American English vs. British English
A hot topic among my students and I is the difference between the English spoken in the US and the UK. I’m from the UK, and I often have playful debates with friends and family, that are either from America or live there, about which accent is better, etc., etc.
Yesterday, my housemate, Rosanna, sent me a link to a post on Bigstock about British words that mean something completely different in the U.S. There were some words here that I didn’t know about, so let’s see if you can learn something too…
Here are my top 10 words that have different meanings in the US & UK:
US: A character from a film, who apparently likes to jump off buildings.
UK: A warm garment for the winter.
US: a (sometimes attractive) man that trains you at the gym.
UK: the shoes that you put on to do sports.
US: the long piece of clothing that we wear from our waist to our ankles. In the UK, we call them trousers.
UK: underwear that covers our private parts.
US: this just refers to the winged animal.
UK: this refers to the animal and is also an informal way of saying ‘girl’ or ‘woman’.
US: Americans think this word just means a swamp (un pantano).
UK: for the Brits a ‘bog’ is both a swamp and a toilet (word used in informal situations).
US: If you order a portion of chips in the US, expect to be handed a cold snack. ‘French fries’ is how Americans refer to the hot potato chunks.
UK: Crisps are the cold snack. Crisps are the hot potato chunks.
US: in America, the coach is an institution in schools and colleges. He’s the driving force behind the schools’ sports teams.
UK: a coach is a form of transport (like a long bus). It does not teach (or force) us to play sports.
(I didn’t know this one)
US: some sort of small, soft, leavened bread. (Similar to a scone in the UK).
UK: an often delicious, small snack that we like to dip in our tea.
US: ‘lift’ is not a noun in US English. To lift means levantar. When they want to refer to the moving box of steel that transports people from one floor of a building to another, they say the ‘elevator’.
UK: if we’re feeling lazy and don’t want to walk up the stairs, we get the ‘lift’.
(I left this until last as most people know this one.)
US: To play football, Americans put on lots of protective clothing and play a contact sport that looks a lot like Rugby.
UK: Football is the game where lots of people run around a pitch chasing after a round ball.
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