25 British English Words That American English Users Don’t Get

January 12, 2016
12 January 2016,
 Off

If you are English learner, chances are that you want to learn British or American English. As a global English language school, we cater to both British and American English. At the time students enroll for our online English courses, we ask students to pick an American Accent or a British Accent. Depending on what you pick you will start classes with a native American English Teacher or a native British English Teacher.

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Why is it so important to distinguish between British English and American English? Isn’t it both the same? This is a question that we get frequently, and the answer is there are some vast differences between the two. These differences are across all 3 aspects of learning English – Vocabulary, Pronunciation and Grammar.

In this post, we are focusing on Vocabulary and looking at 25 words that are very common in British English but means something completely different in American English. If you are a trying to improve British English, go through this list and try to recall where you have heard or seen these words used. Don’t memorize these or use flash cards – rather get these words in to your active vocabulary naturally. Most importantly try to use these when you have conversations in British English with you English Teacher/Skype Conversation Partner.

 

Postcode

Postcode in British English is the same as Zip code in American English

 

Maize

Maize in British English is the same as  Corn in American English

 

Boot

Boot in British English is the same as Hood in American English

 

Cot

Cot in British English is the same as Crib in American English

 

Cooker

Cooker in British English is the same as Stove in American English

 

Holiday

Holiday in British English is the same as Vacation in American English

 

Motorway

Motorway in British English is the same as Highway in American English

 

Lorry

Lorry in British English is the same as Truck in American English

 

Trousers

Trousers in British English is the same as Pants in American English

 

Chips

Chips in British English is the same as French Fries in American English

 

Lift

Lift in British English is the same as Elevator in American English

 

Athletics

Athletics in British English is the same as Track in American English

 

Rubbish

Rubbish in British English is the same as Garbage; Trash in American English

 

City Center

City Center/Town in British English is the same as Downtown in American English

 

Tin

Tin in British English is the same as Can in American English

 

Pavement

Pavement in British English is the same as Sidewalk in American English

 

Cutlery

Cutlery in British English is the same as Silverware in American English

 

Sweets

Sweets in British English is the same as Candy in American English

 

Biscuit

Biscuit in British English is the same as Cookie in American English

 

Garden

Garden in British English is the same as Yard in American English

 

Gutted

Gutted in British English is the same as Upset in American English

 

Chemist

Chemist in British English is the same as Drugstore/Pharmacy in American English

 

Plaster

Plaster in British English is the same as Band aid in American English

 

Loo

Loo in British English is the same as Restroom in American English