British and American terms

British and American English often spell the same word differently, for example: labour/labor, enthrall/enthral, or centre/center. You can find out more about these differences here.

There are also many cases in which the two varieties of 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 EnglishAmerican English
accommodationaccommodations
action replayinstant replay
aerofoilairfoil
aeroplaneairplane
agony auntadvice columnist
Allen keyAllen wrench
aluminiumaluminum
aniseedanise
anticlockwisecounterclockwise
articulated lorrytractor-trailer
asymmetric barsuneven bars
aubergineeggplant
baking traycookie sheet
bank holidaylegal holiday
beetrootbeet(s)
billcheck
biscuitcookie; cracker
black economyunderground economy
blanket bathsponge bath
blind(window) shade
block of flatsapartment building
boiler suitcoveralls
bonnet (of a car)hood
boob tubetube top
boot (of a car)trunk
bottom drawerhope chest
bowlslawn bowling
bracessuspenders
brawn (the food)headcheese
breakdown vantow truck
breeze blockcinder block
bridging loanbridge loan
bumbagfanny pack
candyflosscotton candy
car parkparking lot
casualtyemergency room
catapultslingshot
central reservationmedian strip
chemistdrugstore
chipsFrench fries
cinemamovie theater; the movies
cling filmplastic wrap
common sealharbor seal
consumer durablesdurable goods
cornflourcornstarch
cos (lettuce)Romaine
cotcrib
cot deathcrib death
cotton budcotton swab
cotton woolabsorbent cotton
council estate(housing) project
courgettezucchini
court cardface card
crash barrierguardrail
crispschips; potato chips
crocodile clipalligator clip
cross-plybias-ply
crotchet (music)quarter note
current accountchecking account
danger moneyhazard pay
demister (in a car)defroster
dialling tonedial tone
diamanterhinestone
double creamheavy cream
draughts (game)checkers
drawing pinthumbtack
dressing gownrobe; bathrobe
drink-drivingdrunk driving
drinks cupboardliquor cabinet
drinks partycocktail party
driving licencedriver’s license
dual carriagewaydivided highway
dummy (for a baby)pacifier
dust sheetdrop cloth
dustbingarbage can
earth (electrical)ground
engaged (of a phone)busy
estate agentreal estate agent, realtor (trademark)
estate carstation wagon
ex-directoryunlisted
faith schoolparochial school
financial yearfiscal year
fire brigade/servicefire company/department
first floorsecond floor
fish fingerfish stick
fitted carpetwall-to-wall carpeting
flannelwashcloth
flatapartment
flexitimeflextime
flick knifeswitchblade
flyoveroverpass
footballsoccer
footwaysidewalk
fringe (hair)bangs
full board (in hotels)American plan
full stop (punctuation)period
gardenyard; lawn
gearing (finance)leverage
gear levergearshift
goods trainfreight train
greaseproof paperwax paper/waxed paper
green fingersgreen thumb
grill (noun)broiler
grill (verb)broil
ground floorfirst floor
groundsmangroundskeeper
hairslidebarrette
hatstandhatrack
hen nightbachelorette party
hire purchaseinstallment plan
hoardingbillboard
hobstovetop
holdallcarryall
holidayvacation
holidaymakervacationer
homelyhomey
hosepipe(garden) hose
in hospitalin the hospital
hot flushhot flash
housing estatehousing development
hundreds and thousandssprinkles (for ice cream)
ice lollyPopsicle (trademark)
icing sugarconfectioners’ sugar
indicator (on a car)turn signal
inside leginseam
jelly babiesjelly beans
Joe BloggsJoe Blow
Joe PublicJohn Q. Public
jumble salerummage sale
jump leadjumper cable
jumpersweater
junior schoolelementary school
kenneldoghouse
ladybirdladybug
a lettucea head of lettuce
level crossinggrade crossing
liftelevator
lollyPopsicle (trademark)
lollipop lady (or man)crossing guard
loo (toilet)john
loose coverslipcover
lorrytruck
loudhailerbullhorn
low loaderflatbed truck
lucky dipgrab bag
luggage vanbaggage car
maizecorn
mangetoutsnow pea
market gardentruck farm
marshalling yardrailroad yard
mathsmath
metalled roadpaved road
milometerodometer
minim (music)half note
mobile phonecell phone
monkey tricksmonkeyshines
motorwayexpressway; highway
mum/mummymom/mommy
nappydiaper
needlecordpinwale
newsreadernewscaster
noughts and crossestic-tac-toe
number platelicense plate
off-licenceliquor store; package store
opencast miningopen-pit mining
ordinary sharecommon stock
oven gloveoven mitt
paddling poolwading pool
paracetamolacetaminophen
parting (in hair)part
patiencesolitaire
pavementsidewalk
pay packetpay envelope
pedestrian crossingcrosswalk
pegclothespin
pelmetvalance
petrolgas; gasoline
physiotherapyphysical therapy
pinafore dressjumper
plain chocolatedark chocolate
plain flourall-purpose flour
polo neckturtleneck
positive discriminationreverse discrimination
postal voteabsentee ballot
postboxmailbox
postcodezip code
potato crisppotato chip
power pointelectrical outlet
prambaby carriage; stroller
press studsnap
press-uppushup
private soldierGI
public schoolprivate school
public transportpublic transportation
punchbagpunching bag
pushchairstroller
pylonutility pole
quantity surveyorestimator
quaver (music)eighth note
queueline
racing carrace car
railwayrailroad
real tenniscourt tennis
recorded deliverycertified mail
registration platelicense plate
remould (tyre)retread
reverse the chargescall collect
reversing lightsback-up lights
right-angled triangleright triangle
ring roadbeltway
room onlyEuropean plan
roundabout (at a fair)carousel
roundabout (in road)traffic circle
rowing boatrowboat
sailing boatsailboat
saloon (car)sedan
sandpitsandbox
sandwich cakelayer cake
sanitary towelsanitary napkin
self-raising flourself-rising flour
semibreve (music)whole note
semitone (music)half step
share optionstock option
shopping trolleyshopping cart
show house/homemodel home
silencer (on a car)muffler
silversiderump roast
skeleton in the cupboardskeleton in the closet
skimmed milkskim milk
skipping ropejump rope
skirting boardbaseboard
sledgesled
sleeperrailroad tie
sleeping partnersilent partner
slowcoachslowpoke
snakes and ladderschutes and ladders
solicitorlawyer
soya/soya beansoy/soybean
splashbackbacksplash
spring oniongreen onion
stag nightbachelor party
Stanley knifeutility knife
starterappetizer
state schoolpublic school
storm in a teacuptempest in a teapot
surtitlesupertitle
swederutabaga
sweet(s)candy
takeaway (food)takeout; to go
taxi ranktaxi stand
tea toweldish towel
terrace houserow house
tickcheck mark
ticket toutscalper
tightspantyhose
timberlumber
titbittidbit
toffee applecandy apple
touch woodknock on wood
trade unionlabor union
trading estateindustrial park
trainerssneakers
tramstreetcar; cable car
transport cafetruck stop
trolleyshopping cart
twelve-boretwelve-gauge
unalikeunlike
undergroundsubway
vacuum flaskthermos bottle
verge (of a road)shoulder
vestundershirt
veterinary surgeonveterinarian
wagon (on a train)car
waistcoatvest
walking framewalker
wardrobecloset
water iceItalian ice
weatherboardclapboard
white coffeecoffee with cream
white spiritmineral spirits
wholemeal breadwholewheat bread
windcheaterwindbreaker
windscreenwindshield
wing (of a car)fender
worktopcountertop
Yale lockcylinder lock
zebra crossingcrosswalk
zed (letter Z)zee
zipzipper

 

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