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Strange Glossary - American vs English Meanings

A two-way glossary of words in daily use on both sides of the Atlantic.

The words have been selected because of the confusion they can cause on one or other side of the Atlantic. Primarily it is for the visitor to Britain or America, but it is also for the Englishman who heard about denatured alcohol & thought it was alcohol with water added, and for the wife of an American airman based in Suffolk who combed the local shops for a jelly roll.

l'll put the American word first in Bold type and below it l'll put the English word .


A

account
bill/account


adhesive tape
sticking plaster

aisle
gangway

B

baby bed/crib
cot/crib

baby carriage/baby buggy
pram (perambulator)

back-up lights
reversing lights

baggage room
left luggage office

balcony (theater)
gallery

barette
hairslide

baseboard
skirting board

bathe (v.)
bath

bathrobe
dressing gown

bathtub
bath

bell pepper
green pepper

bill
bank note

billfold
wallet

billion = thousand million
bilion = million million

bobbie pin
hair grip/kirby grip

bomb (disaster)
bomb (success)

booth (telephone)
kiosk (telephone/cigarettes)

broil
grill

buffet
sideboard

bureau
chest of drawers

business suit
lounge suit

C

call/phone
ring up/phone

call collect
reverse charges

can
tin

candy
sweets/chocolate

candy store
sweet shop/confectioner

caravan
convoy

carnival
funfair

change purse
purse

charged (goods bought)
put down/entered

check (restaurant)
bill

checkers
draughts

check room
cloakroom

chicory
endive

chips (potato)
crisps

closet
cupboard

closet (hanging clothes)
wardrobe

clothes pin
clothes peg

collar button
collar stud

comforter
duvet/eiderdown

concert master
leader

conductor
railway guard

connect (telephone)
put through

cookie
sweet biscuit

cotton candy
candy floss

cracker
unsweetened biscuit

crazy bone
funny bone

cuffs (pants)

D

dead-end
cul-de-sac

delivery truck
van

detour
diversion

divided highway
dual carriageway

downtown
city centre

dungarees
jeans

E

eggplant
aubergine

elevator
lift

eyeball
visually position


F

fall
autumn

fender
wing/mudguard

freeway/super highway
motorway

freight truck
goods truck

French fries
chips

G

garbage/trash
rubbish

gas
petrol

gas station
petrol station

gear shift
gear lever

H

hamburger bun
bap

homely - ugly
homely - pleasant

hood (car)
bonnet

P

pacifier
dummy

pantie hose
tights

pantry
larder

parka
anorak

parking lot
car park

pavement
road

penitentiary
prison

period
full-stop

pitcher
jug

popsicle
iced lolly

precinct
district

principal
headmaster/mistress

pull-off
lay-by

pullman/sleeper
sleeping car

Submitted by John Hutchinson
 






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