Nugget of Knowledge: British vs. American English


The same words have very different meanings in America than they do across the pond

(WYTV) – English is English, right? Not unless you’re in England — then you’ll quickly discover the same words have very different meanings in America than they do across the pond.

For example…

In the United States, a bird is an animal with feathers that tweets. In England, however, a bird is often used to describe a young female, as we would say “chick flick.” Some Britons consider the term to be derogatory.

Trainers in America are fitness experts who can help you work out. Abroad, trainers are just another name for sneakers, or tennis shoes.

In America, a jumper usually means someone who’s about to jump, such as when 911 dispatchers get a call about a jumper on a bridge. In Great Britain, it’s the sweater you’re wearing.

You put a dead person in a casket in America but in England, it’s a small, often antique, box used to store jewelry or trinkets.

Do you have a comforter — a quilted bedspread? You’re in America. In England, a comforter is your baby’s pacifier.

In America, pants are your trousers or slacks. In Britain, pants is short for underpants — your underwear. To further confuse you, trousers in Britain are trousers — the clothes on the outside.

We wear boots on our feet in America but in England, your boot is the trunk of your car.

We wear braces to straighten our teeth but in England, braces hold up your trousers — they’re suspenders.

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