Hints and Things
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WORDS WITH DIFFERENT
MEANINGS IN OTHER COUNTRIES.
Since setting up this site I have become more aware of
the differences in language between the U.K. and the U.S.A. whether it be different
meanings for the same word or different words for the same thing, so thought it may be fun
to start a page listing some of these differences.
This page has now been online
for several years and I had no idea how much interest it would
provoke. I now have a file full of comments, views and
definitions. My big problem is how to present all this information in
a way which is useful, informative and entertaining. This is still a
work in progress.
Another thing which has become
apparent is the fact that there are no definitive answers; not only do
different counties/states use different terminology but there appears to be
differences between generations as well. All this makes it very
difficult to produce information with which everyone agrees.
What has become very evident over the years is just how much language is merging between all the various countries. Here in the UK we have adopted many, many “Americanisms” into everyday language and, I believe, some British terms are now used in the USA. This is probably due to travel and the wide exchange of TV programmes etc.
I think this exchange of TV programmes may also be the cause of a lot of misconceptions. Many people contacting me see to think we still use the type of language which they hear on programmes such as Upstairs, Downstairs, Pride and Prejudice etc., which, of course, is not the case. Then, of course, there are programmes like Eastenders which is set in the East End of London and the language used is from that area (minus all the swearing of course) but people from other parts of the UK not only sound very different but use completely phrases and terms.
In short this is a very complex subject.
At the foot of this page you
will find just one example of reaction received from one visitor who was
very keen for me to put the matter straight.
|CV (curriculum vitae)||Resume|
In the US we
Linda Rice kindly points out that “biscuits” in America
|Bun (a sweet individual cake, sometimes|
with dried fruit)
|Muffin (nearest example I think!!!)|
Wouldn’t it be a
|Roll or Bap||Bun|
Courtesy of LInda Rice
Linda also sent in this one.
Apparently usually used in ‘gyms’
Butt, Backside or Derriere
Submitted by Michelle McLane
Submitted by Maxine Dorot
|Flagpole||Flagstaff * |
Both Linda Rice and “Rob” have contacted me saying they
I have now been informed that both words are
Thanks to William Hitch for this
|Silencer (on motor vehicle)||Muffler*|
*Both suggested by John Stevens
Apparently another debatable one!!!
|Swede (or yellow turnip)||Rutabaga|
To be technical, wardrobes are
This made me
In the Southern part of the
It was used in “To Kill
|Class||Grade (pre-college schools)|
Thanks again to William Hitch
Most of the above were contributed by Swami Narasimhan for which we are
|Toilet or Lavatory|
Loo or Bog (slang)*
Both of these are used, loo
|Restroom (or John I believe)|
Apparently “Bathroom” is more commonly used (thanks to Dr.
William Hitch advises all the following can be heard in the USA
We Brits find this very strange “why disguise
You certainly wouldn’t want to “Rest” in British
In the US: an apartment can mean
It’s possible that rural
To be more specific, a flat
We don’t call a ‘gas station’ a
The term ‘garage’ can refer to
It is the place where vehicles are
where vehicles are
where petrol etc. can be
Years ago most garages that served
A “garage” in America is where you park your car at night.
“Pants” is now being used by our younger generation as a
It is also a term used in order to straighten
Suspenders are what ladies’ use to hold up stockings, although this
As a Yorkshireman if you can borrow his ‘suspenders’
Suspenders in the US can mean what
The word suspenders in the
Valencia Scott Colombo
|Clothes Peg||Clothes Pin|
|Bicarbonate of Soda||Baking Soda|
|Minced beef||Ground beef|
I think that’s only
|Perambulator (or Pram)||Carriage*|
If you say CHIPS in Britain people think of quite large bits of
Nik Shearer point this one out.
Another from Nik
All sent in by Debbie – thanks.
It has been pointed out by
Gas in the U.K. and apparently Australia is an
Gas can also be used to mean idle chatter.
I am told “gas” means “funny” in
Thanks to Effie Makris for
I’ve also heard the word
|Moulting (e.g. animal losing hair)||Shedding|
Sent in by Tamara Davis
Wow where are you getting your info?
Bun– in the US we have cinnamon buns and sticky buns that are sweet too.
Bottom/bum– we most def don’t use the word glutes unless we are working out or at a doctors
Ive never heard the word flagstaff, just
we DEFINITELY don’t use the word
I HAVE never heard of the word movie-house. its
As for movie and film. in school i would say film, to a friend i would say movie. do you want to watch this movie- is much more common then do you want to watch this film.. but say, an award for best new film- would not sound odd at all.
class/grade– we say class of 2001, highschool class of 1994, or kindergarden class of 2000. we say what class do you have next referring to a specific subject (like biology).. and we say get to class, (if you are late for school), pick your classes (When in college) and also always, senior class, junior class, sophmore class and the whole freshman class.. now we always say 1st grade- 12th grade too for school before college. and when you get to high school you are a freshman in high school,. sophmore in
also, when saying toilet– sometimes because we teach children to say “little girls room, or little boys room- sometimes in joking, teenagers or adults might say
oh and we park in the driveway, and we drive on the
trousers/pants– okay, we say pants as in anything that is a full length bottom.. but most commonly americans where denim, and we just call them jeans, and if they aren’t jeans, we call them by what they are- khakis, sweat pants, and if they are anything else we will say dress pants, work pants, depending on what we use them for.. dress pants are worn to church, or somewhere nice, work pants (if you are a painter) refer to pants you already ruined, but if you are a lawyer (work pants are dress pants). we dont say trousers.. if we did, i would assume they are khakis. oh and a side note: to pants someone (verb) is to pull there pants down in public.
braces/suspenders.. suspenders in the us are not for socks, or stockings, women use garter belts for that with little straps that attach.. but suspenders attach at the belt loop on the outside of slacks/pants/trousers and are held up by your shoulders then attach on the back of your trousers on the belt loops.
side walk/pavement – in the US we use either. my mother has yelled plenty at me when i was a child saying “get on the pavement, get out of the street”
chips/ chips are hard and packaged in bags they aren’t served fresh those are fries. the bigger fries are called steak fries, then we have french fries (which is a common term for any) that are regular sized and then curly fries that come in curly cues.
ground floor/first floor– we always say ground floor for the one that is the lowest (usually underground)(but not to be mistaken with the basement) the term ground floor is only used in big buildings, like hospitals that have floors underground that are used not for storage. and first floor for the floor that is the first floor above ground.
dummy/pacifier.. we would never say dummy, unless we were referring to someone dumb, and we would never never be allowed to say dummy tit, because its offensive in america to say tit. pacifier is used, and
we say angry just as much as we say
tights/ panty hose.. ahh this is complicated.. okay tights are thicker that pantyhose, pantyhose are see through, pantyhose are also known as stockings, and tights are also known as stretch pants (but the word stretch pants is frowned apon because its like an old lady thing to say), all are also known as leggings, now if they go to the knee and no higher they are known as knee highs, and if they go to the thigh, they are thigh highs, and if they go above the stomach they are called control tops.
we say taxi just as much as we say
we say shops as in smaller stores
time tables are what we call multipication “do you know your timetables
estate agent– is called a
we say jam just as much as we say
we will never call jello jelly
a garden grows vegetables or flowers, a
we say plug for outlet too. and
pub isnt uncommon in the names of bars here. but we dont say we are going to the pub
solicitors in the us are people who come door to door to sell things. and there are tons of people with stores that say “no solicitors” on the fronts
surgery is what you get when they cut you open. not where you go to get it done
a tap is what you put in a keg of beer
gravy is a brown sauce used on turkey, but many italian americans still refer to gravy as tomato sauce, and all the generations after them still use it
Kim writes as follows:_
It mentions that roundabouts
Pavement could mean
Tap and faucet are
Pissed off is used the
Git, probably from movies
Bum, derriere, backside,
I’ve never heard anyone refer to
The same goes for shoelaces.
I prefer the word film, but movies
Mailmen could also be
Porridge and oatmeal are
It’s never movie-house.
A lounge means the same
We do say waistcoat for
A cafeteria could also be
To be “sacked”
Plug and socket are
Dustbins are any bins you
Old ladies say pantyhose.
The underground can refer
Fall is not the proper
The ground floor is
Most people say taxi. I
Yes, mad means angry. But
I’ve never heard of a fall hair
We have jam, jelly, and
If someone is ill, they’d
A queue would be where
a second list of