+3 votes
in Fun & Humor ☻ by
British English versus American English

Autumn. My favourite time of year when the leaves turn orange, red and yellow. You call it 'Fall'. I prefer Autumn.

Bloody. You guys might describe an item covered in blood as 'bloody'. So might we. 'Bloody' is also a mild English swear word which is always used in cheesy programs made by Americans about the UK. Hardly anyone over here uses it anymore. Similarly, the word 'bleeding'. We use 'fuck' just as much as you guys, the big difference being that we can use it on network television after 9pm in a non-gratutious way, whereas you can only shout 'fuck' in the privacy of your own home. So there.

Candy. We call them sweets. Unless they are American confectionary, then we call them candy too. I have met quite a few Americans girls called 'Candy' but never ever an English one called 'Sweets'.

Conk. A nose. Also conkers is a game were small children thread horsechest nuts to lengths of string and hit the nuts together. The first nut to break is the loser. A conker that beats many conkers is known as a 'bully', as in a 'bully-niner' is a conker that has beaten nine other conkers. It has probably been soaked in vinegar, baked in an oven or scooped out and filled with concrete. If such a conker hit you on the conk you would know all about it.

Crime and punishment. If you had 'been a naughty boy' and taken to court, you may find yourself confronted by a 'beak' (a magistrate), who might send you down for some time 'at her Majesty's Pleasure'. You would go to gaol (or jail), or 'nick' as it is sometimes confusingly called.

Cutlery. The impliments you eat with. You guys also call them flatware.

Half inch. To you, half an inch or 1.27cm. To us, to borrow without asking first. The likely activity of a Tea Leaf (cv) in otherwords.

Mean. In the UK to be mean implies you are frugal to the point of being stingy. In the US you might be mean (i.e. aggressive) because of that English guy's inability to get his wallet out and buy you a beer (cv).

Mug. There are many meanings to this word, e.g. a vessel to contain your 'cuppa' (cup of tea). In the UK, a mug is a fool or an idiot and to mug up is to learn. In the US a mug is a thug or a hoodlum (sortened version of mugger I suppose). In otherwords, you better mug up on how not to be a mug before you are mugged by a mug.

Policemen. UK policemen are unarmed. As a consequence I feel safer over here than I did in the US. Anyway, the following are used to describe policemen: bobbies, peelers, filth, cops, pigs, the old Bill (or the Bill), rozzers, coppers, a plod or perhaps 'bastards' if you are feeling lucky. I'm not sure how many of those you guys might use. Imagine you are a tea leaf (thief) and you spot a car in good nick (reasonable condition) so you decide to nick (steal) it. Along comes PC (Police Constable) Plod, puts his hand on your shoulder and says 'You're nicked mate!' even though he isn't your friend and he probably isn't wielding a knife. This is your cue to say 'It's a fair cop! You got me banged to rights and make no mistake. You'll find the rest of the swag (illgotten gains) in the sack!' if you are stupid or 'I aint done nuffink copper!' if you are aren't.

Soldiers. On both sides of the Atlantic, members of the military who run around shooting things while wearing khaki (cv). Also in the UK, soldiers are pieces of buttered toast or bread that you dip in your soft boiled egg at breakfast. Yum!

Squash. To you a vegetable. To us a fruit drink similar to US lemonade. Also called 'cordial', though how friendly a bottle of orange squash can be is open to debate.

Sucker. In both countries a fool or a silly person. Also a piece of candy on the end of a stick that us Brits call a lollipop or a lolly. We also call money 'lolly' too to make things just that little bit more confusing...

Tire. When visiting the garage make sure you know the difference between a UK tire (band of metal placed around the rim of a wheel designed to strengthen it) and a US tire (pneumatic effort called a 'tyre' in the UK). If you make a mistake it could be a very long and bumpy ride home.

Z. The twenty sixth letter of the alphabet. You call it 'Zee'; we call it 'Zed'. A whole generation in England has had to relearn the alphabet after hearing the 'Alphabet song' on Sesame Street. Sadder still, the song doesn't rhyme with the English 'Zed'. At least the 'Numbers song' works (1-2-3-4-5, 6-7-8-9-10, 11-12, do do-do do-do do-do do etc etc...)

(These few words are a mere sample!) :D

3 Answers

+1 vote
Interesting!  I learned something today. 

Thank you. :)

+1 vote

" I have met quite a few Americans girls called 'Candy' but never ever an English one called 'Sweets'."

Wait a minute!  I had a friend on SH that often used to call me 'Sweets'.

Lol - that's funny indeed. You got the whole "package". :D


The whole PACKAGE??!!!???   :O :blush: :O

Not from HIM!!!!   :D




Lol - giggling and giggling ....

Oops!!!! Alone the sight of the link to the Urban Dictionary was evidence enough - giggling again :blush::blush::angel::D - and checking confirmed my guess - with a "strong smell of burning" (or trouble) - lol.

But if referring to a more "postal", "gift" or "shopping* definition, I am just remembering an old, ironic classic by Jacques Brel - Les bonbons (yes, also in English, you have "goodies"):


Still hilarious! :D:D

I couldn't upload the two pictures of sweets, in spite of tinkering ariound for about an hour.

I'll try later:


LOL!  Brel seemed to be quite...shall we say... flexible with his favors.  :D



Oh yes, he was a bit "flexible", but far less than most of the great artists and stars of his time. He was also a very hard working artist and had a great influence on the poetry and the chansons of his time.

One of his most popular, poetic songs is "Le plat pays" or "Mijn vlakke land" (My flat land).


And he was also an excellent actor and comedian - his performance as un unjustly blamed teacher in "Les risques du métier" was extremely touching, and in the last movie "L'emmerdeur" with Lino Ventura the show was hilarious. :D


+1 vote

The pictures could not be loaded.

I'd rather forget about them before I break my computer into pieces ...