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American Slang Words and Phrases: 17.

Jack up An abrupt increase, typically in

the price of something.
1. Bail Intransitive verb for leaving
abruptly. 18. Knock To speak negatively, to disparage,
to badmouth.
2. Feeling blue; have the blues A feeling
of depression or sadness. 19. Lighten up To relax and take things too
seriously. Typically stated as an appeal to
3. A buck Slang term for a the American someone who is acting uptight.
20. Pass the buck To deflect responsibility
4. By the skin of (my/your/his/her) teeth onto someone else.
just barely.
21. Piece of cake A metaphor to describe
5. Creep (n.) An unpleasantly something that is easy or effortless.
weird/strange person.
22. Pig out A metaphor for binge eating.
6. Couch Potato A lazy person who spends
the bulk of their time engaged in things that 23. Plead the fifth References the fifth
can be done while sitting on a couch. amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which
allows a witness in court to refuse questions
7. Cram To study feverishly before an on the grounds that they risk self-
exam typically done after neglecting to incrimination.
study consistently.
24. Screw up To make a mistake, i.e. mess
8. Crash To abruptly fall asleep, or to up.
show up without invitation.
25. Sweet An adjective that describes
9. Down to earth And adjective for something that is good, or nice.
practicality and lack of pretense.
26. Tight An adjective that describes
10. Drive up the wall To irritate. closeness between competitors, i.e. a tight
11. For Real A proclamation of honesty.
27. Trash Can be used as an intransitive verb
12. Going Dutch When each person, usually for destruction. e.g. He trashed the car.
in a dating scenario, pays for his/her own
meal. 28. Uptight Stuffy, persnickety, the opposite
of relaxed.
13. The cold shoulder A metaphor for
deliberately ignoring someone. 29. Wrap (something) up To finish or
complete something.
14. Give a ring To call someone on the
telephone. 30. Zonked Completely exhausted. Our next
post will cover British slang terms that
15. Hyped (adj.) A very excited state. Americans find confusing. Until then, here
are some of our favorite American slang
16. Hang out To casually gather together or words:
spend time with someone in a social manner.
British Slang Words and Phrases:
1. All mouth and no trousers All talk, no 11. Doofer An unnamed object. Thing,
action, i.e. Braggadocio. thingamajig, whatchamacallit.
Dont listen to him. Hes all mouth and no What is that doofer?
12. Earwig To eavesdrop.
2. Argy-bargy An argument or heated Dont earwig on my personal phone calls.
Im not interested in getting into an argy- 13. Eating Irons Cutlery, eating utensils.
bargy over it. Do we have any clean eating irons?

3. Bang to rights Equivalent of dead to 14. Fortnight Very common British slang
rights. Caught in the act. Caught red- term for a period of two weeks.
handed. Ill be back in a fortnight to check on you.
Police caught Jim Bang to rights outside
the bookies. 15. Fence n. A person who deals in stolen
property. v. To pawn off stolen property to a
4. Bent as a nine-bob note Metaphor for buyer.
dishonesty or corruption that references the Take this watch to the fence and see what
nine-schilling (bob) note, which does not you can get.
exist and must therefore be counterfeit.
That street vendor selling watches is bent 16. The Fuzz The Police.
as a nine-bob note. Dont let the fuzz catch you.

5. Blinding An adjective for excellence. 17. Gaffer Boss, foreman, or employer.

The Prime Minister gave a blinding Lets ask the gaffer if we can go on break.
inauguration speech.
18. Gutted A state of extreme despair.
6. Chuffed To be very pleased about John was gutted that his girlfriend dumped
something. him.
Reginald was chuffed about the football
match. 19. Go to Spare To become angry,
frustrated, distressed, or enraged.
7. Conk A blow to the head or nose. If his mood is off, he might go to spare.
He conked his head on the doorframe on
his way out. 20. Hard Cheese An expression of bad luck.
Hard cheese if he does. Were entitled to
8. Corker Someone or something that/who our break.
is outstanding. A standout.
Great job, Jim. Youre a real corker. 21. Honk To vomit.
Reginald coughed so hard he honked all
9. Do ones nut To become enraged. over the pub.
Presumably a reference to doing an
impression of a madman (nut). I gave him 22. Idiot box A television set.
the news, and a he did his nut.) I think Ill spend the night in front of the
When I gave Reginald the news, he did his idiot box.
nut, and went home.
23. Ivories Teeth, piano keys, or dice.
10. Damp Squib Something that fails on all He sure knows how to tickle the ivories.
counts. Reference to small explosive charges
that fail when wet. 24. Jock A nickname for John in Scotland
It looks like the new midfielder is a damp but widely used as a Scottish everyman term
like, dude, or mack, or buddy. It can be 31. Marbles Wit, intelligence, or good sense.
pejorative depending on context. Have you lost your marbles?
Listen Jock, I need your group gone in the
next five minutes. 32. Miffed Upset or offended.
He got all miffed about the football match.
25. Joe Bloggs Equivalent to Joe Blow. A 33. Nob Person of high social status, snob.
typical, average, or unremarkable man. Some nob in a fancy car splashed me.
I dont know who he was. Just some Joe 34. Numpty An incompetent or unwise
Bloggs. person.
You and your numpty friend should
26. Kerfuffle A skirmish or fight caused by apologize.
differing views. 35. Odds and Sods Equivalent to odds and
He and I got into a kerfuffle over politics. ends. Miscellaneous.
You lot got first picks and left with nothing
27. Knees up Adjective for liveliness. but odds and sods.
This party is knees up.

28. Know Ones Onions To be well versed

on a subject.
Go ask John. He know his onions about

29. Lag A convict, especially one who

served or is serving a long prison sentence.
The old lag cant find a job so he sits at the
pub and drinks.

30. Laughing Gear A metaphor for ones

Shut your laughing gear, Reginald.

Accumulator (automotive) = battery, car Lip balm = chapstick

Logic-chopping = splitting hairs, hair-
Alsatian (dog) = German shepherd splitting

Articulated lorry = tractor-trailer (truck), a Long jump (in athletics) = broad jump (in
"semi" track and field)

Ass = donkey; U.S. ass = G.B. "arse," i.e. Lorry = truck

one's backside (in addition to normal
"donkey") Loud-hailer = bullhorn, amplified
Athletics (an ... meet) = track and field
Lucky dip = grab bag (children's party
Backlog = log-jam, pile-up (of business game or activity ...)
orders, for example). U.S. backlog =
comfortable reserve of orders -- difference Lumber room = spare room, storage room
between the two is in opposite (in a home)
interpretation or connotation of same basic
situation. Mackintosh = raincoat, overcoat, trenchcoat

Bank holiday = holiday Mains = ordinary built-in home electrical

network (no special word as equivalent in
Bap = bun, hamburger bun, hamburger roll U.S.)

Mrs. Beeton = Fanny Farmer (standard Market garden = truck farm

cooking, household reference book)
Marrow (vegetable) = squash, gourd
Bespoke = custom-tailored, tailor-made
Mason = stoneworker; U.S. mason can be
Big Dipper = roller coaster (at a "Fun-Fair" stone- or brickworker
= "Amusement Park"
Marriage lines = marriage certificate
Bilberry = blueberry
Mean = stingy, tight with money; U.S.
"Bird" = "chick" "mean" normally means nasty, spiteful, ill-
meaning in action toward another
Biro = Papermate (ball-point pen trade
name which equals "generic" name) Mess kit = formal military dress for
ceremonial dining; U.S. mess kit = army or
Biscuit = cookie (U.S. "biscuit" is a baked boy scout utensils for cooking or eating a
bread, "bap," "scone" meal on the trail.

Blancmange = vanilla pudding Minced meat = hamburger meat, ground

beef; U.S. mincemeat = sweet, spicy ground
Block, block of flats = apartment building meat/fruit/nut combination used for making
(U.S. term "block" [city block] unknown as pies, especially around
such in British English, though usually Thanksgiving/Christmas
Mineral water = any carbonated soft drink;
"Bomb" (theater terminology) = a "hit," a U.S. mineral water = bottled natural water
great success. U.S. "bomb" = G.B. failure, (containing normal minerals) from spring
critical disaster, i.e. the two are exact or health spa, Perrier water, etc.
opposites in sentences like "The play was a
bomb!" Mistress = teacher in girls' school; U.S.
mistress = lover (extramarital)
Boiler suit = overalls Mob = gang, group (neutral); U.S. mob =
angry crowd; "the mob" = Mafia
Bonnet (automotive) = hood (of a car...)
Motorist, motoring = driver, driving
Boot (automotive) = trunk (of a car...)
Music Hall = vaudeville (generic
Bottom drawer = hope chest entertainment type/place name)

Bowler (hat) = derby (special connotations Nappy = diaper (for infants not toilet-
& different pronunc.) trained)

Braces = suspenders; U.S. suspenders = A Neat drink = a straight drink, i.e. "give
G.B. garters, stocking fasteners me a straight whiskey" = whiskey without
water or other additives
Brambleberry = blackberry
Nervy = nervous, jumpy; U.S. nervy = bold,
Bottom of the street = end of the street impertinent, i.e. nearly the opposite of the
British usage
Box (TV) = Tube (both slang, colloquial
terms) Night club = private membership club; U.S.
nightclubs are public (commercial)
Bull = "mickey mouse" (unnecessary entertainment places
military drill); U.S. bull = G.B. cock
Number plate = license plate (on
Bum = ass, rectum; U.S. bum = G.B. tramp, automobiles)
Off-license = liquor store
Bun in the oven = pregnant, eating for two
Old boy (girl) = alumni, alumnus, alumna
Call box = (tele)phone booth [of a school]

Camp bed = cot; U.S. cot = G.B. baby bed Pantechnicon = moving van

Car park = parking lot Panda car = police patrol car, police cruiser

Caretaker (for a building) = janitor (not Patience (card game) = Solitaire

same as "vahtimestari")
Pecker (keep your pecker up) = keep your
Carriage (railway) = railroad car, subway chin up; U.S. pecker = penis
Pram (peramulator) = baby carriage, baby
Carrier bag = shopping bag buggy, stroller, walker

Caucus = permanent group in a political Petrol = gasoline, gas (to go in automobiles,

party; U.S. caucus = G.B. ad hoc planning airplane, etc.)
meeting of a group in a political party
Pie = meat pie; U.S. pie is always a fruit or
Central reservation = median strip fruit-derived pie, unless "a meat pie" is
(between halves of a divided highway) specifically indicated

Charge sheet = police record Pillar-box = mailbox, post office box, letter
box, letter drop
Chemist (drugstore) = druggist
Pissed (he was really...) = drunk; U.S.
Chips = french fries; U.S. chips often = "pissed = angry, upset
dried buffalo, cow dung (other cases, i.e.
poker chips, wood chips, the same) Pitch (soccer) = field (football) [GB
"football" = US "soccer"]
Chucker-out = bouncer (doorman or
Plimsolls = sneakers, tennis shoes, gym
"enforcer" in a bar/restaurant shoes

"In the City" = "on Wall Street" (in main Point = electric outlet, railroad switch
financial district) (depending on context)

City editor = financial editor; U.S. city Polka dots = chocolate chips (food product
editor = G.B. "community news editor" for baking)

Cloakroom = toilet; U.S. cloakroom = Prawn = shrimp

clothes closet, garment storage area
Prom, prom concert = music concerts where
Coach = intercity bus most of the audience is standing; U.S. prom
= dance, semi-formal, especially at end of
Combinations = union suit (colloquial for year in high schools, colleges
long underwear)
Rates = local, municipal property taxes
Comforter = scarf; U.S. comforter = heavy
quilt, blanket Redundant = laid off (from a job); U.S.
redundant = superfluous (no connotation of
Compre = Master of ceremonies, M.C. (of connection with jobs at all)
TV game show, etc.)
Return ticket = round-trip ticket
Constable = (police) officer
Ringway = circular road (around a city),
"To cop" = "to get" something unpleasant, bypass
i.e. "to cop a 15-pound fine." U.S. "to cop"
= to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order Rise = raise in salary
to avoid prosecution & probable conviction
on a more serious charge ("to cop a plea" = To Roger = to "screw," have sex with; to
"plea-bargaining") exploit, take advantage of, to use

Corn = all grain crops; U.S. corn = G.B. Roll neck (pullover) = turtleneck (sweater).
"maize" only.
Roundabout = traffic circle
Costermonger = pushcart seller
Rubber = eraser; U.S. rubber = condom,
(Sent to) Coventry = ostracized prophylactic device

Crisps = potato chips Saloon = "sedan" car (automobile); US

saloon = western-style bar
Cupboard = closet; U.S. closet = G.B. w.c.,
or toilet Saloon bar = one section of an English pub

Davenport = antique folding writing desk; Sanitary towel = sanitary napkin, feminine
U.S. davenport = large sofa, often which hygienic item
folds out into a bed at night.
A good screw = a good salary; U.S. "good
Deposit account = savings account screw" equals good "fuck" or good sexual
Dinner jacket = tuxedo ("black tie" formal
dress) To Screw = to cajole, persuade, extract
money from; U.S. "to screw" = to have sex
Dormitory = bedroom; U.S. dormitory = with, fornicate
G.B. residence hall
Season ticket = commuter (train, bus)
Dresser = kitchen sideboard; U.S. dresser = ticket; U.S. season ticket is card or ticket of
bedroom drawers, vanity paid admission to all home games in one
season of a particular sports team
"Duck" = "goose egg" (a zero on the
To Second to = to temporarily loan staff to
scoreboard of a sports match) another job or unit

Dumb = mute; U.S. dumb usually means Sellotape = Scotch tape (both brand names
"stupid" rather than "mute," which is a now used as "generics"
secondary meaning in U.S. usage.
"Semi" = duplex, duplex house; U.S.
Dustbin = garbage can, ashcan (exterior "semi" = tractor-trailer truck rig
waste-disposal unit)
Seminary = Roman Catholic seminary only;
Dynamo (automotive) = generator (within U.S. Seminary can be ANY religion, i.e.
automobile engine) Lutheran, Methodist seminaries

Earth wire = ground wire (in electricity, Sherbet = powdered, fruit-flavored candy;
electronics) U.S. sherbet = G.B. sorbet (pronounced
Elastic band = rubber band
Shorthand-typist = stenographer
To Enjoin = to compel, to legally force; U.S.
enjoin = to legally forbid -- i.e. same term in To shy = to throw something (he shied a
same general contextual usage has precisely rock at the stray dog...)
the opposite meaning
Sideboards = sideburns (in a hairstyle)
Ex-serviceman = veteran; U.S. veteran =
G.B. old ex-serviceman; (U.S. term has no Single = one-way ticket; U.S. "single" in
special age connotation, only that the context would mean "only one" as opposed
person have had prior military experience to "several" tickets
To Snog = to neck (i.e. kissing, hugging, etc.,
Fag = (a) cigarette; (b) public-school esp teenagers)
underclass "servant"; U.S. fag = low-slang
term for male homosexual. Spinster = any unmarried woman; U.S.
spinster is always OLD unmarried woman
Fanny = vagina (vulgar usage); U.S. fanny =
light euphemism for "backside," either Standard lamp = floor lamp (as opposed to
male or female. table or wall lamp)

First floor = second floor, etc. (Britain walks S.T.D. (subscriber trunk dialling) = direct
in ground floor, goes up 1 set of stairs to distance dialling [on the telephone, as
first floor; U.S. ground floor and first floor opposed to dialling through operator]
are the same.
Steps = ladder; U.S. "steps" always would
Fish slice = pancake turner, spatula (kitchen mean staircase, built- in stairway or
tool); U.S. spatula = G.B. tongue depressor staircase
(medical instrument)
To stream (pupils in a school) = to track
Fitted carpet = wall-to-wall carpeting (streaming = tracking)

Flan = pie, fruit pie Stroke (punctuation) = diagonal, slash

Flannel = washcloth; U.S. flannel = heavy To Stuff = to fornicate, have sex with; U.S.
warm cotton fabric; "flannels" would be "I'm stuffed..." = to be comfortably,
long underwear made from such heavy pleasantly full of
warm fabric.
Superannuation scheme = retirement
Flat = apartment; U.S. flat = tenement flat pension plan
= poor-standard slum apartment.
Supply teacher = substitute teacher
Flick knife = switch-blade knife, a
switchblade Supertax = surtax
Flyover = overpass (as in a bridge over a Surgery = a doctor's office, office hours,
road); U.S. flyover = airplane passing over a reception time; U.S. "surgery" refers to
certain place, as in military parade "surgeon" operating on a patient
"flyovers"; verb is "to overfly."
Suspenders = garters, for socks or stockings
Form (school) = grade [i.e. first form = first only; U.S. suspenders = G.B. braces, for
grade in school] holding up trousers

Garden = yard; U.S. garden = vegetable Sweet = dessert, or piece of candy

garden, fljower garden, i.e. area of special
cultivation. U.S. yard = G.B. paved area Sweetshop = candy store
(lorry yards)
To Table (parliamentary procedure,
Goods (car, train) = freight; U.S. goods = conference terminology) = to put on agenda
supplies, commercial stock for immediate handling; U.S. "to table" = to
put aside [indefinitely], to delay further
Grind = sexual intercourse; U.S. grind = handling
slang for "hard (routine) work."
Tannoy = public address (p.a.) amplification
Haberdasher = notions seller; U.S. system
haberdasher = men's clothing seller
Teat = baby bottle nipple; US teat = GB
To Hack = to (deliberately) kick; U.S. to nipple = breast nipple
hack = to chop, cut viciously.
Terrace house = row house, garden
High street = Main street apartment, town house

To Hire = to rent (in most cases); U.S. to Are you Through? (telephone) = are you
hire = to employ Hire-purchase = (the connected; U.S. "are you through"? = are
"never-never") = installment plan you finished, completed, with your call

Hoarding = billboard (large advertising To tick = to check, place check mark beside
sign alongside road)
Tights = hose, panty hoseh, nylons, nylon
Hold up = traffic jam; U.S. holdup = stockings; U.S. tights = leotards, skin-tight
robbery at gunpoint. exercise suit, knit stocking pants

Homely = home-loving, domestic, pleasant; Tinkle = telephone call [give me a tinkle

U.S. homely = plain- looking (female), sometime]; U.S. "tinkle" = children's talk
therefore often "left" at home. for "to urinate"

To Hoover = to vacuum (carpets, etc.) Tip = garbage dump; U.S. tip = hint, advice,
"Hoover" in the U.S. is a brand name only, clue
never used as a verb.
Torch = flashlight; U.S. torch = burning,
Inland = internal, domestic (Inland flaming light or weapon
Revenue = Internal Revenue)
Touchline = sideline (in sports, such as on
Inverted commas = quotation marks (GB = soccer pitch, etc.)
'xx'; USA = "xx")
Tower block = high-rise apartment building
Inquiry agent = private detective
Trade union = labor union (but usually
Jelly = Jello (deriving from brand name organized by "trades" in England, by
Jell-O, gelatin dessert) "industry" in the U.S. -- US "Auto
Workers' Union" would be represented by
"On the job" = having sexual intercourse; different "trades" in GB)
U.s. "on the job" = while working, learning,
i.e. "on the job training." Tram = streetcar, trolley car
Joint = pot roast; U.S. "joint" = marijuana Transport cafe = truck stop (roadside
cigarette cafeteria, restaurant, popular with truck
[lorry] drivers
Juggernaut lorry = a very large truck, an
overlong truck, a "double semi" truck Traveller = travelling salesman

Jumble sale = rummage sale Treacle = molasses

Jumper = light pullover (sweater); U.S. Trousers = pants; U.S. pants = G.B.
jumber = type of knee- length woman's underwear shorts
dress worn over blouse or sweater
Trunk call = long-distance call (on a
Kirby grips = bobby pins (to fasten long telephone)
hair ...)
Turn it up (colloquial) = stop it, cut it out!
A Knock-up = (tennis) to warm up, to volley U.S. "turn it up" = increase the volume
a few, to practice-volley
Undercarrige = landing gear (aircraft)
To Knock up = to awaken, call early in the
morning; U.S. "to knock up" is colloquial Underdone = rare (extent to which you wish
for "to impregnate" your meat cooked)

Lacquer = hairspray; U.S. lacquer = wood Underground= subway (cf "subway")

varnish, shellac (high-gloss), i.e. protective
decorative wood coating Vest = undershirt; U.S. Vest = G.B.
Ladder = (in women's stockings" = a
runner, a run Windscreen (automotive) = windshield

Lay-by = (beside a road) = a pull-off, a rest Wing (automotive) = fender, bumper (pre-
area. 70s designs...)

Left-luggage office = check room, baggage White spirit = turpentine, paint thinner;
check (room) U.S. "white lightning" (spirits) = potent
home-distilled backwoods alcohol!
Level crossing = railroad crossing.
Wholemeal = whole-wheat (bread, flour,
Lift = elevator etc.)

food, satiated Yankee/Yank = any American in general,

U.S. Yankee = Northeast erner ONLY, i.e.
Sub-editor = copy reader or rewrite person, specific regional, historical definition
in journalism
Zebra crossing = crosswalk, pedestrian
Subs = dues, as in union dues, etc. crossing (Ped Xing)

Subway = underground walking passage, "Zed" = "Zee" (pronunciation of last letter

underpass, pedestrian tunnel; U.S. subway in alphabet)
= G.B. "underground," i.e. underground
railway system for public transportation Grandstand play = done to impress the
audience in the grandstands rather than as
Superannuation scheme = retirement a requirement of the game, "showy" action
pension plan
Ground rules= specific local rules for
Supply teacher = substitute teacher particular event or action, sports or
Supertax = surtax
Half & Half = dairy mixture of half cream,
Surgery = a doctor's office, office hours, half milk (to put in coffee, for use in baking,
reception time; U.S. "surgery" refers to
"surgeon" operating on a patient etc.)

Bathroom = toilet, w.c. (G.B. bathroom will Half & Half = dairy mixture of half cream,
have bath, washbasin or shower only) half milk (to put in coffee, for use in baking,
Billboard = hoarding
Handball = game played by hitting a small,
Biscuit = scone; G.B. biscuit = U.S. cookie hard ball with bare hand against a wall in
room similar to a squash court -- European
Billy club = truncheon "handball" is not 'known' in the U.S.

Blank = empty form, i.e. telegraph blank Hard-on = male sexual erection

Block (city block) = city block bounded by High school = secondary school, senior
streets on 4 sides, distance between 2 streets (upper) secondary school
or crossings in same direction
Home free (colloquial) = home & dry
Block-busting = "penetration" of a
residential area by an ethnic or minority Homely = plain-featured, -looking; GB
group unwelcome by original residents, who homely = domestic, pleasant
often then sell and leave
Horny = randy
Blotter = police official daily record of
happenings in local precinct office Housing project = housing development,
housing estate
Blowout = puncture (flat tire on car, bicycle,
etc.) Huddle = planning, tactics conference,
especially in American football, but also
Blue book = local social register of high- metaphorically in other situations
status families
Hung jury = jury that is divided, cannot
Blue Cross/Blue Shield = two different large reach a verdict
health-insurance companies
Jello = jelly; U.S. "jelly" = G.B. "jam"; U.S.
Blue laws = restrictive community "moral" "jam" = G.B. "thick [GB] jelly with fruit
laws dating from Puritan times, such as embedded"
prohibition of liquor sales on Sunday, limits
on public entertainment on Sundays, etc. Kerosene = paraffin, U.S. paraffin = GB
paraffin wax
Bomb (theater) = a failure; G.B. bomb
(theatre) = great success Longshoreman = docker, dock worker

Boner = gaffe, mistake, faux pas Lox = smoked salmon, especially American
Jewish usage
Boot camp = military basic training
period/location Martini = gin & vermouth (combined)
cocktail (does not refer to "Vermouth"
Boondocks = backwoods brand name)

Bourbon = corn- (maize-) derived whiskey Mean = nasty

Box car = good waggon (U.S. spelling Mobile home = (trailer) house on wheels,
"wagon") can be moved behind truck, auto

Bronx cheer = raspberry (critical noise ...) Mononucleosis, "Mono" = glandular fever

Brownie = small, "heavy," rich-chocolate Nervy = impudent, impertinent, with a lot

baked biscuit; also young Girl scout of nerve (cf. GB Nervy)
Brunch = mid-morning meal (combination Night crawler = fishing worm
of "breakfast & lunch")
Oatmeal = porridge
Bush league = baseball "minor" training
leagues; also general connotations of Ordinance = by-law (law at local city,
"amateurism," unprofessionalism, etc. municipal level)

Caboose = last waggon on a goods train Overpass = flyover

Candy = sweets Pacifier = dummy (what baby uses to suck

on when not eating)
Car fare = money for transportation fares
Parakeet = budgerigar
Carry-out (food) = take-away (food)
Parka = anorak
Catch (to play catch [baseball]) = "playing
tag" (US "playing tag" is children's game Patrol wagon, Paddy wagon = black maria
where one tries to run and "catch" or touch
("tag") one of the other children playing) Pegged pants = tapered trousers

"Catch up with him" = "Catch him up" To pinch-hit for = to substitute for in a
particular tactical situation (batting in Am
Checkers = draughts (the game, played on baseball, or metaphorically)
checker/chess board)
Plexiglass = Perspex glass (brand names
Checking account = current account used as generics)
Potato chips = potato crisps
Comfort station = public convenience
Quarterback = Am. football team leader,
Cone = cornet ("ice cream" cones--British also to direct, manage, in other situations
"ice cream" also quite a different
commodity) Railroad = railway; U.S. railway = tracks,
roadbed which trains run ON; U.S.
Cord (electrical) = flex, lead, wire "railroad" refers to the enterprise, i.e. the
Union Pacific Railroad
Corn = maize; G.B. corn = all types of
grain, unless specified Raise = rise; U.S. "rise" is slang for male
erection, or, "to get a sensation from ..."
Cotton candy = candy floss
Realtor = estate (real estate) agent
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) =
Chartered Pub. Account. (CPA) Retroactive = retrospective

Cube sugar = lump sugar Roomer = lodger

Diaper = nappy Roster = rota

Dishpan = washing-up bowl Rubber = condom; GB rubber = US eraser

Distaff = female Rube Goldberg = Heath Robinson

(stereotyped creators of wacky, bizarre
Double header = two sports games played as "inventions" in USA, GB)
a single event; also used metaphorically
Sedan = saloon car
Draft (military) = conscription into the
armed forces Shellac = high-gloss varnish

Druggist = chemist (in commercial Slingshot = catapult; U.S. "catapult" = G.B.

drugstore or pharmacy) "sling"

Editorial = leading article (in a newspaper, Special Delivery = Express (postal) Mail
Station wagon = estate car
Eggnog = egg flip (special Christmas drink
in U.S. only) Thumbtack = drawing pin (small, flat-
headed tack used on bulletin boards or to
Engineer = railroad engine-driver attach papers to wooden surfaces; U.S.
"drawing pin" a long, narrow, sharp pin
Enjoin = to forbid from doing; GB enjoin = used in sewing, clothing design, always with
to compel to do soft fabrics or paper)

Eraser = rubber; G.B. rubber is U.S. Thread = cotton; U.S. cotton = plant, fiber,
condom material only

"Fairy" = male homosexual, or highly Trash = rubbish

effiminate-acting male
Trashcan = dustbin; trashman = dustman
Field hockey = hockey; U.S. hockey (by
itself) = ice hockey Turtleneck = polo neck (sweaters or
Filling station = petrol station
Vaudeville = Music hall (type of
Flashlight = torch entertainment, style of theater)

Football = U.S. (American) football, not Wash up = to wash oneSELF, not the
"soccer" dishes; G.B. to wash up = to do the dishes

Formula = baby's prepared liquid food, Wax paper = greaseproof paper

replaces breast milk
Yard = garden; U.S. garden = vegetable or
"Freebee" = anything given away free flower garden (culti vated area); GB yard =
US paved area, not grassy lawn)
Freeway = motorway
ZIP code = postal code
Freight car = goods waggon (on a train)
Zucchini (squash) = courgette (marrow)
Gangway! = exclamation to "clear a path!";
G.B. gangway = U.S. aisle (in a theater,
etc.), U.S. gangway [naval term] = entrance
"bridge" from shore onto a ship

Glee club = club or group for choral singing

Glue factory = knacker's yard

"Gofer" [to GO out FOR something ... ] =


Goldbrick(er) = loaf(er)

Good Humor Man = ice cream peddler in

residential areas

Graham cracker = wholemeal biscuit

God Save The Queen by
Thomas Arne Not in this land alone
But be God's mercies known
God save our gracious Queen From shore to shore
Long live our noble Queen Lord make the nations see
God save the Queen That men should brothers be
Send her victorious And form one family
Happy and glorious The wide world over
Long to reign over us
God save the Queen From every latent foe
From the assassins blow
O Lord our God arise God save the Queen
Scatter her enemies O'er her thine arm extend
And make them fall For Britain's sake defend
Confound their politics Our mother, prince, and friend
Frustrate their knavish tricks God save the Queen
On Thee our hopes we fix
God save us all Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Thy choicest gifts in store Victory bring
On her be pleased to pour May he sedition hush
Long may she reign And like a torrent rush
May she defend our laws Rebellious Scots to crush
And ever give us cause God save the King
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen