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Brit Speak Help

Old Feb 18th, 2000, 05:12 PM
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Brit Speak Help

Does anyone know of a website (or have info they can email me) on the translation of the more common words from American English to British English (ie- cookies vs biscuits, etc.). I thought one of my travel guides would have a section, but they don't and I really don't want to buy another book. I really would like to show my respect to the place I am visiting, by taking the time to learn their lingo. Thanks!
Old Feb 18th, 2000, 05:48 PM
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Try this site:
Old Feb 18th, 2000, 11:51 PM
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There's also a very good book which looks at the sociologically differences that lead to the naguage difference. it's called "Brit-speak; Ameri-speak"

But don't you change a thing about yourself. We think it's cute
Old Feb 19th, 2000, 04:21 AM
Nigel Doran
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The site you need is set up by a Brit living in the US. It is, I think, and is very comprehensive.
F Y I, many Londoners are slavishly copying North American words and sentence structures, which I find boring. Not because it is North American they are copying, but because they are copying full stop (=period.)
For example, saying 'airplane' rather than 'aeroplane', and 'can I get' rather than 'can I have' in a bar or food shop etc. To me it sounds ridiculous, like a North American using British English phrases and words, like 'bloody' or 'queue'.
Old Feb 19th, 2000, 05:55 AM
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There was a dreadful trend about 20 years ago toward what I think was called a "North Atlantic" accent, in which North American and UK syntax, accent, and vocabulary were merged into a David Frost-ian mush/porridge which everybody hated. Ours is too wonderful a language to homogenize/se. Just remember, Dru, that a pint of beer is a is more than half a quart.
Old Feb 19th, 2000, 08:13 AM
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"Effingham" jogged my memory but it's actually, I remember someone mentioning it a while ago. Effingham seems to be a town in Illinois, nice enough site but nothing to do with britspeak/amerispeak.
Old Feb 19th, 2000, 01:16 PM
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It was a "mid-atlantic" accent. It was particlaurly prevalent for a while in Aberdeen because ther were so many Americans here for the oil industry and also because so many of our homegrowns had spent time over seas with Americans.

Now it's just pretentious
Old Feb 19th, 2000, 04:12 PM
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So I guess I'll sound pretty stupid if I say "Bloody Hell" when I pick up the check?
Old Feb 20th, 2000, 10:13 AM
Nigel Doran
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You mean the bill, surely.
Old Feb 20th, 2000, 10:55 AM
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Maybe Dru means an inadequate cheque with which the bill is to be paid. OK sentiment, though.
Old Feb 23rd, 2000, 02:06 PM
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I've moved to the States and these are the main ones I found different-
fanny pack--bum bag
purse--hand bag
parking lot--car park
swim suit--swimming costume
side walk--pavement
bathroom--toilet or gents
cell phone--mobile

Old Feb 23rd, 2000, 03:51 PM
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Thanks everyone, I knew you'd point me in the right direction.
Old Feb 24th, 2000, 01:10 AM
Molly Donnelly
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Here is partial list I made up for a 5th grader back home in the States for a project he was doing on Scotland. He quizzed his friends about what they thought each British term meant.

A Cookie is a biscuit
A Potato Chip is a Crisp
A French fry is a chip.
Candy is called Sweets
A Sweater is called a Jumper
Pants are called Trousers
Men's underwear are pants; women's are knickers.
Shopping carts are called Trolleys
Apartments are called Flats
A windbreaker is called a Windcheater or Cagoule (pronounced: Ka-gool)
Rain boots are called Wellies
Diapers are called Nappies
Americans go to the bathroom while the Scottish go to the toilet, the loo or the WC (water closet)
Sneakers are called Trainers
Gasoline is called Petrol
We stand in a line, the Scottish stand in a queue (Pronounced: cue)
A Band-Aid is a Plaster
The Oven is called a Cooker
Churches are Kirks
Your little brother or sister would be your “wee” brother or sister.
A small child is called a “wee bairn”
A parking lot is called a Car Park
A Highway is a Motorway or Carriageway
Soccer is called Football
Our football is called American Football and is starting to get popular here.
Eggs only come with brown shells. There are no white-shelled eggs here.
Math is called Maths
What Americans call Private Schools, the Scottish call Public Schools. These are “fee-paying” schools. The schools that everyone can go to are called State Schools.
The TV is called the Telly.
A Garbage Can is called a Bin.
The game Tag is called Tig and the tagger is a Tigger.
Markers are felt pens.
Yards are called Gardens.
Backpacks are called Rucksacks
A Doctors office is called a Surgery. Having an operation is also called having surgery. The operating room is called an Operating Theater.
A Postman is called a Postie and the mail is called the Post.
Pharmacies are called Chemists
Q-tips are called Cotton Buds
Jello is called Jelly and our Jelly is called Jam here.
A Popsicle is called an Ice-Lolly
A crossing guard is called a Lollipop Man because he holds a round stop sign on a stick!
To call someone on the phone, you would ring them.
A living room is called a lounge.
The trunk of a car is a boot and the hood is a bonnet.
The windshield of a car is a windscreen.
Bangs (hair) are called Fringe.

Most importantly, do not refer to that thing around your waist as a fanny pack. Very bad to do that!

But, really, don't worry about changing your vocabulary. People here know that you are American and can understand American vocabulary. They're great sports!
Old Feb 24th, 2000, 05:01 AM
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A couple of others I've run across while visiting and looking for houses/apartments to rent (there's one - to LET):

Rangetop/burners = hob (anyone know from whence that comes?)

while = whilst

napkins = serviettes

bulkie/water roll = bap (again, where did that originate?)

And, I have a question: I was eating in a steak house and the waitress asked if I wanted sauce...I said no since I'm a salt-and-pepper kinda gal, but then I thought, what the heck is SAUCE?
Old Feb 24th, 2000, 06:22 AM
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Let's not forget "mind the ______" - the favorite being "mind the gap" - if you don't come home from London saying that for awhile you did not spend enough time on the Underground.

Post (a letter) instead of mail it
Take-away = take out
"Hoover" is used by friends of ours to mean vacuum (not sure if that is commonly used tho)
Stalls = Orchestra (as in seats at the theater)

My mind is drawing a blank at this moment but what we call the first floor in a bldg. is called something else ... what Americans refer to as the second floor is "the first floor".

Like Elvira I'd like to know where the term "hob" comes from - anyone know?

Old Feb 24th, 2000, 08:47 AM
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There's really only one word you absolutely must master before attempting to Britify your speech, and that is..."sorry." Use it whenever possible, and you'll fit right in.

You think I'm joking, but I'm not.
Old Feb 24th, 2000, 09:17 AM
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I feel the need to confuse matters further.

There is a class issue in the use of words in Britain. It came to mind when I was reading the last few postings.

There was a 1950s book published here called "U and non-U" (U being understood to mean Upper- as in class)

A U person would not say toilet or WC they might say loo but proper use is lavatory- and not as in some parts of Glasgow, lavvie.

One should never saw serviette- always napkin.

Always living room or drawing room- never lounge.

The (American) first floor is the (British) ground floor, Lori. And in Scotland a take away is also a kerry oot (Carry out, and it can mean drink from an off-licence which is a liquor store as well as a curry)

Elvira, sauce is (usually) Ketchup, but it can be brown sauce (also known as HP because that's the best known brand name)

In my continuing them of being a sad b*****d on this Forum, as well as caln maps and castle maps, I've also bought abook on etymology, but it's at home so I'll check on bap and hob when I get back.

I come originally from a town 80 miles south of here where a roll is a roll. I've been here 25 years and I still ask for rolls in the shops and am surprised when I'm given a buttery- also known here as a roll or a rowie.
Old Feb 24th, 2000, 09:56 AM
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And (my personal favorite) I don't like him, I "fancy" him.
And yes, at some point some innkeeper may well ask you what time you'd like to be "knocked up" in the morning.
Old Feb 24th, 2000, 11:25 AM
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Sheila reminds me that there’s probably a need for a Scottish-English dictionary as well as an American-British one.
Handy Scottish bar/pub = tavern (US) terms (no charge for opinions):
Public bar = where the action is
Lounge bar = quieter, cleaner. (In British Columbia for years the sign said “Ladies with Escorts” over the lounge bar entrance. Otherwise…?)
Whisky = Scotch
Whiskey = Irish whisky
Lemonade = something awful and why would you want THAT with your whisky or beer?
Dram or nip = shot
Quarter gill (a portion of booze) = one fourth of a gill = 1 fluid oz.
Fifth gill = getting more common. Now Euro-fied?
Heavy (Scot.) = bitter (Eng.) (sort of) = ale (US)
Light = undrinkable (IMO). Not to be confused with (US) “Lite” (= equally undrinkable, but for different reasons)
Lager = yellow beer
Wee heavy = look out
Shandy = half beer and half ginger beer or lemonade (see above if you’re not careful) (US - 7-up or ginger ale)
Ginger beer = ginger ale (in your dreams)
Lager & lime = beer and sweetened lime juice (US)
Brown (or “broon”) = Newcastle Brown Ale. Not to be confused with brown sauce, see mince pie (Scot.) = meat pie but NOT pork pie (US)
P*ssed = drunk, not mad (usually)
Scrumpy = where bad apple cider goes to die.
Jimmy = your name, even if it’s really Harold.
Last orders = time to complete the process of getting hammered by ordering several pints then emerging into the night in order to become a traffic menace.

Oh, and “hoover” is also a verb, like, “I have to hoover the lounge because Jimmy was p*ssed and dropped his packet of crisps when he reached for his fags.”
Old Feb 24th, 2000, 12:46 PM
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My dad used to ask for a spanner (wrench) and preferred to trunk his solicitor (send message to lawyer) occasionally.

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