Common American English Words used in daily life vs British English words

Common American English Words in daily life vs British Words — Part II

In Living in USA by Kumar126 Comments

I have wrote an article few months back : Common American English words used in daily life vs British English equivalents. This article is a continuation of the same article with few more American words used in Daily life with their British equivalents.  I am not trying to write a dictionary or anything here. Just trying to share few words that I thought were different to me since I came to US.

Common words in Daily routine/ activities
American English wordBritish English equivalentExplanation and usage.
CilantroCorianderWhen you go to buy vegetables,  you have to look for cilantro leaves
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
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
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.
Bell pepperCapsicumThe big green pepper / chili you cook !
ChiliIn 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.
SneakersTennis Shoe / Sports ShoeSneakers are often used to refer to running shoes in US.
TortillaIt 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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Comments ( 126 )

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  2. Morgan

    I’ve lived in America my entire life, and we often do use the word “fridge.” In fact, we use it more than “refrigerator” if we’re talking to our family or friends. “Refrigerator” is used in stores, as it is a more formal word for the appliance.

    1. Nunya

      Who wrote this? I have never in all my years as a Brit referred to a restaurant as a hotel or a traffic light as a traffic signal – the sign in Westminster commemorating the first traffic light even refers to it as a ‘traffic light’ or is this a very droll troll? Everything Lola Twinkle said is correct – below

  3. Cindy

    I nearly forgot or if I posted it earlier, I can’t find it. We do use the word fridge, for refrigerator. For us though that’s the informal word. I’m surprised you haven’t heard it, but I suspect it could be because you’re foreign and they’re assuming you wouldn’t recognize it. Not to be insulting, mind you, but to be respectful to you.

    I myself had no idea until now that the Brits use the word fridge at all. I thought that was an American-ism only. I’m quite sure I’m not alone in that.

    Also in certain parts of the US some call them an ice box. Not in the south. Never in the south! I remember the first time I heard the term and I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought she was talking about a cooler. lol!

    1. Lola Twinkle

      This is nonsense! How long did you live in the UK? WE call a hotel a place for staying overnight and we DO use the word restaurant! We use the word refrigerator and clippers and pills and blender/mixer and chilli and battery and peanuts and okra and we may not say eggplant but we dont say brinjal….we say AUBERGINE….Are you meaning english in india?

  4. Cindy

    I posted a couple of comments above, but just decided to go through and make a global comment with some clarifications.

    In the south, we don’t always use the word “soda”. For us any “soda” is a coke, even though it’s a brand name. In other parts of America, “soda” is called pop. These are regional names but you will hear them in those regions.

    Mixers and blenders are two different appliances. A mixer is the one that has paddles to attach to it. A blender is an appliance where it purees things inside its own container, not to be confused with a food processor that does the same thing, but also shreds, chops and what not. When you’re baking a cake, you’d use a mixer. When you’re wanting to puree something or make something with crushed ice, you use a blender.

    I noticed you mentioned your word for cell as our word for battery. Keep in mind that we also use the word cell, but for us it means a mobile phone.

    I’ll agree that chili here is a stew, but we also use the word “chile” which sounds similar and that’s a term for a generic pepper. You hear that word used most in the southwestern part of the US.

    We also call sneakers, tennis shoes. Used to that’s just about all I ever heard. No one really used the word sneakers. This seems to be a new thing with young folks today.

    Bubbler is definitely out. Clearly someone was pulling your leg when they told you that. We call it a “water fountain”. It comes with rules on usage too. You never touch anything with your hands or lips. We also call water pumps that spring water up into the air “water fountains”. That could be the part that is confusing.

    We too use the word tablets for pills as well, but that’s more formal and most often describes a certain type of pill. A tablet for us is round and usually without any coating. Like my Part 1 post says, every tablet is a pill but not every pill is a tablet. For instance a capsule is also called a pill, but never a tablet.

    One other thing I thought you may wish to add is the US sweater and pullover vs the UK jumper. To specify I’m talking about a piece of yarn (ex., wool) made clothing that is usually worn over another shirt. Here, we call it either a sweater or a pullover. Specifically it is called a pullover. However, most of us call it a sweater, unless we need to be specific for some reason. Like pills and tablets, all pullovers are sweaters, but not all sweaters are pullovers. A sweater here can button down as well, but it must contain yarn.

    Good luck! It’s fun looking at the differences, isn’t it? We speak the same language but often it’s really not.

    1. administrator

      Cindy, It is quite amazing to see how different parts of America also has differences in words and usage. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

    2. Qathy Dana

      I grew up in Connecticut (northeastern united states) and I always used “water fountain” until I came to Boston. Here, every local uses the term “bubbler”! I was amazed. How could a city not 100 miles from where I lived have a whole different term for something so basic? A few people got irritated with me if I called it a water fountain.

      Also, I always said “remote control” to refer to that thing you use to change the tv channels / volume, but here most people call it a clicker.

    1. administrator

      There are so many free courses online that teach you English. You can just search on Google or even try YouTube, there are many video tutorials. One of the best ways to learn a language is reading books, news papers, etc or watching news, movies and finally the most important aspect is to speak with your friends and put that to practice. Learning a new language can be challenging, but can be done as English is quite easy when compared with others.

  5. Mac McKerral

    I spent from January to May teaching in England and found the language there rich and refreshing. The Brits have great respect for the language and plenty of really fun words that I warmly embrace.
    Some of you might be interested in a book titled “Landmarks” by Robert MacFarlane. Amazon describes it this way: “It is a field guide to the literature of nature, and a glossary containing thousands of remarkable words used in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales to describe land, nature, and weather.”
    I think you will enjoy it.

  6. TheGirlWhoLikesEnglishWords

    I have never heard anyone refer to a water fountain that you drink from a “Bubbler” in the US. We call it a drinking fountain …or something. Haha, I can’t even remember, I’m just so shocked that the “american” word for that is “Bubbler”.

      1. Pieshifter

        In Wisconsin, especially the southeast part of the state, it is definitely a bubbler! I think it is a very localized term, as we have had out of state visitors express some confusion.☺

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  8. William

    We say super market(at least sometimes), fridge, and water fountain. I should specify that I’m from The Triangle in NC which is a mixed bag of Northeastern, Southern, and West coast culture plus tons of Chinese and Korean people-who all move here for the universities—point is I don’t speak for all Rednecks,Yankees,Lakers,or California yuppies, but I think I know American pretty well.

  9. Dominic

    I’m actually English, and a lot of the British English terms you’ve used are completely wrong

    1.) a restaurant is the same in the UK as it is in the US – somewhere you eat
    2.) a hotel is where you stay. We do not ever call a restaurant a hotel…
    3.) traffic lights are exactly the same.
    4,) instead of eggplant we say aubergene. I honestly don’t know what you’re on…
    5.) peanuts are the exact same – peanuts
    6.) we do not ever say cell instead of battery – EVER
    7.) we don’t say capsicum. We call them peppers
    8.) Before reading your post, I had never even heard of a ‘mixie’. We say blender here.

    I don’t know what type of British English you’re talking about, but it certainly isn’t the English we speak in the UK…

    1. Ravi Teja

      Hi dude im ravi teja from india.we are using the britsh english.not only india through out asia we will use the same words as mentioned above in the blog.
      Iv’e seen some comments below.some one is talking like( comisee comsa) this is french word sorry for speeling mistake.meaning is (like this like that).

      1. Lola Twinkle

        You may call it British English but it isnt really anymore….It’s a lovely 1950s English.It was really nice to hear the old way of speaking when I visited India.Half a century or more has gone since the British left and they are words now that didn’t exist then….I really hope the vernacular remains but the Indians must understand this is not how we speak in the UK now….

      2. Aditya Jha

        Nah, I am from India too and although we do use British English, Eggplant is called Brinjal in South Asia. Brinjal is not alone, there are many other words with it like ‘Bunk’, Bunk means ditching classes in India lawl.

    2. Cindy

      I’m glad you clarified that. Out of curiosity, what about the fridge? What do you call those? That’s actually how I landed here.

  10. BF

    Check out the Dictionary of American Regional English for more variants such as bubbler vs. water fountain, trainers vs. sneakers, etc. Fascinating.

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  12. Kieran

    Americans do say Fridge. I’ve always say Fridge.

    But I’ve never heard anyone refer to a drinking fountain as a Bubbler. We would say drinking fountain or water fountain.

    If it however was a decorative water display in an outside area, this is just a fountain.

    1. Greg

      “Bubbler” is a very regional term used only in parts of New England. Most Americans would have no idea what a “bubbler”refers to in this context.

      1. Aidan

        In Wisconsin we say “Bubbler” but no where else have I heard it said, even in some parts of the state they don’t say it. For me of course I say bubbler.

        I knew some of these on the list were not from UK but it is interesting to see never the less. Thanks for posting, I teach English abroad and I was trying to show the difference between American and British English terms.

        1. catherine

          Bubbler is classic Milwaukeespeak. Other places they say drinking fountain or water fountain. If you ask for the water fountain in Milwaukee they look at you as if you are nuts.

  13. Dnx

    This, I’m sad to say, has some problems from the British English side.

    I am English, and in the UK:
    -we do not sleep at restaurants, we stay at hotels, although many hotels have restaurants inside/attached(there is a difference)
    -Peanuts are Peanuts – ‘ground nuts’ is not used here
    -it is not common to use the word ‘cell’ for battery in the UK(I never have, and haven’t heard either).
    -if you started talking about a ‘Mixi’/’Mixie’, you would probably not be understood. I have never heard of one until today!
    -Soda = fizzy/carbonated, rather than cold. I would not describe cold milk, for example, as soda! We have sodastreams in the UK and they carbonate drinks.
    -a better general term for sneakers in the UK is Trainers

    Hope this helps

      1. PG

        You need to specify that you’re an Indian and that you’ve moved from India to the US which explains why a lot of your definitions are wrong.

        It’s not clear why you haven’t taken advice on board from English people about any advice. But you wouldn’t need to if you specified that this isn’t British English (whatever that is) but an Indian variant – which is fine. The Chinese have their own variation.

        This seems like a popular spot so if you took some advice it could be even better. Ignoring advice is just very stupid.

        1. SIDDHARTH

          There is no difference in English, the only difference comes in people that how they speak, a word has different meanings and synonyms. So you could not say any one to specify Indian English or British English. The gentleman above tried to explain how people say in different countries. Try to understand the reason behind explaining rather than finding mistakes in some one. So stupid. Hope you understand !

          1. Winston Churchill

            No difference in English eh? Well considering the English created the English language and there are numerous people on here saying that the above list is mostly rubbish, I’d say the English are a little more qualified to comment than an American or an Indian.

            If it is Indian English, that should be specified because any American coming over to the UK and using those words is likely to be laughed at. Especially when they think we call our eating establishments ‘Hotels’.

            Lets reverse rolls here. Over here in the UK, we call a mobile telephone a ‘mobile phone’. In America this is referred to as a Chimichanga. If you need a mobile telephone in America, simply ask someone where you can buy a Chimichanga. In the UK we call non-carbonated soft drinks ‘Pop’. In America, they call their non-carbonated soft drinks ‘Bleach’. And finally in the UK we use toilet paper when we go to the toilet. In America they don’t call it toilet paper, they call it ‘Arse-rot’, so if you run out of toilet paper in a cubicle, just shout ‘Arse-rot please’ repeatedly until someone passes you toilet paper.

            After all, there is no difference in English!

          2. Lola Twinkle

            This very article is about two different Englishes!!!!!! There is Indian,American, Australian, Canadian English…and more! It’s all English but it is different. I do not recognise so many of the words in the above list….because I am British and I speak British English.Indian English is QUITE different. …It’s partly the English of 50yrs ago but it also has words we have never used.The title describes British English which is WRONG.This isnt an insult its just a correction.Otherwise Brits will KEEP ON commenting and correcting….

  14. John

    I noticed chili is mentioned in the above table.

    In most places chili is just chili.

    However, in Cincinnati, Ohio, chili parlors are everywhere and chili is a big deal.

    According to Wikipedia you can get chili at least 5 different ways. as follows:

    Bowl: chili in a bowl
    Two-way: chili and spaghetti
    Three-way: chili, spaghetti, and cheese
    Four-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions
    Five-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans

    When I was growing up we lived in Indiana, about 60 miles from Cincinnati, our home recipie was hamburger, chili beans, onions, cheese, and macaroni, which made it “chili mac”. The macaroni also provides filler and stretches the quantity of chili you can make, which makes it less expensive per serving.

  15. John

    One interesting thing I recently learned is that the mid-western accent, except for minor regional differences, is the U.S. equivalent of RP in England. (This really surprised me).

    It is the accent (or lack thereof) that radio and TV news types in the U.S. strive to emulate.

    Here is an interesting webpage about U.S. accents:

  16. Cath

    Me again…sorry to keep popping up but, as an American, I feel duty bound to mention when something doesn’t ring true.

    You included “soda” as the American term for “cold drink” and I thought I should add that many people in the midwest refer to “soda/cold drinks” as “pop”.

    You mention that you have never seen anyone use the term “fridge” but I always refer to our refrigerator as a “fridge”, as do most people I know. Actually, most Americans use both terms interchangably with “fridge” being employed in more casual conversation.

    One interesting inclusion I noticed was “bubbler” for drinking water fountain”…I have never heard the expression “bubbler” before, however, it might very well be a regional colloqualism I am unfamiliar with. We have always refered to “drinking water fountains” as simply “drinking fountains”.

    Finally, I thought I should mention that both of the terms “pills” and “tablets” are correct in the US, though “tablets” is typically used to describe a specific sort of pill, which is usually round and uncoated such as an aspirin tablet.

    Thanks for writing these interesting articles!

    1. Nicole


      I’m American and “bubbler” is used. But it is regional. It’s used in New England. My mom is from Massachusetts and she says “bubbler”. When I was little I lived in New Hampshire and we said it there too. So it’s used in New England. But I’ve lived in FL and MD and I’ve never heard it in either of those places nor in the surrounding states. Only in New England.


      1. Cath

        Hi Nicole,

        Aha, I thought that it might be a regional term. I will say that it’s a lot more evocative and a much more cute term than “drinking fountain” lol.

        Thanks for the info!

      2. Sara

        Nicole, I am from Wisconsin and we use the term bubbler also. I thought it was just regional to our area.

    2. Shirley

      We say bubbler for drinking fountain in Massachusetts. I’ve visited the Arizona desert and when I asked where the bubbler is, they had no idea what I was talking about.

      Yes, very regional, as well as, other words unrecognizable in AZ (as my personal example) always used in Massachusetts/New England where I live.

  17. John

    Another term you might hear used in Indiana by older people:

    If you hear them talking about going to the grocery store to get some “mangos” this may not be the tropical fruit they are talking about.

    It may be referring to a green pepper.

    I did some research on this and it is definitely an archaic term and may have its origins in West Virginia.

    1. administrator

      Interesting…. “Mangos” means green pepper…I would be shocked to get green pepper, if I asked for mangos 🙂 Thanks for sharing !

    2. John

      I did some more research and still do not have the complete answer, but “mango” apparently has to do with a particular species of green pepper.

  18. John

    I’m a little surprised that I haven’t seen the location where you park your automobiles discussed.

    My spouse and I both had friends from England that referred to that location as the “car park” whereas in the U.S. we call it the parking lot.

  19. John

    In many parts of the U.S., when you either don’t understand some one or didn’t hear them clearly you might say:

    “I beg your pardon” or just “Pardon”

    However, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the expression, might be “Please” which is probably a shortened version of “Please repeat what you just said”.

    Another expression heard in the U.S. is “If you don’t mind” would you, could you do something?

    However, in Tennessee, the expression is “If you don’t care” which is rather startling if you are used to the former , because the latter is kind of a double negative.

  20. John

    Here is another interesting expression:

    In the eastern U.S. you “take a haircut”.

    In the Midwest you “get a haircut”. Another rather archaic phrase is “getting your ears set out”.

    Women more often than not will refer to it as “getting my hair cut”, probably because some women perceive the word ” a haircut” as a masculine phrase.

    1. Nicole

      I’ve lived on the East coast my whole life. I’ve lived in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Florida and have been to every state here on the East Coast. I have never heard anybody say “take a haircut.” Here we say “get a haircut” and everybody – guys or girls – says “I’m getting my hair cut.” I’m not sure where you’ve heard “take a haircut”? Are you from the East Coast? Because I’ve never heard anybody say that and I’ve lived here all my life.

      But that does remind me of how Americans say “take a shower” whereas Australians (and I think Brits too?) would say “have a shower.” Australians (and I’m assuming Brits too) also say “have a go” and “it’s your go” rather than “take a turn” or “it’s your turn” which is what Americans say. I mention Australians because I’ve been to Australia and have friends there. But Australia uses British English so it’s often the same. Though Australia has a lot more shortened/slang words…..brekkie (breakfast), prezzy (presant), tazzy (Tasmania), chokkie bikkie (chocolate buscuit/cookie), avo (afternoon), sus (suspicious; i.e. “that’s so sus”), sunnies (sunglasses), etc. I may have spelt some of the shorted words incorrectly.

      1. loren

        I’m from England. We say both…. “Go and take a shower ” or “I’m going to have a shower”
        And yes we do say “it’s your go” or “have a go at this” I work in early education and it’s really hard to change the way we say this. But thank goodness the children know what I’m saying. lol!
        We also use most of the slang words that the Australians use too.

        I will have to try and think of what else there is. Its funny hearing the thoughts of others.
        I will be returning home in a few weeks and I’m sure aload of words will just coming flooding back.

    2. John


      Probably my sample size is too small on “take a haircut”, but I have heard it in the east.

      Since I’m in my late ’60s that expression may have gone out of style, but I have heard it.

  21. Sheri

    Hi. Just happened to come across this site while surfing. A few more additions:
    We do use “fridge” quite often in the US. Toilet paper is TP. Bathroom can be “Ladies Room” or “Powder Room” for women, “Gents” for the men. “Coke” is a universal reference to any soft drink. How about “chips” (potato chips) instead of “crisps”. We say “Thank you”, in England it’s “Tah”. “You’re Welcome” rather than “Cheers”. Oh, and here a “rubber” is a condom. I wonder how many more you’ll come up with!

    1. loren

      Tah is really only used by little children. I don’t ever remember an adult saying that.
      For “Thank You” we normally say “Cheers”.
      When you say “your welcome” we say “no worries”
      Yes a rubber here is a condom, but for us a rubber is an eraser

    2. John

      Actually, “Coke” is a universal term for any soft drink in – the South (at least in Tennessee). It is still “Pop” in Indiana and Michigan. In Illinois and Missouri it is “Soda”. In New Hampshire it may be called a”Tonic” – (I have a couple of friends from there). By the way, in some states Cream or Creme Soda is red. In some states it is pale yellow, while in Chicago, at least, it is clear like water.

      In several of the Midwestern states the words car, fire, and tire/tyre rhyme with far. Iron is pronounce “Arn”. In several of the Southern states, one syllable words are pronounced as two syllable words, like my car (ca-ar) and my dog (daw-awg). This one is very subtle, but if you listen carefully, you can hear the two syllables. A real surprise is that in Chattanooga, TN and Houston, TX. Despite being located in the South, these two cities, with a few exceptions, do not really have an appreciable accent.

      There are several terms in the U.S. for the container you use to carry your groceries.
      It can be either a bag, a sack, or a poke (may be slightly archaic now) . The wheeled cart you accumulate your groceries in before paying for them at the check-out can be either a cart, a shopping cart, a basket, or a buggy (in the South).

      Also, depending on the location, a large, many component sandwich on a long split roll can be a “Grinder”, a “Hero”, a “Hoagie”, a “Poor Boy”, a “Submarine”, or a “Torpedo”. I’m sure there are several other terms for other localities.

      My grandmother owned an “Icebox” when I was in grade school. The ice man came in a horse drawn wagon and brought a large block of ice into the house with tongs and opened the door to a compartment in the top of the icebox and put the block in there. I believe he came about 3 times a week. This was in the “50s”.

      Because of the type of work I used to do, I lived in several different states, before I retired.

      1. administrator

        John, really interesting words…It is amazing to know that you traveled so much and got used to different words. “Icebox” is my favorite 🙂 Thanks for sharing !

    3. Princehuman

      its weird becoz condom is a condom.. rubber means – anything that rubs, hope you know what rub means – rub, erase as it “rub it off”


    It is amazing difference for us..since we accustomed to using English..for instance, we say autumn in time of raining..where as using ‘Fall’ as a season of autumn in American English..Grocery store=AM..super market=EN..And so many examples..Within process of time we can get more..

  23. loren

    This is all very interesting to read. I am from the South of England and moved here 3 years ago. I on occasion I still use British words but now being around so many Americans I forget most English words. Although, looking through all of these written here, I have never heard of a dickey. We call the trunk of a car …. the boot.

    One that no one has mentioned is a Fanny. Here this is considered as your behind, but in England it is something completely different. I’ll let you fill out the blank………….
    Lets see how many people know this one.

    Bunk/Bunked is when you take a day off from school or work without permission.

    Women’s underwear is called knickers. Men’s underwear are called pants.

    Ground meat is called Mince.

    Pumps here are high heels. Pumps at home are more like trainers or shoes children wear for PE

    These are all very random but are the first things that came into my head. lol!

    Can’t wait to hear some more!

  24. Lizzie

    Hi! Just wanted to let y0u know that Americans do sometimes use the word “fridge”. It’s actually used more commonly than “refrigerator”.

  25. laura

    Hello! I love lists like this, but my experience with a few of the words is different. I’m from the Pacific Northwest in the US, and we definitely say “fridge” here. “Refrigerator” has too many syllables, so people don’t say it that often. We have both cilantro and coriander in stores, because they’re our names for two different things! Cilantro is the leaf of the plant that coriander seeds come from. We use the term “grocery store,” but usually shorten it to “the store.” “I’m going to the store–need anything?” We also say “drinking fountain” or “water fountain.” Although we do have Benson bubblers in Portland. They are a specific style of fountain, though, and we don’t use that name for anything else.

    1. administrator

      Laura, I love the Benson Bubbler. It is exactly like Benson burner, that we studied in chemistry….Short forms and less syllables are always good 🙂

    2. Nicole

      We also say “supermarket” in the USA too (along with [grocery] store, like you said).

      In New England instead of “water fountain” they say “bubbler.” My mom is from Massachusetts and she says it. I went to preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade in New Hampshire and they said it there as well. Then I moved to Florida for my elementary school years and they didn’t say it there. (Also in New England they say “wicked” a lot instead of “very”. Like “that is wicked cool.”) Now I’m in Maryland and nobody says “bubbler.” So outside of New England the word “bubbler” is not used, as far as I know. I’ve never heard it elsewhere.

      Also in New England, instead of “dresser” they say “bureau.” That’s what I learned to call it. Although dresser is used too. But most people outside of New England barely know what a bureau is. And in New England, instead of “basement” they usually say “cellar.”

      Anyway those are just some differences between the US states. There are so many differences just within the USA, let alone between all the English speaking countries!! I’m just glad we all speak English, no matter what dialect or accent. It’s nice to be able to understand people from so many other countries.

      1. Libby

        I love this list, thank you! I’m from Dallas, Texas and chivalry is very important to that. That means men opening doors to women, people taking off hats in places of worship. We also tend to combine words like. In the North east people say “you guys”. In texas we say “ya’ll”.

    3. John

      Fridge may come from the Frigidaire brand of refrigerator, one of which I have about 6 ft (2.36 meters/metres) away from me.

  26. sarah walker

    im english but live in the states now and i can say that i have never heard anyone say hotel and mean restraunt, they say restraunt in england. p.s. you should do one on different spellings like colour : color. haha also here’s one you can add tackle : steal i was playing football (soccer) and i yelled “tackle her” and everyone stopped in the middle of the pitch and stared at me. I was taken out of the game and given a speech on your not allowed to hurt people, it was really embarrising. All i meant was steal the ball from her, anyway lesson learned.

  27. Ahmed Om

    from the bottom of my heart, I used to confuse American English words vs British English words but this helps a lo.. Thanks

  28. Kirstin

    I am British- this seems to be intended for non-US folks visiting the US, but could be helpful in either direction. I, as a Brit, would say:

    Grocery store: Supermarket. Alternatively, Greengrocer’s for a shop that just sells vegetables and fruit. May also be referred to by the name of the chain (E.g. ‘Tescos’ ‘Co-op’, ‘Asda’, ‘Morrisons’, ‘All-Nite’)

    Restaurant: We say restaurant too, although it usually implies a place serving multi-course meals in the evening. Places serving light daytime food may be called a café instead, or, in touristy places, maybe a tea-shop. If somewhere does takeaway food, we might say takeaway instead. If the place serves the food of a specific country or region we might call it by that (E.g. ‘Indian’, ‘Chinese’). May also be referred to by the name of the chain (E.g. ‘Macdonalds’, ‘Pizza Hut’).

    Traffic lights: We say traffic lights or just lights too. Using ‘traffic signal’ will likely produce a puzzled look, or imply a signpost of some kind.

    Sidewalk: We’d generally use pavement if it’s alongside a road. Footpath often implies a path without vehicles alongside.

    Soda: We’d usually use the brand name or equivalent- ‘Coke’ or ‘Tango’ or whatever. ‘Fizzy drink’ is a generic term but not so often used. ‘Coke’ is often used for any cola-flavoured drink, even if it is in fact a Pepsi. ‘Pop’ is very a old-fashioned word for the same thing. ‘Cold drink’ can mean any non-alcoholic drink served at room temperature or below. ‘Soft drink’ and ‘non-alcoholic beverage’ have similar meanings but are more likely seen on a menu than heard spoken.

    Okra: Ladies’ Fingers. Okra is also used.

    Eggplant: Aubergine

    Peanuts: Peanuts. Using ‘ground nuts’ will probably get you funny looks, or possibly a direction towards ground almonds, or maybe gingernuts, which are ginger biscuits (ginger-flavoured cookies).

    Battery: Battery

    Mixer/Blender: Food processor or blender, or sometimes ‘Kenwood’ (A brand name sometimes applied as a general term).

    Bell pepper: Bell pepper

    Sneakers: Trainers. ‘Tennis shoes’ is a very old-fashioned term.


    Vacuum cleaner: Sometimes called a ‘hoover’
    Adhesive tape: Stickytape or Sellotape

    1. administrator

      Kristin, Thanks for sharing…some interesting words ..I like Fizzy drink 🙂 Hoover is interesting ? all I can think of is the company ” Hoovers “, I would be lost… 🙂

    2. John



      In the U.S. there may be something similar to Greengrocers over here but I am more familiar with “farmer’s markets”. These are either at a designated location in a town or city, or with the owner’s permission, may take place on a certain day of the week in the parking areas of our “big box” stores like Wal-Mart or K-Mart (Big K now). Farmers will come and sell produce out of the back of their vehicles or under canopies.

      Instead of “take away” food we have “drive-thru” or “take out” (where you have to enter the restaurant or store).

      The one that surprised me was Ladies Fingers as a name for okra. When I was growing up, I remember my mother making “Lady Fingers” as a light refreshment. This an elongated sugar cookie/biscuit. They might have icing. As for okra, I have only seen it served two ways – pickled and boiled. I really enjoy pickled okra. However, in spite of my Scottish background, boiled okra, which I have tried, has about as much appeal to me as the description of haggis
      Finally, in the area I live in, athletic shoes are referred to just as “sneaks”, at least by my age group.

  29. Nicole

    Oh another thing is that I use both “grocery store” and “super market” here in the USA.

    Another one is basement and cellar. Both are used here. I’m not sure about in England. Cellar in the USA is generally used only in New England. My parents say cellar since they’re from Massachusetts. I, however, call it a basement since I’ve grown up mostly in Florida and other East coast states.

    Autumn and fall are also both used in the USA, except fall is much more common (actually, did you know people in England first used the term “fall” but then switched to “autumn”!) But autumn is still used, and if you said it people would have no problem understanding what you mean. Some people also have the name Autumn.

    Floor levels is another thing. I think in England the very first floor is called the “ground floor” and then the second level is called the “first floor”, etc. But in the USA the “ground floor” is the same thing as the “first floor”. Then the second level is the “second floor”, etc.

    Another one is in the USA it’s called a band-aid, whereas in England it’s a plaster.

    In the USA it’s called a diaper, in England it’s a nappy.

    Oh and as for the spelling of the word theater/theatre. In the USA you can spell it either way. I like to spell it theatre only because to me that seems cooler. 😛 But either way is acceptable. They are interchangeable here and both are used despite the fact that we use the -er instead of the -re. (except in the word “acre”, where it’s -re).

    The letter “z” here is pronounced like “zee”, not “zed.”

    Sorry if you already mentioned any of these! I read this wonderful article last year, over 7 months ago.

    Anyways, again – nice article. 😀

    I hope you’re liking your life in the USA!

    1. administrator

      Nicole, Thanks for sharing great info… I have not mentioned anything that you wrote in my previous articles… 🙂 I did come across all of them in US, but could not recollect, when I wrote the article …I am glad you wrote them 🙂 You should read this Vegetables, Snacks, Food American vs. British and add anything that I missed, will help blog readers. Yes, I am really enjoying my stay in US 🙂

    2. John

      Some of the words used here in the US carry certain connotations.
      For instance “cellar” denotes an area that may be inadequately lighted and dank.
      “Basement” implies an area that is much better lighted and dry.
      “Fall” is more of a Midwestern term while the east coast uses “Autumn”. I’m unsure what the west coast uses. While theater/theatre are both used, theatre implies a more upscale location. You often see it written in Olde English on programs/playbills, and yes, playbill is the upscale term.

    3. Andrew

      I’m from the US western interior. Here, ‘theater’ and ‘theatre’ are not used interchangeably: a ‘theatER’ is the same thing as a cinema–i.e., a movie theater–and doesn’t usually have a stage, whereas a ‘theatRE’ is a place where plays are performed, which always has a stage.

  30. Lokesh Rangineni

    Use the word, trunk instead of dickey. i asked one of my friend to open car dickey and he laughed at me, instead he suggested me to use open car trunk..

    Nice article, i came to know many words. I appreciate your good work.
    Good going..

  31. nvd

    One of my friend who couldn’t find curd at the grocery shop approached for help and asked them where is curd? They couldn’t understand as yogurt is the word used in US. He tried his best by saying plain curd, and they showed him playing card.

    1. Princehuman

      americans need to get a life and get their head out of their ass. Its high time americans come out of the “bubble” – the so called self created “personal space”

        1. administrator

          Something more interesting for you, in Wisconsin and upper peninsula, people call ATMs as Tyme machines (pronounced as time machine). TYME means Take Your Money Everywhere.

          1. Princehuman

            yet another example of stupid low IQ people(americans) trying to “invent” a new language – trying to distort a proper language in to whatever the fuck shitty kind of personal abbreviation and/or antonyms they like.
            ATM – automatic teller machine
            ATM – any time money
            ATM – all time money

          2. Andrew

            For what it’s worth, Princehuman, many dialects of American English are closer to the “original” English than British English is. I’m an MA student in Linguistics, and it’s a generally accepted fact among experts on both sides of the pond that American English pronunciation is actually closer to Shakespeare, for example, than British English pronunciation. (Notice that this is a British article, so it’s not just American propaganda.)

            And while it’s true that there are a number of words that are different as well as pronunciation, the fact is that the English have invented and borrowed just as many new words as the Americans. Do you really want me to believe that the French word ‘aubergine’ is more “English” than ‘eggplant’? Or that ‘candy floss’ is somehow better than ‘cotton candy’? They’re just different.

            Before you go spouting about linguistic purity, maybe you should research it a little so you don’t give away your own ignorance.

    1. Steph

      I live on the East Coast – Soda is an east coast thing, Pop is in the midwest 🙂 Cool website, it was really interesting to browse around!

  32. R

    Actually come to think of it a lot of your English translations are wrong.
    I don’t mean to sound like a d*ck. Just trying to help.

    1. administrator

      Rudd, I grew up in India and the meanings I have written based on my experience and not straight out of dictionary. Some of these meanings are very informal, which in fact might be different in UK. I am writing this from an International student perspective 🙂
      Feel free to add your comments or any corrections, it is always good to know the right thing!

    2. Steph

      I’ve lived my whole life on the east coast, and I actually found this website quite accurate – only mistakes are that we definitely say Fridge (at least in Pennsylvania!) and I think bubbler is a British thing, we say water fountain. In the midwest they say pop instead of soda. Nail cutter will work just fine, and you’re right, rubber means something very different than a pencil eraser – it means a condom! So be careful there haha.

      There are so many regional differences in dialects, I can’t even imagine trying to get them all down perfectly – I’ve lived in the US all my life and I definitely don’t know them all for every region of the US! Big place haha. Cool site, must be so helpful to people getting comfortable in America.

  33. Nicole

    Very nice article. 🙂
    By the way, I’m American and I use “fridge” all the time. So do a lot of people I know. We either say “refridgerator, fridge, or frigerator”. Freezer only have one name and is part of the fridge but is where extra cold things go like ice cream, ice cube try (if you have one), frozen food items, etc. I’m sure you know this but I’m just making sure.
    Anyway, thanks for this article, it was very interesting. I plan on going to England in the next couple years or so! thank you!

    PS- to what part of the USA did you move?

    1. administrator

      Wlecome Nicole ! I agree with you….at least in my experience interacting with people, I have noticed often people use refrigerator… anyways, I lived in Southern states and currently live in Midwest !

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