Divided By A Common Language, Part One

1 Feb

It’s time.

Despite being an internationally respected woman and writer, I still get some grief about “speaking American.” Guess what? I’m American so, to those people I say, duh. But I’m British, too, so I also say fuck off, you twat.

However, in the spirit of being more welcoming, I’ve decided to supply a British-American dictionary for my less worldly readers. Here’s the first section.

But I’m telling you right now: I don’t want any quibbles. I don’t speak for all Americans. I don’t speak for all Brits. I only speak for myself: Agatha Whitt-Wellington. Got it?

A

Abattoir:  Slaughterhouse
Abseiling:  Rappeling
Abroad:  Overseas
Accelerator:  Gas pedal
Action Man:  G.I. Joe
Accumulator (bet): Parlay
Advert:  Commercial
A&E, casualty:  ER (emergency room)
Aerial:  Antenna
Aeroplane: Airplane
Alight: Get off
Aluminium: Aluminum
Alsatian:  German Shepherd
Angry: Mad, pissed off
Anti-clockwise: Counter-clockwise
Articulated lorry, juggernaut: Semi, tractor trailer, big rig, 18-wheeler
Arse:  Ass
Athletics: Track and field
Aubergine:  Eggplant
Automatic (car): Standard
Autumn:  Fall

B

Backhander: Kickback
Bagsie: Dibs
Balaclava:  Ski mask
Bang to rights: Dead to rights
Bank holiday: National holiday
Bap, cob: Hamburger bun
Barrister:  Trial lawyer
Bath: Bathtub
Bedsit: Studio apartment
Beefburger:  Hamburger
Beermat: Coaster
Behind: In back of
Benefits:  Welfare
Bespoke:  Tailor made, custom made
Bill: Check
Bin: Wastebasket, garbage can, trash can
Bin liner: Garbage bag, trash bag
Biro: Pen
Biscuits: Cookies
Bloke, chap, lad: Man, guy
Bogie, bogey: Booger
Boiled sweets: Hard candy
Bonnet: Hood
Booking: Reservation
Boot:  Trunk
Bottle: Moxie
Braces:  Suspenders
Break (school): Recess
Boiler (central heating): Furnace
Box (men’s athletic protection): Cup
Bum bag: Fanny pack
Bungalow: Single-storey house
Bum: Butt, booty, fanny
Burgle: Burglarize

C

Call box: Phone booth
Candy floss: Cotton candy
Car park: Parking lot
Canteen: Cafeteria
Caravan: Trailer, camper, RV
Caretaker: Janitor
Car boot sale: Yard/garage sale
Car side lights: Parking lights
Car wing: Fender
Catapult:  Sling-shot
Cellar: Basement
Cheeky: Ornery (cheeky monkey=ornery critter)
Chemist: Pharmacy, drugstore
Cheque: Check
Chips: French fries
Chuffed: Happy
City centre: Downtown
Cladding: Siding
Clean your teeth:  Brush your teeth
Cling film: plastic wrap, Saran wrap™
Coach: Bus, Greyhound™
Condom: Rubber
Consultant doctor:  Specialist
Cooker: Oven, stove
Coriander: Cilantro
Cotton: Thread
Cotton bud: Q-Tip™
Cotton wool: Cotton balls
Courgette:  Zucchini
Crash (a car): Wreck (used as a verb and noun)
Crisps: Potato chips
Crumpet: English muffin
Current account:  Checking account  

D

Daddy long legs: Crane fly
Daft, thick:  Stupid, dumb
Diagonal: Catacorner
Digger: Backhoe
Dinner jacket:  Tuxedo
Diversion: Detour
Doctor’s surgery: Doctor’s office
Dodgems: Bumper cars
Draughts:  Checkers
Drawing pin: Tack
Dressing gown: Robe
Dual-carriageway: Divided highway
Dummy: Pacifier, binky
Dustbin: Trash can
Dustcart: Garbage truck
Dustman: Garbage man
Duvet:  Comforter

E

Engaged (phone): Busy
Estate (inner city):  The projects
Estate (area of new houses): Sub-division
Estate (car): Station wagon
Estate agent: Real estate agent
Ex-directory: Unlisted

F

Fag: Cigarette
Fag end: Cigarette butt
Fairy cake:  Cupcake
Fairy lights:  Christmas lights
Fancy: Like
Fancy dress party: Costume party
Fanny: Pussy (sounds somewhat cruder, doesn’t it?)
Father Christmas: Santa Claus
Fire brigade: Fire department
First, second, third, fourth year (at university & high school): Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior
Fishfingers:  Fishsticks
Flannel: Washcloth
Flask: Thermos
Flat:  Apartment
Flyover:  Overpass
Football:  Soccer
Football boots:  Cleats
Footpath: Trail
Freephone: Toll-free
Fringe: Bangs
Frying pan: Skillet
Full stop:  Period

G

Gammon: Ham steak
Gangway: Aisle
Garden: Yard
Gear stick (car): Stick shift
Gherkin:  Pickle
Give way:  Yield
Gear lever:  Gear shift
Glove box: Glove compartment
Gobsmacked: Surprised
Goose pimples: Goose bumps
Grease-proof paper:  Waxed paper
Green fingers: Green thumb
Grill: Broil
Ground floor: First floor

H

Hair slide: Barrette
Hand bag: Purse
Hand brake: Parking brake
Hash (#): Pound sign
Headmaster / mistress:  Principal
Hen night:  Bachelorette party    
High Street:  Main Street
Hire: Rent
Hob: Stovetop
Holiday: Vacation
Homely: Homey (homely actually means ugly, so watch yourself)
Hosepipe: Hose
Hundreds and thousands: Sprinkles

I

Iced lolly:  Popsicle™
Icing sugar: Powdered sugar
Identity parade: Police line-up
Indicators (car):  Turn signals
Inverted commas: Quotemarks

J

Jacket potato:  Baked potato
Jam:  Jelly (as in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches)
Jelly:  Jell-O™
Joiner:  Carpenter
Jumper:  Sweater
Jump leads: Jumper cables
Junction (motorway): Exit

K

Kit (sports, camera, etc.):  Gear
Kitchen roll: Paper towels
Knickers:  Panties, underwear
Knuckle dusters:  Brass knuckles

L

Ladder (tights): Run
Ladybird:  Ladybug
Lager:  Beer
Launderette:  Laundromat
Lay-by:  Rest area
Lead (dog):  Leash
Leads (electrical): Cords
Lemonade: 7-Up™, Sprite™
Let: Rent
Letter box: Mail box
Level crossing: Railroad crossing
Lie-in: Sleep-in
Lift: Elevator
Lift (give someone a lift): Ride
Lodger: Boarder
Loo, Toilet: Bathroom, restroom
Loogie: Goober, hocker (goobers are also chocolate covered peanuts)
Loft: Attic
Lollipop: Lollipop, sucker
Lollipop lady:  Crossing guard
Lorry: Truck
Lorry driver: Truck driver, trucker
Lot (material items): Bunch
Lounge, sitting room: Living room.
Love bite: Hickey

M

Manager (sports): Coach
Managing director:  CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
Mange tout: Snow peas
Mannequin: Dummy
Manual (car): Stick, stick shift
Mate: Friend, buddy, pal, chum
Maths: Math
Megaphone: Bullhorn
Mileometer:  Odometer
Mince (meat): Ground meat
Mobile library: Bookmobile
Mobile phone:  Cell phone, cellular phone
Motorway: Highway, expressway
Mum:  Mom
 

To be continued….

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