+2 votes
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Differences Between British and US English

Aubergine. Frankly foul purple vegetable used in moussaka. You call them eggplants.

Bonk. In a similar vein, to bonk someone in the UK is to enjoy sexual congress with them. It also means to hit someone, usually on the head. The two might be related if you like that sort of thing...

Dinky. In the US something that is small or poorly made. In the UK something small and cute. I'm not sure if you had Dinky Cars in the US, but these toy cars are now worth a fortune over here. And I gave all mine away too (sob!)...

Irony. Along with sarcasm, the basis of English humour. Totally lost on most of our American chums. Saying '...NOT!' is not sarcasm.

Lorry. A UK truck. A word used in the tongue twister 'Red Lorry Yellow Lorry' by parents to torture their kids. Try it. You'll hate me for it.

Pardon. As I said before, being sorry is all part of being English. We apologise for things that aren't our fault again and again and again. I am convinced that the first word that an English baby learns to say after 'Mama' and 'Dada' is 'sorry'. Anyway, 'pardon me' is a polite way of excusing your way through a crowd or excusing yourself or if your bodily functions betray you in public. The US equivalent, 'excuse me' only seems to be used in a sarcastic way, i.e. 'Well excuuuuuse me!' while exchanging lawyers' telephone numbers.

Potty. In both countries 'potty' is that little plastic seat that kids are forced to use when they need to expel bodily waste when they are too big for nappies(UK) / diapers(US). Americans take the meaning of this word into adult life unchanged. English chaps use 'potty' to describe someone who is a bit silly, dolalley or, to be frank, mad. After watching the film 'The Madness of King George', I can see how the two meanings might have a common ancestry...

Rumpty. The latest word coined by the British Tabloid Press for fun stuff in the dark. Obviously they got bored with bonking... Anyway, a typical sex scandal headline in the Sun (infamous tabloid paper owned by Rupert Murdock) would read 'Robbie-ex-from-Take-That (screaaaaammmmm!) caught in four in bed rumpty with Divine Brown, OJ and some ugly Tory Minister who will shortly be resigning'....

Slash. In the US a line denoting a separation on the written page or on a computer, or even a rip or tear in a piece of material. In the UK also a euphenism for a wee, a jimmy riddle or urination. Also the name of a rather well known guitarist who was born in England and hence should have thought a little harder before choosing his 'nom de rock'n'roooolll, man'.

Snogging. You know that thing you do when you are with your loved one when you tickle each others tonsils? In the UK that's called snogging. Much beloved of kids at school discos inbetween swigging illicit bottles of vodka and Special Brew beer and 'getting on down' to Take That (screaaaaammmmm!) (popular beat combo in the UK much admired by girlies).

Swank. In both countries to be 'swanky' implies that you are showy and vulgar, or to say that something is 'swanky' could also mean that it is posh or expensive. Comic book characters (e.g. those in UK comics The Beano and Whizzer & Chips) are often seen going into the 'Hotel de Swank' after getting money for some good turn, where they promptly blow it all on a plate of mashed potato with sausages sticking out of it. I have never seen such a delicacy on offer in the hotels I have been in, much to my disappointment. Anyway, I have also been reliably informed that 'Swank' is also the name of a US DIY magazine populated by young women who have great difficulty keeping their clothes on or their legs together. They also wear high heels in bed. Weird. I have a theory about how the magazine got named. The editor was wandering around Soho, London (the red light district) one day when he heard a Londoner shout 'S' wank innit?' (It is a wank(cv) isn't it). Thinking, 'Aha - I'm au fait with English slang: hence 'Swank' would be a great name for a porno mag' he toddled off back to the US and created said magazine. Unfortunately, in this context the Londoner was probably referring to his job being pointless...

Suspenders. In the UK those things that women hold their stocking up with. You call them garters. Confusingly, when I was in Cub Scouts, the things with the tags on them you used to hold your socks up were called garters too. These were instruments of torture - ideal for pinging and causing yelps of pain during prayer on church parade services. Some children are sooo cruel. Anyway, what you call suspenders we call braces.

Table. Imagine you are in a boardroom. The chairperkin (note dubious PC nomenclature) says 'I reckon we should table the motion about the McBigcorp account'. If you were American you would think 'Gee, I guess we can forget about that for a while' - i.e. the motion has been postponed. If you were English, you would think 'Jolly good show old bean! I fancied (cv) talking about that one!', i.e. the motion has been brought up for discussion. How do people in trans-atlantic companies cope?


Link: http://www.netfunny.com/rhf/jokes/95q4/uk.html

2 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer

Wait a minute!

Rubbers are used in the US too.  Oh, wait, never mind... I didn't look at the picture closely enough the first time. :angel: :D


We use rubbers mostly but we also use the word eraser sometimes.


Yes, Marianne, I was driving at rubbers, which are overshoes for rain or light snow.  :angel: :)



Rubbers are the invention of Americans, Native Americans.


Lol - oh yes and rubber boots to walk through kneedeep water, of course :D:D:D - :O:angel::D.

And also lots of stories about flat tires ....:D:D!

Well, let's try to remember history - there are always details which went lost or were lacking in the past:





Lol - and regarding natives from the North - not mocassins?

Latex (for natural rubber), i.e. the tree species Hevea brasiliensis, grows in the tropics and subtropics.


+2 votes

I use most of them interchangeably.


Lol - some are really "slippery friends", and I prefer to check with new and/or rediscovered expressions and interpretations. Otherwise, you have plenty of anecdotes to tell about awkward moments with "innocent" looking words - lol.


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