American vs. British Vocabulary

British Red Telephone Booths


"Phone booth" or "phone box?" Not likely to cause confusion either way (but phone box is British).

“Phone booth” or “phone box?” It’s not likely to cause confusion either way (but “phone box” is British).

British and American English are probably 99% the same language, and usually Brits and Americans have no trouble understanding each other. However, there are still quite a few common words that British people and Americans use in totally different ways, which can cause confusion (or embarrassment! See “pants”…) when people from the two countries speak to each other. When I was a kid, I lived in England for a while, and these are some of the words that I found to be the most likely to cause misunderstanding.


American English British English
Trunk (of a car) Boot
Hood (of a car) Bonnet
Truck Lorry
Wrench Spanner
Pants Trousers
Underwear/Panties Knickers/Underwear/Pants
Undershirt Vest
Vest Waistcoat
Sweater Jumper/Jersey/Sweater/Pullover
Bathrobe/Robe Dressing Gown
Sneakers Trainers
Vacation Holiday
Cookie Biscuit
Chips Crisps
French Fries Chips
Dessert Pudding/Dessert/Afters
Bacon Rashers
Soccer Football
Football American Football
Flashlight Torch
Crib (for a baby) Cot
Pacifier (for a baby) Dummy
Diaper Nappy
Baby Carriage Pram