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Differences in American English and British English

July 31, 2018

American English and British English are – well, both English, right?  They are certainly more alike than different.  We understand each other’s movies, songs and books, although we do like to make fun of each other’s accents. However, there are some differences in American English and British English. There are some slight differences in spelling and grammar, but the most noticeable differences are in vocabulary.  Have a look at the examples below.


US: antenna   UK: aerial

US: apartment/flat   UK: flat

US: apartment building   UK: block of flats

US: area code   UK: dialing code

US: ATM   UK: cashpoint

US: attorney   UK: barrister/solicitor

US: baby carriage   UK: pram

US: band-aid  UK: plaster

US: bathroom   UK: loo/ WC/ toilet

US: beet  UK: beetroot

US: buddy   UK: mate

US: busy (phone line)   UK: engaged

US: cafeteria   UK: canteen

US: can (of food)   UK: tin

US: candy   UK: sweets

US: chips   UK: crisps

US: cookie   UK: biscuit

US: corn   UK: maize

US: cotton candy   UK: candy floss

US: counter-clockwise   UK: anti-clockwise

US: crosswalk   UK: zebra crossing

US: dead end   UK: cul-de-sac

US: detour   UK: diversion

US: diaper   UK: nappy

US: divided highway   UK: dual carriageway

US: driver's license   UK: driving license

US: eggplant   UK: aubergine

US: fall/autumn   UK: autumn

US: flashlight   UK: torch

US: freeway/highway   UK: motorway

US: fries  UK: chips

US: game (sports)   UK: match


US: garbageman/garbage collector   UK: dustman/dustbin man

US: gearshift   UK: gear-lever

US: guy   UK: bloke

US: gas   UK: petrol

US: to honk   UK: to hoot/to honk

US: hood (car)  UK: bonnet

US: jello   UK: jelly

US: kerosene  UK: paraffin

US: laundromat   UK: launderette

US: line   UK: queue

US: mail   UK: post

US: movie theater   UK: cinema

US: muffler   UK: silencer

US: napkin   UK: serviette

US: one-way ticket   UK: single ticket

US: overpass   UK: flyover

US: pants   UK: trousers

US: pacifier   UK: dummy

US: parking lot   UK: car park

US: period   UK: full stop

US: pet peeve   UK: pet hate

US: pharmacy (or drugstore)   UK: chemist's shop

US: real estate agent   UK: estate agent

US: red hair   UK: ginger hair (gaining popularity in the US)

US: to rent (a car)   UK: to hire (a car)

US: restroom   UK: public toilet

US: resume/CV   UK: CV

US: sedan (car)   UK: saloon

US: semi-trailer   UK: articulated lorry

US: shrimp   UK: prawn


US: sidewalk   UK: pavement

US: soccer   UK: football

US: station wagon   UK: estate car

US: store   UK: shop


US: sweater    UK: jumper

US: tank top   UK: vest

US: thumbtack   UK: drawing pin

US: trailer   UK: caravan

US: trash/garbage can   UK: rubbish bin

US: truck   UK: lorry

US: trunk (car)   UK: boot

US: two weeks   UK: fortnight


US: vacation     UK: holiday

US: vest   UK: waistcoat

US: windshield   UK: windscreen

US: zip code   UK: postcode

US: zucchini   UK: courgette

US: z (pron. "zee")  UK: z (pron. "zed")

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