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

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

In Living in US by KumarUpdated : 135 Comments

We have covered an article on 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.

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
American English word British English equivalent Explanation and usage.
Cilantro Coriander When you go to buy vegetables,  you have to look for cilantro leaves
Grocery Store Super Market You find vegetables and all the house supplies in a typical grocery store. It can be used synonymous with super market.
Restaurant Hotel In US, Hotel means the place you stay for night like Marriot.
Cross Walk Zebra Crossing The path for crossing roads at Traffic lights
Traffic Lights Traffic Signal In US, they use the word Traffic lights or Just the word Lights to refer to Traffic Signal
Soda Cold Drink Soda refers to anything like Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc
Okra Lady Finger Typically you look for Okra in a Grocery store.
Egg plant Brinjal If you use brinjal, people in US do not understand. So, use Egg plant
Peanuts Ground nuts Peanuts are common snack and it is also used in phrases too. Like “that income is just peanuts”.  It means very less.
Grade / Percent Marks You do not see professors using the word Marks at all. They use either percent or grade.
Sidewalk Pavement / Foot path You walk to home on sidewalk in American English.
Battery Cell / Cells You use batteries for charging. In US, they do not understand if you refer cell. They think cell phone.
Eraser Rubber To 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 / Blender Mixi or Mixie You use the word mixer or Blender in US to refer to mixi. It is used for mixing flour, blending, etc
Refrigerator Fridge I have never seen anyone use Fridge. They use Freezer or Refrigerator to store vegetables  and freezer to make ice or store frozen vegetables.
Bell pepper Capsicum The 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.
Jalapenos Green Chili Green Chili are referred to as  Jalapenos. They are a little bigger than regular green chili.
Sneakers Tennis Shoe / Sports Shoe Sneakers 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.
Bubbler Drinker Water Fountain Bubbler 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.
Pills Tablets in US, you take pills if you are sick. It could be for common cold or allergies, etc
Pants Trousers You buy a pair of pants in US. There is no Jeans pant, you just refer as Jeans
Clippers Nail Cutter You 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 ( 135 )

  1. Halton Pickles

    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…

  2. Rebekah Prudhomme

    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…”

  3. Jim

    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’

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