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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The joke is that Brits and Americans are separated by a common language...

There are numerous word and usage differences as well as spelling... in the interests of the people moving to the UK with American children, I'm starting a list of UK words and their American counterparts that a child would do well to know before their first day of school in the UK.

Please fee free to add to this...

biro=ball point pen
ink pen=fountain pen (are these still used?)
pencil case=a small pouch in which school writing utensils are stored
prep=homework
PE=gym or Phys Ed
rubber=eraser
trainers=sneakers/running shoes
plimsolls=sneakers with little support
PE kit=gym clothes
tunic=jumper
jumper=pullover sweater
knickers=girls underpants
pants=boys underpants
trousers=long pants
anorak=winter jacket
vest=undershirt
satchel=school bag
waist pack=bum bag (fa nny is a rude word, so don't say fa nny pack) (It gets blanked out by the forum software)
games=gym or Phys Ed
rounders=game loosely similar to softball/baseball. Played only by girls.
netball=game loosely like basketball, except no backboard and no dribbling. Played only by girls.
football=soccer. Once played only by boys, this has happily changed.

tea=the evening meal. Not to be confused with the hot drink of the same name.
elevenses= a snack at 11 am. Since lunch isn't until 1 pm, elevenses are a good idea.

What other words out there that are different between American and British English that every child should know?
 

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courgette = zucchini
revise = study
lemonade = sprite/7-up (so then what is actual lemonade called?!)
wool hat = toque (that one's probably just Canadian)
braces = suspenders
mince = ground (beef) --> not to be confused with mince pie which has no meat in it :(

practically every word ending in 'ize' ends in 'ise'. Same goes for color/colour
 

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revising = studying for, reviewing or updating (depending on the context, for example, "revising for maths" means "studying for mathematics" versus "revising a document" which means "updating a document")

Not that I promote unhealthy eating. ;)
crisps = potato chips
chips = french fries
softdrink = pop/soda

Other words:
flat = apartment/condo unit
buggy/pushchair = stroller (for babies)
 

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Break time = recess
Head teacher = principal
Summer holidays = summer recess
Test = pop quiz
Pupil = student
dinner hall = cafeteria
Metalwork/woodwork class = shop
Corridor = hall
Jelly = jello
Toilet = bathroom
Changing room = locker room
Blackboard = chalkboard
Report card = school report
Staff room = teachers' lounge
Teaching staff = faculty
Playground = schoolyard
Primary school = elementary school
Secondary school = high school

teuchter
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fizzy drink is also soda/pop, and we used cloak room for the place in school where we hung up our coats and changed our shoes from outdoor shoes or wellies to indoor shoes. And we had short break for elevenses and long break after dinner (the meal at 1 pm). Tea is at 5.

Lemonade and apple juice come in cloudy versions, so what Americans call lemonade is cloudy lemonade, and what we call apple cider is cloudy apple juice.

Some other differences: you live in a road not on it, and you are in hospital, not in a hospital.
 

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I grew up in the U.S. and I got a report card not a school report, I played on a playground not a schoolyard and wrote on a blackboard not a chalkboard so possibly you've confused a couple of those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Secondary school is ages 11-16, so that's grades 6-10 in the US. Not sure how sixth form college translates to US terms.
 

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I grew up in the U.S. and I got a report card not a school report, I played on a playground not a schoolyard and wrote on a blackboard not a chalkboard so possibly you've confused a couple of those.
Quite possibly - they were all taken from my time in the Midwest many years ago :D

teuchter
 

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netball=game loosely like basketball, except no backboard and no dribbling. Played only by girls.
Just adding my 2cents worth but netball can be played by boys as well it's just that not many of them do cos they see it as a sissy sport of which it is not it can be quite vicious....girls have nails :D

football=soccer. Once played only by boys, this has happily changed.
I'm happy to see Australia shares something in common with US we both call football - soccer.....that's so going to confuse me in the UK everyone calling soccer football especially because I'm from Victoria home of Aussie rules...aka footy/football.

lemonade = sprite/7-up (so then what is actual lemonade called?!)
I don't know about the UK for this one but here in Aus sprite/7up is just a brand name whereas lemonade is what the actual drink is because we also have Schweppes so Schweppes Lemonade, Sprite (lemonade) and 7up (lemonade) and they all taste virtually the same.
 

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Further UK - US examples from transport:
Tram - streetcar
Bumper - fender
Windscreen - windshield
Silencer - muffler
Tyre - tire
Heated rear window - rear defogger
Boot - trunk
Bonnet - hood
(Gear) lever - shift
Petrol - gas(oline)
Motorway - expressway, freeway
Dual carriageway - divided highway
Central reservation - median, median strip
Pavement, footpath - sidewalk
Car park - parking lot
Traffic police - highway patrol
Give way - yield
 

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A few more food-related ones:

Cornflour = cornstarch
Aubergine = eggplant
Coriander = cilantro
Suet = beef fat
Semi-skimmed milk = 2% milk/low fat milk
Gherkin = pickle
Spring onion = scallion
Sweets = candy
Biscuit = cookie
Cookie = biscuit
Spring roll = egg roll
Porridge = (cooked) oatmeal
Takeaway (also: 'carry out' in Scotland) = food to go
Cling film = plastic wrap/Saran wrap
Candy floss = cotton candy
Off licence = liquor store

teuchter
 

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I get these ridiculous pauses happening as my brain searches for the English word. For example, taking the trash out, "I'm going to the (dumpster...dumpster...dumpster...what's the word???) WHEELIE BIN to take out the (garbage...trash...ummmmm) RUBBISH! Or sometimes it all comes out at once, "I'm going to the dumpster, no, trash thing, OH! wheelie bin to take out the gar...rubbish." It is getting better, but I have gotten some strange looks over it. :confused2:

:)
 

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It's when you go back to the States and start saying 'getting wheelie bin out with rubbish' that you know you've been in UK for too long!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here are a few more...

pips - seeds
verge - tree lawn
at the weekend - on the weekend
on holiday - on vacation
fortnight - two weeks

and then there are pronunciation differences:
gah rage - gu rage
wee kend - wee kend

Here is an enjoyable blog entry where some US/UK language differences as they relate to mathematics are compared and contrasted:

US vs. UK: Mathematical Terminology | Math with Bad Drawings

Is the decimal point still written floating above the line in the UK? That's how I learned it...
 

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Welcome to the bane of every Canadian student's public/state school experience.

While many words and terms in Canada follow the conventions from the U.S., the British conventions are still in use there as well (but not to the same extent as they were in the 1950s... my Mom was born and raised in Canada and still uses British terms like "maths" when she writes, while my brothers and I just called it "math")... for example, a center can be center or centre, colour can be colour or color, neighbours might include "u" or they might exclude "u" but they're your neighbors nonetheless.

Scallions are scallions and just like the green onions, their roots and stems are to be tossed into the wheelie bin, which in my opinion is a lot quieter than a metal trash can or a dumpster when the garbage truck comes to collect the week's collection.

So, if you think learning a whole new set of terminology when you come to the UK is confusing, just remember the poor souls who grew up being exposed to both and not having a definitive guide as to when each is or isn't used.
 

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A few random ones I noted down yesterday, while watching various American TV programmes:

Action Man = GI Joe
Anti-clockwise = counter-clockwise
Artic(ulated lorry) = semi
Cafetière = French press
Current account = checking account
Drawing pin = thumbtack
Economy class = coach
Estate car = station wagon
Fringe = bangs
Full stop = period
Iced lolly = popsicle
Kirby grip = bobby pin
Kitchen roll/kitchen paper = paper towels
Lorry = truck
Multi-storey (car park) = parking garage
Plasterboard = Drywall
Postage & packing = shipping & handling
Provisional driving licence = learner's permit
Return ticket = round trip ticket
Rocket (salad) = arugula
Sat Nav = GPS
Shopping trolley = shopping cart
Skirting (board) = baseboard
Slip road = entry/exit ramp
Socket = outlet
Supply teacher = substitute teacher
Trainers = sneakers
Washing-up liquid = dish soap
Write-off = totalled
Y-fronts = jockey shorts

teuchter
 
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