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Business, Communication

American English vs. British English Vocabulary: 50 Corresponding Word Pairs

Even though Americans and the British speak the same language, there are many notable differences between us when it comes to spelling, grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.

In fact, U.S. English speakers are often surprised, confused, or even perplexed by the UK’s unique lexicon (and vice versa).

To help you recognize some of these differences related to vocab, here is a list of corresponding word pairs:

Same idea, different term
U.S. versionUK version
airplaneaeroplane
apartmentflat
attractive (of a person)fit
bachelor partystag night
bachelorette partyhen party
bathroom/toiletthe loo
carryout/takeout (food)takeaway
closet (for clothes)wardrobe
cookiebiscuit
crib (for a baby)cot
diapernappy
driver’s licensedriving licence
elementary schoolprimary school
elevatorlift
eraserrubber
expressway/freewaymotorway
french frieschips
friend/buddymate
garbage/trashrubbish
garbage/trash candustbin
gasolinepetrol
high schoolsecondary school
hood (of a car)bonnet
ice pop/popsicleice lolly
insanemad
line (of people)queue
mailpost
main streethigh street
mommum
movie theatercinema
oven mittoven glove
overpassflyover
pacifierdummy
parking lot/garagecar park
pharmacychemist
potato chipspotato crisps
roommateflatmate
semitrucklorry
shopping carttrolley
sidewalkfootway
sketchydodgy
soccerfootball
strollerpushchair
tennis shoes/sneakerstrainers
tired/exhaustedknackered
trunk (of a car)boot
TVtelly
vacationholiday
windshieldwindscreen
wrenchspanner

Watching a big-budget Hollywood movie? You’ll probably hear the terms on the left. Reading an Agatha Christie detective novel? You’re more likely to come across the words in the right column! 🙂

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