American English to British English Translation (A-F)

The English language is no doubt the international language of business, diplomacy, and technology. The top two variants of the language that are widely spoken at the international level are the US English and the UK English. Like any dialects of any language, these two standardized dialects have their differences. These differences range from usage preference to total difference.

This translation list should be taken as a guide rather than a strict rule. While there are differences between American English and British English, it’s still the same language. These two variants have more similarities than differences. They constantly influence each other. Also, language changes over time.

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A

American British
abridgment abridgement
absentee ballot postal vote
absorbent cotton cotton wool
AC air con
acclimate acclimatise
accommodations accommodation
accounts payable creditors
accounts receivable debtors
acetaminophen paracetamol
acknowledgment acknowledgement
Address on X Street Address in X Street
advice columnist agony aunt
adz adze
affirmative action positive discrimination
aging ageing
airfield aerodrome
airfoil aerofoil
airplane aeroplane
all-purpose flour plain flour
Allen wrench Allen key
alligator clip crocodile clip
allowance pocket money
aluminum aluminium
aluminum foil tin foil, aluminium foil
American plan full board
amphitheater amphitheatre
analogue (common spelling), analog analogue
analyze analyse
anemia anaemia
anesthesia; anesthetic anaesthesia; anaesthetic
anesthesiologist anaesthetist
anise aniseed
antenna (TV, radio) aerial (TV, radio)
apartment flat
apartment building block of flats
apologize apologise
apothecary apothecary’s
appetizer starter
arguing rowing
armor armour
around round
artifact artefact
arugula rocket
Asian – East Asian (e.g. Chinese, Korean, etc.) Asian – South Asian (e.g. Indian, Pakistani, etc.)
ass arse

ass = donkey

assigned set
assigned us set us
astonished gobsmacked
attorney; lawyer barrister; solicitor
ATM

US: “a hole in the wall” = an inconspicuous restaurant

cashpoint, cash marchine, cash dispenser,“a hole in the wall”
automobile (formal) motor car (formal)
ax, axe axe

B

American British
baby carriage pram (perambulator)
bachelor party stag night, stag do
bachelorette party hen night, hen do
to back up a vehicle to reverse a vehicle
back-up lights reversing lights
backpack, knapsack rucksack
backsplash splashback
backward backwards
backyard back garden
bacon (a thin slice) rasher
bag of chips packet of crisps
baggage luggage
baggage car luggage van
baked potato jacket potato
ball pit ball pool, ball pit
ball-point pen biro
band-aid plaster
bandanna (common spelling), bandana bandanna
bangs (hair) fringe (hair)
banister (common spelling), bannister bannister
bar pub
barf (vomit) chunder (vomit)
barrette hairslide, slide
baseboard skirting board
bathe (verb) bath (verb)
bathrobe, robe dressing gown
bathroom, restroom (public)

US: toilet = toilet bowl

loo, public toilet

UK: toilet = toilet bowl; toilet room

BB gun air gun
beating a dead horse flogging a dead horse
beet(s) beetroot
behavior behaviour
behoove behove
bell pepper pepper
beltway, freeway, highway loop ring road
best by (canned food) best before (tinned food)
bias-ply cross-ply
the Big Dipper the Plough
bill (money) banknote (money)
billboard hoarding
billfold wallet
binder clips bullclips
binky, pacifier dummy
most typical bird: robin most typical bird: sparrow
biscuits scones
blender liquidiser
blind corner (road) blind bend (road)
blinker, turn signal (car) indicator (car)
block – a piece of land or a group of buildings surrounded by streets on all sides and usually rectangular in shape block – a tall building that contains different offices, etc.
blonde (hair) fair (hair)
blow (or toot) one’s own horn blow one’s own trumpet
blowtorch blowlamp
bobby pin hairgrip
bonnet bobble hat
booger-flavored bogey-flavoured
boogeyman bogeyman
bougainvillea bougainvillaea
curly braces – { } curly brackets – { }
brackets – [ ] square brackets – [ ]
breathalyze breathalyse
bridge loan bridging loan
broadloom fitted carpet
broil (verb) grill (verb)
broiler grill (noun)
bucks (dollars) quid (pounds)
buffet sideboard
bulletin board notice board
bullhorn loudhailer
bum = hobo (vagrant)

hobo = bum (vagrant)

tramp = hooker (prostitute)

bum = buttocks

hobo = tramp (vagrant)

tramp = hobo (vagrant)

bumper car dodgem, dodgem car
bunch (group) lot (group)
burglarize burgle
bus coach
business suite meeting room
busy (phone) engaged (phone)
busy signal (phone) engaged tone (phone)
by far the hardest part much the most difficult bit

C

American British
cab, taxi taxi
cafeteria canteen
calendar – (1) containing dates and usually hanged on the wall; (2) a daily planner calendar – containing dates and usually hanged on the wall (a daily planner is called a “diary”)
calendar (where to write things) diary (where to write things)
caliber calibre
caliper calliper
Call me at this number.

You can reach me at 111-111.

(Call me on my landline.)

Call me on this number.

You can reach me on 111-111.

(Call me on my landline.)

call, phone ring (up), phone, call
camper caravan; camper van
can tin
Can I get a… Can I have a…
can’t do better than that can’t say fairer than that
canceled cancelled
candidacy candidature
candy sweets
candy apples, caramel apples toffee apples
candy shop sweet shop
canned food tinned food
canola oil rapeseed oil
car (train) wagon (train)
car accident, car crash car wreck
carburetor carburettor
a deck of cards a pack of cards
carded ID’d
carnival funfair
carousel roundabout (at a fair)
carpenter carpenter; joiner
carpet pad underlay
carry-on hand luggage
carryall holdall
cart trolley
cash register till
catalogue, catalog (common spelling) catalogue
cell phone mobile phone
cell(phone) number mobile (phone) number
centennial centenary
center centre
CEO (Chief Executive Officer) managing director
certified mail recorded delivery
check (at a restaurant) bill (at a restaurant)
check (monetary) cheque (monetary)
check an item tick an item
check mark tick
checkbook cheque book
checkered chequered
checkers (game) draughts (game)
checking account current account
checkroom, coatroom cloakroom
chili chilli
chili con carne, chili chilli con carne
Chinese checkers (game) Chinese chequers (game)
chink of sunlight ray of sunlight
chips, potato chips crisps
chutes and ladders snakes and ladders
cigarette

US: fag = an offensive term for a homosexual man

fag (slang)
a pack of cigarettes a packet of cigarettes
cilantro coriander
cinder block breeze block
clapboard weatherboard
clobbered nobbled
closet wardrobe
clothespin clothes peg
clothing store clothes shop
clueless gormless
cocktail party drinks party
coed (school) mixed (school)
coffee with cream white coffee
coffin, casket coffin
coin purse female wallet
collect call reverse charge call
Collective Nouns:

The government is doing something.

His family is there.

California wins the soccer game.

Exceptions: People are…; Police are…

Collective Nouns:

The government is/are doing something.

His family is/are there.

England win the football match.

college, university

US: There is no sharp distinction between college and university, particularly in spoken English where the word “college” is often used. Going to school can also mean attending university.

university

UK: College is different from university. School is for children. Exceptions: business school, school of medicine.

color colour
comforter (bedspread) duvet (bedspread)
common stock ordinary share
confectioners’ sugar, powdered sugar icing sugar
conceited big-headed
connect someone or transfer someone’s call put someone through
connection connection, connexion
Conversations:

– I’ve already called the company.

– You have?

– He did it yesterday.

– He did?

– She isn’t the manager.

– She isn’t?

Conversations:

– I’ve already phoned the company.

– Have you?

– He did it yesterday.

– Did he?

– She isn’t the manager.

– Isn’t she?

cookbook cookery book
cookie sheet baking tray
cookie; cracker biscuit
cops, police police
corn maize
cornstarch cornflour
costume party fancy dress party
costumer costumier
costumes fancy dress
cot camp bed
cotton candy candy floss
cotton swab cotton bud
couch, sofa settee, sofa
could care less; couldn’t care less couldn’t care less
counselor counsellor
counterclockwise anticlockwise
countertop, kitchen counter worktop, work surface
course books set books
court tennis real tennis
coveralls boiler suit
cozy cosy
a cramp cramp
crazy mad
cream puff profiterole
crib cot
crib death cot death
criticize criticise
crock pot slow cooker
crooked wonky
crossing guard lollipop man (or lady)
crosswalk, pedestrian crossing zebra crossing, pedestrian crossing
crowd lot
cupcake fairy cake
curb (on a road) kerb (on a road)
cutting in line skipping the queue, pushing in the queue, pushing in

D

American British
damn bloody
dark chocolate plain chocolate
date format: month/ day/ year date format: day/ month/ year
dawn cock-crow, dawn
day care center day nursery
defense (noun) defence (noun)
defroster (car) demister (car)
dependent (noun) dependant (noun)
deplaned disembarked
desserts puddings
detour diversion
deviltry devilry
dial tone dialling tone
dialogue (common spelling), dialog dialogue
diaper nappy
diary – a personal journal diary – a daily planner
DID – direct inward dialing, direct inward dial DDI – direct dial-in
different than, different from different to, different from
dig in tuck in
directory assistance directory enquiries
dish soap washing-up liquid
dish towel tea towel
disorient (verb) disorientate (verb)
dived, dove (past simple) dived (past simple)
divided highway dual carriageway
do the dishes do the washing-up
Do you want to come over to our house? Do you want to come round to our house?
doctor’s office doctor’s surgery
doghouse kennel
don’t have a clue, have no clue, haven’t (got) a clue haven’t (got) a clue
doughnut (common spelling), donut doughnut
doodad doodah
dormitory halls of residence
dormitory building dormitory block
downscale (adjective) downmarket (adjective)
downtown city centre, town centre
draft draught
drapes, curtains curtains
dreamed dreamt
to drive a car to drive a car, to motor a car (rare)
driver’s license driving licence
driveway drive
drop cloth dust sheet
a drop in the bucket a drop in the ocean
drugstore, pharmacy chemist’s, pharmacy
drunk pissed, arseholed (slang)
drunk driving drink-driving
dull (of a pencil) blunt
dump truck dumper truck
dumpster skip
durable goods consumer durables

E

American British
edgewise edgeways
eggplant aubergine
eighth note (music) quaver (music)
elasticized elasticated
electrical outlet power point
elementary school junior school
elevator lift
emergency phone number: 911 emergency phone number: 999
emergency room casualty
encyclopedia encyclopaedia
endeavor endeavour
engine engine, motor
English muffins crumpets
enroll; enrollment enrol; enrolment
enthrall enthral
equaling equalling
epicenter epicentre
ER – Emergency Room A&E – Accident and Emergency; Casualty
erase rub out
eraser

US: rubber = condom (slang)

rubber
escalators escalators, moving stairs (old fashioned)
estimator quantity surveyor
estrogen oestrogen
even quits
exclamation point exclamation mark
Excuse me. (didn’t hear the speaker properly; bumped into someone) Sorry.
expiration expiry
expiration date expiry date
extension cord extension lead

F

American British
face card court card
fall, autumn (rare) autumn
fanny – buttocks (polite word) fanny – vulva (slang)
fanny pack bumbag
fart (verb) trump (verb), fart (verb)
faucet tap
favorite favourite
fender (of a car) wing (of a car)
fetus fetus (technical), foetus (non-technical)
fiber fibre
(playing) field (playing) pitch

UK: field = a piece of land in the country where animals are raised and plants are grown.

filet mignon fillet steak
fire sack
fire company/department fire brigade/service
fire truck fire engine
first floor, ground floor ground floor
First Nation, Native American American Indian
fiscal year financial year
fish sticks fish fingers
fit = an offensive term for epilepsy (use the term “seizure” instead) fit = convulsions
flashlight torch
flatbed truck low loader
flavor flavour
flextime flexitime
floatie lilo
a bag of flour a pack of flour
flying on the air flying in the air
football American football
for free free
freezing point: 32° Fahrenheit freezing point: 0° Celsius
freight train goods train
freight-hauling company haulage company
freshmen (high school students) year 10
fries, french fries chips
front desk reception
frosting icing
fuel petrol
fueled; fueling fuelled; fuelling
fulfill; fulfillment fulfil; fulfilment
funny queer (peculiar)
furnace boiler
furor furore

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Letter G to L
Letter M to R
Letter S to Z