American English

vs. British English


If you've ever been to London, you already know that although both countries English, there is a world of difference in our use of words.  Here is a fun list of words the British use on a regular basis that would make us scratch our heads in wonder.

  • Assistant--Sales clerk
  • Banger--Sausage
  • Carriage--Railroad car or coach
  • Dumb-waiter--Lazy Susan
  • Engaged--Busy, as in the telephone line
  • Flannel--Face cloth
  • Gangway--Aisle, as in theatres, ships and stores
  • Holiday--Vacation
  • Ice--Ice Cream
  • Jumper--Pullover sweater
  • Knave--Jack (in a deck of cards)
  • Lift--Elevator
  • Metals--Rails, as in the railroad
  • Nappy--diaper
  • Outhouse--Any building built near or against the main house
  • Petrol--Gasoline
  • Query--Complaint, as in Complaint Department in a store
  • Register--Check, in the verb use, as in checking luggage
  • Solicitor--Lawyer
  • Turtleneck--Scoop-neck shirt
  • Up--Traveling to London
  • Varnish--Nail polish
  • Waistcoat--Vest
  • Yard--Scotland Yard
  • Zed--The letter 'Z'




For more information on this topic, see British English  to Zed by Norman Schur. This book is available through our on-line Bookstore in the Non-Fiction section.

See also Researching the Romance for a more detailed bibliography on this and other topics. 

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