British and American terms

American readers of British writing are well aware of the spelling differences that exist between the two varieties of English. For example: labor/labour, enthral/enthrall, tire/tyre, or center/centre—to name just a few. There are also many cases in which American and British English use different terms to describe the same thing. Here’s a list of various British words and expressions together with their American equivalents. 

British English
American English
accommodation
accommodations
action replay
instant replay
aerofoil
airfoil
aeroplane
airplane
agony aunt
advice columnist
Allen key
Allen wrench
aluminium
aluminum
aniseed
anise
anticlockwise
counterclockwise
articulated lorry
tractor-trailer
asymmetric bars
uneven bars
aubergine
eggplant
baking tray
cookie sheet
bank holiday
legal holiday
beetroot
beet(s)
bill
check
biscuit
cookie; cracker
black economy
underground economy
blanket bath
sponge bath
blind
(window) shade
block of flats
apartment building
boiler suit
coveralls
bonnet (of a car)
hood
boob tube
tube top
boot (of a car)
trunk
bottom drawer
hope chest
bowls
lawn bowling
braces
suspenders
brawn (the food)
headcheese
breakdown van
tow truck
breeze block
cinder block
bridging loan
bridge loan
bumbag
fanny pack
candyfloss
cotton candy
car park
parking lot
casualty
emergency room
catapult
slingshot
central reservation
median strip
chemist
drugstore
chips
French fries
cinema
movie theater; the movies
cling film
plastic wrap
common seal
harbor seal
consumer durables
durable goods
cornflour
cornstarch
cos (lettuce)
Romaine
cot
crib
cot death
crib death
cotton bud
cotton swab
cotton wool
absorbent cotton
council estate
(housing) project
courgette
zucchini
court card
face card
crash barrier
guardrail
crisps
chips; potato chips
crocodile clip
alligator clip
cross-ply
bias-ply
crotchet (music)
quarter note
current account
checking account
danger money
hazard pay
demister (in a car)
defroster
dialling tone
dial tone
diamante
rhinestone
double cream
heavy cream
draughts (game)
checkers
drawing pin
thumbtack
dressing gown
robe; bathrobe
drink-driving
drunk driving
drinks cupboard
liquor cabinet
drinks party
cocktail party
driving licence
driver’s license
dual carriageway
divided highway
dummy
pacifier
dust sheet
drop cloth
dustbin
garbage can
earth (electrical)
ground
engaged (of a phone)
busy
estate agent
real estate agent, realtor (trademark)
estate car
station wagon
ex-directory
unlisted
faith school
parochial school
financial year
fiscal year
fire brigade/service
fire company/department
first floor
second floor
fish finger
fish stick
fitted carpet
wall-to-wall carpeting
flannel
washcloth
flat
apartment
flexitime
flextime
flick knife
switchblade
flyover
overpass
football
soccer
footway
sidewalk
fringe (hair)
bangs
full board (in hotels)
American plan
full stop (punctuation)
period
garden
yard; lawn
gearing (finance)
leverage
gear lever
gearshift
goods train
freight train
greaseproof paper
wax paper/waxed paper
green fingers
green thumb
grill (noun)
broiler
grill (verb)
broil
ground floor
first floor
groundsman
groundskeeper
hairslide
barrette
hatstand
hatrack
hen night
bachelorette party
hire purchase
installment plan
hoarding
billboard
hob
stovetop
holdall
carryall
holiday
vacation
holidaymaker
vacationer
homely
homey
hosepipe
(garden) hose
in hospital
in the hospital
hot flush
hot flash
housing estate
housing development
hundreds and thousands
sprinkles (for ice cream)
ice lolly
Popsicle (trademark)
icing sugar
confectioners’ sugar
indicator (on a car)
turn signal
inside leg
inseam
jelly babies
jelly beans
Joe Bloggs
Joe Blow
Joe Public
John Q. Public
jumble sale
rummage sale
jump lead
jumper cable
jumper
sweater
junior school
elementary school
kennel
doghouse
ladybird
ladybug
a lettuce
a head of lettuce
level crossing
grade crossing
lift
elevator
lolly
Popsicle (trademark)
lollipop lady (or man)
crossing guard
loo (toilet)
john
loose cover
slipcover
lorry
truck
loudhailer
bullhorn
low loader
flatbed truck
lucky dip
grab bag
luggage van
baggage car
maize
corn
mangetout
snow pea
market garden
truck farm
marshalling yard
railroad yard
maths
math
metalled road
paved road
milometer
odometer
minim  (music)
half note
mobile phone
cell phone
monkey tricks
monkeyshines
motorway
expressway; highway
mum/mummy
mom/mommy
nappy
diaper
needlecord
pinwale
newsreader
newscaster
noughts and crosses
tic-tac-toe
number plate
license plate
off-licence
liquor store; package store
opencast mining
open-pit mining
ordinary share
common stock
oven glove
oven mitt
paddling pool
wading pool
paracetamol
acetaminophen
parting (in hair)
part
patience
solitaire
pavement
sidewalk
pay packet
pay envelope
pedestrian crossing
crosswalk
peg
clothespin
pelmet
valance
petrol
gas; gasoline
physiotherapy
physical therapy
pinafore dress
jumper
plain chocolate
dark chocolate
plain flour
all-purpose flour
polo neck
turtleneck
positive discrimination
reverse discrimination
postal vote
absentee ballot
postbox
mailbox
postcode
zip code
potato crisp
potato chip
power point
electrical outlet
pram
baby carriage; stroller
press stud
snap
press-up
pushup
private soldier
GI
public school
private school
public transport
public transportation
punchbag
punching bag
pushchair
stroller
pylon
utility pole
quantity surveyor
estimator
quaver (music)
eighth note
queue
line
racing car
race car
railway
railroad
real tennis
court tennis
recorded delivery
certified mail
registration plate
license plate
remould (tyre)
retread
reverse the charges
call collect
reversing lights
back-up lights
right-angled triangle
right triangle
ring road
beltway
room only
European plan
roundabout (at a fair)
carousel
roundabout (in road)
traffic circle
rowing boat
rowboat
sailing boat
sailboat
saloon (car)
sedan
sandpit
sandbox
sandwich cake
layer cake
sanitary towel
sanitary napkin
self-raising flour
self-rising flour
semibreve (music)
whole note
semitone (music)
half step
share option
stock option
shopping trolley
shopping cart
show house/home
model home
silencer (on a car)
muffler
silverside
rump roast
singlet (undershirt)
wife-beater
skeleton in the cupboard
skeleton in the closet
skimmed milk
skim milk
skipping rope
jump rope
skirting board
baseboard
sledge
sled
sleeper
railroad tie
sleeping partner
silent partner
slowcoach
slowpoke
snakes and ladders
chutes and ladders
solicitor
lawyer
soya/soya bean
soy/soybean
splashback
backsplash
spring onion
green onion
stag night
bachelor party
Stanley knife
utility knife
starter
appetizer
state school
public school
storm in a teacup
tempest in a teapot
surtitle
supertitle
swede
rutabaga
sweet(s)
candy
takeaway (food)
takeout; to go
taxi rank
taxi stand
tea towel
dish towel
terrace house
row house
tick
check mark
ticket tout
scalper
tights
pantyhose
timber
lumber
titbit
tidbit
toffee apple
candy apple
touch wood
knock on wood
trade union
labor union
trading estate
industrial park
trainers
sneakers
tram
streetcar; cable car
transport cafe
truck stop
trolley
shopping cart
twelve-bore
twelve-gauge
unalike
unlike
underground
subway
vacuum flask
thermos bottle
verge (of a road)
shoulder
vest
undershirt
veterinary surgeon
veterinarian
wagon (on a train)
car
waistcoat
vest
walking frame
walker
wardrobe
closet
water ice
Italian ice
weatherboard
clapboard
white coffee
coffee with cream
white spirit
mineral spirits
wholemeal bread
wholewheat bread
windcheater
windbreaker
windscreen
windshield
wing (of a car)
fender
worktop
countertop
Yale lock
cylinder lock
zebra crossing
crosswalk
zed (letter Z)
zee
zip
zipper

 

See also
Commonly confused words


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