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American jargon diverges from the rest of the world's most notably from British

English. If you were taught English using British vocabulary, many familiar words may
mean something different in the U.S., requiring you to adopt a new vocabulary to be
quickly understood. Here are some of the most common translations:

In Europe / UK In the U.S.

Porter Bellman

Lift Elevator

Boot (of a car) Trunk

Bonnet (of a car) Hood

"The bill, please" "The check, please"


(In restaurants) (In restaurants)

Plan Map

Return Round trip

Arriving at a hotel Checking in

Departing from a hotel Checking out

Car hire Car rental

Water closet, wc, loo, Bathroom, restroom, ladies room,


toilet mens room, etc.

Trainers Tennis shoes, sneakers

Car park Parking garage (indoor), parking lot

Ice lolly Popsicle, ice pop

Queue Line

Pushchair, pram or buggy Stroller, baby carriage (= "pram" only)

Nappy Diaper, Pampers

Paracetamol Acetaminophen, Tylenol

Petrol Gasoline, gas

Rubber Eraser

Biscuit Cookie
Sweets Candy

Fag Cigarette, smokes

Bookshop Bookstore

Y fronts Underwear

Trousers Pants

Knickers Panties (women only), underwear

Cinema Movie theater

Throat lozenge Cough drop

Sticking plaster, elastoplast Band-aid

Cotton buds Q-tip, cotton swab

Cab rank Taxi stand

Supermarket trolley Cart, Buggy (Southern U.S.)

Pavement Sidewalk

Kerb Curb

Tap Faucet

Bath Tub

Jelly Jello

Jam Jelly (or Jam)

Take away To go

Crisps Potato chips

Chips Fries

Serviette Napkin

Roundabout Traffic circle ('rotary' in portions of New England)

Aubergine Eggplant

Tyre Tire (same pronunciation)

City centre Downtown


The Underground, The Subway, Light Rail,
Light Rail, Tube, Metro The L, BART (varies by city)

"By Rail"/"Rail Station" "By Train"/"Train Station"

Mineral water Bottled water


(still) (almost all are 'still')

Mineral water (bubbly) Club soda, seltzer, sparkling water, Pellegrino

Reception Front desk

How dates are expressed in the U.S.


The format in America for dates follow a very different pattern than other parts of the world:
November 7th, 2012 would be recorded as 11-7-12 (month, day, year) rather than 7-11-12 (day,
month, year.) The other way around to American ears make them think you are quoting a summer
rather than autumn date (they will think of July), so be careful!

Europeans in general should take care to know that the 24-hour clock is very rarely used in the US,
and usually only by medical experts, the military, and the post office. Also, clocks usually don't
indicate a.m. or p.m, as it is simply a matter of looking around (many rail stations are outdoors.) Rail
(train) and bus timetables do not use the 24-hour clock either, but rather list the times of the trains
in the order they leave, with the assumption that the ones at the beginning of the list are a.m., and
ones at the end of the list are p.m.