can anyone help me right now with some expressions in either british or american english with their meanings. not just words but expressions like...the british say here you are...and the americans say there you go.
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Comments  (Page 4) 
British EnglishAmerican English

I'd dispute that for a start! :-)

Just a few words to point out just a few of the different types of error in the list.....

1. One may adopt a baby in Britain, but I doubt that one can nominate a baby in America.
A British committee might adopt a proposal, but I doubt that the American one would nominate a proposal.

2. The word ginnel is given as British whereas it is really a regional/dialect word.

3. Flashers is not a standard, or even regional, term for what most British people would term 'indicators'. Flashers might possibly mean hazard lights - when both indicators are working simultaneously - otherwise flashers refers to men who expose themselves to people!Emotion: embarrassed

4. A full time job in British is a full time job. "Whole time" is an expression I have never heard of.

5. Treacle Sponge is NOT gingerbread - they are two different things.

6. British people are no longer 'subjects'.

Word lists such as the one posted are to be taken with a grain of salt and should be used only for general guidance.
Please be careful: the list you have posted contains many inaccuracies and obsolete forms.

Adopt nominate - inaccurate contrast
air hostess flight attendant - becoming obsolete. Flight crew/attendant used in BrE now.
bad form bad manners - obsolete. Bad manners used in BrE.
Bedsitter studio apartment - becoming obsolete. Studio flat used in BrE, occasionally bedsit, never bedsitter.
Bellpush doorbell - obsolete. Door bell used in BrE.
Bill check (restaurant payments), invoice - incorrect contrast. In the UK, we ask for the bill and pay with a cheque, in the US, you ask for the check and pay with a bill.
Billion trillion - distinction becoming obsolete. Traditionally 'billion' in BrE means a million million, but AmE use is starting to prevail
bin liner trash bag - or bin bag
Biscuit cracker, cookie - a biscuit is sweet, a cracker is savoury (and cracker is used in AmE too). We also use cookie to describe American-style cookies which are larger and semi-soft.
Blower telephone - blower is old-fashioned slang (died out in the 1950s). In BrE we say phone or telephone, just like AmE
Bonnet hood (of a car)
Boot trunk (of a car)
boot sale garage sale
Braces suspenders
Bundle package - incorrect distinction. Both are used in BrE
Bursary financial aid, scholarship - becoming obsolete. Bursary is occasionally used to mean a discretionary financial award often based on parental income. A scholarship is often won by the student deomonstrating academic prowess.
Buttered eggs scrambled eggs - obsolete. Scrambled eggs is current BrE - and has been for at least 60 years.
call box telephone booth - obsolete. Phone box is current in BrE, if you can find one in these days of mobile phones.
came away went away, left - obsolete
car smash car crash - obsolete. Crash used in BrE
Cashier dishonorable discharge - obsolete.
Casualty hospital emergency room - becoming obsolete. Casualty (department) or A&E (Accident and Emergency) used in BrE
cat mint catnip - both used in BrE
Cha tea - obsolete slang. Tea used in BrE - current slang would be a cuppa or a brew (particuarly in the north)
chambers law offices
chemist shop drug store - chemists or pharmacy used in BrE now
child-minder baby-sitter - both are used in BrE. Child minder usually looks after children during the day in the child minder's own home. A baby sitter comes to the family's home to look after the children in the evening if the parents go out.
Chips French fries - British chips are different in size to French Fries. Either might appear on a British menu.
Chit memo or voucher - obsolete
Cinema movies, movie theater
Climber vine, ivy - incorrect distinction. Ivy used (and has always been used) in BrE. For example, consider 16th century Christmas Carol "The Holly and the Ivy".
clocked in checked in - obsolete distinction. In BrE, we check in to a hotel, but clock in for a shift in a factory
Closet conference room - obsolete. Conference room used in BrE
Coach bus - obsolete distinction. Bus and coach are two different things in the UK
cold store freezer - obsolete. Freezer used in BrE
consultant department head - obsolete distinction. Consultant and department head mean two different things in BrE
Copper cop, officer - Copper is obsolete. Cop is more likely to be used in AmE than BrE these days
Cotton thread - obsolete distinction. Both used in BrE
Crisps potato chips
Cutting clipping (e.g., from a newspaper)
Dash tip, gratuity - Obsolete. In BrE we say 'tip', as do Americans - but gratuity is equally well understood. Note that the UK and US have very different tipping cultures.
dinner jacket tux, tuxedo - obsolete distinction
double bend S-curve
Draughts checkers
drawing pin thumb tack
driving wheel steering wheel - obsolete. Steering wheel is used in BrE
Dummy baby's pacifier
dust bin garbage can, trash can - dustbin (outside) or rubbish bin (inside) used in BrE.
engaged (telephone) busy signal, line is busy
engagement appointment - obsolete
estate car station wagon
Extension lead extension cord (electric) - obsolete distinction. Both used in BrE
facia pocket glove compartment - obsolete. Glove compartment used in BrE
Factor agent - obsolete distinction. Factor and agent mean different things in BrE now
Faculty department - becoming obsolete. Faculty used only in university jargon, and is more often replaced by department now
fairy cake cup cake - becoming obsolete. Both used in BrE
Fen marsh - obsolete. The Fens is a specific area in the East of England. Otherwise, marsh is used
fill in, fill up complete, fill out
Film movie - both now used in BrE
fir apple pine cone - obsolete. Pinecone used in BrE
fitted carpet wall to wall carpeting (abbreviated w/w) - obsolete
Flagstaff flagpole - obsolete. Flagpole used in BrE
Flashers turn signals - obsolete. Indicators used in BrE
Flat apartment
Flex electric cord - becoming obsolete. Cord or cable more commonly used in BrE.
Float petty cash - becoming obsolete. Petty cash used more often in BrE than float.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Flyover overpass
Flyscreen window screen - not a common feature in UK homes.
Fondle handle, touch - distinction becoming obsolete. Fondle nowadays has sexual overtones, and is used less often
football rugby, soccer - NO! Football and rugby are two different sports. Americans call football soccer, but they call rugby rugby
footway sidewalk - obsolete. Pavement has been used in BrE for at least 50 years
fortnight two weeks
Fount font, typeface - obsolete. Typeface used in BrE now
franking machine postage meter
free phone toll free
Frisson shiver - both words current in BrE, with slightly different nuances of meaning
full age legal age - obsolete
full stop period
Fused burnt out - obsolete distinction. Fused in BrE means welded together - different from burnt out
gangway aisle - becoming obsolete. Aisle used more often in BrE
Gaol jail - Jail becoming more usual spelling in everyday BrE
gear box transmission
gear lever gear shift - obsolete. Current BrE is gear stick (and has been for at least 40 years)
geyser water heater - obsolete. Boiler is current BrE
Ginnel alley - regional and obscure. Alley commonly used in BrE
Glass mirror - virtually obsolete
goggle-box boob tube - old-fashioned slang for television. Boob tube in BrE is a kind of women's top with no sleeves.
good few good many, large number - obsolete distinction. All phrases used in BrE, good few/many becoming less common
grammar school high school - obsolete distinction. Grammar schools were largely replaced in the 1960's by comprehensives after a reform of the school system. In some areas grammar schools still exist, and high school is still used as part of traditional names of some schools.
Griff news - obsolete slang
ground floor first floor
Gum glue or paste - Good grief! Obsolete. Both BrE and AmE use 'glue'
gum boots rubber boots - obsolete. BrE uses wellington boots or wellies for short
hair wash shampoo - obsolete. Shampoo used in BrE
handbag purse - Purse in BrE is an AmE wallet.
hard lines bad luck - obsolete slang
headlamps headlights - obsolete. Headlights used in BrE
headmaster principal - more often Headteacher in UK these days
held up delayed (held up means robbed in American)
Hide leather - obsolete
hooter horn - obsolete
ice lolly Popsicle
in-built built-in - obsolete. Built-in is current BrE
infant's school kindergarten - becoming obsolete. Infants (not infant's school) now known as Key Stage 1 (KS1)
interval intermission
invalid chair wheel chair - obsolete. Wheelchair is current BrE
ironmonger hardware store - both used in BrE, though with 'shop' rather than 'store'
Jam jelly
Jelly Jell-O, gelatin
jotter notebook - obsolete. Notebook used in BrE
Jug pitcher
key money security deposit - becoming obsolete. Deposit more often used in BrE
knickers panties
knock up waken or rouse (means impregnate in American) - obsolete. Also means impregnate in BrE these days.
laddering my tights a run in my stocking
ladybird ladybug
Lag insulation - becoming obsolete. Only used now in 'lagging' = insulation around water tanks and pipes. Loft insulation is never referred to as lag/lagging
lead (dogs) leash
lead (electric) cord, wire
lending library public library - obsolete. Library only used.
lettings apartments for rent
library ticket library card - obsolete. Library card used in BrE
Lift elevator
loads lift freight elevator - obsolete. More usually 'service lift' in BrE
lollipop lady crossing guard - still used informally, but politial correctness means this job is now more often referred to a crossing supervisor
Long-case clock grandfather clock - Incorrect distinction. Grandfather clock has been used for generations in BrE
Loose covers slipcovers - obsolete distinction. Both used in BrE
Lorry truck
m and r um and er, hem and haw
macintosh raincoat - virtually obsolete - see below
mack raincoat - usually mac, but raincoat also used in BrE
Mad insane (means angry in American)
made redundant laid off - both used in BrE
maize corn - virtually obsolete. Corn used more often in BrE
maize cob corn on the cob - obsolete. Corn-on-the-cob used in BrE
marrow squash - both words used to describe different vegetables in BrE nowadays.
match game - both used in BrE, often interchangeably in a sports context
mean stingy - both used in BrE
means test need analysis
mend repair - both used in BrE
metalled road paved road - obsolete
midden garbage dump - obsolete. In UK now we use dump or tip, but the official term is household refuse and recycling centre!
milliard billion - obsolete
minced meat ground beef
moggy cat, kitty
monkey nuts peanuts - both used in BrE. Monkey nuts still sometimes used if the shells are on.
motor spirits fuel, gas, gasoline - obsolete. 'Petrol' has been the common BrE term since at least 1935!
muesli granola
nappies diapers
Nose to tail bumper to bumper - both used in BrE
Note bill Emotion: money
notecase wallet - obsolete. In BrE, men carry a wallet, ladies carry a purse in their handbag
noughts and crosses tic-tac-toe
number plate license plate - both now used in BrE
oblique slash (punctuation) - obsolete
on-cost overhead expense - obsolete
open university extension courses, distance education
outfitter clothing store - virtually obsolete. Gentlemen's outfitter is rarely used to describe an old-fashioned kind of men's clothing shop.
pack of cards deck of cards
page (hotel) bell boy - obsolete. Bell boy used in BrE now
pants underwear
paper handkerchief tissue - obsolete. Tissue used in BrE. Although the brand Kleenex is sold in the UK, we don't refer to a tissue as a Kleenex as I have heard in the US.
Pass out graduate - obsolete. Pass out only used for military graduations in BrE
patience solitaire - both used in BrE
pavement sidewalk
peep-bo peek-a-boo
Peg clothespin
perspex Plexigla
petrol gas, gasoline
pickled cucumbers pickles - obsolete. In BrE, gherkin used for what Americans call pickle. British pickle is a tangy kind of relish/chutney often used to make cheese sandwiches.
pictures movies
piece-tin lunch box - obsolete
pissed drunk
pleader lawyer, attorney - obsolete. The UK justice system divides lawyers who work in the courtroom (barristers) from those who work outside the courtroom (solicitors).
ponce pimp - old-fashioned (1950's) slang.
pop round come by
porridge oatmeal
Post mail
Post free postpaid - More commonly Freepost or Pre-paid in BrE now.
postcode zip code
postoffice directory telephone directory - obsolete. Usually phone book or occasionally phone directory.
power cut power failure
preggers pregnant - old-fashioned slang.
press man journalist, reporter - obsolete. Journalist or reported used in BrE now
private address home address - obsolete
professor conductor (orchestra) - obsolete. Conductor used in BrE, and has been for generations.
programme show
proofed waterproofed - obsolete.
Pub bar, saloon
Punt gamble (means kick or skip in American)
purse pocketbook
pylon utility pole
queue line
Quit behave - Quit is not usually used to mean behave in BrE. If anything, it's the other way round - more likely to be used in AmE, in my understanding.
radiogram stereo - Obsolete by about 50 years.
ramble walk, stroll
Rate tax
Read out read aloud - both used in BrE.
reader's ticket library card - obsolete
ready, steady, go! ready, set, go!
recap Retread
reckoning machine cash register - obsolete. More usually called the till in BrE
recorded delivery Return receipt requested, certified / registered mail
remould Retread
return ticket round-trip ticket
reverse charge collect call
ring pull a can's tab
ring up Call
roll neck turtle neck
round sandwich - obsolete
Roup auction - either regional slang or so obsolete that I've never, ever encountered this word before
rubber eraser (means condom in American)
rubbish bin trash can
Rug Blanket - not the same thing. A rug goes on the floor, a blanket goes on the bed.
running knot slip knot - virtually obsolete in BrE. Slip knot more often used (if at all).
rusticated suspended (punishment) - obsolete slang
salt beef corned beef - obsolete. Corned beef used in BrE, different from American salt beef which can sometimes be found in delis here in the UK
salt pot salt shaker
sandpit Sandbox
scent Perfume - old-fashioned. Perfume more often used in BrE these days
scrape butter or margarine, thinly spread
scurf Dandruff - obsolete. Dandruff used in BrE
self-drive car rental car - Obsolete. Hire car more often used in BrE, sometimes rental car
semi-detached house Duplex
service lift dumbwaiter - They mean different things in BrE these days.
serviette Napkin
Shop gazing window shopping, browsing - Shop gazing never used in BrE. Both window shopping (from the outside) and browsing (inside the shop) are current in BrE.
side (billiards) English - this term unknown to me, but billiards has largely been supplanted by snooker and pool in the UK
silencer (vehicles) Muffler
silent number unlisted number - obsolete. Ex-diretory now used in BrE
single ticket one-way ticket
singlet T-shirt - obsolete since the 1960's. T-shirt commonly used in BrE.
six-over-six 20-20 vision - obsolete.
Slide barrette (hair)
Slip men's underwear (means women's undergarments in American) - obsolete. It's a pretty old-fashioned word for a women's petticoat in BrE these days.
smart well-dressed (means clever in American)
snowslip Avalanche - obsolete. Avalanche used in BrE
spanner Wrench
spatula tongue depressor - In hospitals, tongue depressor more often used in BrE. A spatula usually means a kind of kitchen utensil these days.
spirits alcohol (liquor, brandy, whiskey)
spool cassette, tape, reel, roll - all of these terms are becoming obsolete in this new media age.
squails tiddlywinks - obsolete. Tiddly-winks is used in BrE, though the game has been out of fashion for decades.
squib firecracker
stance taxi stand - obsolete. Taxi rank used in BrE
Stop late stay late - 'stop' meaning 'stay' now rarely used in BrE. More common in north of UK.
Stop open stay open - virtually obsolete
strapping Bandages - obsolete
subject Citizen - they mean different things in BrE. We stopped being British Subjects in the 1980s and became British Citizens.
suction cleaner vacuum cleaner - obsolete. The brand name 'hoover' is used in the UK to describe the object and the activity
sugar soap paint remover
sun-filter cream sun-screen lotion - obsolete. Sun-tan lotion or sunscreen used in BrE
surgery doctor's office (means operating room in American)
surname last name, family name
suspenders Garters
sweater Sweatshirt - now mean different things in BrE. Sweater is used in AmE where jumper is used in BrE to mean a woollen top.
sweet oil olive oil - obsolete. Olive oil used in BrE
sweeties, sweets Candy
swiss bun Danish - obsolete. Danish or Danish pastry used in BrE
swiss roll jelly roll
Swot study hard, cram
Table a proposal discuss a proposal (opposite of American meaning) - Tabling a proposal no longer current in everyday English, except in Parliament where a motion is tabled (a prospective law is put on the agenda for discussion)
tablets pills, medicine
Take a decision make a decision - both used in BrE
Take with take out, to go (fast-food restaurant) - Incorrect. Only take-away is used in BrE
Take-away carry-out (fast-food restaurant)
Tap Faucet
taxi rank taxi stand
telephonist telephone operator - obsolete
Telly television, TV (pronounced tee-vee)
Tick check mark
tights Pantyhose
timeous, timous early, timely - obsolete
Tin Can
tinkle telephone call (means urinate in American) - very old-fashioned slang. You might still hear 'give us a bell' in BrE, meaning 'telephone me'.
to time on time - obsolete. Running on time used in BrE
toothful Sip - obsolete
torch Flashlight
Tot add, calculate a total
touch wood knock on wood
tower block Skyscraper - These have come to mean different things in BrE. A skyscraper is considerably taller than a tower block.
Town centre Downtown
tradesman Storekeeper
Tram trolley, streetcar - obsolete. In cities where this system still operates, it's called the tram.
treacle Molasses
treacle sponge Gingerbread - different things in BrE.
trolley shopping cart
trousers Pants
trunk call toll call, long distance call - obsolete. Long distance call used in BrE
Tube of candy roll of candy - Candy is not used in BrE. We generally have a packet of sweets, even where the sweets are in a roll shape (for example, a packet of Fruit Pastilles). The exception is Smarties, which are sold in a cardboard tube.
Tube station subway station
tunny tuna fish - obsolete. Tuna used in BrE
Turn off discharge, fire - obsolete
Turn out a room thoroughly clean a room - obsolete
underground Subway - they mean different things in BrE. The Underground (or Tube) is the underground railway system. A subway is a pedestrian tunnel built under a busy road.
unmade track dirt road - more often dirt track in BrE now
vacuum flask thermos bottle - more usually a Thermos or just a flask in BrE
Vest T-shirt, undershirt
victualler Innkeeper - obsolete. The person who runs a pub is a landlord.
waist coat Vest - Written as one word in BrE now: waistcoat
Wall safe food cupboard or cabinet in the kitchen - obsolete. Kitchen cabinet or cupboard used in BrE.
water ice Sherbet - obsolete. Closest we would have in the UK these days would be sorbet.
white coffee coffee with cream
whole time full time - largely obsolete. A person would describe their working pattern as full-time or part-time in BrE
Wind cheater Windbreaker - A wind cheater is an old-fashioned word for a light plastic jacket in the UK. A windbreaker is more often used for the fabric screen families put up on cold and windy British beaches to get shelter from the wind.
windscreen Windshield
wire wool steel wool - both are used in BrE
zed the letter zee (z)

Obviously I'm only looking at these from a British English perspective. There may well be cases where both are used in the UK, but an AmE user might not understand one of the terms immediately.

I've even read rubbish that says American don't use the Present Perfect and prefer the Past Simple as in 'Did you eat yet?'

Well, I've got news for you; that usage of the Past Simple instead of the Present Perfect is informal UK English as well, and was imported to both the UK and USA from Ireland as it's originally Irish English.

Well, there are no doubt regional variations; but in London and the South at least, the "Did you eat yet?" usage is very much less common than the "Have you eaten yet?" usage.


Come up North sometime Mr P Emotion: wink

'very much less common'? I'd probably say 'far less common' myself; but maybe that's another difference between the North and South?

Well pointed out Ruby Emotion: big smile I was going to do what you did, but couldn't be bothered as I knew it'd take too long and perhaps shatter some peoples' illusions Emotion: wink
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Tam Sadek'very much less common'? I'd probably say 'far less common' myself; but maybe that's another difference between the North and South?

(I think that's me being very much more cautious...)



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this forum is brilliant, I wonder if anybody knows an 18th century english expression equivalent of: "ma foi!" (french)
"my faith" has been suggested (ha!ha!) but I'm looking for an expression more like : " by George!".
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