Common American Words not Used in the United Kingdom

American English is the form of English used in the United States. It includes all English dialects used within the United States of America. British English is the form of English used in the United Kingdom. It includes all English dialects used within the United Kingdom.

Most people are well aware of some of the more obvious differences between British and American English. For example, American English omits the “u” in colour, neighbour, honour, etc. However, you might not have noticed that there are many American words which are not commonly used in the United Kingdom.

40 American Words not Commonly Used in the United Kingdom

(This list is intended as a guide only)

No US Words Meaning Respective

UK Words

1 airplane a powered fixed-wing aircraft aeroplane
2 backhoe a piece of excavating equipment digger, excavator
3 bedroom community  a commuter town or suburb dormitory town
4 boardwalk  a walkway usually made of planking, typically
along a beach
5 bookmobile a large vehicle housing a mobile lending library  mobile library
6 breadbox  a box for keeping bread bread bin
7 broil  to cook food with high heat with the heat applied directly to the food from above grill
8 cellphone a portable telephone mobile phone
9 charge account  in a store or shop credit account
10 cotton candy spun sugar often sold at fairs candy floss
11 coveralls a one-piece outer protective garment  overall, boiler suit
12 cremains the remains of a dead body after cremation remains, ashes
13 dishrag a cloth for washing dishes dishcloth
14 dishwashing liquid  a liquid soap used for washing dishes washing-up liquid
15 district attorney state or city public prosecutor  Crown Prosecutor
16 divided highway a road with a highway median/central reservation dual carriageway
17 downspout pipe for carrying rainwater from a gutter to the ground drainpipe
18 driver license, driver’s license  driving licence
19 drugstore  a pharmacy, or a store selling candy, magazines, etc. along with medicine chemist 
20 elevator   lift
21 emergency brake brake in motor vehicle operated by a lever used to keep it stationary handbrak (US & UK)
22 eminent domain the power of the government to take private property for public use compulsory purchase
23 expressway a type of limited-access road motorway
24 flashlight  portable battery-powered electric lamp torch
25 French press Device for making coffee cafetière
26 freshman a first-year student in college or high school fresher
27 hickey a bruise on one’s skin resulting from kissing or sucking love bite
28 hood engine compartment cover of front-engine automobile bonnet
29 howdy (short for how do you do) casual greeting that originated in the Southern States. How do?
30 layer cake Sandwich or sandwich cake
31 license plate vehicle registration plate number plate
32 lumber  wood used for commercial purposes timber
33 mail carrier a person who delivers mail to residences and businesses letter carrier, (UK & US) postman, postwoman
34 mom-and-pop single-family operated small business (UK&US) family business
35 off-the-rack clothes bought straight from a store off-the-peg
36 paper route a regular series of newspaper deliveries  paper round
37 parking lot a usually outside area for the parking of automobiles  car park
38 scuttlebutt  gossip, rumor; originally meant water fountain rumour
39 sneaker  a form of footwear, also called tennis shoe or “gym shoe” trainer, plimsoll
40 upscale relating to goods targeted at high-income consumers upmarket

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