Divided By A Common Language, Part Two

31 Jan


Nappy: Diaper
National: Federal
National Insurance number: Social Security number
Newsagent: Newsstand
Newsreader:  Anchorman, anchorwoman
Nick (verb): Steal, rob
Nick (noun): Prison, state pen, slammer, big house
Nil: Nothing, zero
Nought: Zero
Noughts and Crosses: Tic-Tac-Toe
Note (money): Bill
Number plates: License plates


OAP: Senior citizen
Off-licence: Liquor store (also available as a drive-thru)
Off-roader: SUV (sport utility vehicle)
Off-the-peg: Off-the-rack
Operating theatre: Operating room
Overtake: Pass


Pants (y fronts): Underwear, briefs, shorts
Paraffin: Kerosene
Parking brake: Emergency brake
Patience (card game): Solitaire
Pavement:  Sidewalk
Pay in: Deposit
Pay packet: Pay check
Pay rise: Pay raise
P.C. (Police Constable): Police Officer
P.E. class: Gym class
Pelican, zebra crossings: Pedestrian crossing
Petrol:  Gas
Piles: Hemorrhoids
Pitch (sports):  Field
Plait (hair): Braid
Plaster (bandage):  Band-Aid™
Plaster (walls): Drywall
P.M.T.: P.M.S. (it’s a proper syndrome in America, not just a bit of tension)
Pocket money (child’s):  Allowance
Poorly:  Sick
Pop socks: Knee-high’s
Post: Mail
Post box: Mailbox  (flag up to indicate you have something to be picked up)       
Post code: Zip code
Post-Mortem: Autopsy
Potholing, caving:  Spelunking
Powercut: Power outage
Pram:  baby carriage, buggy
Prawn: Shrimp
Press-up:  Push-Up
Pressurise: Pressure
Propstand (push bike): Kickstand
Pub: Bar
Public school: Private school
Pudding, sweets, afters:  Dessert
Pull: Pick up, score
Puncture (tyre): Flat
Pushchair:  Stroller
Push bike: Bike, bicycle


Queue: Line
Quid: Buck (slang for a dollar)


Randy: Horny
Rasher (bacon):  Slice
Redundant: Laid-off
Register: Roster
Return (journey): Round-trip
Reverse (a car, etc.):  Back up
Reverse charges: Collect call
Revision: Study, cram
Ring (on phone):  Call
Roadworks: Construction
Rocket (vegetable): Arugula
Roundabout: Traffic island
Row: Argue, fight, quarrel
Rubber:  Eraser
Rubbish (refuse): Garbage, trash
Rude: Risqué


Sack (get the sack): Fired
S.A.E:  S.A.S.E (self addressed stamped envelope)
Saloon (car):  Sedan
Sand pit (children’s):  Sand box
Sello™ tape: Scotch™ tape
Semi-detached: Duplex
Semi-skimmed milk:  Lowfat, 2% milk
Serviette: Napkin
Settee:  Sofa, couch
Shaving foam:  Shaving cream
Shop:  Store
Shopping trolley:  Shopping cart
Silencer (car):  Muffler
Single ticket:  One-way
Solicitor: Lawyer, attorney
Sorbet:  Sherbert
Skint: Broke
Skip: Dumpster
Skive: Play hooky
Sledge:  Sled
Sleeper (rail):  Railway tie
Slip road: On-ramp, off-ramp
Slowcoach:  Slowpoke
Smock (dress): Jumper
Snog: Make out
Spanner: Wrench
Spirits: Liquor
Stabilisers (child’s bike): Training wheels
Stag night: Bachelor party
Starter: Appetizer
Static caravan: Mobile home
Strop, wobbly: Hissy fit   
Study: Den
Sub-contract: Outsource
Supply teacher: Substitute teacher
Surname: Last name
Suspenders:  Garter belt
Swear: Cuss
Swede:  Rutabaga
Sweets:  Candy
Swimming costume: Swim suit, swimming trunks, bathing suit


Takeaway:  Takeout
Tannoy: Loudspeaker
Tap: Faucet, spigot
Tarmac: Pavement, asphalt, blacktop
Teat (baby bottle): Nipple
Tea towel: Dish towel
Telly: TV
Tetchy: Touchy
Thousand million: Billion
Tick: Check, checkmark
Ten-pin bowling: Bowling
Till: Cash register
Tin (of food):  Can
Tip:  Dump
Tipp-X™: Wite-out™ 
Toilet, loo: Bathroom, restroom, john
Toilet roll: Toilet paper
Torch: Flashlight
Touch wood: knock on wood
Tout (tickets): Scalp
Towbar: Trailer hitch
Trainers: Sneakers, tennis shoes
Tramp: Bum, hobo
Treacle: Molasses
Trousers: Pants, trousers
Tumble dryer: Dryer 


VAT:  Sales tax
Verucca: Plantar wart
Vest: Tank top
Video: VCR


Waistcoat:  Vest
Walking (country): Hiking
Wardrobe:  Closet
Washing up: Dishwashing
Wellies: Rubber boots, galoshes
Whinge: Whine
Windcheater: Windbreaker
Windscreen: Windshield
Whatsit: Doohickey, thingamabob
Write-off (car): Total


Zebra crossing, pelican crossing: Crosswalk
Zimmerframe: Walker
Zip: Zipper

Some of these words are familiar to my readers, whether they are British or American or Other. I don’t doubt you’ve heard many of them on television or in films. So why, may I ask, is it so difficult for you to understand them when they come out of my mouth? Well, you can plead ignorance no more. Thanks to the time and effort I’ve taken to enlighten both my countries’ citizens, I’m certain that US/UK relations will improve.

And as we say in all types of English, you’re welcome.

One Response to “Divided By A Common Language, Part Two”

  1. marymungoandmidge Wednesday, 1 February 2012 at 11:16 #

    Thank you so much for this wonderfully educational addition to your tome of enlightened epistles that grow ever more splendid from day to day….and at last I have a new word for my verucca: Plantar wart. How deliciously fungal!


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