British vs. American English (and the hilarious differences!)

Do you remember the scene from Love Actually where Collin visits Wisconsin and goes to an “average American bar” only to find three drop dead gorgeous women who are in love with his English accent?! I’ve always loved this scene, partly because it’s so ridiculous, and partly because one of my favorite things about traveling or meeting people from different countries is listening to the differences in our languages. Below is the clip from the movie if you haven’t seen it.

Even though we share the same language, there are quite a few differences (sometimes hilarious) in American and British English.

Below is a list of common word differences that you may come across on a visit to London. If you have a trip planned, you may want to bookmark this to reference again. Even if you’re not planning a trip any time soon, it’s pretty fun to read through the differences we have in our shared language!

General Knowledge

  • Loo = bathroom  (toilet is also used)
  • Lift = elevator
  • Queue = line
  • Queuing = waiting in line
  • Bin = trash
  • Boot = trunk
  • Cash point = ATM
  • Ground floor = first floor
  • Chemist = Pharmacist
  • Fortnight = two weeks
  • Off license (“offy”) = liquor store
  • Booking = reservation


  • Cheers = thanks
  • Wanker = idiot
  • Chuffed = pleased
  • Gutted = not pleased
  • Pissed = drunk (does not mean angry!)
  • Knackered = tired
  • Nutter = crazy person
  • On good form = in good spirits
  • Chockablock = full of people and/or traffic
  • Taking the piss = make fun of (does not mean going to the bathroom!)
  • Snog = make out
  • Bloke = dude


  • Jumper = sweater
  • Trousers = pants
  • Pants = underwear (a very important distinction!!)
  • Knickers = also means Underwear
  • Nappies = diapers


  • Take away = take out, to go
  • Biscuit = cookie
  • Chips = French fries
  • Crisps = chips
  • Pudding = all desserts

Happy Travels!


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