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British English/American English Vocabulary

Here are some of the main differences in vocabulary between British and American English. This page is intended as a guide only. Bear in mind that there can be differences in the choice of specific terms depending on dialect and region within both the USA and the UK.

British English American English
anti-clockwise counter-clockwise
articulated lorry trailer truck
autumn autumn, fall
barrister attorney
bill (restaurant) bill, check
biscuit cookie
block of flats apartment building
bonnet (clothing) hat
bonnet (car) hood
boot trunk
caravan trailer
car park parking lot
chemist's shop drugstore, pharmacy
chest of drawers dresser, chest of drawers, bureau
chips fries, French fries
the cinema the movies
clothes peg clothespin
coffin coffin, casket
crisps potato chips
crossroads intersection; crossroads (rural)
cupboard cupboard (in kitchen); closet (for clothes etc)
diversion detour
drawing-pin thumbtack
drink-driving drunk driving
driving licence driver's license
dual carriageway divided highway
dummy (for baby) pacifier
dustbin garbage can, trash can
dustman garbage collector
engine engine, motor
estate agent real estate agent
estate car station wagon
film film, movie
flat apartment, flat, studio
flat tyre flat tire
flyover overpass
gearbox (car) transmission
gear-lever gearshift
Girl Guide Girl Scout
ground floor ground/first floor
handbag handbag, purse, shoulder bag
high street main street
holiday vacation
hood (car) convertible top
jam jam, preserves
jug jug, pitcher
juggernaut 18-wheeler
lift elevator
lorry truck, semi, tractor
mad crazy, insane
main road highway
maize corn
maths math
motorbike motorcycle
motorway freeway, expressway
motorway highway, freeway, expressway, interstate highway, interstate
nappy diaper
naughts and crosses tic-tack-toe
pants, underpants underpants, drawers
pavement sidewalk
pet hate pet peeve
petrol gas, gasoline
The Plough Big Dipper
pocket money allowance
post mail
postbox mailbox
postcode zip code
postman mailman, mail carrier, letter carrier
pub bar
public toilet rest room, public bathroom
railway railroad
return (ticket) round-trip
reverse charge collect call
ring road beltway, freeway/highway loop
road surface pavement, blacktop
roundabout traffic circle, roundabout
rubber eraser
rubbish garbage, trash
rubbish-bin garbage can, trashcan
saloon (car) sedan
shop shop, store
silencer (car) muffler
single (ticket) one-way
solicitor lawyer, attorney
spanner wrench
sweets candy
taxi taxi, taxi cab
tea towel dish towel
telly (informal), TV television, TV
third-party insurance liability insurance
timetable schedule
tin can
toll motorway toll road, turnpike
torch flashlight
trousers pants, trousers
tube (train) subway
underground (train) subway
vest undershirt
waistcoat vest
wallet wallet, billfold
wellington boots rubber boots, rain boots
whisky whisky/whiskey
windscreen windshield
zip zipper

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