets to Manchester next week!!! how about the "the bobbies" is that still the police? Can't wait for the next blog!
Jun. 22, 2010 9:57 am
The bobbies, is a very old word for the police. But I guess its still used. Thank you for your comments DF. I am sure your husband will be just fine...
Jun. 22, 2010 10:16 am
being of british descent, (and also proudly Canadian), i've heard many of these words from family and friends.we have some slightly different meanings for some of these words as well, some of the most amusing being: aubergine~ a shade of purple, panties~ underwear, braces~ dental device to straighten teeth, the ever popular jam vs jelly debate, collectivly just called preserves. (pickles fall into this broad category as well), Jello~ Gelatin, and most soda's are just called by their brand name or flavour. aka: Pepsi or Coke (cola), A&W (rootbeer), Seven-Up (lemon-lime), etc. Great Blog!!
Jun. 22, 2010 10:19 am
a quick clarification: jam/jelly preserves are usually referred to by ingredient, like Strawberry Preserves. Savory preserves are usually called pickles (cucumbers) or as the pickled ingredient. (pickled beets or pickled herring)
Jun. 22, 2010 1:22 pm
@avon- this was on a cruise with a free soda fountain- i doubt he has a habit of it, considering he has 6 pack abs!
Jun. 22, 2010 2:19 pm
I loved this blog - before it went nuts!!! I lived in England for 3 years when I was a child, so a lot of your terms were familiar. I don't think I saw 'torch' = flashlight.
Jun. 22, 2010 6:10 pm
That is so funny it reminds me of my step mother, though from Columbia. When she was learning English she tried to get on a bus and a man was in the way. She looked at him and said "Esqueeze a me." So he gave her a big hug. She came home in tears.
Jun. 22, 2010 8:09 pm
Spent some time in Somerset more years ago than I care to count & now am getting to know some of girls again via Facebook. Reading all this is fun! Recently one posted about a mossie = mosquito. I also remember the different pronunciations (garage, aluminium).
Jun. 22, 2010 10:17 pm
And then, to get totally confused, and to risk getting into "strife" (=trouble) try some Aussie rhyming slang, eg, my mate is "my old china plate", the pub (hotel) is the "rubbity dub", and it gets worse, so I don't really want to talk about what an Aussie might be referring to if he refers to your nuts....and police may be anything from Demons to Bacon, aka in the UK as the Bill, ....language is a wonder. And getting the hang of recipes requirements such as "half and half" has been challenging. And the expression "hubby" is one which my 87 yo Mum recalled, but which I have only seen on US sites. Viva la difference!
Jun. 22, 2010 11:29 pm
Let's not forget that 'shag' is not a carpet or a bird. But, a bird IS a chick! And, what about 'sleeping policemen' (speed bumps)?
Jun. 23, 2010 6:36 am
I'm from Australia originally and we call Sprite or 7UP "lemonade". I have no idea what we call the American version of lemonade. Probably American lemonade? :)
Jun. 23, 2010 6:49 am
I love to browse on Allrecipes.com.uk, the charming and instructive sister site for British and Irish cooking, and usually understand the different recipe terms, but the various types of sugar and cuts of meat throw me every time, as do oven temperatures (gas marks). Fortunately all this can be looked up on the Web. The site for Australia and New Zealand is great too. If you haven't checked these sites out yet, please do!
Jun. 23, 2010 7:07 am
I work with a girl that speaks "british english" and she doesn't just separate the boxes, they get segregated. And the inner office she calls the inner sanctum. Both are correct, just not how we say it here in the states.
Jun. 23, 2010 7:47 am
How cute! And actually very helpful. Sometimes I have trouble processing conversations with an associate. Think I'll print and keep in my desk!!!:) How about bumbershoot (sp) and umbrella. Is that right?
Jun. 23, 2010 7:58 am
Where I live, both American and British english are used, and we tend to use them without really thinking. It's nice to finally find the origins of the words we're using! The public school=private school bit really did confuse me though.
Jun. 23, 2010 8:18 am
Aren't 'driveway' and 'parkway' reversed? I am really enjoying your blog? I've only visited London once and been to Scotland. It was very interesting to hear all the differences in language! When I talk to my Scotland friends on the phone, I have to really concentrate---they talk faster than we do here in Texas! It's easier when they visit.
Jun. 23, 2010 8:28 am
Lorilou ~ A driveway or Drive, is leading up to your garage. Norma ~ Like you I also love allrecipes.co.uk, although I don't use it quite as much as the American site. fiona39 ~ Like you I call SPrite, 7 Up etc lemonade and so do my family and friends who visit me over here. Needless to say it causes some confusion when a still lemon drink is put in front of them! Diseymoon ~ How funny, I have just finished my next blog which I will more than likely publish at the end of the week that is all about Cockney rhyming slang!
Jun. 23, 2010 8:58 am
I had a colleague (medical products) whose family relocated to England while he worked there a few years, and he told me about many ‘differences,’ including words. The one that always comes to my mind is the British word “trolley” (as in a medical "stretcher/gurney" or any type of cart [which you also find in a hospital or clinic] here in the U.S.)… Well, I was told that anything with wheels in England is a trolley. My husband is from Boston, and my relatives came to Connecticut (through Boston) in 1631 and 1635, so I see several words that you list as strictly British are used by my husband (and a few in my family). My husband still calls our living/family room “the parlor/parlour” and calls soda “pop,” etc. I read so many British novels, that I often even spell words “the British way,” which is a whole other story! Interesting Blog! Thank you strudel.
Jun. 23, 2010 9:10 am
English - "I will knock you up" American - I'll call you
Jun. 23, 2010 9:11 am
I was recently looking through Jamie Oliver's site, and saw the phrase "you'll be laughing" a few times. Had to look it up. Also, my high school english teacher studied abroad in the late 50s-early 60s, and told a story of slapping a young man who offered to 'knock her up' the next day. Poor guy....it didn't get sorted out til the next day!
Jun. 23, 2010 9:14 am
Hello again Mrs.S you are right about the shopping cart and the gurney being a trolley, although we also use the word stretcher. Parlor is an old word, and I know it was one my grandma used. The parlor was the "posh" room in the house that was only used mostly for guests. It would also be the room, where you would take afternoon tea on sundays (using your best china, of course). Gosh I have not heard the word parlor for quite a while... I may cover the spelling differences another time, as I am pretty sure that is a whole new blog!!!
Jun. 23, 2010 9:43 am
Apple, here's one I bet you didn't know....the origin of the word posh. It stands for Port Out, Starboard Home. When the wealthy English took ocean liners to India back in the late 1800s-early 1900s, they didn't want their staterooms to be on sunny side of the boat, so requested the port side to, and the starboard side home to be in the shade. Anything fancy or expensive has since become known as posh.
Jun. 23, 2010 9:52 am
Oooops, you still forgot que = line, or did I miss it?
Jun. 23, 2010 10:46 am
DH and I were visiting England in about 1987. We were walking the streets of Bath when an older man approached and started to talk our ears off. At one point he referred to someone else as a "dirty bugger" then turned to me and said "pardon my language". It wasn't until several years later that I learned the true meaning of what he had said. I read "The Blooding" by Joseph Wambaugh. It was an eye opener. It really is amazing how we think we speak the same language. :) Thanks for sharing.
Jun. 23, 2010 1:15 pm
I sincerely hope it's dual carriageway and not duel. By the way, in the US jam has bits of fruit in it; jelly is just jam without fruit bits. Pumps are not necessarily stilettos either; stiletto is just a heeled shoe with very thin heel. Its American equivalent would be spike heel. Pop is still used locally in the US. Also, I have yet to see heavy whipping cream that has the consistency of the double cream here in the US. While double is 48%, heavy whipping cream is around 36%~40%. You can't make proper clotted cream with heavy whipping cream - you can make mock version, but it never does taste quite proper nor does it have the right texture- but I've succeeded in making it with double (I've usually ended up whisking Danish butter to make something that tastes similar).
Jun. 23, 2010 1:45 pm
apple.strudel, I forgot to ask you a question! When I read articles in the U.K. "MailOnline" [--- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/index.html ---] ---> What does it mean when I read that someone has "lost 2 stone"... they do not say 2 stones ('plural'), just "2 stone" (as in "losing weight")... We use "pounds," so do not know what they mean. I thought the metric system was used in Europe, so do not understand the "stone" reference. ~ Also, in the U.S., we say "I am going to THE hosptial", but the British say "I am going to hospital" (without the "article" THE). So then, I am wondering, in the U.K., they must think WE speak oddly also! But, I read so much English/British literature, I am used to it. Thanks so much apple.strudel; another interesting Blog! Have a great day!
Jun. 23, 2010 2:46 pm
I loved this! What I found interesting is that in Canada we use a combination of both lists and sometimes use both interchangeably. We say Pop and not soda, but we use Cul-du-sac and deadend as well and Exhaust pipe and muffler. This was a great blog!
Jun. 23, 2010 2:49 pm
My mother who's British remembers trying to cheer up American soldiers during WWII, telling them,"keep your pecker up."
Jun. 23, 2010 3:02 pm
A lorry is a truck, and I didn't see Articulated Lorry which is an 18 wheeler. I lived in England for 14 years so all of this is familiar. The first time I went, the clerk at the hotel asked if I wanted to be knocked up in the morning. I think my jaw dropped to my chest. A bum bag is a fanny pack. A stone is 14 pounds and they are just too used to using it to change I think. A fortnight is 2 weeks, but everybody knows that. One thing that was fun was going to markets. The guys would call me love or lover. And they would yell it to the heavens that I said banana not banahna. Good memories. Thanks so much.
Jun. 23, 2010 3:56 pm
When I first met my husband's children (their mother is British)we were having Sushi at a restaurant and one of them asked if they could have some pudding. I was confused because I had never seen pudding at a sushi place. ;) LOL They informed me (laughing) that pudding was dessert. :) They were 6 & 8 then. From then on I had to be on my toes. ;)
Jun. 23, 2010 4:22 pm
That "knocked up" is a hoot!! I laughed so hard reading through all of this. It was a terrific read. But I didn't catch "what a cute fanny your kid has" really means???
Jun. 23, 2010 4:41 pm
Not sure if anyone has mentioned these. Lift = elevator University = 4 year college
Jun. 23, 2010 4:50 pm
This blog is great! I actualy have my own blog www.madewithpink.com and it's all about baking and the differences between baking in the US, Canada & the UK. I moved to the UK from Canada 2 years ago, and have complied a similar list of baking words to yours that I put up on my blog, as I was sooo confused when I moved here! A few things to add to your list: North American ------ British Custome Made -------- Bespoke Sprite -------- Lemonade Lemonade -------- Cloudy Lemonade Garbage/Trash ------- Rubbish Girl ------- Bird Bathroom/Restroom --- Loo Pickle ------- Gherkins Salad Dressing ------ Salad Cream All Purpose Flour --- Plain Flour Also I think the funniest thing ever was when my dad was visiting from Canada and we went to the hardware (UK = DIY store) and my dad asked for Cocking because he was helping us redo our kitchen. I also went up to a different lady and asked her where the cocking was. Her eyes almost buldged out of her head!!! They call it "sealant" here LOL! Ooops!
Jun. 23, 2010 4:53 pm
Oh, and I don't think we have an equiilant to this in the US or Canada but they sell some kind of frozen meat product here called Faggots!!!
Jun. 23, 2010 5:03 pm
Sorry, my post above got really messed up cuz the formatting didn't turn out.
Jun. 23, 2010 5:17 pm
Roxybc ~ Thank you for your comments, I have added some of your words to my list, thank you... Mrs.S that may be a regional thing, as I would certainly say I am going to the hospital today, or I have been to the hospital today. Pam ~ That phrase unfortunately may be used in that context. Not everyone uses the language nicely. Sugarnspice ~ Thank you. I have update the list to include queue. Its funny on the journey home today, I thought of many more words. But can't for the life of me think what they are now!
Jun. 23, 2010 6:34 pm
I have just moved back to Ont from Uk after being there for 10 yrs. Beets-beetroot Dr's office-Dr surgery couch -settee crimbo-christmas long weekend =bank holiday homely=plain, unattractive homey-homely nap-take a kip police- old bill steal- to nick arrested- to be nicked but my favs are wanker and bollocks
Jun. 23, 2010 6:45 pm
Cdnshaz ~ I think we need a few beep, beeps in there for censorship... Its not even reached the 9pm tv watershed !!! Not come across homely or homey-homely, may be they are regional...
Jun. 23, 2010 7:41 pm
I think it depends on the region you are in and the people you are around. I have always called a roundabout, a roundabout. Traffic Circle just sounds too formal and takes too many syllables. Of course anyone who reads as a past time probably has more experience with the differences and is not put off when they come across someone who is from a place such as England or Australia or whatnot.
Jun. 23, 2010 7:43 pm
Might I also add that certain areas do use some of the same words as you do? Up in the Pacific Northwest many are fond of saying pop, but I am perplexed by it, because I grew up in California for the most part and always called it Soda.
Jun. 23, 2010 11:37 pm
Love your list, apple! I'm an American living in Australia and many of the English words you mentioned are the same here, and I've experienced the same kind of head-scratching grocery store trips you mentioned. Pronunciation is always another fun part of moving countries. An American here once asked for "toe-may-toe" on a sandwich and was surprised to receive only "mayo" instead, lol. What are green/red peppers called in the UK? In Oz they are called capsicum.
Jun. 24, 2010 5:03 am
Bespoke means custom made according to my British friends.
Jun. 24, 2010 5:44 am
/\ You, I got that one on my list as well. When I moved here and started looking for a job, so many of the descriptions in my field mentioned "bespoke" it took me a while to find out what the heck that meant!!! That along with Fortnight (2 week period) were probably the 2 oddest words I first heard. I'm going to have to update my blog (www.madewithpink.com) to include some of these other terms I think!
Jun. 24, 2010 6:10 am
A question, if you please. When my girlfriend came here from England in the 60's she lived with her mother and father in laws while her husband found work. She used to tease her mom in law by calling her a "chintzy sod". Was that a bad word or just slang for the word 'bloke" ?
Jun. 24, 2010 6:28 am
Love your blogs. I am under the impression that double cream is heavier than American heavy cream with more butterfat. Funny how we assume things about other cultures. I had a crem brulee (sp?) when in England that tasted like pure butter with sugar and vanilla in it. Other than that, everything we ate in England was wonderful. I espcially liked summer pudding made with mixed berries.
Jun. 24, 2010 6:29 am
Linnie, Not heard of the term, Chintzy sod. The only Chintz I know is the floral fabric, wallpaper design which is kind of traditional and maybe a little country style. Not sure if that has anything to do with the saying... Its certainly a new one on me!
Jun. 24, 2010 6:30 am
Roxybc ~ Thank you for letting us know about your own blog, I had a quick look yesterday but will check it out in more detail later...
Jun. 24, 2010 6:31 am
Cj ~ Thank you. We have 3 main types of serving cream in England Whipping, single and double cream. Then of course there are the speciality creams like clotted cream (yum my favorite)...
Jun. 24, 2010 7:20 am
I too am english and have lived in Canada fr 18 yrs.I laughed when you said how people thought you were from Australia and Germany..the SAME has happened to me!!! I also get south Africa but NEVER England..LOL!!! I don't have to worry about not being understood but I do find i'll slip back once in a while and say Bin instead of garbage or petrol for Gas!!!
Jun. 24, 2010 8:37 am
Ooh, I just thought of another. I really don't like this one: People here in the UK (mainly younger ones) use the expression "I'm well chuffed" of they're really pleased with something. I just it sounds like chaffed (sp?). With regards to the term Chintzy sod, I've heard the word Chintzy used (in Canada) to describe something cheap or tacky. So I'm thinking that Chintzy sod would be the equivilant of "Cheap bugger (guy/person)". Also, the world clotted cream really grosses me out. Clotted just sounds like icky blod clots. Doesn't sound very appealing at all. I've only had it once or twice on some scones when afternoon tea was served on a BA flight. I didn't like the taste of it on it's own, but when I put strawberry jam on top I did enjoy it.
Jun. 24, 2010 9:02 am
Umm, I can think of a few that are not listed but not appropriate for company :) Also I have to say that my husband is from London and we frequently hear Australia, which makes me smile BUT one time someone did say Germany and I honestly laughed in their face. I thought it was because we live in such a rural state(maine) and people here don't travel outside the state, let alone the country. I guess it's just silly American's :)
Jun. 24, 2010 9:57 am
Ha! I'm from the West Coast of Canada and I've had people from England ask me if I was both Irish and from New Jersey!! Go figure...
Jun. 24, 2010 10:00 am
This was funny to read. My family does mission work in Guyana, South America (formerly British Guiana), and they have a very heavy British influence in their language, and they use most of these words!
Jun. 24, 2010 11:09 am
I really enjoyed it - a couple times! Thanks for the blog..
Jun. 24, 2010 7:59 pm
Still use the word petrol here in Texas, but most people know what I mean. Born & raised in Canada so alot of the words bring back memories. After I've been home to Canada for a holiday(vacation) friends say I have a CanTex accent!
Jun. 24, 2010 9:09 pm
My husband is the recipe king in the house and he showed this to me. I moved from Australia to the U.S. 6 years ago and this really gave me a chuckle...many of the words are the same and I realized when reading it how many I still use everyday without thinking. I remember having to give my kids (8 & 12 at the time) "the talk" about words before we moved. "You will ask to go to the bathroom, not the toilet. You are not wearing your thongs, you are wearing flip-flops. If someone mentions fanny, they mean your bum, not your privates (female)." My son was most disappointed at school to realize jelly was not in fact jelly (jello) and all of us were disappointed when we ordered lemonade (expecting sprite). In Australia, soda's/pop are most often referred either by their brand name or "soft drink". We also live in Hawaii, so there are even more differences in wordings for common things. I am an L&D nurse and it's an effort to remember to say diaper instead of nappy, or pacifier instead of dummy. I still want to call my cart a trolley !! In Aus our toilets are often in their own little rooms and we go "to the toilet", my husband (an american) would say "the toilet room" and explained to me that was TMI for most americans...so we conformed...lol Thanks again for this blog, it brought back memories and gave me a good chuckle.
Jun. 25, 2010 3:12 am
lol - I was married to a Brit for 20 years - scones and biscuits are not the same thing - different recipes! Scones usually have a sweet flavoring - blueberries, orange, glaze, etc. biscuits are plain or savory and often served with gravy, esp. in the South! The Red Lobster restaurants serve a cheese biscuit instead of bread as an appetizer. Thanks for the chuckles & memories
Jun. 25, 2010 4:19 am
Ah, wonderful! DH and I moved to London almost a year ago now, and it's still taking time to adjust. Cooking is interesting, not just converting to metric, but also different ways of measuring (i.e. butter in the US is by volume such as cups, but here it's by weight). The heavy cream = double cream (mostly) and cream cheese = soft cheese took me a while to figure out. Plus the fact that cheddar cheese isn't yellowy-orange. Socially, I'm pretty sure EVERY time we go to a pub with friends the conversation declines into arguments/debates about these differences, haha! My favorite time was a friend of ours leaned in real close to my hubby and I and "Can I ask the two of you a question?" "Sure, what is it?" We ask concerned. She looks really serious "What....... Is a popsicle?" We burst out laughing! But yeah, I've heard brolly = umbrella, and the whole lemonade = Sprite whereas cloudy lemonade = lemonade (the kind actually from squeezed lemons). For 4th of July we are hosting a real American BBQ/picnic with lemonade, apple pie, burgers with all the trimmings, etc.
Jun. 25, 2010 4:34 am
Maybe I missed this: when someone invites you in, they say "come through" right? Great blog; I've read it two or three times...oh, most people in the midwest say "pop" and when we moved to NewMexico, we were told it's soda there. lol
Jun. 25, 2010 5:03 am
SWCHEF I guess some people may say come through, I would say come in. We all have our own regional way of saying things... GRIFFIN10 ~ That is so funny, have fun at your 4th July party... JBL ~ We had the same little talk with our sons. I think they have got the hang of the America words more easily than I have. In fact only yesterday I asked my son if he would replace the hand towel in the cloakroom. Of course he had no idea was I was talking about. What's the cloakroom he asked? Its the downstairs bathroom or 1/2 bath but in England its the guest cloakroom. Still trying to make my mind up whether he really had forgotten or simply just trying it on!
Jun. 25, 2010 5:04 am
If you have had fun reading this list, stop by at my latest blog. Its all about Cockney Rhyming slang.
Jun. 25, 2010 6:31 am
Hello all I am brand new to this blog and absolutely loved. I was raised in Ireland and so many words are the same as in Britian. Do you use cooker for stove? We also say cuppa for a cup of tea and my dad was my da. Going to go check out the cockney rhyming slang - love that!
Jun. 25, 2010 7:06 am
Sorry having problems with the text again, I have reported this once again to allrecipes, so hopefully it will be corrected soon.
Jun. 25, 2010 8:13 am
Maybe it is just a regional thing, but my grandma always called a couch a davenport. I loved reading this blog. hubby and I play and online game with voice chat and we have several british gentlemen who play with us. Its also amazing to see the regional and the age diffences in the language. One guys says he's a "yam yam" which was explain ment that he was from a certain area. Is it true that in some areas say "bloody hell" is as rude as saying the american "f" word?!? gotta love the differences in the language, provided us all a lot of laughs debating the "proper" usage of words! My hubby always relates a story from when he was stationed in england and went to his first pup. Olde gent walked up and said something like "eh there, got a ?" Hubby almost hit him before it dawned on him that the guy wanted a ciggarette!
Jun. 25, 2010 8:14 am
Pub* sorry, not enough coffee this morning!
Jun. 25, 2010 11:00 am
One that I learned from listening to The Clash, ...keep a generation gap, try wearing a cap."
Jun. 25, 2010 12:04 pm
When my older brother used to punch me I'd tell my mom he was "thumping" me. And we called passing gas "trumping". My mom would call my brothers boy parts his "willy digit" so when we moved to Canada and the teachers talked about digits in math class we would giggle thinking it was something dirty!
Jun. 25, 2010 1:41 pm
I'll never forget when my friend jumped off the phone with me because he had to go "knock up the neighbor lass". Before I could ask him what he meant he had hung up on me. When he called back later I found out that he had gone to wake her up lol.
Jun. 25, 2010 2:07 pm
Just yesterday, I had to 'translate' for my daughter-in-law when my Brit hubby from South Wales asked her when she would be trying out the 'push chair' (stroller) she'd bought for our new grandson. I've learned a LOT about the 'English' language from my darling hubby!
Jun. 25, 2010 5:11 pm
I'm an American, living in Ireland for 4 years and I still struggle sometimes in the stores. Being from Texas, I didn't expect to have to go to the health food store to find cornmeal, which is maize meal, when I can find it at all. Many things I find in Polish or Asian stores that are common stuff in Texas. Like Okra and cream style corn. I miss Cool Whip a lot. lol And canned biscuits, for biscuits and gravy. Scones are great, but not really for that. Shopping is an adventure for sure. Oh, one you left out: coriander-cilantro.
Jun. 25, 2010 5:15 pm
@TheWelshmansWife: and I love "sticks" for canes or crutches !! Here, a sidewalk is a footpath rather than even pavement. The first time I heard the term push chair, I thought they were talking about a wheel chair.
Jun. 25, 2010 5:26 pm
@DawnofMarch, in Texas, any and all carbonated drinks are coke; so it's what kind of coke do you want. And hey, here's another one: hob-stove or cook top. Where on earth did "hob" come from?
Jun. 25, 2010 6:06 pm
How about hoover for vacuum? The British comedy "Are You Being Served?" used it often and friends in Virginia, after visiting their son in Manchester UK, now hoover rather than vacuum.
Jun. 25, 2010 11:28 pm
We've been here in So Cal for 9 months and we're getting there with the lingo and this brought a smile reminding me of various conversations since we arrived. One missing one which an American friend warned me about before we came was Coriander being called cilantro here. My kids were hugely entertained the week we arrived to find my husband's work which uses just letters to label buildings has one called WC! (That's a toilet in Britain for those who don't know) My kids are pretty much bi-lingual now - a couple of weeks ago we were off to a pool party and I asked my 6 year old daughter, already in her cossy under her clothes, if she had remembered her pants to which she replied "Mummy I'm wearing my American pants and my English pants are in my bag!"
Jun. 25, 2010 11:34 pm
You've missed "do the washing up" in Canada and the US we'd say "do (or wash) the dishes".
Jun. 25, 2010 11:36 pm
UK's Gobsmacked was interesing to learn, its just stunned in Canada and US.
Jun. 26, 2010 4:19 am
Oh yes, and if you're looking for mange tout in America, look for snow peas instead. That one really got me. Talking to a friend from Northern Ireland (we live in the Republic) I mentioned hooking it to the kitchen. She gave me a "WHAT???" look. She was trying to imagine what kind of machinery I was talking about. I had to explain it was slang for walking quickly. Of course being from Texas, how do I explain "fixing to" to anybody outside the south? lol But at least they do understand "y'all". Oh, and for Americans visiting this part of the world, for Heavens sake, don't offer to "give someone a ride"!!! It has a totally different connotation here!! LOL
Jun. 26, 2010 10:22 am
...and I remember my husband commenting on an elderly person using a 'zimmer frame'...what we would call a 'walker'...
Jun. 26, 2010 9:26 pm
What about trainers (UK) which are sneakers in the US
Jun. 27, 2010 7:02 am
I had to giggle reading some of these. Was your move to America a permanent one or was it for work? I am an American but married to a Scotman and we lived in England for 5 1/2 years before moving to Italy....he is military! I have so many funny stories from when I first moved to the UK,here are just a couple... I am a hairdresser and one of the girls I worked with had an interview to work for BA but didn't have any "smart" clothes to wear so I offered her my suit jacket and pants,I fell down laughing when she asked why in the world I would let her use my underpants! haha Also when I went to cut my first clients fringe I asked her how she wore her bangs! It took several minutes and the whisper of "they are called fringe" from my co worker to sort out what we were both talking about! Now I have picked up so many of what I call "British-isms" that I don't even hear myself saying them anymore. People are always trying to figure out where I am from and I do find when I speak to my family in the US I have to watch what word I am using (ie am I using the British English word or the American English word) Also when I am writing, so many words are spelled different between both English languages! It depends on who I am writing to as to what word to use and which way to spell it! Now we live in Italy it has become even more interesting! Our daughter goes to a local school and speaks Italian like second nature so when she talks it is in a mix of both of the English languages and Italian! I do find it difficult at times when cooking because I have to mind what unit of measure I am supposed to be using and like you the variety of food is very different so I often have to find substitutes. I really just wanted to say I enjoyed your blog post...thanks for sharing!
Jun. 27, 2010 7:12 am
im from barbados so i use the british words too but still we have copied some of the American words as well.I have an additional word to share.In America its High school, while in the Caribbean and British world it's Secondary school
Jun. 27, 2010 3:02 pm
Thia was great, thanks!
Jun. 27, 2010 3:48 pm
Learned during a year of study abroad in the UK - to "pull" during a night out in the UK can mean just to kiss (as I was astounded that a flatmate pulled 3 guys in one night!) and conversely, you shouldn't say how much you want to flip off a bad driver over there!
Jun. 27, 2010 7:15 pm
awww I can't read the list darn it!
Jun. 27, 2010 8:19 pm
@kimjoyberly - haha, yes....(but you flip a coin not toss it when teaching British teenagers statistics if you don't want them all rofl.) I was very concerned when the principal of my eldest child's school told me he had "flipped off" another student during an argument. She noticed that I was both confused and concerned and had to explain what it meant - I didn't enlighten her as to what it means to a Brit!
Jun. 27, 2010 8:21 pm
A question for the American's on here: I have just read a number of "coffee cake" recipes that do not contain any coffee. Now in Britain coffee cakes contain instant coffee powder or made espresso in the ingredients and taste of coffee - what does coffee cake mean in the US?
Jun. 27, 2010 10:39 pm
Coffee cake is traditionally a special cake with a crumbly topping that is particularly good accompanied by coffee!
Jun. 27, 2010 11:43 pm
This is a fun read! All the way to the end! And I learned the British meaning of fanny!!!! I was in London in 1984. Just loved it. I have one question. What is usually served at afternoon tea?
Jun. 30, 2010 6:16 am
Doesn't it seem like the British are more intelligent than Americans just by their vocabulary and their clear and crisp diction? By the way, when I was in the UK I noticed highway signs that meant "merge" but I forget the word that was used. I recall that it seemed very polite. Anyone know what it is?
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About Me
A little about me, I am a wife and Mum of two gorgeous boys aged 18 and 23, and now mummy to two adorable English Cocker Spaniel puppies named Brie and Henri. We have been living in the US now for 5 years. (You will also see me on allrecipes.co.uk - AR's UK site). I guess like most other European’s I don’t eat to live, but live to eat!!! One of my great passions in life is food. Good home cooked, fresh produce. Especially if it is sourced locally. I truly believe that it is so important at the end of the day for a family to sit down and eat a home cooked dinner together. I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen now, which always amuses my husband. A few years back we had a small public house and restaurant in the Derbyshire Countryside (England). Never once would I venture in the kitchen. With all those professionals there was certainly no need for an amateur! Should you wish you can contact me at thebritishbaker@mail.com
My favorite things to cook
More than anything I adore baking. Cakes, Cookies (or biscuits as they are known to me) and my latest love is baking bread.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Some of my earlier memories are sitting at my Grandma’s kitchen table in England, watching her bake. She insisted on having to bake a fresh cake everyday. My Grandad was a big cake fan, and a cake always had to be kept in the pantry just in case a visitor should call. Not that you could move in the pantry for more sugar, flour and butter then any village store. (Just in case food rationing ever came back). Unfortunately my Grandma has recently passed away, but her passion for baking will always live on through me and I hope that in time my baking skill will do her justice.
My cooking triumphs
Anything that actually turns out how it is supposed too!!!
My cooking tragedies
Oh my goodness where do I start, like everyone I have had the usual tragedies, sponge cakes that have sunk in the middle, over cooked pie crusts, bread that has just failed to rise but I can thankfully say with a little patience and practice I am finaly getting better!!!
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