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Common American English Words in daily Life vs British Words – Vegetables, Traffic

We have covered an article on Common American English words used in daily life vs British English equivalents.

We will expand more on the ones that we have missed in that article like some commonly used vegetables, some of the things around traffic, etc. I am not trying to write a dictionary or anything here. Just trying to share few more words that I thought were different to me since I came to US.

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Feel free to add your words in the comments, that I have missed so that we have a good collection. I will add it to the article.

Common words in Daily routine/ activities

We have split the common words used in daily life as sections for easy reading and understanding.

Vegetables Names in the US

American English wordBritish English equivalentExplanation and usage.
CilantroCorianderWhen you go to buy vegetables,  you have to look for cilantro leaves
OkraLady FingerTypically you look for Okra in a Grocery store.
Egg plantBrinjalIf you use brinjal, people in US do not understand. So, use Egg plant
Bell pepperCapsicumThe big green pepper / chili you cook !
Chili In US, Chili is a dish made of ground beef, chili powder, tomatoes and beans. Be careful about  the context of usage.
JalapenosGreen ChiliGreen Chili are referred to as  Jalapenos. They are a little bigger than regular green chili.

Traffic Words, Other Common Words in the US

American English wordBritish English equivalentExplanation and usage.
Grocery StoreSuper MarketYou find vegetables and all the house supplies in a typical grocery store. It can be used synonymous with super market.
RestaurantHotelIn US, Hotel means the place you stay for night like Marriot.
Cross WalkZebra CrossingThe path for crossing roads at Traffic lights
Traffic LightsTraffic SignalIn US, they use the word Traffic lights or Just the word Lights to refer to Traffic Signal
SodaCold DrinkSoda refers to anything like Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc
PeanutsGround nutsPeanuts are common snack and it is also used in phrases too. Like “that income is just peanuts”.  It means very less.
Grade / PercentMarksYou do not see professors using the word Marks at all. They use either percent or grade.
SidewalkPavement / Foot pathYou walk to home on sidewalk in American English.
BatteryCell / CellsYou use batteries for charging. In US, they do not understand if you refer cell. They think cell phone.
EraserRubberTo erase stuff written by pencil you use Eraser in US. Rubber means Condom in America. Do not ask someone in class, “I need rubber”. People will  look at you and say What ?
Mixer / BlenderMixi or MixieYou use the word mixer or Blender in US to refer to mixi. It is used for mixing flour, blending, etc
RefrigeratorFridgeI have never seen anyone use Fridge. They use Freezer or Refrigerator to store vegetables  and freezer to make ice or store frozen vegetables.
SneakersTennis Shoe / Sports ShoeSneakers are often used to refer to running shoes in US.
Tortilla It is like chapatti made of wheat or corn flour, but primarily  of Mexican origin. Pronounced as Tortia.
BubblerDrinker Water FountainBubbler is a just a water fountain that provides drinking water in public places. You do not use Glass or anything. You just drink off the fountain.
PillsTabletsin US, you take pills if you are sick. It could be for common cold or allergies, etc
PantsTrousersYou buy a pair of pants in US. There is no Jeans pant, you just refer as Jeans
ClippersNail CutterYou cut your nails by clippers in US

There are many other fun words and comparisons added by our readers in comments. I suggest you check out the comments below.

If you can think of any other common American words that are different from British English, just add them as comments. I will write an article on some common American phrases sometime that I thought were new to me.


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  1. Actually parts of the US do use the term Bubbler, mainly in Wisconsin. I grew up there and it apparently was a brand name that stuck there like “Kleenex” for facial tissue.

  2. So, some of these are a complete nonsense.
    Okra is Okra mostly (I know lady finger is used too, but I personally never heard anyone say it)
    Egg Plant is Aubergine
    Bell Pepper is the same
    Chili is spelled Chilli, both the same for the pepper and the dish
    Tortilla is Tortilla
    Jalapeños are Jalapeños
    Green Chilli is a different kind (medium hot) and Green Finger-chilli again a different kind (hot)
    Restaurant and Traffic lights are the same
    Soda is most commonly known as Soft Drink or Fizzy Drink (there are other regional equivalents)
    Cold drink is illogical, since you don’t have to drink Soda cold.
    Peanuts are Peanuts
    Ground Nutts can be of any kind
    Battery is Battery
    Mixer is Mixer or Hand Mixer
    Blender is Blender
    Mixi (or Indian Mixi) is a good quality food processor, that is powerful enough to grind hard spices and blend stuff, for years of daily use.
    Sneakers are Trainers (mostly)
    Zucchini is Courgette
    Sweater is Jumper
    Horseback Riding is just Horse Riding.
    There are hundreds more, I’m sure.
    I have a feeling, that a person who wrote this either never been to uk or is a poorly integrated non-native.

  3. A refrigerator is also referred to as an ice box by some. Fridge is also a common term, probably began a short name for a popular brand, Frigidaire.

  4. Here’s a common beverage disagreement in the United States: a carbonated beverage in the south is referred to as a “Coke,” in the east it’s a “soda” but in much of the Midwest it’s called “pop.”
    One of my NYC friends likes to remind me that soda is a drink and “pop” is a sound.

  5. The music terms are different. In the UK we have words like crotchet, quaver, semibreve, bars, semitones. US Americans say: quarter note, half note, whole note, measure, half step.

  6. This entire article is utter cr@p whoever wrote has clearly never been to the UK, please STOP writing these types of articles it’s just embarrassing for you and infuriating for us having to make loads of corrections. I’m British and haven’t heard half of the words written in this article. Please in future do better research before you publish!!

    • Exactly what I was thinking! This whole article is nonsense and the creator should do some more research before publishing something that is “factual”

  7. 1. I’ve never heard of cold drinks in UK but I’ve heard of Fizzie Drinks.
    2. Tennis shoes are what Appalachian Americans would call a British Trainer.
    3. Fridge is the actually American term of choice.

  8. I am British and have lived in the US for 40 years. I agree with the majority of the comments of those who replied. Here are some additions of American lingo vs British.
    Brits say crisps and Americans say potato chips.
    Brits say shopping trolley and Americans say cart.
    Brits say scones and Americans say biscuits.
    Brits say biscuits and Americans say cookies.
    Brits: sweets Amer: candy
    Brits: chips Amer: french fries
    Brits: cardigan. Amer: sweater
    Brits: lift. Amer: elevator
    Brits: I’m going to the pictures
    Amer: I’m going to the movies
    Brits: football Amer: soccer
    (That one is debatable as Brits used to say soccer years ago b4 they changed to football. )
    Brits: waistcoat Amer: vest
    Brits go to the doctor’s surgery which Americans think of as having an operation/surgery.
    It’s just interesting, and fun. I asked for a rubber when I first came to the US and everyone that I worked with thought that it was hilarious.
    I also agree that words are used differently depending on what part of the country you live in.

    • Rain slickers and muck boots are still known as Rubbers in Appalachia.

      It’s a regional thing. West of Knoxville and East of Asheville they turn back into condoms tho

      • To me as an American, a scone would be a treat I’d eat while having tea (or coffee) while a biscuit, would be eaten with a meal and usually not sweet.

    • Americans: pullover sweater
      Brits: jumper

      Americans: drugstore or pharmacy
      Brits: chemist

      Americans: rain or mud boots
      Brits: Wellies

      Americans: vegetables
      Brits: veg

      The British like to abbreviate many common words.

    • Three things:
      In the south a common term for the cart or shopping trolley is buggy.
      Cardigan in the U.S. is the term for a sweater that buttons up the front.
      For many potato chips is shortened to chips, however for the Pringles brand they actually called a crisp, it’s even on the package.

  9. As a Brit, I can tell you that very little of this list is correct. Egg-plant is referred to as aubergine, traffic lights are simply traffic lights, restaurants are restaurants, bell peppers are bell peppers, peanuts are peanuts. I could go on

  10. An example where British English and American English clash is brainstorm which to the British means a sudden state of mental confusion and to the Americans a sudden inspiration. For the latter the British would say brainwave. Best wishes Geof London

    • That’s not true at all.
      Brainstorm in UK means the same as in USA -trying to come up with as many ideas or solutions as possible, in a group discussion. Even Oxford dictionary says so.
      Brainwave is a sudden inspiration.

  11. Few things I need to correct seeing as I lived in usa had family there my stepmom was also American.
    You say they call running shoes sneakers not tennis shoe lol you got it backwards all the Americans I came across used the term Tennis shoe very few said sneakers.
    You also confused their term restaurant for us calling it hotel lol… and continue to say Americans use term hotel for places to stay which makes no sense cause use it too lol Restaurant there means same as here and hotel means same as what hotel does here too.
    Battery in America means the same as battery here I’ve never heard someone call batteries Cells in australia lmao
    Peanuts are called peanuts in australia too never heard someone say ground nuts.
    Americans say trousers ALOT for same meaning as us you got it backwards we say pants lol
    Australians are the ones who use the term “bubbler” Americans use fountain or drinking fountain.
    Sorry but you’ve confused a few things and made a lot of errors.

    I’m Australian but lived in usa for a short while, I know the common terms both sides use and this is inaccurate

    • You’re right for the most part. However, in the North East, e.g. NY, the preferred word is “sneakers.” “Tennis shoes” is really used, except for, perhaps, by older people.

    • Right! Americans do not say “bubblers”. Growing up I would have said sneakers (East coast). Now I live in the Midwest and I say tennis shoes. My relatives in England say trainers.

      Also, pullovers and sweaters in American English mean jumpers in the UK. We often call cardigans in the US sweaters too.

    • Only very old people, in their 80’s, hillbillies, or Southerners here in the U.S. say trousers. Otherwise they are just called pants.

  12. I was going to ask if Brits still use spanner, torch and boot, but my question was answered by the emoji menu that came up as I typed them — with a pic of a wrench and a flashlight.

    A question from a Yank: are there any common British terms that have been, or are being, replaced by (the dreaded) “Americanisms”?

    • Paul,
      I do not think they would replace any of them as it is very much English tradition to retain their core British term. They may adopt some new ones based on some trends, but I doubt, if they would replace.

    • Well, not necessarily being replaced, but the word ‘pants’ is claimed by Brits primarily living in south east england (read London) as meaning underpants or female underwear.
      However as a Brit living in North west England, I know that in the North generally, pants has always meant outer wear/trousers.
      I mean it is derived from middle ages ‘pantaloons’ which were always worn on the outside.
      So outside of London, the rest of the UK is solidly in line with US usage of pants.
      Ignore Brits who claim that pants means same as knickers or mens underpants, it is simply a recently connived affectation.

    • Yeah, sneakers, cookies, (cookies and biscuits are NOT the same thing cookies are chewy biscuits are crunchy) I could keep going.

  13. I read through your list of 25 words. As a British person with some knowledge of American English I can tell you that you only got four absolutely right. These were:

    Crosswalk = Zebra crossing (A zebra crossing is a black and white path across the road. It solely for the benefit of pedestrians. Some will have traffic lights to stop vehicles others will not so drivers are expected to stop if the see someone trying to use the crossing).
    Sidewalk = Pavement (a footpath is not the same as it is usually unpaved)
    Eraser = Rubber (a rubber is also a slang term for a condom)
    Pants = Trousers (pants, a.k.a. briefs are male underwear eg. Boxer shorts)

    In fact you got twice as many absolutely wrong than right. Namely:

    Eggplant is not Brinjal (which I have never heard of) it is Aubergine
    Grocery Store is not Supermarket (these are larger shops) more commonly we would call a small local shop, a Corner shop
    Restaurant is a restaurant and a hotel is a hotel (many hotels do have restaurants in them)
    A soda is not cold drink (as this would include flat drinks like squash) it is a fizzy drink. A soda is carbonated water usually used a mixer for alcoholic drinks.
    Peanuts are he same (peanuts are technically groundnuts)
    Batteries are batteries not cells
    A Mixer/Blender is the same name. Mixie is a made up name that has never been used.
    I’ve never of a bubbler but from your UK version it sounds like you are describing drinking fountains.

    Some you missed:

    A Fanny pack is a Bum bag
    A Cell phone is a mobile (phone)
    A cigarette is called a Fag by some.
    Suspenders are called Braces in the UK (they are used to hold up trousers/pants)
    Diapers are called Nappies
    Bills (currency) are called notes.
    Rest rooms are called Toilets. Toilets will have toilets inside them.
    Jelly is called Jam (the British call Jello, Jelly)
    A biscuit is not something you have as part of a meal (except for the meal we call (high) tea). A biscuit is something like a cookie.

  14. Firstly the term “British English” is incorrect. There is American English and there is English, American English is the language spoken in America and English is the language spoken in the rest of the English speaking world.
    This list appears to have been made up (in more ways than one) by someone who has no knowledge of the names of things on either side of the pond. When there are so many people from both Britain and the US telling you that the list is wrong then maybe it is time to remove it to save further embarrassment.

    • Terry,
      Thanks for your inputs. While I agree with you, the list is meant for non-native speakers planning to relocate to UK or the US and get them a sense of the overall difference. The intent is keep it informal…

      • Also I don’t know about the UK but America has many regions so we differ in what we call things. You really can’t say “Americans call it …..” .
        Examples: my husband is originally from NY city and I am from South Carolina. ( almost 12 hours apart by car)
        These are a few items we call differently. Me: hose pipe He: Hose ( garden hose)
        Me: Pepsi (all carbonated drinks) He: soda
        Me: buggy He: cart (shopping cart)
        Me: dash He: glove compartment ( the little compartment in the front area of your car)
        Me: tag He: license plate
        ( number plate on car )
        Me: commode He: toilet
        There are tons of other differences and yeah we usually know what someone is talking about if they are from another area of the country but sometimes we don’t.

      • This article is full of so many mistakes that anyone who tries to use it in earnest is being set up to fail.
        As an example, Brinjal and Capsicum are not the names used in the UK. In fact I think someone using those terms would not be understood at all.

    • The rest of the English speaking world? Have you talked to an Aussie or a Kiwi? They don’t speak American English and they don’t speak what you call English. It’s all English dear, just with the rich spice of far flung nations. I love the variety of expressions. All languages are fluid, ever changing ways to communicate. Enjoy them and don’t be so pedantic.

    • Actually there’s JUST English it originated in the UK, you speak your own pidgin English. Maybe you should remove this comment to save YOU further embarrassment.

  15. Also, an American kitchen stove in England is called the “hob”. Don’t know where they got the origin of the name but it is definitely one I didn’t know and thought was different

    • Nope…
      In UK Coriander is the green parts, the seeds are called, quite rightly, Coriander Seeds.
      Cilantro I’ve heard only on American cooking channels and films.

  16. I have heard of the term “bubbler” but I thought it was used in England for what we call a water fountain. I’ve also heard the term water cooler in the U.S. I was born & raised in the Pittsburgh, PA area. We always used the term fridge as a refrigerator. I asked my mother (who I called mum because she called her mother “mum”), why we used the term fridge? She said it was short for Fridgedaire, one of the 1st manufacturers of refrigerators. I’m always interested in finding out interesting things!

    • Your mum doesn’t have it quite right, but I can see why she thinks it. Its a bit more boring. Fridge or Refrigerator comes from the Latin refrigerare / frigus meaning cold. Fridgedaire got their brand name from that too.

        • Telly not teli. lt is short for television. No-one knows the origin of the word loo, though it is generally thought to be derived in some way from the french word l’eau, meaning water.

          • I believe it comes from the (pre-Victorian) times before modern sewerage when waste water would be chucked from the windows into the street with the warning shout “gardey-loo!” – derived (as you suggest) from the French term “gardez l’eau!”, meaning, roughly, “watch out – water!”

  17. Maybe be “British words” are Australian words, they certainly aren’t all British words.

    For speakers of normal English American is easy to understand as the words all come from normal British English and were taken to America.

    • Yes someone said it, the majority of this is absolute none sense. Just to clear up, we call traffic lights traffic lights and you will never see traffic lights at a zebra crossing. It’s literally the point of the crossing. We call jalapeños just that, we use the terms tortilla, bell pepper and we call eggplants aubergines. I’ve also seen Americans use the term fridge. Was someone bored and hired a 2 year old to do this.

    • No you haven’t this is absolute none sense. Ignore everything here because it’s just not true. As a Brit I can confirm this 100%

  18. Most of the ‘so-called’ British English words are entirely wrong.

    “In US, Hotel means the place you stay for night like Marriot”. Yes mate, it’s the same in England.

    I’ve never heard anyone say ‘Brinjal.’ We say Aubergine.

    I could go on…

  19. I have lived in 7 U.S. states, and traveled through about half of them, and the only place I ever heard any one say “bubbler” was in Wisconsin and that was in the 70’s, I don’t know if they still call it that. Also, pretty much everyone I’ve ever known calls it a fridge in normal conversation and only uses the word refrigerator when wanting to be very clear or correct, like walking into an appliance store, “Yes, I’m looking for a refrigerator…”

      • If you live in the Southern US, you don’t use the word “soda” for a soft drink. You mostly want a “coke”. When you actually specify your brand is when you order.
        If you order iced tea, it’s assumed you want “sweet” tea.

    • I’m American and assumed a Brit made this up. Tennis shoes is a commonly used term in the USA and I’d expect any American to know that.

      • I grew up in Chicago, and the most common word for sneakers or tennis shoes was “gym shoes”!
        I don’t know if that’s still the case today.
        There are so many regional variations in vocabulary that it’s often difficult to impossible to claim a definitive “American English” word for certain things.

  20. Most of the British English is wrong. As a born and bred Londoner I’ve never heard some of the terms being described as British English.

    -Brits don’t say Brinjal, they say Aubergine.

    -We call a place you go to eat and a place you stay the night a hotel, just like the in the US.

    -We call batteries batteries, no one says cell.

    -We call Soda ‘Fizzy Drinks’ or ‘Soft Drinks’

    -I’ve never heard anyone call a blender a ‘mixi’

    -We don’t call traffic lights traffic signals, we also call them traffic lights

    -We call a bell pepper a pepper, not a capsicum

    -Jalapenos are just Jalapenos

    -Sneakers are called ‘trainers’ in the UK, not a ‘tennis shoe’

    • Yes, we Brits say batteries (not to be confused with artillery), but we know that Duracell makes batteries. It’s not a source of confusion over here.

      We probably say mum, because mother is pronounced “mutther”
      (more or less) in the UK.

      Blender – food mixer, or blender, we’re not fussy which, we understand both.

      Slight clarification – in the UK you will see pedestrian crossings controlled by traffic lights as in the US, but they don’t have stripes, while a Zebra crossing has stripes like a zebra and usually a yellow globe on a striped pole on each end of the crossing. To be more pedantic the yellow globe thing each end is called a Belisha Beacon. A pedestrian has the right of way on a British road (apart from motorways etc.) if they have started or show a clear intention to cross the road (now codified in the latest Highway Code).

      Bear in mind different words for the same thing are often used in different parts of the UK. And some words can cause amusement to Brits when people from the US say them…. such as Worcester(shire) Sauce, which we pronounce more or less as Wooster Sauce. Oh, and if you see a road sign to a place name Cholmondeley, it’s pronounced “Chumley”. And don’t even try to work out what an Abinger Hammer looks like – it’s a place too!

      Places to eat… can be a hotel, a cafe, a pub (public house), tearooms, plus a few I can’t remember,
      etc. etc…


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