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Glossary of US-UK equivalents

The words in this glossary have been selected because of the confusion or misinterpretation or just amusing situations they can cause on one or another side of the Atlantic. The reason is that the thinking behind these words is different or, on some occasions, fundamentally different. Besides, to catch the essence of any country it is helpful to know what the natives are talking about.

Aisle gangway
antenna aerial
baby buggy pram
baggage room left luggage office
balcony gallery (theatre)
big (mother) truck juggernaut
bill bank note
billion (thousand million) billion (million million)
biscuit (baking powder) scone
bomb (disaster) bomb (success)
call collect reverse charges
candy sweets / chocolate
checkers draughts
chips crisps
cigarette fag
comforter eiderdown
connect put through
cookie biscuit (sweet)
cracker biscuit (unsweetened)
custom made bespoke / made to measure
derby bowler / hard hat
diaper nappy
draft conscription
drugstore / pharmacy chemist’s shop
duplex semi-detached
editorial leader
English muffin UNKNOWN
eraser rubber
faculty staff
fag poof
fall autumn
faucet tap
first balcony upper circle
freeway motorway
French fries chips
front desk (hotel) reception
garbage / trash rubbish
garters suspenders
gas petrol
German shepherd / police dog alsation
grade class / form
haberdashery men’s clothing
hardware store ironmonger
hat check girl cloakroom attendant
homely (= ugly) homely (= pleasant)
information / directory assistance directory enquiries
intermission interval
janitor caretaker / porter
jerk wally
lawyer / attorney solicitor
lease / rent let
legal holiday bank holiday
licence plate number plate
liquor spirits
liquor store off licence / wine merchant
long distance trunk call
meat grinder mincer
molasses black treacle
monkey wrench spanner
notions haberdashery
off jerk
office (doctor’s / dentist’s) surgery
outlet / socket point / power point
overalls dungarees
overpass flyover
pacifier dummy
pantie hose tights
parka anorak
parking lot car park
penitentiary prison
period full stop
pit (fruit) stone
pitcher jug
popsicle iced lolly
precinct district
president(business) chairman
private school public school
raincheck postponement
raincoat mackintosh
realtor estate agent
recess break (school)
restroom toilet / cloakroom (indoors)
restroom / toilet / comfort station (outdoors) public convenience
robin (first sign of spring) robin (symbol of Christmas)
roller coaster big dipper
roomer lodger
roast joint (meat)
run (for public office) stand
sack lunch packed lunch
sales clerk / sales girl shop assistant
scab blackleg
second floor first floor
sedan saloon car
semester term
senior 4th year (school)
shade blind (window)
sherbet ice / sorbet
shorts briefs
shorts (underwear) pants
shot jab (injection)
sidewalk pavement
slice (bacon) rasher
smoked herring kipper
sneakers / tennis shoes gym shoes / plimsolls / tennis shoes
squash marrow
station wagon estate car
straight (drink) neat
(umbrella)-stroller pushchair
suspenders braces
sweater jumper
tag label
taxi stand taxi rank
tic-tac-toe noughts and crosses
time payment / instalment plan hire purchase
toilet / john / bathroom lavatory / toilet / w.c.
top (car) roof / hood
traffic circle round-about / island
trailer / camper / mobile home caravan
trailer truck articulated lorry
two weeks fortnight
undergraduates: freshman 1st year
sophomore 2nd year
junior 3rd year
senior 4th year
undershirt vest
UNKNOWN crumpet
vacuum hoover
vest waistcoat
wall to wall fitted carpet
wash up wash your hands
weather stripping draught excluder
wharf / pier quay
windshield windscreen
with our without? black or white? (milk / cream in coffee)
zip code postal code

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