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British & American vocabulary

You should learn British vocabulary as it is slightly different from American and Canadian English. Where Americans say truck the British say lorry

American spellings

When words with more than one syllable end in l, double the l if the last syllable is stressed.
Travel becomes travelled.
Do not double the l if there is no stress on the last syllable.
Traveled becomes traveling.
Words end in or as in color, flavor and humor.
Words end in ize or yze as in specialize, recognize and analyse.

British spellings

When words with more than one syllable end in l always double the l as in travelled and travelling.
Words end in our as in colour, flavour and humour.
Words end in ise or yse as in specialise, recognise and analyse.
Some differences between American and British spellings.


British English American English
accommodation accommodations
action replay instant replay
aerofoil [[airfoil]]
aeroplane airplane
agony aunt advice [[columnist]]
Allen key Allen wrench
aluminium aluminum
[[aniseed]] anise
anticlockwise [[counterclockwise]]
articulated lorry tractor-trailer
[[asymmetric]] bars uneven bars
[[aubergine]] eggplant


British English American English
baking tray cookie sheet
bank holiday legal holiday
[[beetroot]] beet(s)
bill check
biscuit cookie; cracker
black economy underground economy
blanket bath sponge bath
blind (window) shade
block of flats apartment building
boiler suit coveralls
bonnet (of a car) hood
[[boob]] tube tube top
boot (of a car) trunk
bottom drawer hope chest
bowls lawn bowling
braces suspenders
[[brawn]] (the food) headcheese
breakdown van tow truck
breeze block cinder block
[[bridging]] loan bridge loan
[[bumbag]] fanny pack


British English American English
[[candyfloss]] cotton candy
car park parking lot
casualty emergency room
[[catapult]] slingshot
central reservation median strip
chemist drugstore
chips French fries
cinema movie theater or the movies
[[cling film]] plastic wrap
[[common seal]] harbor seal
[[consumer durables]] durable goods
cornflour cornstarch
cos (lettuce) Romaine
[[cot]] crib
cot death crib death
cotton bud cotton swab
cotton wool absorbent cotton
council estate (housing) project
[[courgette]] zucchini
court card face card
crash barrier [[guardrail]]
crisps chips or potato chips
crocodile clip alligator clip
cross-ply bias-ply
crotchet (music) quarter note
current account checking account


British English American English
danger money hazard pay
[[demister]] (in a car) defroster
dialling tone dial tone
[[diamante]] rhinestone
double cream heavy cream
draughts (game) checkers
drawing pin [[thumbtack]]
dressing gown robe; bathrobe
drink-driving drunk driving
drinks cupboard liquor cabinet
drinks party cocktail party
driving licence driver’s license
[[dual]] [[carriageway]] divided highway
dummy (for a baby) pacifier
dust sheet drop cloth
dustbin garbage can


British English American English
earth (electrical) ground
engaged (of a phone) busy
estate agent real estate agent or realtor
estate car station wagon
ex-directory unlisted


British English American English
faith school [[parochial]] school
financial year fiscal year
first floor second floor
fish finger fish stick
fitted carpet wall-to-wall carpeting
flannel washcloth
flat apartment
flexitime flextime
flick knife [[switchblade]]
flyover overpass
football soccer
footway sidewalk
fringe (hair) bangs
full board (in hotels) American plan
full stop (punctuation) period


British English American English
garden yard; lawn
gearing (finance) [[leverage]]
gear lever gearshift
goods train [[freight]] train
greaseproof paper wax paper or waxed paper
green fingers green thumb
grill (noun) broiler
grill (verb) broil
ground floor first floor
groundsman groundskeeper


British English American English
hairslide barrette
hatstand hatrack
hen night bachelorette party
hire purchase [[installment]] plan
hoarding billboard
hob stovetop
holdall carryall
holiday vacation
[[holidaymaker]] vacationer
homely homey
hosepipe (garden) hose
in hospital in the hospital
hot flush hot flash
housing estate housing development
hundreds and thousands sprinkles (for ice cream)


British English American English
ice lolly Popsicle 
icing sugar confectioners’ sugar
indicator (on a car) turn signal
inside leg inseam


British English American English
jelly babies jelly beans
Joe Bloggs Joe Blow
Joe Public John Q. Public
[[jumble]] sale rummage sale
jump lead jumper cable
jumper sweater
junior school elementary school


British English American English
kennel doghouse


British English American English
ladybird ladybug
a lettuce a head of lettuce
level crossing grade crossing
lift elevator
lolly Popsicle
lollipop lady (or man) crossing guard
loo (toilet) john
loose cover [[slipcover]]
lorry truck
[[loudhailer]] bullhorn
low loader flatbed truck
lucky dip grab bag
luggage van baggage car


British English American English
maize corn
mangetout snow pea
market garden truck farm
[[marshalling]] yard railroad yard
maths math
metalled road paved road
milometer odometer
minim (music) half note
mobile phone cell phone
monkey tricks monkeyshines
motorway expressway or highway
mum/mummy mom or mommy


British English American English
nappy diaper
needlecord [[pinwale]]
newsreader newscaster
noughts and crosses tic-tac-toe
number plate license plate


British English American English
off-licence liquor store or package store
opencast mining open-pit mining
ordinary share common stock
oven glove oven mitt


British English American English
paddling pool wading pool
[[paracetamol]] acetaminophen
parting (in hair) part
patience [[solitaire]]
pavement sidewalk
pay packet pay envelope
pedestrian crossing crosswalk
peg clothespin
pelmet valance
petrol gas; gasoline
[[physiotherapy]] physical therapy
pinafore dress jumper
plain chocolate dark chocolate
plain flour all-purpose flour
polo neck turtleneck
positive discrimination reverse discrimination
postal vote absentee ballot
postbox mailbox
postcode zip code
potato crisp potato chip
power point electrical outlet
pram baby carriage or stroller
press stud snap
press-up pushup
private soldier GI
public school private school
public transport public transportation
punchbag punching bag
pushchair stroller
[[pylon]] utility pole


British English American English
quantity surveyor [[estimator]]
[[quaver]] (music) eighth note
queue line


British English American English
racing car race car
railway railroad
real tennis court tennis
recorded delivery certified mail
registration plate license plate
remould (tyre) retread
reverse the charges call collect
reversing lights back-up lights
right-angled triangle right triangle
ring road beltway
room only European plan
roundabout (at a fair) carousel
roundabout (in road) traffic circle
rowing boat rowboat


British English American English
sailing boat sailboat
saloon (car) sedan
sandpit sandbox
sandwich cake layer cake
sanitary towel sanitary napkin
self-raising flour self-rising flour
semibreve (music) whole note
semitone (music) half step
share option stock option
shopping trolley shopping cart
show house/home model home
silencer (on a car) muffler
silverside rump roast
skeleton in the cupboard [[skeleton]] in the closet
skimmed milk skim milk
skipping rope jump rope
skirting board baseboard
[[sledge]] sled
sleeper railroad tie
sleeping partner silent partner
slowcoach slowpoke
snakes and ladders chutes and ladders
solicitor lawyer
soya/soya bean soy/soybean
splashback backsplash
spring onion green onion
stag night bachelor party
Stanley knife utility knife
starter appetizer
state school public school
storm in a teacup tempest in a teapot
surtitle supertitle
swede [[rutabaga]]
sweet(s) candy


British English American English
takeaway (food) takeout; to go
taxi rank taxi stand
tea towel dish towel
[[terrace]] house row house
tick check mark
ticket tout scalper
tights pantyhose
[[timber]] lumber
titbit [[tidbit]]
toffee apple candy apple
touch wood knock on wood
trade union labor union
trading estate industrial park
trainers sneakers
tram streetcar or cable car
transport cafe truck stop
trolley shopping cart
twelve-bore twelve-gauge


British English American English
unalike unlike
underground subway


British English American English
vacuum flask [[thermos]] bottle
[[verge]] (of a road) shoulder
vest undershirt
veterinary surgeon [[veterinarian]]


British English American English
wagon (on a train) car
[[waistcoat]] vest
walking frame walker
wardrobe closet
water ice Italian ice
weatherboard clapboard
white coffee coffee with cream
white spirit mineral spirits
wholemeal bread wholewheat bread
[[windcheater] windbreaker
windscreen windshield
wing (of a car) fender
worktop countertop


British English American English
Yale lock cylinder lock


British English American English
zebra crossing crosswalk
zed (letter Z) zee
zip [[zipper]]
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