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Sixty American English Words and their British English Counterparts


Although the Spellzone course was written in the UK, it covers both British English and American English spellings. The different spellings of a words are highlighted throughout the course, and you can choose whether you would prefer to take a British English or an American English version of a test. Click here to read an overview of the main differences between American English and British English spellings, and here for more detailed information.

It’s not just spellings you need to watch out for though! Some words have different meanings depending on whether they are used in an American English or a British English context. The word ‘pants’ in American English, for example, refers to an item of clothing which is used to cover the legs (i.e. trousers), whereas in British English the word refers to underwear. Today we’re going to look at some American English words, and their British English counterparts. Scroll down to read more!

 
British English
American English
  British English spellings  American English spellings 
1.
flat
apartment
2.
appetizer
starter
3.
fringe
bangs
4.
hairslide
barrette
5.
grill
broil
6.
grill
broiler
7.
sweet(s)
candy
8.
mobile phone
cell phone
9.
crisps
chips
10.
snakes and ladders
chutes and ladders
11.
wardrobe
closet
12.
biscuit
cookie, cracker
13.
candyfloss
cotton candy
14.
anticlockwise
counter clockwise
15.
cot
crib
16.
nappy
diaper
17.
chemist
drugstore
18.
aubergine
eggplant
19.
junior school, primary school
elementary school
20.
lift
elevator
21.
motorway
expressway, highway
22.
chips
French fries
23.
dustbin
garbage can
24.
petrol
gas, gasoline
25.
bonnet
hood (of a car)
26.
skipping rope
jump rope
27.
number plate
license plate
28.
off-licence
liquor store
29.
postbox
mailbox
30.
oven glove
oven mitt
31.
dummy
pacifier
32.
trousers
pants
33.
tights
pantyhose
34.
car park
parking lot
35.
parting
part (in hair)
36.
full stop
period (punctuation)
37.
public school
private school
38.
state school
public school
39.
dressing gown
robe, bathrobe
40.
shopping trolley
shopping cart
41.
pavement
sidewalk
42.
sledge
sled
43.
trainers
sneakers
44.
football
soccer
45.
hundreds and thousands
sprinkles (for ice cream)
46.
pushchair
stroller
47.
underground
subway
48.
braces
suspenders
49.
jumper
sweater
50.
takeaway
takeout (food)
51.
drawing pin
thumbtack
52.
noughts and crosses
tic-tac-toe
53.
boot
trunk (of a car)
54.
indicator
turn signal (on a car)
55.
vest
undershirt
56.
holiday
vacation
57.
waistcoat
vest
58.
flannel
washcloth
59.
postcode
zip code
60.
courgette
zucchini

Can you think of any other British English words that have a different meaning in America? Or any American English words that have a different meaning in Britain? Tweet them to us or leave a comment below, and we’ll include them in our next list!

If you found this article useful, why not check out our other blog posts on the American English language?

Have a great week!

Avani Shah


25 Nov 2014
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