British and American Terms | List of Differences Between British and American Terms With Description

British and American Terms: British and American English often spell the same words differently, moreover British English and American sound different. This distinction in the British and American English is firstly due to Pronunciation i.e difference in both consonants and vowels, also the stress and intonation.

Second is the Vocabulary i.e the difference in verbs and nouns mainly the use of phrasal verbs and the names of certain items or tools. Thirdly, Spelling i.e differences in prefix and suffix.

Aside from Vocabulary and spelling, there are certain grammar differences between British and American English. So this list of differences between British and American Terms will help one to learn these differences in a much simpler way.

List of Differences Between British and American Terms

Name of the Difference between British and American Terms

Description of the Difference between British and American Terms on the list

Anticlockwise – Counter-Clockwise

In British English, Anti-clockwise indicates the movement in the opposite direction to the hands of the clock.

It is the American term for anticlockwise Counter-Clockwise indicates the direction opposite to the normal rotation of the hands of a clock.

Autumn – Fall

The season is what that comes between summer and winter is termed autumn in British words.

Fall is another word for Autumn in American English and is one among the four temperate seasons. It is the transition of summer to the winter season.

Car Boot Sale – Garage Sale

In British English, it is a kind of market in which people gather to sell items from a car’s boot and this generally takes place in the summer months. It is a way to attract a large number of people to a place to recycle useful but unwanted things which otherwise might be thrown away.

An American English term that refers to a sale of used materials like furniture, clothing, etc from a person’s house, held usually near or in someone’s garage.

Caretaker – Janitor

In British English, a caretaker is the one who takes care of a person or is in charge of a place or a thing, especially in the owner’s absence.

The janitor is the American word for caretaker whose job is to take care of a building, make minor repairs, and also works as a doorkeeper.

Chap – Guy

Chap is a British term used to refer to a man or a boy.

Americans often address a group of people, whether male or female as guys or guys. A guy is a man, boy, or anybody. It’s an informal term that is often used to refer to a person especially a man but also a group of females can also be referred to as guys.

Dear – Expensive

In British English Dear means expensive, used to refer to things which are of high cost.

The American term for dear is expensive. It means something which costs very high prices.

Dustman – Garbage man

It is a British word used to refer to a person who collects trash or garbage from outside the house.

The American word for dustman is Garbage man, whose work is to collect and dispose of garbage.

Film – Movie

In British, film denotes moving images that have been recorded and can be shown at the theater on TV, often telling a story or a real-life situation.

A film displaying moving pictures is shown in a cinema or television is termed as a movie in American English. It’s an American term for the word film.

Fire brigade – Fire department

It is a British word used to refer to organizations whose jobs are to put off the unwanted fires in a particular place or town and stop them from burning.

American word for Fire brigade is Fire Department which provides firefighting services for extinguishing unwanted fires.

Football – Soccer

It is a game known as football in Great Britain, which is played between two teams having eleven members each, where each team tries to win the match by kicking a ball into the other team’s goal.

The sport which is known as Football in Great Britain is called Soccer in the United States. This game is played on a field between two teams of eleven members with the object to push a round soccer ball into the opponent’s goal by hitting or by using any parts of the body but not the hands and arm.

Lass – Girl

This is a British term used for a girl or a young woman.

Girl in American English represents a female child of young age.

High Street – Main Street

It is a British word for the main street of the town having most shops, banks and other companies.

Both high street and main street mean the same thing – they refer to the central road in a town, but at the same time ‘main street’ is American English, ‘high street’ is preferred by British English.

Holiday – Vacation

The holiday is a British term. It is a period when people do not go to work and spend time doing fun activities, touring, etc.

Vacation is an American term and is used for the long period spent away from work or home, enjoying oneself.

British and American Terms 1

Jumble Sale – Yard Sale

It is a British word used for the sale of cheap second-hand materials, usually held to raise money for charity purposes.

An American term used for sale usually takes place in a garden where people sell stuff that they no longer need.

Kit – Uniform

It is a British term for clothing or equipment needed for any particular activity.

It is an American word that refers to the particular style of clothing which a group of people wears to show that they belong to the same team.

Lady Bird – Ladybug

It is a British name for any of the various small bright-colored beetles belonging to the Coccinellidae family.

It is the American term for Ladybird which includes any of several rounds, brightly colored beetles of the Coccinellidae family.

Lollipop Man – Crossing Guard

In British, a man who is paid to help children cross the road safely near the schools by holding up a circular sign on a pole to stop the traffic.

It is the US term for lollipop man refers to assisting police officers, volunteers, etc who manage the traffic and assist the children in crossing the street near schools.

Mum – Mom

The British typically use mum which means mother, it’s used by the people to talk to their mother, or while referring their mother in a conversation.

The American word for Mum is Mom. It is a common informal word for mother.

Nil – Nothing

Saying nil instead of zero is common in Britain. Nil means zero, especially while talking about scores in any sports match.

It means not a thing, specifically zero in the US.

Noughts and Crosses – Tic tac toe

Naughts and Crosses in British English is a game consisting of two players, one using naught, “O”, and the other across, ” X”, and alternately mark one square out of nine formed by two pairs of crossed lines, the champion being the first to get three of his or her symbols in a row.

This is a US term for Naughts and crosses that are used to denote a game, which is usually played on a piece of sheet in which two players write either X or O in a pattern of nine square. It is won by the person who first places three O’s or three X’s in a straight line.

Mate – Buddy

In British terms, mates refer to the colleagues at the workplace, friends.

It is a US word that means friends, workmates.

Parcel – Package

In British terms, it denotes objects wrapped in paper, especially in a way that they can be sent by post.

In American English, it implies something that is covered and ready to be sent.

Phone Box – Phone Booth

It is a British word that means a small structure with a door, found in public areas, having a public phone.

A US term for an enclosed structure with a common telephone in it.

Plaster – Band-Aid

A British term is used to describe a thin piece of cloth, sticky on one side that is used to cover a cut.

This term is mainly used in America, referring to sticky tape used to cover small wounds. It is an American word for Plaster.

Policeman – Police-Officer

In British English, it refers to a member of the police force, mostly the one holding constable rank.

In American English, it indicates a person having officer rank on a police force.

Post – Mail

It is a British term, for the official system that delivers letters and parcels.

It is an American word for public service by which letters and parcels are delivered and collected.

Postcode – Zip code

Postcode is the group of numbers or letters written at the end of a person’s address to help the postman find the exact location of the house.

The American word for Postcode is Zip Code which is used to expedite the exact location of a house.

Postman – Mailman

It’s a British term for the one who delivers letters and parcels.

It’s a US word for Postman whose job is to collect and deliver letters etc sent by mail.

Rucksack – Backpack

The rucksack is the British term for a large bag carried on the back, having two straps supporting a frame, often used by climbers, etc.

The backpack is an American English word for Rucksack which usually has two straps and is carried on the back.

Sellotape – Sticky Tape

It is a clear sticky note used to stick papers or cards together or onto the wall.

It is used to stick things together especially papers. People often the name Sellotape in British English and Scotch tape in American English.

Sideboards – Sideburns

In British terms, Sideboards are facial hair grown on the sides of the face, extending from the hairline and running parallel to or beyond the ears.

Sideburns is another term in American English for sideboards which is a strip of hair grown by a man in front of his ears, down each side of the face.

Solicitor – Lawyer

In Britain, Solicitor refers to a lawyer who gives legal advice as well as prepares legal documents and represents clients in lower courts of law.

A lawyer is someone whose job is to speak for one side of a case in a court or to prepare court cases and to give advice about the law.

Mobile Phone – Cell Phone

It is a phone that is linked to the phone system by radio rather than by a wire, and its signals can be received anywhere.

It is a handy usually cordless telephone for use in a cellular system.

Takeaway – Takeout

A meal brought from a shop and taken home to eat is what takeaway generally means in Britain.

Takeout is an American word for takeaway, which means taking out something.

Braces – Suspenders

Braces are a set of straps that pass over the shoulders and clutch to the top of trousers at both front and back to hold them up tightly.

Suspenders in American English, are fabric or leather belts worn over the shoulders to lift skirts or jeans.

Fizzy Drink – Soda Pop

Fizzy drinks are drinks that contain tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. They make a sound like long ‘s’ while pouring.

It is a juice consisting of soda water, seasoning, and a sweet delightful syrup. It is another term for fizzy drinks.

Zebra Crossing – Cross Walk

In Britain, a zebra crossing is an area on the street that is marked with black and white lines, where vehicles supposedly stop so that people can walk across.

In the US, a crosswalk is referred to as a spot where pedestrians can cross a road and where drivers should stop the vehicle to let them cross.

Crisps – Potato chips

It is a very thin slice of fried potatoes that people usually eat as snacks.

Potato chips are the American English for crisps, which are round, thin slices of potato fry.

Tea Towel – Dish Towel

A piece of material is used for drying dishes after they have been washed.

American word for a cloth used for drying kitchen items such as containers and glasses.

Pudding – Dessert

Pudding is a sweet, flavorful dish generally eaten after a meal.

Pudding is known as dessert to the Americans which is a sweet dish and the final course of a meal.

Cling Film – Plastic Wrap

In British English, it is a thin, clear plastic used for wrapping foods to keep them fresh.

It is an English term for Cling film which is typically used for packing food items in containers to keep them fresh over some time.

Sweets – Candy

A food made of sweet things like sugar forms a course of a meal.

It is the American term for sweets, which is a piece of small sweet food made from sugar.

Drawing -pin – Thumb Tack

It is a short pin having a flat top used for securing paper to a wall in British English.

Americans call Drawing pin a Thumbtack used to secure pictures or paper to a wall or any surface.

Dustbin – Trash Can

It is a British word that can be used to collect trash.

It is an American word for dustbin used for putting rubbish inside.

Chemist’s shop – Drugstore

In British English, a chemist’s shop is a store where medicines and various other products are sold out.

In the United States, a drugstore is a shop where drugs and pills are sold out, and one may get some cosmetics or some household goods.

Railway – Railroad

In British phrase, it is a route of steel rails between two places along which trains travel. A railway is a path, having parallel rails, over which wheeled vehicles may travel.

The American word for railways is Railroad. It is a permanent path comprising of fixed metal rails to drive trains or any identical motorized vehicles.

Off-license – Liquor Store

It’s referred to the shops which sell beer, or any other alcoholic beverages.

Off license is termed as a Liquor store in the US, it is a shop selling mainly alcoholic drinks.

Diversion – Detour

In British terms, it refers to the roundabout route usually taken by distracting from a specified course to avoid difficulty.

It is the American word for Diversion which means a deviation from the usual or regular course and following an indirect way to avoid any kind of complication.

Flyover – Overpass

A flyover is a bridge that supports a road or a railway over another road in Britain.

The overpass is an American term that means a passageway over a road or railway.

Bum Bag – Fanny Pack

It is British English which refers to a tiny bag that is held by a long strap that you can fasten around the waist, usually used for carrying money, etc.

It’s a US word, for a small fabric bag worn like a belt around the waist by a strap and is secured with the use of some sort of buckle.

Hench – Ripped

Hench is a British word for a body that looks fit, big, and has well-developed muscles.

It is the US word for a body having strong muscles.

Rocket – Arugula

A British English term for a plant having green, long leaves and are used in salads.

It is a green leafy vegetable often used in salads. Arugula is the American English for Rocket.

Road Surface – Pavement

In Britain, it indicates the raised surface of the road on both sides, over which people walk.

In the UK, it means the paved surface like a sidewalk in a park or road.

Parcel – Package

British English for a collection of objects tied in the paper, especially in a way to send it by post.

It means something that is wrapped in paper or put into a wide envelope in a way that it can be carried easily, or given as a gift.

Invigilate – Proctor

In British English, it means to supervise or to keep watch on students during examinations.

In the US, it refers to the person whose job is to keep an eye on people taking an exam and check that they do not cheat.

British and American Terms 2

Zed – Zee

It is the British spoken form of the letter Z.

Zee is the way Americans pronounce the alphabet Z.

Curriculum Vitae – Resume

In Britain, the paper that is required to apply for a job is called a curriculum vitae.

In America, a Curriculum vitae is called a resume, having a brief account of personal, academic, and professional capabilities and knowledge, that is prepared by the applicant for a job.

Caravan – Trailer

The caravan is a ​British word for a vehicle that people can reside in and travel in on holiday pulled by a car.

It is an American word for a wheeled vehicle that can be used for living and traveling, particularly on holidays, and contains mattresses and cooking appliances and can be pulled by a car.

Pocket Money – Allowance

In Britain, Pocket money is the cash which youths are provided by their parents usually every week.

In American terms, allowance is a quantity of money that parents provide to their children to use as they wish.

Silencer – Muffler

It is ​a British object that decreases the sound of a vehicle’s motor.

It is the US word for Silencer which means a portion of a vehicle that decreases noise from the engine.

Spanner – Wrench

In British terms, it is metallic equipment whose edge fits round a nut so that it can be turned to be loosened or tighten it.

Wrench is the American term used for spanner which is a hole, and a projection at one or both the ends of the head for engaging with a device that is in correspondence on the object that is to be turned.

Pram – Baby Carriage

Pram is a vehicle for pushing a newborn around that consists of a tiny bed supported by a rack on four wheels in Britain.

It is an American term for Pram which refers to a vehicle similar to a newborn’s crib set on four wheels and are meant to be pushed.

Pet Hate – Pet Peeve

In British English, it is is something that is annoying or causes a lot of discomfort to a person.

The US term is something that extremely annoys an individual.

Pitch – Sports Field

The phrase pitch is commonly used in British English which refers to an outside playing location for several games.

It is an American term that refers to an outdoor playing area preferably of grass for different sports.

Telly – TV (Television)

Telly is the British word for television.

In the US, it is a gadget shaped like a box with a screen that receives electrical signals and modifies them into images that change positions and volume.

Return Ticket – Round-trip Ticket

It is a British term for a ticket that enables an individual to travel to one place and then return to the place from where they left.

A US word for a ticket that permits an individual to travel to a place and then return to the place from where the person left

Trolley – Shopping Cart

British phrase for a large container having wheels and are mostly used in supermarkets to carry shopping purchases.

It is an English tern refers to a convenient vehicle that individuals push around a store for putting the things together that they want to buy.

Packed Lunch – Sack Lunch

A British term for a light meal put in a container,

American term for packed lunch which means the food is packed inside a bag and taken to places like jobs, schools, etc.

Bonnet – Hood

In Britain, the bonnet of a car is the metallic cover over the motor at the front.

In US English, The Hood is the metal layer over the part of a car where lies the engine.

A Full Stop – A Period

The word full stop is simply used to refer to the punctuation mark when used to terminate a sentence.

In American English, the period is the word for the punctuation mark that is mostly used to end a declarative sentence.

An Exclamation Mark – An Exclamation Point

In Britain, It is mostly used at the end of a sentence or a brief saying which expresses a very intense feeling.

It is an American term for Exclamation mark, used to show special value to something, and is marked at the end of all sentences.

Round Brackets – Parentheses

Round brackets are generally used in separating off information that is not important to the significance of the rest of the sentence. In British English, “bracket” normally implies the round category,

In British English, brackets normally imply the round ones, which is called a parentheses mark in American usage which is the curved brackets. It is a comment that is added to a paragraph, often to explain, and is separated from the major portion of the sentence by brackets, commas, etc.

Square Brackets – Brackets

In the US, Square brackets primarily contain words added by a person other than the original novelist or orator, typically to illustrate the situation.

Brackets are an American term for Square brackets normally used when we want to alter another individual’s words.

Curly Brackets – Curly Braces

In British English, it is punctuation and is also used as a mathematical symbol.

An American word for brackets which are used for showing lists.

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