More American and British Words with the Same Meanings


Many common objects and ideas have different names in American and British English. In a previous lesson, we compared some of these words. In this lesson, we’re going to look at an additional fifty-six pairs, including words that have the same pronunciation but different spellings.


The left column in the chart below contains Standard American English words, the ones you learn in English classes at the English Island in Atlanta. The right column contains their Standard British English equivalents.


American English British English
Airplane aeroplane
Allen wrench Allen key
appetizer (before the main course of a meal) starter
barrette (hair) hairslide
bathrobe, robe dressing gown
cell phone mobile phone
checkers (game) draughts
clothespin peg
collect call (telephone) reverse charge
color colour
counter-clockwise anti-clockwise
crib (for a baby) cot
dish towel tea towel
diaper nappy
drop cloth (for construction, painting, etc.) dust sheet
fire brigade fire department
first floor ground floor
freight train goods train
garbage, trash rubbish
garbage can, trashcan dustbin
ground (electrical wiring) earth
hood (automobile) bonnet
housing project, project council estate
inseam inside leg
jelly beans (candy) jelly babies
license plate (automobile) number plate, registration plate
line (when checking out at a store) queue
mail post
main street high street
movie theater cinema
muffler (automobile) silencer
overpass flyover
pacifier (for a baby) dummy
parking lot car park
pharmacy chemist
private school public school
public school state school
second floor first floor
sneakers (athletic shoes) trainers
soccer (association) football
stovetop hob
subway (mass transit) underground
sweater (clothing) jumper
thumbtack drawing pin
tic-tac-toe (game) noughts and crosses
tire (of a bicycle, automobile, etc.) tyre
trailer (automobile) caravan
train car wagon
transmission (automobile) gearbox
turn signal (automobile) indicator
turtleneck (shirt) polo neck
undershirt vest
vest waistcoat
washcloth flannel
windshield (automobile) windscreen
wrench spanner