Words with different meanings in British & American English


There are a lot of words with different meanings between British and american English. Although both countries generally understand both terms, sometimes it can get a little confusing. Lets take a look at the differences between the most common words.

British English                         American English

Queue                                                                     Line

Film                                                                        Movie

Holiday                                                                  Vacation

Boot                                                                         Trunk

Petrol                                                                       Gas

Lift                                                                           Elevator

Pavement                                                               Sidewalk

Lorry                                                                        Truck

Class                                                                        Grade

Trousers                                                                  Pants

Parcel                                                                       Package

Play time                                                                  Recess

Car Park                                                                   Parking lot

Chemist                                                                    Drug Store

Sweets                                                                       Candy

Toilet                                                                         Restroom

Post code                                                                  Zip code

Bill                                                                            Check

number plate                                                          Licence plate

postbox                                                                    Mail box

Jumper                                                                    Sweater


These are just a few of the most common words that have different meanings but there are hundreds more! As most films and television shows are american it is very common for English as a foreign language speakers to use the american words.

The other thing you may notice is that British English and american English often spell the same word differently. This can sometimes be confusing so make sure you always check. Depending on what type of English you have been taught will define what spelling system to use.

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