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United States Vs United Kingdom Different Words With The Same Meaning

Updated on April 6, 2012
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What happens in the UK stays in the UK? Not necessarily our mother Country knew that we would be defiant when we separated ourselves from her in 1776. Of course we changed words to make them our own. But although the words are different, the meaning is the same. The United States is still holding onto its mother’s coat tails. Yes, we speak English in our country but we have our own unique vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar structure. All children work on finding their own way, although the same we wish to have our own identities.

The words used are common English, not proper English. They are not in any chronological order and can have more than one word or meaning.


American English

Yes, we speak English in our country but we have our own unique vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar structure. All children work on finding their own way, although the same we wish to have our own identities.

The words used are common English, not proper English. They are not in any chronological order and can have more than one word or meaning.


American English

Ø Semi or Truck

Ø Guy

Ø Like

Ø Beer Pint

Ø Garbage

Ø Bottom or Behind

Ø Counterclockwise

Ø Juvenile Detention

Ø Pushing or Shoving

Ø Babysitter

Ø Bartender

Ø Quarrel

Ø Studio

Ø Biscuit

Ø Surprise

Ø Police Officer

Ø Toilet Paper

Ø Umbrella

Ø Lazy or Tired

Ø Sandwich

Ø Highway or Freeway

Ø Good-Bye

Ø Plastic Wrap


British English

Ø Lorry

Ø Bloke

Ø Fancy

Ø Pint

Ø Mate

Ø Rubbish

Ø Pound or Quid

Ø Arse

Ø Anti-Clockwise

Ø Special Schools or Community Home

Ø Argy-Bargy

Ø Child-Minder or Baby-Sitter

Ø Barman or Barmaid

Ø Barney

Ø Flats

Ø Bicky

Ø Blimey

Ø Bobby

Ø Bog Roll

Ø Brolly

Ø Buggered

Ø Chip Butty

Ø Carriageway

Ø Cheerio!

Ø Cling Film

American English and British English are one of the most complicated languages to learn. Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are different. Many times one word has multiple meanings. Or it can be spelled in various ways.

Have you ever desired to learn a second language?

Hypothetically speaking you are. If you are able to translate American English to British and vice versa you are now fluent in two languages.

We live vicariously through our Mother Country; but now we have grown up. Although our language is a little different, we are one in the same. When we travel to the UK or when our brothers’ and sisters’ travel to the U.S. we can understand each other. The only entity that makes us different is not the English; but the slang.

Which English is proper English?

With so much slang and deviation with words; a person can say both. America and the United Kingdom both speak proper English. It just depends on what Country you belong.

Quiz Time

Let’s take a quiz to see if you were paying attention. Remember the first set of words were American English, the second set are British English. Let’s see how many you will correctly answer. Here is an example: While riding in the buggy, we were exceeding the speed on the carriageway. Answer: American English: While riding in the car, we were exceeding the speed on the highway, freeway or road. I believe you have the picture. Let’s try it and I gave you the first example.

#24/30

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    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      RKR: I know and it does not make any sense does it?

    • profile image

      RKR 

      5 years ago

      I m from India, and Indian English is the mixture of British+American English Words, but here youth's are creating its own language, "Hinglish" (combination of Hindi+English) as well.

      some of the words are:- (am--m, but--bt, about--abt, good--gud, night--9it, ok(okay)--k, from--frm, love--luv, right--rite, because--b'coz, how--hw, are--r, you--u, what--wat.........etc)

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Oh Dzy I love that idea! Thanks so much. :)

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Most interesting, I've always enjoyed the "similar differences" of he two languages. I even wrote a hub of my own on the matter, albeit with fewer examples than you have done.

      (Though I might suggest the comparisons might be easier to follow in a chart/table format...)

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      oceansider: Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed and appreciated. :)

    • profile image

      oceansider 

      6 years ago

      Your hub was very interesting and lots of fun to read....and I got 100% on the quiz too!........ Thanks so much for sharing this, it was well done!

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Blossom SB: It can be difficult when trying to understand each other sometimes. lol! Language is amazing. ::::::::)

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      6 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      It always interests me how language is such a living, changing entity. It is the same with Canadian French and French French. They started off the same, but have diverged as English has done and makes for a fascinating study. However, it can cause difficulties when it hampers understanding between our nations. Voted up and interesting.

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      allpurposeguru: lol! The quiz was toward the bottom and you are one who had seen the ending! lolo! Thank you for commenting.:)

    • allpurposeguru profile image

      David Guion 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      A really fun hub. I don't remember seeing a quiz before, but as long as no one's assigning grades, that's fun, too--especially when I get a perfect score. Cheerio

      (Hmm. What does cereal have to do with signing off?)

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      INFJay: Great job! I believe you may know the British show, "Keeping up Appearances with Mrs.Bucket(Bouquet). lololo! We can learn so much can't we? :)

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      homesteadbound: It can be quite amusing but that is what makes the world go round. :)

    • INFJay profile image

      Jay Manriquez 

      6 years ago from Santa Rosa, California

      Got 100% correct on the quiz! I guess watching Masterpiece all these years has paid off. Watching so much British television has also provided insight into the different accents. Also love watching British TV with subtitles for those of us who speak American English.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Very interesting. When watching TV I often find the way words mean different things to different people to be quite amusing. It can make for quite interesting misunderstandings sometimes.

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      nishlaverz: Now that is interesting. I did not know there are different dialects within England and the meanings are not the same. Here in the U.S. all of the meaning is the same, but as you travel from State to State you will multiple accents that identify what part of the Country they are from. Thank you for sharing. :)

    • nishlaverz profile image

      nishlaverz 

      6 years ago from N.E England

      It gets harder when you add in all the regional dialects to the mix. I live in the North East of England Just on the Durham Yorkshire Border and have family from Durham and Yorkshire so my accent is at times mixed up. I use Pitmattic words and Yorkshire words when I talk and found English hard at school. The one thing that allot of people find hard when they come to the North East is the variation in meanings of words. What in Geordie means one thing could mean something different in pit yet the accent's sound the same and are based on the same principle language.

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      The Bard: lololo! Love it. Words are really amazing! :)

    • The Bard profile image

      The Bard 

      6 years ago from London, England & San Pablo City, Philippines

      Elevators are lifts; sidewalks are pavements; faucets are taps; diapers are nappies.

      The Fall is Autumn; gas is petrol; cell phones are mobile phones; drugstore is chemist; freeway is a dual carriageway; highway is motorway; brown-outs are black-outs; vulcanizing is remoulding; candies are sweets; cookies are biscuits; jelly is jam; restroom is toilet; fag is a cigarette.

      Hood is a bonnet; trunk is a boot; apartment is a flat; gas station is a garage; fries are chips; chips are crisps; first floor is ground floor; second floor is first floor; realtor is estate agent; zip code is post code; and if you think this is garbage, it's not - it's rubbish.

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Rolly A Chabot: Thank you. I am just trying to understand why I have a very long empty space between my paragraphs. (((Hugs Back)))

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Russell-D: Thank you for sharing that lovely poem. Those words ring so true.:)

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      Real Housewife: Been there done that too! lolo! It is wonderful that our Contries are really one in the same. Thanks for the up! :)

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      6 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Interesting and as always heading for being a AEvans classic... well done Julianna.

      Hugs from the North

    • Russell-D profile image

      Russell-D 

      6 years ago from Southern Ca.

      I have a cousin who lives far, far away.

      Who has diff’rent words for the things that we say.

      Though they are diff’rent, both mean the very same

      So we always play this diff’rent name fun game.

      He rides on his bike, while I ride on my trike

      What he calls a walk, I would call it a hike.

      He calls a carriage, what we here call a pram.

      Jelly’s what he likes, while I like eating jam.

      His elevator, is what I call a lift

      What’s a blouse to him, is what we call a shift.

      When he says, “Hello!”, I answer, “There you are.”.

      He says a “Goodbye”. While I close with “Ta-Ta.”.

      His spends a dollar. What I spend is a pound.

      He rides a subway, my ride is underground.

      When he says, “Oh Darn!”. His darn becomes my “Bosh!”.

      And his old raincoat, to me’s a Macintosh..

      He likes reading poems, I embrace a sonnet.

      While he wears a hat, I put on a bonnet.

      But something we’d both would absolutely like,

      He riding his bike, while I ride on my trike

      The day he comes here, from his home, far away.

      we’ll play together, on that wonderful day.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Interesting and funny! Sometimes I read hubs where the author has used a British word and I have no idea what it means! Lol. Up+++

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      dahoglund: Mmmmm...that is a good question. It could be that we think American English is politically correct. It does appear odd, but maybe that is the way its supposed to be said. Now you have me thinking. lolo! :)

    • AEvans profile imageAUTHOR

      Julianna 

      6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      JKenny: Now your hubs sounds interesting. I must go and read. Some of the words on the list are a little dated. Others are common today which you are aware of. My father was from Wales, but grew up in England. I remember him using a handful of them. Glad you enjoyed the hub. :)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      When I was in college I often read British books and picked up some of the spelling which I lost points for when I wrote class papers.One that puzzles me is when I hear an English person on TV they is the term "attend University" instead of "attend the University."

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, England

      A very interesting and useful hub. I often find myself writing a British English word and then suddenly thinking. 'Hang on, most of the people on here are American, so they won't understand it.' So I usually put the American version next to it. Voted up and shared.

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