British English to American English Translation (S-Z)

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 UK English and the US 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 British English and American 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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Letter A to F
Letter G to L
Letter M to R

S

British American
sabre saber
sack fire
sailing boat sailboat
saloon (car) sedan (car)
sandpit sandbox
sandwich cake layer cake
sanitary towel sanitary napkin, sanitary pad, pads
satsuma walnut
saucepan pot (sauce)
savour savor
scales (machine) scale (machine)
scarper run
scarpered scampered
sceptical skeptical
sceptre scepter
scones biscuits
scrambled egg scrambled eggs
screw (slang) prison guard
second from last second to last
see the wood for the trees see the forest for the trees
self-raising flour self-rising flour
Sellotape Scotch tape
semibreve (music) whole note (music)
semitone (music) half step (music)
semolina grits
sequestrate sequester
series (TV programme) season (TV show)
serviette napkin
set books course books
set us assigned us
settee, sofa couch, sofa
sexually aroused (slang) randy
shagging – performing sexual intercourse (slang) shagging – a popular swing dance in South Carolina, etc.
shagpile carpet shag carpet
shan’t won’t
share option stock option
shop store (common), shop
shop assistant sales clerk
shopping centre mall
shopping trolley shopping cart
show house/home model home
sick nauseated, nauseous
sideboard buffet
signalling signaling
a silence silence
silencer (car) muffler (car)
silverside rump roast
single (ticket) one-way (ticket)
sit an exam take an exam
sitting room living room
sizeable sizable
skeleton in the cupboard skeleton in the closet
skilful skillful
skimmed milk skim milk
skip dumpster
skipping rope jump rope
skipping the queue, pushing in the queue, pushing in cutting in line
skirting board baseboard
sledge sled
sleeper railroad tie
sleeping partner silent partner
slow cooker crock pot
slowcoach slowpoke
smart = fashionable smart = intelligent
smelt smelled
smoulder smolder
snakes and ladders chutes and ladders
snigger snicker
socialise socialize
socket (electricity) outlet (electricity)
solicitor; barrister lawyer; attorney
sombre somber
Sorry. Excuse me. (didn’t hear the speaker properly; bumped into someone)
soya, soya bean soy, soybean
spanner wrench
sparkling water seltzer
specialise specialize
speciality; specialism; specialisation specialty; specialization
speed hump, sleeping policeman (informal) speed bumps
spellcheck spellchecker
spelt spelled
spilt spilled
spirits liquor
splashback backsplash
splendour splendor
spoilt spoiled
spots pimples
spring onion green onion, scallion
spunk = semen (vulgar) spunk = mettle, pluck, spirit
square brackets – [ ] brackets – [ ]
stabilisers training wheels
stag night, stag do bachelor party
Stanley knife utility knife
starter appetizer
state school; comprehensive school public school
stock inventory
storey story (building)
straight away right away
string bean, runner bean string bean
sulfur (technical), sulphur (non-technical) sulfur
a pack of sugar a bag of sugar
sultana raisin
surtitle supertitle
swede rutabaga
sweep under the carpet sweep under the rug

(carpet = fitted carpet, rather than a rug)

sweet shop candy shop
sweets candy
swimsuit, swimming costume swimsuit, bathing suit
Swiss roll jelly roll

T

British American
at table at the table
lay the table set the table
tabloid journalism yellow journalism
take a left/right turning (on a road) take a left/right turn (on a road)
take away (food) take out (food)
take it with a pinch of salt take it with a grain of salt
take the underground ride the subway
takeaway (food) takeout, to go (food)
taking the register roll call
tank top sweater vest
tap faucet
tartan plaid
tartare sauce tartar sauce
taxi cab, taxi
taxi rank taxi stand
tea towel dish towel
telly television
terrace house row house
terraced house town house
text someone send someone an SMS
the loo (toilet) the john (toilet)
the mains (gas or water pipes) main (gas or water pipes)
the Plough the Big Dipper
the underground, the tube (train) the subway (train)
theatre theater
theory papers theory exams
third-party insurance liability insurance
tick check mark
tick an item check an item
ticket tout scalper
tights pantyhose
till cash register
timber lumber
time frame, timescale time frame
timetable schedule
tin can
tin foil, aluminium foil aluminum foil
tinned food canned food
titbit tidbit
to drive a car, to motor a car (rare) to drive a car
to give someone a lift to give someone a ride
to meet to meet with (to have a meeting with)
to post a letter to mail a letter
to read up to read up on
to reverse a vehicle to back up a vehicle
to revise for an exam to review for an exam
to table something – to formally present something for discussion to table something – to discuss something at a later date
to wash up = to wash the dishes to wash up = to wash one’s hands, elbows, etc.
toffee salt water taffee
toffee apples candy apples, caramel apples
toilet paper, toilet roll, bog roll toilet paper
toll motorway toll road, turnpike
tonne metric ton
toothache a toothache
top in something top at something
top-of-the-range top-of-the-line
torch flashlight
touch wood knock on wood
towards toward
town centre, city centre downtown
trade union labor union
trading estate, industrial estate industrial park
trainers sneakers
tram streetcar, trolley car
tramp = hobo (vagrant)

bum = buttocks

hobo = tramp (vagrant)

tramp = hooker (prostitute)

bum = hobo (vagrant)

hobo = bum (vagrant)

transport transportation
transport cafe truck stop
travelled traveled
traveller traveler
travelling traveling
treacle molasses
treacle toffee treacle fudge
trolley cart
trousers

UK: pants = men’s underwear

pants = a piece of clothing that completely and separately covers the legs
trump (verb), fart (verb) fart (verb)
tuck in dig in
twelve-bore twelve-gauge
tyre tire

U

British American
underlay carpet pad
undertaker mortician
unit trust mutual fund
university

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

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.

unravelled unraveled
upmarket (adjective) upscale (adjective)
upwards upward
urbanisation urbanization

V

British American
vacuum flask, thermos vacuum bottle, thermos, thermos bottle
verge (road) shoulder (road)
vest undershirt
veterinary surgeon veterinarian
vice (tool) vise (tool)
video recorder VCR
vigour vigor

W

British American
waggon wagon
wagon (train) car (train)
waistcoat vest
walking frame walker
wallet billfold
wardrobe closet
washing-up liquid dish soap
waste bin wastebasket
water ice Italian ice
weatherboard clapboard
at the weekend; at weekends on the weekend; on weekends
weirdo prison weirdos’ prison
well shot of him well shut of him
wellington boots rubber boots, rain boots
whilst while
white coffee coffee with cream
white spirit mineral spirits
wholemeal bread wholewheat bread
wilful willful
wind down roll down
windcheater windbreaker
windscreen windshield
wing (of a car) fender (of a car)
wonky crooked, lopsided
woollen woolen
worktop, work surface countertop, kitchen counter
She wrote to him. She wrote him.

Y

British American
year 10 freshmen (high school students)
year 11 sophomores (high school students)
year 12 juniors (high school students)
year 13 seniors (high school students)
yoghurt yogurt
You need your (something) testing. You need your (something) tested.
You’ve got a nerve! You’ve got nerve!

Z

British American
zebra crossing, pedestrian crossing crosswalk, pedestrian crossing
zed (letter Z) zee (letter Z)
zip zipper

More Pages

Letter A to F
Letter G to L
Letter M to R