A-Level - At 18, school kids take around three A-Levels. These are the qualifications that will get them into university or not, depending on the results. University entrance in the UK is based solely on merit so these exams are important. Similar to SATs in the US.
AA - The Automobile Association. Similar to the AAA in the US. But unlike the AAA, they carry a workshop with them and fix the car at the side of the street if they can, or carry your car anywhere in the country if they can't.
Accumulator - Car battery (dated).
Aerial - Antenna. An aerial is on a car, an antenna would be found on insects.
Ace - If something is ace it is brilliant. Kids call cool stuff ace, or brill.
Action replay - Instant replays of moments in sporting events.
Advert - A television commercial, as well as a printed ad in a magazine or newspaper, etc.
Aeroplane - Airplane.
Afters - Dessert. "What's for afters?" means "What's for dessert?"
Aga - A type of stove that not only cooks the dinner but in many cases, heats the water and the house too. You used to find an Aga in most farmhouses but they have become a status symbol in the UK and have become very popular in any sort of house.
Aggro - Deliberate troublemaking. Short for aggravation, it's the sort of thing you might expect at a football match. In other words - trouble. There is sometimes aggro in the cities after the pubs shut.
AGM - Most clubs, societies and companies hold an Annual General Meeting. In the business sense it is a meeting of the shareholders.
Airing cupboard - In British houses we have a hot water tank in a cupboard off the landing or in one of the bedrooms. Since it is warm in there, we usually hang clothes in it to let them air. That's why we call it the airing cupboard.
Air screw - Propeller (dated).
All-in - Inclusive.
All right? - This means, "Hello, how are you?" You would say it to a complete stranger or someone you knew. The normal response would be for them to say "All right?" back to you. It is said as a question. Sometimes it might get expanded to "All right mate?"
Alsatian - German shepherd.
Aluminium - Aluminum. It is pronounced Al-u-min-i-um.
Amber - Part of the traffic light color sequence. The sequence is red, red and amber (together), green. Then green, amber, red.
American football - The US version of football, so named to differentiate it from football (known as soccer in the US).
Anorak - A nerd or a square.
Anorak - Parka. A very untrendy kind of waterproof, padded coat with a zip. The sort of thing your mother made you wear when you were 10 and you still haven't forgiven her for it. Especially if she made you put the hood up when it rained. Possibly called a slicker in American.
Arse - It basically means the same as ass, but is much ruder. It is used in phrases like "pain in the arse" (a nuisance) or I "can't be arsed" (I can't be bothered) or you might hear something was "a half arsed attempt" meaning that it was not done properly.
Arse about face - This means you are doing something back to front.
Arse over elbow - This is another way of saying head over heels but is a little more descriptive. Usually happens after 11pm on a Saturday night and too many lagers.
Arse over tit - Another version of arse over elbow, but a bit more graphic.
Arsehole - British equivalent of the US slang term asshole.
Arseholed - Drunk. Usually in the advanced stages of drunken stupor, someone would be considered "completely arseholed."
Articulated lorry, Artic - This is a trailer truck. Usually shortened to artic.
As well - "Too" or "also" or "as well" in the US.
Ass - Donkey (or sometimes a backside).
Aubergine - Eggplant.
Au fait - This means to be familiar with something. For example, after studying this glossary, one would be au fait with the differences between American and British English.
B&B - These are bed & breakfasts and are the cheapest kind of accommodation available here. In the UK, a B&B basically consists of a room in someone's house and a good cooked breakfast.
Back of beyond - Middle of nowhere.
Backy - Tobacco. The sort you use to roll your own.
Bacon - British bacon comes in numerous varieties, such as back, throughcut, streaky, smoked, green and dry cured. Streaky is the cheapest as there is almost no meat on it. It is the closest to the bacon in the US. The most expensive is back, as it is almost all meat.
Balaclava - Ski mask.
Ball - Prom.
Bang - A rather unattractive way of describing having sex.
Banger - An old car. Your first car is usually an old banger. A banger is also a firecracker, as well as a sausage.
Banger - The good old British banger is bigger and fatter than the American breakfast link sausage. It is served for dinner with fried onions and gravy, in batter as toad in the hole or for breakfast with eggs, back bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, fried potatoes, grilled tomatoes, toast and marmalade. There are also many regional sausages that combine different meats, herbs and spices. And don't forget good old Bangers and Mash.
Bank holiday - National holiday. There are about five bank holidays every year in Blighty. They are the days that everyone has off. They are called bank holidays because the banks close on them, as do most businesses. Examples would be August Bank Holiday, New Year's Day and Spring Bank Holiday.
Bap - A soft round roll, lightly floured. These are like hamburger buns in America, but also eaten as sandwiches. Yummy with bacon and egg oozing out.
Barbie or BBQ - Short for barbeque, a grill.
Bar billiards - A pub game played on a pool-sized table. You have seven white balls and a red one. There are no pockets around the table but there are 9 holes in the table surface and three wooden mushrooms. The object is to shoot from one end of the table and get balls into the holes without hitting the mushrooms over, but after hitting another ball.
Barmy - If someone tells you that you're barmy they mean you have gone mad or crazy. For example you'd have to be barmy to visit England without trying black pudding.
Barmaid - A female bartender in a pub.
Barman - A male bartender in a pub.
Barrister - Trial lawyer. An attorney that would represent you in court.
Bathroom - In a British house, you will find a bath in the bathroom. (In smaller houses there may also be a toilet). So when we are going to the bathroom - we are not answering a call of nature - we're going for a bath.
BBC English - BBC English is used by many people to mean the proper pronunciation of English words, or a standard accent.
Beading - The stuff that goes around the edge of cheap furniture. Known as wood trim in the US.
Beastly - You would call something or somebody beastly if they were really nasty or unpleasant. Most people would consider you a snob or an upper class git if you used this word.
Bedsit - This is the kind of accommodation many students live in when they cannot afford anything else. It is basically a single room with a bed, cooker, table and sofa. You would normally share the bathroom. The nearest thing in the US is an efficiency.
Beeb - The Beeb is the nickname for the BBC, the British Broadcasting Company, our main TV company. We all pay a licence fee to watch the BBC but it does mean that there are no ads on their channels.
Beefeater - This is the name given to the guards at the Tower of London.
Beer - Normally called bitter, this is the most popular alcoholic beverage of the UK male drinking population. It is served in pints at just under room temperature (real ales, however are served AT room temperature). Real Ales are non carbonated beers made from hops and barley.
Beer mat - Pubs always serve beer on a little card coaster which advertises the brewery or beer. They make great frisbees and are used for several pub games/jokes/tricks.
Bees knees - This is the polite version of the dog's bollocks. So if you are in polite company and want to say that something was fabulous, this phrase might come in handy.
Beetroot - Beets. Here they come ready cooked, normally in a little jar or in a bucket in street markets.
Belisha beacon - The orange flashing globes at each side of a zebra crossing.
Belt up - Shut up.
Bender - A heavy drinking session (also called a pub crawl).
Bender - A bender is a gay man. Also referred to as a woofter and a few rather unsavoury terms.
Berk or Burk - A fool, a moron.
Bespoke - We say something is bespoke if it has been created especially for someone, in the same way that you say custom-made or designed according to your needs or specifications.
Best - If you say "A pint of best please landlord." in a British pub, you will be served with a pint of fine British ale.
Best of British - Short for "best of British luck," it simply means good luck.
Bevvy - Bevvy is short for beverage, but it usually means of the alcoholic nature.
Bickie - Short for biscuit, it means cookie in the US.
Big dipper - Roller coaster.
Big girl's blouse - This is a nice way of saying someone is a wimp. It means someone is being pathetic. It works well for girls and blokes.
Biggie - A biggie is what a child calls his feces. Biggie also means erection.
Big Issue - The Big Issue magazine is there to talk about homeless issues and help homeless people make money. Homeless people make money for every issue they sell on the street to people passing by. They may come up to you and shout "Big Issue."
Bill - In restaurant or pub, this is the check you pay.
Bill - Police.
Billiards - A ball game with three balls, one red and two white, played on a table like a pool table but bigger. The original billiards table had no pockets and points were only scored by making cannons - making your white hit both other balls. Today's billiards tables have pockets, so that scores are made by cannons but also by pocketing a ball, after hitting any other ball.
Billion - A billion in the US is a thousand million but in English it is a million million, though recently we have started to apply the US meaning.
Bin - Trash can. You would put a bin liner in it before you put the rubbish in it to keep it clean. Bin day is the day that the bin men in the bin lorry come and empty your dustbin. A bin would normally mean the one in your house - whereas the dustbin would normally mean the one outside - though that sometimes gets called the bin too.
Bin bag or bin liner - Trash bag. The black bag that you put inside the kitchen bin to save you having to wash out the bin each time you empty it.
Bin day - Trash collection day.
Bin liner - The same as bin bag.
Bin lorry - The vehicle that the bin men drive.
Bin men - Trash collectors.
Bins - Eyeglasses.
Bird - Your bird is your girl. A bit old fashioned and only used by your Dad or Grandad. Not very politically correct.
Biro - Ballpoint pen. The most popular brand is Biro and now everyone calls every pen a Biro.
Biscuit - Cookie. Savoury biscuit is a cracker.
Bite your arm off - This means that someone is over excited to get something. For instance you might say that kids would bite your arm off for an ice cream on a sunny day.
Bitter - Bitter is what we call beer. However, this is not what you call "beer" - we call that lager. Beers are the dark ales that are so popular amongst British drinkers. Served a little below room temperature, but not cold like yours.
Black pudding - One of the staples of a cooked breakfast. Looking like a black sausage it is made from pigs blood and fat.
Bladdered - An ugly expression meaning drunk.
Black Maria - Paddywagon.
Blancmange - A gelatin-like pudding. Blancmange is custard that has been made thick, and allowed to set. It is generally served as one of the layers in a trifle. The bottom layer would be sponge cake soaked in jelly, then some fruit, then the blancmange, then a layer of whipped double cream and finally a chocolate flake crumbled over the top.
Blast - An exclamation of surprise. You may also hear someone shout "blast it," or "bugger and blast."
Blatant - Something that is really obvious.
Bleeding - An alternative to the word bloody. You'll hear people say "bleeding hell" or "not bleeding likely" for example.
Blighty - England (dated).
Blimey - Another exclamation of surprise. You might hear "Gawd Blimey" or "Gor Blimey" or "Cor Blimey". It is all a corruption of the oath God Blind Me.
Blinding - If something is a blinding success, it means it was fantastic.
Blinkered - Someone who is blinkered is narrow minded or narrow sighted - they only see one view on a subject. It comes from when horses that pulled carriages wore blinkers to stop them seeing to the side or behind them which stopped them from being startled and only let them see where they were going.
Blinkers - These are the things that horses wear to stop them seeing anywhere other than straight ahead. You call them blinders.
Block of flats - Apartment house.
Bloke - Guy. A "good bloke" is a "nice guy."
Bloody - Mild expletive, sometimes meaning very. Mostly used as an exclamation of surprise ( "bloody hell" or "bloody nora"). Something may be "bloody marvellous" or "bloody awful". It is also used to emphasise almost anything, "you're bloody mad", "not bloody likely" and can also be used in the middle of other words to emphasise them ("Abso-bloody-lutely!")
Blooming - Another alternative to the word bloody. You might hear someone say "not blooming likely" so that they don't have to swear.
Blotto - Drunk.
Blow me - An exclamation of surprise, short for "blow me down," meaning something like I am so surprised you could knock me over just by blowing. Similar to "Well knock me down with a feather."
Blower - Telephone.
Blunt - If a saw or a knife is not sharp we say it is blunt (instead of dull).
Blu tac - Poster putty. Another name brand that has become the generic term (like Biro for pen and Hoover for vacuum cleaner).
Boarding school - These are the schools where kids live as well as learn. Some of them also take day boys and girls.
Bob - You still hear older folks talking about a couple of bob, meaning a couple of shillings. Nowadays a shilling would be five pence and a couple of bob would be ten pence.
Bob-a-job - Even after decimalisation in the UK, bob-a-job lived on for many years. Once a year the cub scouts went around the village or town with their bob-a-job forms with the objective of doing little jobs for people for a bob a go, or 5 pence as it became. The problem with bob-a-job, even when I was a cub, was that the name didn't move with the times and some people took it a bit too literally. There was nothing worse than cleaning two cars, mowing the lawn, washing the windows then being given five pence by some stingy old bloke.
Bob's your uncle - This phrase is added to the end of sentences a bit like "and that's it." For example if you are telling someone how to make that fabulous banoffee pie you just served them, you would tell them to boil the condensed milk for three hours, spread it onto a basic cheesecake base, slice bananas on top, add some whipped double cream, another layer of banana and Bob's your uncle.
Bobby - Policeman.
Bodge - To do a bodge job means to do a quick and dirty. Make it look good for the next day or two and if it falls down after that - hey well we only bodged it. Applies to building, DIY, programming and most other things.
Boffin - A nerd, usually male.
Bog - A vulgar word for the toilet, either the room or the pan itself.
Bogey - Booger (the stuff from the nose).
Boiler suit - An all-in-one coverall that protects clothes from oil and filth in dirty working conditions. Originally used my men working in boiler rooms.
Bollocks - Technically speaking it means testicles but is typically used to describe something that is no good (that's bollocks) or that someone is talking rubbish (he's talking bollocks). Surprisingly it is also used in a positive manner to describe something that is the best, in which case you would describe it as being "the dog's bollocks."
Bomb - If something costs a bomb it means that it is really expensive.
Bomb - If something goes like a bomb it means it is going really well or really fast. Or you could say an event went down like a bomb and it would mean that the people really enjoyed it. In the US the meaning would be almost exactly the reverse.
Bonce - Your bonce is your head. If someone tells you to use your bonce it means "think about it."
Bonfire night - "Remember, remember the 5th of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot". Although Halloween originated in England, it is not celebrated as wildly here as it is in the US. But a week later, everyone in England lights a huge bonfire and sets off lots of fireworks and eats burgers, baked potatoes, hot dogs, parkin cake and all sorts of other goodies, huddled around the fire. Every community and many companies organise bonfires for those with no garden. It is all in celebration of Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the houses of parliament. What a great thing to celebrate. A guy is burned on the fire, made by the kids from old clothes and stuffed with straw and paper. A guy is an effigy of a human.
Bonk - To have sex.
Bonnet - A car's hood. Also an old-fashioned hat.
Boob tube - Tube tops in the US.
Book - Reserve.
Boot - A car's trunk.
Booze cruise - Booze is cheaper in France and it is worth the trip just to stock up on alcohol. The cheapest way to do this is to take one of the booze cruises offered by the ferry companies. Basically you and bunch of your buddies take the ferry to France, drinking all the way, stock up on booze in a French hypermarket (still drinking), then jump back on the ferry to England and do some more drinking.
Botch - There are two expressions here - to botch something up or to do a botch job. They both mean that the work done was not of a high standard or was a clumsy patch.
Bottle - Courage. If you have a lotta bottle you have no fear.
Bounder - Cad.
Box - A television.
Brace - The metal device for straigtening teeth.
Braces - Suspenders for holding trousers up.
Brackets - Parentheses. Or the things that hold shelves up.
Brassed off - Fed up or "pissed off" about something or at someone.
Brill - Short for "brilliant," meaning cool or excellent or awesome.
Bristols - Breasts. Bristols is short for bristol city's (a football team), city's rhymes with titties, i.e. breasts.
Brock - Badger (dated).
Brolly - Umbrella.
Brooch - Pin.
Brown bread - Wheat bread. In cheap restaurants the choice of bread may be "white" or "brown". This is our equivalent of white or wheat.
Brown sauce - It is pretty much like steak sauce, except it is put on things like cooked breakfast.
Brum - Short for Birmingham. People from brum are brummies and they speak brum.
Brummy - A person from Birmingham who speaks brum.
Bubble & squeak - Cabbage and potato dish. An old English breakfast dish made from frying up left over greens and potato.
Bucks fizz - A mimosa in the US, which is drink made from champagne and orange juice.
Budgie - One of the most popular pets in the UK, a budgie is a small green bird. Budgie is short for budgerigar, which is a small Australian parakeet.
Bugger - Like bloody it has many uses apart from the obvious dictionary one pertaining to rather unusual sexual habits. Today we might use the sh** or the f*** words but bugger is still as common. The fuller version of this would be "bugger it". It can also be used to tell someone to get lost (bugger off), or to admit defeat (we're buggered) or if you were tired or exhausted you would be buggered. You can also call someone a bugger.
Bugger all - Nothing. If something costs bugger all, it means that it costs nothing. Meaning it is cheap. If you have bugger all, it means you have nothing.
Bulb - When your indicator stops working you probably need a new bulb. Don't ask for a lamp.
Bum - Buttocks. It might also be someone who is down and out, like a tramp. You might also bum around, if you are doing nothing in particular, just hanging out. Finally to bum something means to scrounge it from someone.
Bum bag - Fanny pack in the US.
Bum chum - Gay man. We have lots of other expressions, too numerous to list here. Some of the less offensive include shirtlifter and arse bandit.
Bump start - When you buy your first car as a student in the UK, one of the first lessons you learn is how to bump start it. When the battery is flat you get a couple of strong mates to push you along the street, with the key in the ON position, second gear engaged and your foot on the clutch. When you reach enough speed you take your foot off the clutch, your mates hit their faces on the back of the car and with luck - the car starts. In America, if you have a manual car, this procedure would be called popping the clutch.
Bun in the oven - To have a bun in the oven is to be pregnant.
Bung - To bung something means to throw it. For example a street trader might bung something in for free if you pay cash right now. Or you could say "bung my car keys over, mate".
Bung - A bribe. Also means a stopper. As a verb, it means to toss.
Bungalow - A house with no upstairs. A one-floor house. Not popular with anyone but the old.
Buns - Rolled up hair in the shape of a currant bun. Or a type of pastry.
Burk or Berk - A fool.
Busker - A street entertainer, someone who makes his or her living by singing, playing or acting on the street to amuse the crowds of passers by. Busking is down to a fine art at Covent Garden in London.
Bus station - A bus terminal.
Butchers - To have a butchers at something is to have a look.
Butterfingers - You would call someone butterfingers if they were clumsy and dropped something.
Butty - Sandwich. The most famous butty is the chip butty. The perfect chip butty (invented in Liverpool) consists of two fairly large slices from a large white loaf, liberally buttered, layered with chips (salt and vinegar optional) and smothered in tomato sauce.
C of E - The Church of England. Our official protestant church - of which the Queen is the head.
Cab - A taxi.
Cabinet maker - Skilled carpenter.
Cabriolet - Convertible car.
Cack-handed - Clumsy.
Cagoule - A thin, windproof jacket used in outside pursuits because it takes up almost no space when folded up.
Cake hole - Mouth. To say "Shut your clanging cake hole." means "Be quiet."
Calabrese - Broccoli rabe.
Call - If the announcer at Bristol railway station says that the train at platform 10 will call at Nailsea, Backwell, Weston-super-Mare, Highbridge, Bridgwater and Taunton, it means that the train will call at the stations, not stop at them.
Candyfloss - Cotton candy.
Canteen - Cafeteria.
Caravan - Motor home. The trailer houses that come out every summer and block all our little British roads and bring everyone to a complete standstill.
Car boot sale - A boot sale is where hundreds of people descend on a field with cars full of unwanted wedding presents, clothes and other junk. They set it all out on wallpaper pasting tables for the general public to come and buy. It's like an outdoor garage sale.
Cardie - Cardigan, a sweater with buttons down the front like a shirt.
Carnival - Parade. Every winter, thousands of people build floats that are pulled behind tractors, covered in lights, made up into all kinds of weird scenes to take part in the carnival. The event moves from town to town and takes place every night in the dark so that the scenes can be lit up. Tens or hundreds of floats will take part in a carnival.
Car park - Parking lot, normally uncovered.
Carpet - Reprimand.
Carriageway - Highway.
Carrier bag - Shopping bag.
Carvery - The best Sunday would consist of getting up late, trundling down to a remote country pub and having the carvery. This consists of roast joints of meat. There will be a whole turkey, a leg of pork (with the skin on, scored, salted and roasted HOT so that it turns into crackling), leg of lamb and a big piece of beef. This will all be accompanied by the usual apple sauce (pork), mint sauce (lamb) and Yorkshire pudding (beef) as well as roast potatoes, roast parsnips and other sundry vegetables with a large jug of gravy, made from the meat juices, in the pan it was roasted in.
Cashier - Bank teller.
Cashpoint machine (cashpoint for short) - An ATM.
Castor sugar - This is white sugar that is somewhere between icing sugar and granulated sugar in texture. It is very finely granulated sugar, ideal for things like meringues, where granulated is too coarse and icing is totally unsuitable.
Casualty - Hospital emergency room. These days you also see A&E on the signs, which is short for Accident and Emergency.
Catapult - Slingshot.
Cat's eyes - The little white highway reflectors in the middle of roads.
Cattle class - A rather unflattering description of coach class air travel.
Ceefax - This is the text service found on the TV. On British TVs each channel has a text service as an alternative to the regular programming. You can hit the mute and press the TEXT button and read several hundred pages of info from TV listings to news, from the lottery results to cheap holiday deals. Ceefax is the BBC version. On the commercial channels, the equivalent is teletext.
Central reservation - The median, usually consisting of grass or kerbing, that separates the oncoming traffic in the middle of a two-way road.
Chalk and cheese - This is short for the expression "as different as chalk and cheese". You hear it when people are bitching about other couples they know who are very different to each other. You might say "like night and day."
Chap - Guy. Women are sometimes referred to as chapesses.
Chat show - Talk show.
Chat up - Chat flirtatiously. To chat someone up is to try and pick them up.
Cheeky - Cheeky means you are flippant, have too much lip or are a bit of a smart arse. Generally you are considered to be a bit cheeky if you have an answer for everything and always have the last word.
Cheerio - A friendly way of saying goodbye. Or in the north "tara" which is pronounced sort of like "churar".
Cheers - This word is obviously used when drinking with friends. However, it also has other colloquial meanings. For example when saying goodbye you could say "cheers", or "cheers then". It also means thank you.
Cheesed off - A polite way of saying you are pissed off with something.
Chemist - Pharmacist.
Cheque - Check. How we used to pay our bills before electronic banking started. Banks provide them for free in the UK.
Chip butty - Sandwiches made from white bread, buttered and filled with piping hot chips and tomato sauce.
Chip shop - Abbreviation for fish and chip shop. Also known as the "chippy" or "chipper" in some places.
Chipolata - A small pork sausage about the size of those served with breakfast in places like Denny's and IHOP. Not as popular as the fat old British banger. Chipolata is also a term used by women when they are winding up their husbands about their unimpressive manhood. In this instance the emphasis is usually on the "small" sausage.
Chips - Fries (as in French fries). Fish and chips is still a favourite in Old Blighty. Whilst government health restrictions prevent them from being served in newspaper any more, they still taste best from the bag, liberally dosed in salt and malt vinegar. Not to be confused with french fries, which are weedy little poncey things.
Chivvy along - When standing patiently in a checkout queue, you might chivvy along the old ladies in front of you. If only they would stop fannying around and hurry up.
Christian name - Your first name. You would see it on forms that require both parts of your name separately. We generally ignore middle initials as fairly irrelevant and avoid the use of additions like "junior" and "IIIrd", unless you happen to be a king, of course.
Christmas crackers - Brightly decorated paper tubes with a handle at each end. You reach across the table and ask someone to pull the other end. When it breaks, a snapper gives out a loud bang, a party hat drops out along with a small gift and a terrible joke.
Chrysanths - Short for chrysanthemums.
Chuck - A term of endearment, pronounced more like chook.
Chuffed - Pleased. You would be chuffed to bits if you were really pleased about something.
Chum - Friend. We might also say mate.
Chunnel - The famous channel tunnel is called the chunnel. If you visit London it is well worth taking the 3 hour train ride from Waterloo, right into the heart of Paris.
Cider - In some parts of south west England, Cider is more popular than beer. It is made from the juice of apples, allowed to ferment and is generally more alcoholic than most beers.
Cinema - Movie theater.
Clear off! - It basically means "Get lost!" or "Get out of here!"
Clever clogs - Wise guy. Also called a clever dick or smart arse.
Clever dick - Wise guy, also called a smart arse.
Clingfilm - Plastic wrap for covering food.
Clippie - Bus conductor (Scotland).
Close - Dead end.
Clot - If someone calls you a clot, they are calling you stupid, or a dim wit.
Cloth ears - This is the polite way to call someone a deaf git. Politely put it simply means you are deaf.
Clotted cream - This cream looks a bit scary at first. It is yellow and crusty on top. It is thicker than single cream or double cream and totally delicious. It is served in blobs with cakes or spread on scones.
Coach - We differentiate between a coach and a bus. A bus is usually the sort that you pay as you enter and the routes are not generally that long. They drive through the towns and villages of the UK. A coach normally goes from city to city, more like US greyhounds. They have fewer or no stops at all and you would buy a ticket in advance and have to go to the terminal to get on one.
Cobblers - An equivalent of "what a load of cobblers" would be "what a load of bollocks."
Cockney rhyming slang - There are lots of words that make up cockney rhyming slang. These are basically rhyming words like "butchers hook" which means "look". If you are in London and you hear someone talk about a Septic they are probably talking about you - because it's short for "Septic tank" which equals "yank", which is our word for an American.
Cocktail stick - Toothpick.
Cock up - Mistake.
Coconut shy - This is a side show you'll find at fairs and fetes. You buy some wooden balls and throw them at coconuts on sticks. If you knock one down, you keep it.
Codger - Old timer. Also called an old bloke.
Codswallop - If someone is talking a load of codswallop, he or she is talking rubbish (baloney in the US).
College - We use this word to mean university as well as other higher education establishments.
Comprehensive school - The US equivalent is high school. If a kid didn't pass the eleven plus exam, they went to a secondary modern school, rather than a grammar school at the grand old age of eleven. The system changed so that both types of school were replaced with an all encompassing comprehensive school.
Conkers - Horse chestnut. Also the name of the children's game that uses them. To play conkers you thread your conker onto a shoelace with a knot in the end and take it in turns to hit your friend's conker then let him hit yours. The winner is the one whose conker does not break up. After beating one friend your conker is called a one-er. After beating two friends it is called a two-er, unless his had previously beaten another one in which case yours would be a three-er and so on. Treating your conker with drugs, heat or other secret strengthening tricks is strictly forbidden, punishable by death under UK law.
Continental quilt - This is what we used to call duvets. Since the UK was the last country in Europe to figure out what they were, we seem to have made up name a for them. Now we just call them duvets.
Cooker - Range or stove. The top is the hob and the inside is the oven.
Copper - Either a policeman or the coins in your pocket that are not silver.
Coppice, Copse - Thicket.
Cor - Another expression of surprise. It will sometimes be lengthened to "cor blimey" or "cor love a duck." "Cor blimey" is a variation of "Gawd Blimey" or "Gor Blimey." They are all a corruption of the oath "God Blind Me."
Cordial - Cordial or squash in the UK is a concentrated drink, mostly for kids. Just add water.
Coriander - Cilantro. It took a while to figure out why coriander wasn't available in supermarkets. Now we know. This applies to the fresh sort in particular.
Corn dolly - On the top of some thatched houses there is a model of an animal - often a pheasant. These are made of straw (the same as the roof) and are just there for decoration.
Cornflour - Corn starch.
Cornish pasty - Nothing beats a proper pasty. Sadly these days they are harder to find. Many outlets sell what they call "pastys" but they are cheap and nasty imitations. A real pasty from Cornwall, is a pastry in the shape of a half circle, filled with spiced meat and potatoes.
Cot - The crib a baby sleeps in.
Cotton wool - Cotton.
Couch - Sofa.
Council house - Called projects in the urban US, a council house is a government built house to help people on lower incomes have a home. They all used to be rented from the government but now most tenants have the option to buy relatively cheaply to help them get on the house ownership ladder. Most council houses are fairly large, for families, but not terribly attractive.
Council estate - A neighbourhood of council houses.
Counterfoil - The stub of a check. If you still use a cheque book in the UK, it is the bit that stays in the book.
Courgette - Zucchini.
Course - A class, such as a course in business at university.
Cozzy - Short for swimming costume, or bathing suit.
Cracker - Party favor.
Cracking - If something is cracking, it means it is the best. Usually said without pronouncing the last "G". If a girl is cracking it means she is stunning.
Crackling - The skin of the pork joint, scored with a knife, rubbed with salt and roasted so that it crunches around the outside of the meat.
Cram - To study hard right before an exam.
Crap - The same word in both countries, but less rude here.
Crash - A wreck (as in car accident). Same as a pile-up but involving fewer vehicles.
Cream tea - A real cream tea consists of a pot of tea, some fresh warm scones that you spread with homemade strawberry jam and top with thick, yellow, clotted cream.
Creche - Day care center.
Crikey - Another exclamation of surprise. Some people say "Crikey Moses".
Crisps - Potato chips.
Crispy duck - In almost every chinese restaurant in England this is on the menu. It is marinated roasted duck that is smashed up at the table and served in tiny, almost see-through pancakes with hoi-sin sauce and shredded cucumber and spring onions. It is eaten like Fajitas
Crumpet - A cratered flat cake. Toasted and covered in butter, so that it drips into the holes, the crumpet is enjoyed at tea on a Sunday, during the winter. It is about the size and shape of an English muffin (itself recently introduced to the UK and unheard of by most Brits). Crumpet also has another meaning. Men might refer to women as a bit of crumpet, or they might fancy some crumpet tonight.
Crusty dragon - Really crispy booger.
Cubby hole - Small nook or cranny.
Cul-de-sac - Dead end.
Cupboard - Any closet in the house. Cupboards in the kitchen contain food, crockery, cutlery etc. In the bedroom they contain clothes and sometimes skeletons.
Cuppa - Cup of tea. Served at 4pm, sometimes with tea cakes, crumpets, biscuits or cakes. Tea is also served in bed at the weekends when you wake up.
Current account - Checking account.
Curry - England has more than it's fair share of Indian restaurants. Anything from a korma or a bhuna to a madras or a vindaloo are amongst the favourite curries. Curry houses are one of the few places that serve alcohol (lager) after the pubs shut. Therefore it is very popular, after your 10 pints of lager, to pop next door to the curry house for 10 more pints, some poppadoms and a good curry.
Cutlery - Knives and forks.
Cutting - Clipping (e.g., from a newspaper).
CV - Resumé. Short for the latin, Curriculum Vitae, meaning "the course of life".
Daft - Stupid. A daft apeth which is short for a daft half penny (in old money).
Dapper - If you are particularly well dressed, you would be described as being dapper.
Daps - Sneakers.
Day boys/girls - The kids who attend boarding schools, but rather than live there, they attend each day just like other schools.
Dear - Expensive.
De-mister - De-froster. Most cars have them on the back window. Some have them on the front too.
Desmond - A desmond is a lower second class honours degree. Our honours degrees are ranked (from best to worst) as a first class (a first, for short), an upper second (two-one for short), lower second (two-two or desmond for short) and a third. You can also get a non-honours and a pass. Desmond comes from Desmond Tutu (two-two, get it?).
Des res - If someone lives in a particularly nice property in a nice part of town it would be referred to as a des res. It is short for desirable residence and usually means bloody expensive.
Diary - Appointment book.
Dicky - Dicky rhymes with sicky and means you feel sick.
Diddle - To rip someone off or to con someone is to diddle them.
Digestive biscuit - These are one of the most boring biscuits you can buy in England. However, they are popular because they make the perfect cheesecake base.
Dim - A dim person is stupid or thick or a dim wit.
Dim wit - Someone who is thick is a dim wit or just dim.
Din into - Hammer (an idea) into someone's head.
Dinner jacket - Tuxedo. We usually refer to it as our DJ.
Dip stick - Apart from being something you find in your car, a dip stick is someone who is stupid or who has done something stupid.
Direct debit - Similar to electronic funds transfer.
Directory enquiries - The equivalent of 411 telephone directory assistance/information in the US. In the UK, the number is 192.
Dirty weekend - A dirty weekend is one
where a couple disappears for a few days for rampant sex.
Dish up - If you say to dinner guests that you are "about to dish up" you are about to serve dinner.
Dishy - If someone is a bit of a dish or a bit dishy it means they are attractive or good looking.
Diversion - Detour.
Divvy - This is another word like dip stick for someone who is a bit stupid.
DIY - This is short for do it yourself and applies not just to the DIY stores but also to anything that you need to do yourself. For example, if we get really bad service in a restaurant, then we might ask the waiter if it is a DIY restaurant - just to wind them up.
Do - A party.
Do - If you go into a shop and say "do you do batteries?" it means "do you sell batteries".
Do - If you drive along a motorway in the wrong lane the police will do you. You could then tell your friends that you have been done by the police. Prosecute is another word for it.
Doctor - Spay, neuter.
Doddle - Easy task, a cinch.
Dodgem cars - Bumper cars. Generally shortened to "dodgems", the little electric cars at the fair.
Dodgy - Iffy, suspect. If someone or something is a bit dodgy, it is not to be trusted. Dodgy food should be thrown away at home, or sent back in a restaurant. Dodgy people are best avoided. You never know what they are up to. Dodgy goods may have been nicked. Neighborhoods that are a bit dodgy should be avoided.
Dog's body - Someone who gets all the menial tasks to do, like fetching and carrying. Someone called a gofer in the US.
Dog's bollocks - You would say that something really fantastic was the dog's bollocks.
Dog's dinner - If you make a real mess of something it might be described as a real dog's dinner.
Dons - The professors at Oxford or Cambridge universities.
Doner - Short for a doner kebab. The closest thing in the US is a gyro. Kebabs in England, whether shish (meat on a skewer) or a doner (lamb on vertical spit), are served in split pitta bread with salad. There is a whole culture difference between the clean living shopping mall gyro and the greasy doner. Whilst the gyro is available all day and all evening and enjoyed by everyone, the doner is generally sold after 11pm in England to young males, after the pubs close and after 8 or so pints of lager. Usually served with extra hot fresh chilli sauce and on greaseproof paper so the oil is funnelled back onto your trousers, it is usually enjoyed standing up.
Donkey's years - A long time. If you haven't seen someone for donkey's years, it means you haven't seen them for ages.
Doodle bug - The flying bombs that Hitler sent over to England during the war.
Dosh - Money.
Dotty - Feeble-minded.
Double cream - This is even thicker than single cream and is also served with desserts, tarts etc.
Double decker - A bus with an upstairs and a downstairs.
Double yellow lines - The double yellow lines are the no parking zone. The traffic wardens are pretty hot on cars parked on double yellows. By the way - you can generally park on single yellow lines after 6pm and at weekends unless it says otherwise on a nearby lamp-post.
Downmarket - Seedy.
Draughts - Checkers.
Drawing pin - Thumbtack.
Dresser - Dresser hutch or china cabinet. A piece of furniture in the kitchen or dining room that has an enclosed cabinet for its bottom half and an open, doorless cabinet on top for standing plates in upright.
Dressing gown - Robe.
Drink driving - Drunk driving.
Drink up - In a pub, 10 minutes before closing time you will hear the barman shout "last orders please". This tells you to get the last round in before it is too late. When the clock strikes 11pm, they will then shout "time" to tell you it is too late to order any more. You now have 20 minutes to drink up after which time it is illegal to drink. This is called "drinking up time".
Drop a clanger - To make a gaffe or a faux pas. For example, if you ask a large woman on the tube if she would like your seat since she is so obviously pregnant and she tells you she is fat, not pregnant, then you have dropped a clanger.
Drunk in charge - The equivalent of DWI and DUI offences for "driving while intoxicated" and for "driving under the influence." "Drunk in charge" is never shortened to DIC (for obvious reasons).
Dual carriageway - Divided highway. All have a 70mph speed limit unless indicated (posted) otherwise.
Duck - A term of endearment like "love" or "dear." Usually pronounced more like "dook", which rhymes with "book".
Due care and attention - This is the name of a motoring offence that covers many driving violations, such as driving in the middle lane of the motorway when you should be in the inside lane.
Duff - Anything that is duff is useless, junk, trash. It usually means that the object doesn't do the job it was intended for.
Duffer - Any person that is duff could be referred to as a duffer.
Duffer - An old duffer is either someone who is not very good at something or someone who is old. Like an old geezer.
Dull - Someone or something that is dull is boring. Note: Something that is no longer sharp is "blunt," NOT "dull."
Dummy - Pacifier (as in for a baby). Also the mannequin in a clothing shop window or someone who has no brain.
Dungarees - Overalls.
Dust cart - Another word for the lorry that the bin men drive.
Dustbin - Trash can. When you empty your bins the day before bin day, you put them in the dustbin outside.
Dustman - Trash collector.
Duvet - Most Brits have dispensed with blankets and sheets and now sleep under a duvet. It is similar to a comforter but has a removable cover that can be washed. Duvet's warmth is measured in togs, 2 or 3 togs for summer duvets and 11 or more for winter ones.
Earth - You will find appliances that say "this appliance must be earthed" for example. In the US, you would instead say they must be grounded. Or when wiring an electrical plug the third pin will be marked "earth."
Economy - When we travel in an aeroplane in the cheap seats we are travelling economy. In the US, you would say you're travelling coach.
Egg timer - Hour glass.
Eiderdown - Before Brits started to sleep under duvets, they would cover their sheets and blankets with an eiderdown. Similar to a comforter it does not have a removable cover and is just there to add extra warmth and to look nice.
Elastoplast - Bandaid. Also called a sticking plaster. Elastoplast is just a brand name that sometimes gets used instead of "plaster".
Electric fire - Heater (electric).
Eleven plus - This is the name of the exam that eleven year olds used to sit to determine if they went to grammar school or a secondary modern school.
Elevenses - Elevenses is an old fashioned habit with us Brits. It consists of stopping work for a cuppa and a bickie at around eleven in the morning, before carrying on till lunch time. Most people don't have time for elevenses any more though.
Emulsion - Our paint for the inside of houses is basically split into emulsion and gloss varieties. Emulsions for the walls and gloss for the woodwork and metal surfaces. Emulsions are water based and can come in matt or silk flavours, depending on whether you want a shine or not.
Engaged - The telephone term for busy. When you ring someone and they are already on the phone you will get the engaged tone. In other words, they will be engaged.
English muffin - Nobody seems to know why these are called this. Until recently, they were not available in England. Even now that some supermarkets stock them, most Brits think they are big, fluffy things you get in America.
En-suite - If you are looking at Bed & Breakfast listings in the UK you might see reference to an en-suite. This is the bathroom and means that it is connected directly to the bedroom and therefore not shared.
Entree - Appetizer. In France and the rest of Europe, the entree is the appetizer, not the main course. (The clue is in the name.)
Estate - This is short for a housing estate. You might call it a residential development or a subdivision. Basically it is a bunch of similar houses built far too close together and described as "highly desirable" by estate agents.
Estate agent - Realtor.
Estate car - Similar to a station wagon, this is an elongated version of a normal saloon car. Many cars have an estate version.
Eurovision song contest - Every year a terrible thing happens on TV right across Europe. One lucky unknown singer from each country vies for the title. The object is to unite Europe, which it does: Everyone in every country seems to hate it equally.
Excess - Insurance deductible. The amount you pay before your car insurance does. Insurance is one of the few things that is much cheaper in the UK than the USA.
Excuse me - What kids are taught to say when they belch in public. We are also taught to say "pardon me" if we fart out loud. (Unfortunately in American "excuse me" means you are encroaching in someone's personal space and you say "pardon me" when you don't hear someone properly.)
Faff - To faff is to dither or to fanny around. If a child procrastinates when getting ready for bed, the parents would say the child was faffing around.
Fag - Cigarette.
Fagged - If you are too lazy or tired to do something you could say "I can't be fagged". It means you can't be bothered.
Fagging - Fagging is the practice of making new boys at boarding schools into slaves for the older boys. If you are fagging for an older boy you might find yourself running his bath, cleaning his shoes or performing more undesirable tasks.
Faggots - Meatballs wrapped in a casing of intestine. A traditional British delicacy.
Fair - A carnival, typically with swings and roundabouts, big wheels and other rides amongst the hot dog and candyfloss stands. We also have country fairs with crafts and arts and sometimes animal displays, etc.
Fairy cake - Cupcake.
Fancy - If you fancy something then it means you like or desire it. There are two basic forms in common use - food and people. If you fancy a cake for example it means you like the look of it and you want to eat it. If you see someone of (hopefully) the opposite sex then you might fancy them if you liked the look of them and wanted to get to know them a little better.
Fancy dress - Fancy dress means dressing up in a costume, probably to go to a fancy dress party (a costume party in the US).
Fanny - This is the rude word for a woman's front bits (i.e., pelvic area).
Fanny around, fanny about - To procrastinate.
Father Christmas - Santa Claus.
Fete - Field day. Most schools and villages have a fete in the summer with side-shows, games, races, food and drink and a coconut shy.
Fiddle sticks - For those too well mannered to swear, this is a substitution.
Filch - To filch is to steal or pilfer.
Fillet - Fillet mignon. Pronounced "fill it".
Film - Movie. We don't go to the movie theatre to see a movie. We go to the pictures (or cinema) to see a film.
Finals - Your finals are the final exams you do at university. We don't have grade points - the result of your degree is generally dependant on the results of your finals. Some courses use continual assessment or coursework to avoid this process but finals do avoid the problem of having people study for hundreds of years collecting points and getting a degree when, frankly, they don't deserve one.
Fire brigade - The fire department.
Fire engine - Fire truck.
First floor - Second floor. The first floor above the ground-level floor. The lift always starts on the ground floor and goes up to the first floor then the second floor.
Fish and chip shop - The chip shop has been an important part of the British culinary experience. Mimicked badly on your side of the water nothing beats a good bag of cod'n'chips, some mushy peas and a saveloy.
Fish cake - Fish cakes in the UK are served in restaurants rather like they are in the US, made from nice fish, with a little salad and a fancy berry sauce as a starter. However, ask most Brits what a fish cake is and they will tell you it is something you get at the chip shop, because it's easier to eat with your fingers than a piece of cod, and cheaper too.
Fishmongers' - Fish store.
Fit - A fit bird means a girl who is pretty good looking or tasty. A fit bloke would be the male equivalent.
Fiver - Five pound note. Our notes are all a different colour and different size. This, along with subtle but bold shapes on each note, helps partially sighted people and blind people to handle money as well as the rest of us.
Flake - British chocolate, which is different to Hersheys. Cadbury's Flake is fabulous.
Flannel - Washcloth for your face.
Flat - Apartment.
Flat mate - Room mate, i.e., someone you share your flat with. Note: A room mate means someone you share a room with.
Flex - Electric cord or extension lead.
Flog - To flog something is to sell it. It also means to beat something with a whip.
Flower - A term of endearment.
Fluke - If something great happened to you by chance that would be a fluke. For example, if a woman loses her ring at the beach and goes back to the spot hours later and finds it in the sand, that's a fluke.
Flutter - I like to have a flutter on the horses. It means to have a bet, usually a small one by someone who is not a serious gambler.
Flyover - Overpass on a roadway.
Fog lights - In England, the very intense red lights on the back of a car, designed to make the car visible to cars behind it in a fog. (In the US, fog lights are white and are at the front of the car, low down.)
Football - Soccer. At school, usually called footy or footer.
Ford - If you see a sign saying "ford ahead" it means there is a low water crossing ahead.
Forehead - The same meaning as in the US, but pronounced forrid in the UK.
Form - Grade (as in school). This is the way we describe which grade we are in at school. In a normal school you would start at age eleven in the first form (or the first year). You would finish in the fifth form (or fifth year) and optionally stay on for two more years to do your A levels. These two years are called the lower sixth and the upper sixth. Sixth formers are the ones that study a bit harder because they generally chose to be there.
Fortnight - Two weeks.
Fresher - Freshman.
Fresher's ball - Every year there is a ball for the freshers to get to know each other. And, of course, the experienced students take the opportunity to check out the new talent.
Fringe - Bangs (as in hair).
Fringe - In the theatre, this is the equivalent of off Broadway. The most famous fringe is at the Edinburgh Festival, where some of the finest new acts are to be seen.
Frock - A dress. This term is generally only used by older people. Your posh frock would be your best dress.
Fruiterers' - Fruit store.
Fruit machine - Slot machine (as in gambling).
Full monty - It really has nothing to do with taking your clothes off. It just means the whole thing or going the whole way. (Clearly when applied to stripping it means not stopping at your underwear.)
Full of beans - This means to have loads of energy. It is a polite way of saying that a child is a maniac.
Full stop - Period (as in punctuation). Note: "Period" really only refers to menstruation.
Gaffer - Boss. This is a word for an old bloke or a workman's boss or the foreman of a team of labourers. A "good gaffer" would be a good boss.
Gagging - Desperate, in a fat slaggy kind of a way. Not nice.
Gallivanting - This means fooling around or horseplay.
Gallon - 1 gallon in England equals 1.25 US gallons.
Gammon - Ham.
Gander - If someone goes off for a gander, such as when visiting a new town or village, it means to look around.
Gangway - The gap between rows of seats, where one can walk - like in a restaurant. Or the thing you walk up onto a ship. Finally if you want a crowd to move out of the way because you are coming through, you would shout "gangway" at the top of your voice.
Gaol - Jail.
Garden - Yard (as in the property around a home). (Not just a flower patch, but the whole yard.)
Garibaldi - All kids know Garibaldi biscuits as "squashed fly biscuits". They are small hard biscuits with currants embedded in them that look just like squashed flies.
Gas - A substance used to cook with and to heat homes. Note: Cars use petrol, not gas.
Gas fire - Gas heater.
Gateau - A large, rich cake, usually brimming with fresh cream. It is normally served in slices on special occasions.
Gazumping - When you make an offer on a house and the seller accepts it, they are not allowed to then accept a higher offer from another potential buyer. That would be gazumping.
GCSE - General Certificate of Secondary Education. These are the exams that students in their 5th year of secondary school take when they are 16. After these, students may leave school or go onto the 6th form where they spend two more years studying for their A-levels, which are university entrance exams.
Gearstick - Stick shift of a car. Most cars in England come with a gearstick. If you learn to drive in one without a gearstick you may not drive one that does until you take the test in that sort too.
Geezer - Another word for bloke but mostly heard in London.
Gen - Gen means information. If you have the gen then you know what is going on.
Gen up - To research a subject or to get some information.
Gents - Men's room.
Geordie - Person from Newcastle.
Get lost! - Politely translated as go away, this is really a mild way of telling someone to f*** off!
Get stuffed! - Even politer way to tell someone to get lost is to tell them to get stuffed. However, this is still not a nice thing to say to someone.
Gherkin - Pickle. Not as popular in England as they are in the US.
Git - A jerk, an undesirable, a prat. "You ignorant git" is a popular use of the word.
Give us a bell - Call me. You often hear people use the word "us" to mean "me".
Give way - Yield. At a roundabout you give way to the right.
Glove box - The glove compartment in a car.
Gob - As a noun, it means your mouth, hence the gobstopper is used to fill it up. The other use is as a verb, meaning spitting up green stuff.
Gobsmacked - Amazed. Your gob is your mouth and if you smack your gob, it would be out of amazement.
Golden syrup - A very thick syrup (somewhat like corn syrup) used for sticky puddings and desserts.
Good value - This is short for good value for money. It means something is a good deal.
Goolies - Testacles.
Gooseberry - To be a gooseberry is to be the third person (fifth wheel) on a date. If two guys are in bar and one of them successfully chats up a girly, his mate becomes a gooseberry. You would feel a bit of a gooseberry if you accompanied a couple on a date.
Gormless - Clueless, stupid. A gormless person is someone who has absolutely no clue. You also could say someone is a total gorm or completely gormy.
Grammar school - When these existed they were the schools that brighter kids went to at age 11. To get to grammar school meant passing the eleven plus exam.
Granary - This is a kind of malted, brown bread with whole grains in it.
Gravy - A brown sauce made from the meat juices when you roast a joint.
Grem - The form of gob meaning to spit something out. e.g. Did you see him grem? Yuck. Usually associated with that ghastly noise as the content of the lungs are coughed into the mouth before gremming can take place. Grem is also the word that describes the green lump that is created in the process. You might call it hacking up a hacker.
Grill - To broil.
Grockles - Tourists.
Grub - Food. Similar to nosh. Someone might say "grub's up", to announce informally that dinner is ready. A grub is also an insect larva.
Guard - Conductor. When travelling by train, the man that collects your tickets is called a guard, not a conductor as you have in the US. Strangely if it was a bus we would call them a conductor.
Guard's van - Caboose.
Guide dog - Seeing eye dog.
Gum - Glue.
Gumby - This is mild insult that is safe to use in public when someone is not using their brain. Used with people you know, usually.
Gutted - If someone is really upset by something they might say that they were gutted.
Guv - An East End expression, short for "Governor," which roughly translates as Sir, used to address a man when you don't know his name.
Haggis - Haggis is made from offal and grain and is held together in a sheep's stomach. It can be grilled, fried, or boiled whole. It is absolutely delicious and is traditionally served with neaps and tatties (turnips and mashed potato).
Haggle - Barter, negotiate.
Hair pin - Bobby pin.
Handbag - A woman carries a handbag. Note: A purse which is something that goes in the handbag and contains money.
Hand basin - Sink, usually referring to the kind found in bedrooms in some older houses. They are intended for washing your hands and face, rather than the dishes.
Hand brake - Your parking brake. In the UK they are generally hand operated only.
Hanky panky - Making out. Also called "slap and tickle" by some older folks.
Hard - Ready to fight anything or anybody, or to take on any bet.
Hard lines - Hard luck, bad luck.
Hash - A pound sign (as in currency). Also a substance that is smoked (see wacky backy). Also, to make a real hash of something means you really screwed it up.
Have - In the US, you might as a waitress, "Can I get a refill" for more coffee. In the UK, you would say, "Can I HAVE a refill". If you say "Can I GET a refill" in the UK, the waitress might give you a funny look and tell you where to go and GET it - yourself.
Head lamp - Headlight, though we use either word.
Healthy - Healthful. For example, a healthy lifestyle and healthy food.
Hedgerow - Hedge (as in shrubbery).
Hen night - Bachelorette party, the equal and opposite of the stag night.
Herb - Herb. The only difference is the "H" is pronounced.
Her Majesty's pleasure - Being detained at Her Majesty's pleasure means being put in prison with no release date.
Hessian - Burlap. This material is what they make sacks from and use on the back of carpets.
High Street - Main street. Traditionally the centre of activity and shopping in each town. Today, the High Streets are quiet and the traders who occupy them are finding it more difficult to stay in business as the supermarkets and other shops are moving out of town.
High Street Shops - The national chains of shops that you would expect to find in every town's High Street. Sadly these days with the move to out of town shopping centres (Malls) these shops are moving out of the High Streets and leaving them somewhat desolate.
Hire car - Rental car. When hiring a car in England, remember to specify an automatic or you will get one with a gearstick.
Hire purchase - Credit.
Hiya - Short for hi there, this is a friendly way of saying hello.
Hob - The burner on a stove (stove is called cooker).
Hob nobs - One of the more popular British biscuits.
Hole in the wall - ATM.
Holiday - Vacation. We usually go on a two-week holiday every summer since the basic holiday entitlement in the UK is 4 or 5 weeks when you start work. We also get several bank holidays.
Homely - Pleasant.
Honking - Being sick or throwing up.
Hood - Vinyl top of a convertible.
Hooray Henry - Similar to yuppie, a phrase describing the young upper class. They talk like they have a plum in their mouths and say things like "OK yar!"
Hooter - Your nose. Also the horn on a car.
Hoover - Really a brand of vacuum cleaner but the word "hoover" is used to describe all vacuum cleaners.We use the hoover to do the hoovering.
Horlicks - This malted milk drink has been around for years. It is supposed to make you relax in the evening and sleep well.
Horses for courses - This is a common saying that means each to his own. What suits one person might be horrible for someone else.
Hospital trolley - Hospital cart, gurney.
Hot pot - A kind of one-pot stew that is made with lamb with sliced potatoes on top, that go a bit crunchy.
Housing estate - Subdivision, tenement.
How's your father? - This is a very old term for sex which plays on our apparent British sensitivity. Rather than saying the actual "sex" word you could refer to having a bit of How's your Father, instead.
HP sauce - Similar to A1 sauce, but it is used on cooked breakfast.
Hump - Caution: If you "have got the hump" it means you are in a mood. But if you are "having a hump," it means you are having sex.
Hunky-dory - Excellent. We would generally use it to mean that everything is cool and groovy, on plan, no worries and generally going well.
Hurling - A sport, played a lot in Ireland which is like a cross between hockey and rugby. The players try to get a hard ball into, or over, a goal with the aid of a stick.
Jacket potato - Baked potato. Also referred to as "potatoes in their jackets", meaning their skins.
Jaffa cake - A little cake filled with orange jam and topped with chocolate.
Jam - Jelly. Note: "jelly" is gelatin.
Jam sandwich - This is a motorway police car, thus called because if it is white with a bright orange stripe along the side, that's just what it looks like.
Jammy - If you are really lucky or flukey, you are also very jammy. It would be quite acceptable to call your friend a jammy b****rd if they won the lottery.
Jammy beggar - You may hear people being called a jammy bugger, jammy beggar or jammy bastard. It just means they have been lucky.
Jasper - Another word for a wasp or a yellow jacket.
Jellied eels - In the east end of London, a local tradition and delicacy. They are eels cooked and left to set in their own jelly.
Jelly - Gelatin.
Jersey - Sweater.
Jimmy - Cockney rhyming slang for piddle (urine).
Job's worth - A job's worth is a person who is inflexible in their job, even if it means upsetting their customer. For example, if a restaurant served custard with apple pie and you wanted ice cream instead, a job's worth would be the kind of waiter who would refuse to give you ice cream because it wasn't listed like that on the menu. The excuse would be that it was more than their job's worth.
Johnny - A condom. Short for "rubber johnny." Note: "rubbers" are on the end of pencils.
John Thomas - Slang for a penis.
Joiner - Carpenter.
Joint - Roast. Either something containing wacky backy that you smoke to get high, or a piece of meat that is roasted on a Sunday with roast spuds, roast parsnips, veggies and gravy. Like roast leg of pork and crackling.
Jolly - You hear people use this in all sorts of ways, but basically it means very. So "jolly good" would mean very good. A common exception is where you hear people say "I should jolly well think so!" which is more to emphasise the point.
Juggernaut - An 18 wheeler or any large lorry (large truck).
Kedgeree - A wonderful dish of smoked haddock, eggs and rice. Still served in some hotels, generally for breakfast.
Keeper - Curator.
Keep fit - Exercise class.
Keep your pecker up - Keep your chin up. Caution: In some places, "pecker" means penis.
Kerb - Curb.
Khazi - Another word for the toilet, generally used by older people.
Kip - A short sleep, forty winks, or a snooze.
Kipper - Smoked herring. Very popular eaten hot with breakfast or cold with a salad.
Kiss gate - If you wander across many of Britain's public footpaths, out in the country, you are likely to come across a kiss gate. These gates are designed to let people through but to keep animals in the fields. Only one person can get through at a time and the man is supposed to go first. In order for the lady to follow, the man has to let the gate go back, but not until he gets a kiss.
Kitchen towel - A paper towel.
Knackered - Exhausted. Basically worn out, good for nothing, tired out. Another way to describe it is to say you feel shagged.
Knickers - Ladies' panties.
Knob - Penis.
Knock off - To knock something off is to steal it.
Knock up - To wake someone up. It also means to make something out of odds and ends, such as to knock up a tree house from some planks of wood in the garage, or to knock up a meal from whatever is in the fridge.
Knockers - Breasts.
Knuckle sandwich - If somebody offers you a knuckle sandwich, they're about to thump you in the face.
Konk - An unkind way of describing someone's nose.
Lager - Sort of what you call beer. Usually a bit stronger and drunk from pint glasses rather than bottles. Served cold, but not that cold. American beer is not normally considered a manly drink by British males.
Lager lout - This famous British invention is male, between 18 and 23 and usually visits foreign football matches to make trouble, beat people up and vandalise the place.
Landlady - The lady owner (or these days
more often the manager) of a pub.
Landlord - The male owner (or these days more often the manager) of a pub.
Laundry basket - Laundry hamper. Note: A "hamper" is a thing full of food.
Lay-by - Rest stop. On the side of the road you will often find a lay-by, probably just a widening of the road without any kerbing, to allow you to stop and take a break. It doesn't quite qualify as a rest area as there are generally no facilities.
Lead - Leash (as in for dogs).
Leader - Editorial.
Leaving do - A going-away party.
Leg it - This is a way of saying run or run for it. It is usually said by kids having just been caught doing something naughty.
Legless - Drunk.
Lemonade - Carbonated beverage. A clear, sparkling, lemon flavoured drink that is either drunk as it is or added to lager to make shandy. Seven-up and sprite would both qualify as lemonade.
Letter box - A mail box, big and red and found loitering on street corners.
Level crossing - This is what you call a grade crossing, where a railway crosses a road.
Licence fee - In order to watch any TV in the UK you must pay a licence fee to the BBC. It's cheaper than your basic US cable package and gets you our five main channels. It means there are no ads on the BBC channels which is excellent. We also have cable and satellite TV channels at an extra cost.
Lift - Elevator. In England we don't talk in the lift, unless we are with close friends or colleagues. Even then, as soon as someone else steps in, all conversation stops. A lift is also something you get by hitch-hiking. Note: A "ride" refers to a sexual encounter with a stranger.
Lights - The little triangular windows on some cars.
Liver sausage - Liverwurst.
Loaf - To use your loaf means to use your head.
Local - Your local is the pub you visit the most. It actually doesn't have to be the one that is nearest to you. So if you hear someone saying that they are "off down the local" you know where they are going.
Loft - Attic.
Lollipop man (or lady) - Crossing guard.
Long sighted - Far sighted.
Loo - Toilet, bathroom.
Lorry - Truck. They are not allowed in the fast lane on England's motorways.
Lorry driver - Truck driver. Lorry drivers are also called truckers.
Lounge - Living room.
Lounge bar - Most pubs used to have a saloon bar and a lounge bar. The price of a pint was a penny or two more in the lounge and, unlike the saloon, it had proper carpets and comfortable seating.
Love bite - Hickey.
Lug holes - Ears.
Lurgy - If you have the lurgy it means you are ill, you have the flu.
Manual - A car in England is either a manual or an automatic (transmission). A manual has a gearstick. You would call them a stick or stick shift. When we say we drive a manual, instead of drive a stick.
Mange tout - Snow peas.
Marks and Sparks - This is how many people refer to the country's leading retailer Marks and Spencer.
Marmite - Yeast extract. Described as "salty tractor grease" this spread is made from the yeast gunk they scoop out of beer vats when they are finished with them. Usually used in sarnies with cheese.
Marquee - The large tent that people rent to hold the party after a wedding.
Marrow - Squash.
Mash - Short for mashed potato. As in pie and mash, bangers and mash.
Match - Game.
Mate - Friend, chum, buddy, friend.
Maths - Math. It is short for "mathematics."
Mean - Stingy. We often say people are mean if they are tight fisted, stingy or hold on to their money.
Mince - Ground beef or other ground meat. Mincing is also the way that certain effeminate men walk.
Mince pies - Popular at Christmas time, these are small pies filled with mincemeat and topped off with cream or served hot with brandy butter.
Mincemeat - A sweet product made from dried fruit and suet (a dry form of beef fat), used as a filling for mince pies, eaten at Christmas with brandy butter.
Minder - Babysitter. Also means bodyguard.
Mobile - Cellular phone.
Mobile home - Trailer home.
Momentarily - If something will happen momentarily, it means that it will happen for an instant, a very short space of time. It does NOT mean it will happen IN an instant or short time.
Morish or moreish - This word describe something that is simply not enough -- you want or need more. It applies to anything - not just desserts.
Morris dancer - Around May, you are likely to see a group of morris dancers, seemingly sane men who dress up in knee length britches, long socks, with ribbons flying from various parts of their bodies. They dance around poles with long sticks in their hands much to the amusement of passers by.
Mother - If a bloke says "Shall I be Mother?" when the family sits down to a pot of tea or a slice of cake, it means he is offering to pour or cut for everyone.
Motorway - Highway, freeway. Very strict rules apply to motorways, only drive faster than 100mph if you are happy to lose your licence (or are very good at haggling.). Always drive in the slow lane, unless overtaking (or risk being arrested). Always enter and exit via slip roads on the left hand side.
Muesli - Granola.
Muffler - A big, fluffy scarf.
Mug - If someone is a bit of a mug, it means they are gullible.
Multi storey - Short for multi-storey car park, which means a parking garage on several levels.
Mum - Mom.
Mushy peas - An English tradition, mushy peas are reconstituted dried peas that go all mushy. They are often served with fish and chips, or on their own with mint sauce.
Mutt's nuts - If something is described as being "the mutt's" then you'll know it is fantastic or excellent. "The mutt's" is short for "The mutt's nuts" which is clearly another way of saying the "dog's bollocks."
Naff - Worthless or unfashionable. If something is naff, it is basically uncool. Anoraks are naff, salad cream is also naff. You could also use it to tell someone to naff off, which is a politer way of telling them to f*** off!
Naff off - Go away.
Nail varnish - Nail polish.
Namby pamby - Wimp.
Nancy boy - If someone is being pathetic you would call them a nancy or a nancy boy. It is the opposite of being hard. For example in cold weather a nancy boy would dress up in a coat, hat, gloves and scarf and a hard guy would wear a t-shirt. It's also another word for a gay man.
Nappy - Diaper.
Nark - If someone is in a nark, it means they are in a bad mood, or being grumpy. It's also the word for a spy or informant.
Narked - In the UK you would say that someone looked narked if you thought they were in a bad mood.
Natter - Chat (noun or verb).
Naturist - Nudist.
Naughts and crosses - Ttic tac toe.
Naughty bits - Genitals.
Near side lane - The slow lane of a road.
Neat - If you are in the pub and you ask for your drink neat, it means it comes with nothing added. You might ask for it straight.
Nesh - To be a nesh wimp means being pathetic or a bit of a nancy boy.
Nice one! - If someone does something particularly impressive you might say "nice one."
Nick - To nick is to steal, or to catch a burglar. Also means prison. If something is "in good nick" it is in good condition.
Nicked - Something that has been stolen has been nicked. Also, when a copper catches a burglar red handed he might say "you've been nicked."
Nobby no-mates - An imaginary name for someone with no friends.
No entry - Where in the US road signs say "wrong way," they say "no entry" in the UK.
Nookie - Nookie is the same as hanky panky.
Normal - Pop in the UK is either "diet" or "normal" (not "regular"). Note: Regular refers to going to the loo every day.
Nosey parker - Someone who sticks their nose into everyone elses business.
Nosh - Food. You would refer to food as nosh or you might be going out for a good nosh up, or meal. If you were going out for some nosh it would mean you were going to get some lunch or dinner at a restaurant. Posh nosh is what you get at expensive restaurants. Note: If someone has just cooked you some nosh you might want to call it something else as it is not the nicest word to describe it.
Nosh-up - A feast.
Note - British paper money.A five pound note is called a fiver and a ten pound note is called a tenner. Strangely a twenty is called a twenty.
Not my cup of tea - This is a common saying that means something is not to your liking.
Nowt - This is Yorkshire for nothing. Similarly owt is Yorkshire for anything. Hence the expression "you don't get owt for nowt". Roughly translated as "you never get anything for nothing" or "there's no such thing as a free lunch".
Number plate - Licence plate. In the UK they tell you the age of the vehicle and have some coding to identify the area of the country the car was registered in. The format is G992 CAJ where the first letter tells you the car was registered between Aug 1 199x and July 31st of the following year. The following year will start with an H and so on. The UK makes big business from personalised number plates, just like in the US, but we need to keep them in the format. Our number plates generally stay with the car, whereas those in the US seem to stay with the person.
O-Level - At 16, school kids used to take around ten O-levels (O for Ordinary). These were the qualifications that got you into the sixth form, where you studied for your A-levels (A for Advanced). O-levels have been replaced by GCSEs which cover a broader range of educational ability (General Certificate of Secondary Education).
OAP - Senior citizen.
Off - Spoiled.
Offal - In English supermarkets you will see a sign in the meat aisle with "offal" on it. The most common offal is liver and kidney.
Off colour - If someone said you were off colour they would mean that you look pale and ill.
Off licence or "offy" - Liquor store.
Off your trolley - If someone tells you that you're off your trolley, it means you have gone raving bonkers, crazy, mad.
Old age pensioner - Senior citizen.
On about - "What are you on about?" means "What are you talking about?"
On the job - If you are on the job, it could mean that you are hard at work. Or in other circumstances, it means having sex.
On the piss - If you are out on the piss, it means you are out to get drunk, or to get pissed.
On your bike - A very polite way of telling someone to f*** off.
On your tod - If you are on your tod it means you are all on your own, or that you are Nobby no-mates.
One off - A one off is a special or a one time event that is never to be repeated.
Overtake - To pass another vehicle (as when driving). We can only do it on the right.
Over the moon - Elated. If you are over
the moon about something it means you are delighted.
Over the top - Carried away.
Owt - This is Yorkshire for anything. Similarly nowt is Yorkshire for nothing. Hence the expression "you don't get owt for nowt". Roughly translated as "you never get anything for nothing" or "there's no such thing as a free lunch".
Oxbridge - A short way of referring to Oxford and Cambridge universities. When you are at school and planning your university applications you would say you were applying to Oxbridge if you were applying to both.
Page three girl - Model (of sorts). One of the cheap and cheerful newspapers in the UK is The Sun. It is most famous for it's page three girl, a different topless girl every day.
Pancake roll - Egg roll.
Panda car - Police car.
Pantomime - A Christmas tradition, a pantomime is a show which takes normally mature, serious actors and actresses and sees them dressing up as members of the opposite sex to amuse children with popular stories. Usually has an evil man, a man dressed in drag as a widow and a dashing young male hero (really a woman in green tights). You spend most of your time shouting "It's behind you" and adults pretend they only go for the kids. A really disorganised event may also be described as something of a pantomime.
Pants - A man's underwear. It is now quite trendy to say that something which is total crap is "pants". For instance you could say the last episode of a TV show was "total pants."
Paper knife - A letter opener.
Paracetamol - Acetaminophen.
Paraffin - Kerosene. A paraffin lamp would be one of those old fashioned lamps with paraffin in the base and a wick which is really hard to light.
Paralytic - Drunk.
Parcel - Package.
Pardon me - What kids are taught to say if they fart in public. We are also taught to say "excuse me" if we belch in public. (Unfortunately in American "excuse me" means you are encroaching in someone's personal space and you say "pardon me" when you don't hear someone properly.)
Parkin - A sweet heavy cake made with treacle. Often served on bonfire night.
Parky - Either short for Michael Parkinson, or more likely a word to describe the weather as being rather cold.
Parsley sauce - A white sauce (like southern gravy in the US) with chopped fresh parsley in it. Sometimes served with ham or fish.
Parson's nose - The tail of the chicken or turkey.
Parting - Part.
Pass - This means I don't know. It comes from the old TV show, Mastermind, where contestants were made to say "pass" if they did not know the answer to the question.
Pastry base - Crust (as in pie crust).
Pavement - Sidewalk.
Pavement pizza - Vomit. Often found outside Indian restaurants early on a Sunday morning.
Pay packet - Pay check. These days, of course, many people are paid electronically.
Pay rise - Pay raise.
Pea fritter - These are made from mushy peas, rolled into a ball, covered in batter and deep fried.
Peanuts - If you say something is peanuts or costs peanuts, it means it is cheap. Also, the expression "if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" is a fairly derogatory way of saying that manual labour doesn't need to be bright and doesn't need a lot of pay.
Pear shaped - If something has gone pear shaped it means it has become a disaster. It might be preparing a dinner party or arranging a meeting, any of these things can go completely pear shaped.
Peckish - Hungry. If you are a little peckish it means you are hungry and need to nibble at something.
Pelican crossing - Pedestrian crossing. The black and white bars across the road with a green and red man lighting up to show pedestrians when to walk and when to stay.
Pence - The one hundred pennies that make up a British pound are called pence. You will often hear people calling them "p". So if you are asked for 50p you are expected to hand over fifty pence.
Penny farthing - They are old bicycles with one huge wheel at the front and a tiny one at the back.
Perry - This alcoholic beverage is made the same way as cider except it is made from pears.
Petrol - Gasoline. Ask for a petrol station when you run out.
Petrol station - Gas station.
Photocopier - Copier machine. Don't call it a Xerox.
Pickle - No such thing in the US, or possibly relish. Visit any English home and say "bring out the Branston" - they will bring you a jar of brown, lumpy, spicy pickle. It is made from vegetables, spices & vinegar and is quite thick. It is eaten with cold meats, cheeses and pies. There is even a less lumpy version for sarnies. Branston is the name of the market leader in pickle.
Pickled eggs - Eggs that have been hard boiled and pickled. Pubs and chip shops are the best places to find them.
Pickled onions - A staple part of the British diet, every kitchen has a jar in the cupboard or the fridge and many people still make their own. Peeled little shallots in pickling vinegar and eaten with cheese and salads. These days they also come with chilli and other hot spicy things.
Pictures - The cinema or the movie theater.
Pie - Unless specified otherwise, a pie would default to a meat pie with a pastry lid. Of course, we also have apple pies and the like. Pie's always have lids. If there is no lid, it's a tart.
Piece of cake - Saying it's a piece of cake means it's a cinch.
Pilchards - Sardines.
Pile-up - Car wreck. What happens when a number of cars collide into each other.
Pillar box - Mailbox. It is another word for postbox.
Pillock - Another mildly insulting name for someone. If someone had just done something stupid you would say "you pillock". This one is safe in front of grandparents.
Pimms - A liquor that you mix with lemonade in a tall glass with slices of apple, orange and cucumber and some fresh mint leaves. It is a summer, outside sort of drink that people drink at home and at the races, Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley etc. It is fairly alcoholic.
Pinafore - A pinafore dress is what you might call a jumper in the US.
Pinch - To steal something. To "steal" is a bit more serious than to pinch. A kid might pinch a cake from the kitchen. A thief would steal something during a burglary.
Pinny - An apron to protect clothes when washing or cooking.
Pint - If you ask your mates to come to the pub for a pint, it means any form of beer or cider that could be purchased in quantities of one pint. The British pint is bigger than the pint in the US. (20oz rather than 16oz).
Pip pip - A out-dated expression meaning goodbye. Not used any more.
Piss poor - If something is described as being "piss poor" it means it is an extremely poor attempt at something.
Piss up - A piss up is a drinking session. A visit to the pub. There is an English expression to describe someone as disorganised which says that he/she could not organise a piss up in a brewery.
Pissed - Drunk. Most people go to the pub to get pissed. In fact the object of a stag night is to get as pissed as possible. Getting pissed means getting drunk. It does not mean getting angry. That would be getting pissed off.
Pissing around - Fooling about, in the sense of messing around or making fun or just being silly. Not terribly polite.
Pitch - Playing field.
Plait - Braid.
Plaster - Bandaid. Short for "sticking plaster."
Plaster board - Sheet rock, dry wall. In the UK, plasterboard is used to make ceilings and is also used to make internal walls, it is then covered in a thin layer of real plaster, except in cheap modern houses.
Plastered - Loaded, having had too much to drink.
Plimsolls - A type of sneaker, plimsolls or pumps were usually black and elasticated and you wore them during P.E. (Physical Education).
Plod - The police.
Plonk - Cheap wine. Normally you hear someone talking about "cheap plonk". Under £3 would probably get you cheap plonk, you need to pay a bit more to get decent wine. "Cheap plonk" suggests that the wine is not only cheap, but nasty too.
Plonker - Penis, John Thomas or dick. Or an inoffensive term for someone who is a bit of a wally. If someone is taking the piss, or making fun of you, they would also be "pulling your plonker."
Ploughman's lunch - You'll see these in pubs on the menu at lunchtime. Basically it's a chunk of cheese, some pickle, a pickled onion and a hunk of (hopefully) nice bread. Sometimes the cheese will be substituted with a piece of home baked ham.
Po-faced - Probably derived from "poker faced," to sit there po-faced is to keep a straight face.
Polo neck - Turtle-neck sweater.
Polystyrene - Styrofoam.
Polytechnic - This a kind of technical college. If you didn't get the grades to get into university, the second choice was to go to poly or polytechnic. Their degrees were the same as universities, but it was easier to get into them. Most polys are now converted to universities.
Pompey - The colloquial slang for Portsmouth.
Ponce - Poncey things and poncey people are a bit girlie. It is not exactly another word for gay but it's getting close. A ponce is also another word for pimp, who lives off a prostitute's earnings. And it also has another meaning and that is to scrounge so one might try to ponce a fag off your mate, meaning you would scrounge a cigarette.
Pontoon - Also known as 21 or blackjack where you have to get 21 to beat the bank.
Poofter - An extended version of the word "poof", this is how you could refer either to a gay man or to a guy who is being a bit of a nancy boy or woofter.
Pop - Soda. In the north, you will hear people talking about pop or fizzy pop which has the same meaning as soda, but it is rarely used in other areas. Usually, the brand name is used, such as Coke.
Porkies - Lies (as in fibs).
Pork pies - They are made from crusty pastry with a filling of minced pork and other ingredients. It is eaten cold with pickle.
Pork scratchings - Pork rinds.
Porridge - Doing porridge means to serve time in prison.
Porridge - Cooked oatmeal that you would have for breakfast.
Posh - Roughly translates as high class.
Post - The mail, or to mail something. The post arrives in the morning in the UK. It drops through your letter box onto your hall carpet.
Post mortem - Autopsy.
Postbox - Mailbox. They are on street corners as well as at the post office.
Postcode - ZIP code. Postcodes are in the form RG26 5AN where the first two letters tell you the main postal town (RG=Reading) and the rest narrows down your house to the nearest 6 houses. That means that with just your house number and postcode anything can be delivered anywhere in the UK. Many mail order companies just ask you your house number and postcode - the rest is printed by computer.
Postgraduate student - Graduate student.
Postman - Mailman. The chap who delivers your post on his bike or his little red van.
Posty - Mailman.
Potty - If you are potty it means you are a little crazy, a bit of a looney, one card short of a full deck.
Pound sign - The symbol which denotes the UK pound (or quid).
Power point - Electrical outlet or socket. Ours have three pins, not two. The big one is earth (known as ground in the US) and also serves to open the little doors where the other two pins go.
Pram - Baby carriage or big stroller, sometimes the top lifts off the wheels and can be used as a cot. That would then be called a "carry cot". Short for perambulator.
Prang - If you have a prang in your car - it means you have hit a car or another object. Prangs tend be less serious than write-offs as they can be fixed.
Prat - Jerk. Yet another mildly insulting name for someone. In fact, this one is a bit ruder than pillock so you probably wouldn't say it in front of Grandma.
Prefect - Peer students who are allowed to stay in at lunch times and guard the doors to keep the other students out in the cold and the rain - and that was just the summers. You might call them monitors though I'm not sure there is a direct translation.
Premium bonds - These are a government savings scheme that pay no interest. Instead of interest they pay out millions in prize money each month and keep their value exactly the same. It's like a lottery where each ticket lasts a lifetime or until you cash them in.
Prep school - Short for preparatory school, this is the school that kids go to before they go to public school. Normally from ages eight to thirteen.
Presenter - Newscaster.
Press up - Push up.
Primary school - From the age of 5 until 11, our kids go to primary school.
Property - Real estate.
PTO - This is an abbreviation for "please turn over". You will see it on forms where you would see the single word "over" in the US.
Pub - Bar. The cornerstone of British social life. Every village has a pub, or several. These tend to be friendly sociable places to go for a pie and pint, meet the locals, get a cheap meal and drink some of that nice British beer. They usually have a beer garden and maybe a skittle alley, pool table and always a fruit machine or two. Town and city pubs come in several varieties. There are the drinking men's pubs, where the guys who leave the missus at home go, to chat to their mates and have a fag. There are the trendy, loud, expensive yuppie pubs. There are the family pubs which have separate rooms where kids can go, and they have lots of food and a playground, and then there are the nice ones.
Pub crawl - A pub crawl consists of drinking a pint at as many different pubs as possible, one after the other. Towards the end of the evening the "crawl" bit starts to take effect. Often followed by a curry, and more pints of course. Similar to bar hopping in the US.
Pub grub - Pubs that do food will often advertise "pub grub" outside on a sign. It just means pub food. These days lots of pubs do decent food, not just sausage, egg and chips.
Public convenience - A "public convenience" sign points you to the nearest public toilet or restroom.
Public school - Private school. For those that can afford to opt out of the state education system, this would be the alternative.
Pudding - Dessert (of any type). What you call pudding is called banana custard in England.
Puff - A fart.
Puke - To vomit or to be sick. You may also hear someone say "you make me puke," meaning "you make me sick."
Pukka - Super or smashing.
Pull - To be "on the pull" means you are looking for birds (if you are male) or for chaps (if you are female).
Pullover - Sweater.
Pulses - Beans.
Pumps - A type of sneaker, pumps or plimsolls were usually black and elasticated and you wore them during P.E. (Physical Education).
Punter - Customers.
Purse - A woman carries a purse to contain her money - notes and coins. It goes inside a handbag.
Pushchair - A stroller.
Pussy - Cat.
Put a sock in it - This is one way of telling someone to shut up.
Put down - Put to sleep.
Put paid to - Put an end to something. For example you could say that rain put paid to the cricket match, meaning it stopped play.
Pylon - This is what we would call a high tension tower which carries 11,000 volts of electricity.
RAC - Royal Automobile Club. Another roadside assistance company, similar to the American AAA. They drive mobile garages and can fix most things on the roadside. They will even drive you to the other end of the country if necessary, to get you there.
RAF - Royal Air Force.
Railway - Railroad.
Randy - To be randy means to be horny, ready for sex.
Rank - Taxi stand.
Rasher - You have to have a couple of back rashers with a proper English breakfast. You would call them slices of bacon.
Rat arsed - Yet another term for drunk, sloshed or plastered. You might say loaded. In the UK, "Loaded" is a men's magazine that covers sex and football.
Rates - Rates are local taxes. Currently based on the value of your property, they are generally lower than your property tax and are payable monthly. For some strange reason this is the only bill payment that is only paid in 10 months of the year - maybe the council find dividing by twelve too difficult. Rates are now called "council tax" here in the UK.
Read - If someone asks you what you read at university, they mean what was your major at school.
Reception - The front desk or lobby area in a hotel or place of business.
Red Indian - A Native American (an Indian from America). People from India are Indians.
Red route - When driving around London watch out for the roads with yellow lines that are red. These are special red routes designed to keep the traffic moving and free of obstructions.
Redundancy - If you are made redundant it means you are laid off.
Redundant - Unemployed.
Refectory - Cafeteria.
Removal - Moving.
Removal man - Mover.
Removal van - Moving truck.
Return - When you want to buy a round trip ticket, ask for a return.
Reverse the charges - To call collect. When you want to ring someone up and you have no money you can call the operator and ask to reverse the charges.
Revise - Before an exam, we would revise the subject. I remember spending many unhappy hours revising for my A Levels. You might review your subjects in a similar situation or simply study.
Right - If you say you're feeling right knackered, it means you feel very tired.
Ring - Call. You would "ring" someone on the phone or give them a ring -- not "call" them.
Rise or payrise - Pay raise.
Road works - A sign with "road works" on it, means men working.
Roger - To roger means to have your wicked way with a lady, to copulate.
Roof - The top of a convertible car is called the roof in England.
Roof-rack - Luggage rack on a car.
Room mate - This is someone you share your bedroom with in a flat.
Round - When you hear the words "your round" in the pub, it means it is your turn to buy the drinks for everyone in the group.
Roundabout - Traffic circle. The simple rule is "give way (yield) to the right". In other words, the traffic already on the roundabout has right of way.
Rounders - A child's game with almost exactly the same rules as baseball.
Row - Argument, quarrel.
Rubber - Eraser (as on a pencil).
Rubber Johnny - Condom. Usually shortened to "Johnny."
Rubbish - Trash or garbage. You might also accuse someone of talking rubbish.
Rucksack - Backpack.
Rugger - This is short for "rugby."
Rump steak - Sirloin steak in the US. Note: Sirloin steak in the UK is your porterhouse in the US.
Rumpy pumpy - Another word for hanky panky, or a bit of nookie.
Sack/sacked - If someone gets the sack it means they are fired. Then they have been sacked.
Sad - This is a common word, with the same meaning as naff. Used in expressions like "you sad b***ard".
Salad cream - One of the worst British inventions has got to be salad cream. It is supposed to be a salad dressing of sorts but it is more like yellow ketchup with a sour vinegary flavour. The only saving grace is that it is pretty good in coleslaw.
Saloon - A non-estate car. You might call it a sedan. Saloon is also one of the bars in a traditional pub.
Saloon - When I was a kid, most pubs had a saloon bar and a lounge bar. The price of a pint was cheaper in the saloon and the decor was more your spit and sawdust style. The labourers drank in the saloon. These days both bars have been knocked into one and everyone shares everything.
Saloon car - Sedan.
Sand pit - Sand box. Every parent buys a sand pit for the kids to play in and the cat to pee in. They are nw available with lids to keep the cat out.
Sarny - Sandwich. Sarnies for lunch.
Saveloy - The saveloy is a rather odd kind of sausage. Similar to a long hot dog sausage, it is generally found in fish and chip shops, heated in hot water and served with chips.
Savoury - Pastries that are savoury rather than sweet. They might have cheese, or meat in them.
Savoury biscuit - Cracker.
Scatty - Whacky people. Otherwise known as scatterbrains.
School - This is either primary school (ages 5 to 11) or secondary school (ages 11 to 18).
School leaver - This is what we call a college graduate. Next stop - work or university. (Note: Second source says this is a dropout. So which is it?)
Schooner - This is a rather ridiculous looking sherry glass, for what the pubs call a "large" sherry. It is not the same as the American glass of the same name.
Scoff - If you were off home for some scoff you would be on your way for some food. However you might then scoff it down, meaning to eat it.
Scones - These pastries (like US biscuits) are eaten with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
Scotch egg - Hard-boiled eggs surrounded in a half-inch layer of sausage meat and coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. You eat them cold at picnics.
Scouse - This is the language used by Liverpudlians. It is basically English but hard to understand.
Scouser - Someone from Liverpool.
Scrubber - This is a nasty way of referring to a loose woman. Similar to tart or floozy.
Scrummy - This is a word that would be used to describe either some food that was particularly good (and probably sweet and fattening). Or it could also be used to describe an attractive girl, if you were a guy. The reverse is also true.
Scrumpy - A rough cider.
Secateurs - Hedge clippers or pruning shears. You use a pair of secateurs to cut the shrubs in the garden down or to trim bushes.
Secondary school - High school. Short for "secondary modern school." If you failed your eleven plus exam, this is the kind of school you would go to instead of a grammar school. After this system changed to the current one, both these kinds of schools were replaced by comprehensive schools.
Second class - When we travel in the cheap seats of a train or plane, we are travelling second class (known as coach in the US).
Seedy - Nauseous.
Sellotape - This is a brand of scotch tape, but we use it to describe all sticky tapes.
Semi - Short for a semi-detached house or a duplex in the US. If someone is being a bit dim you might also say they are semi-detached.
Semi skimmed - 2%-fat milk (lowfat milk).
Semolina - Cream of wheat cereal.
Send-up - To send someone up is to make fun of them. Or if something is described as being a send-up it is equivalent to your take-off. Like Robin Williams does a take-off on the British accent.
Septic - An American. It's actually the rhyming slang for yank. Septic is short for "septic tank" and tank rhymes with yank.
Settee - Sofa.
Serviette - Napkin.
Set down - Signs saying "set down only" mean you may only stop the car momentarily to drop off your passengers. No parking is allowed.
Shag - Same as bonk but slightly less polite.
Shagged - Past tense of shag, but also see knackered.
Shammy - Cloths originally made from the skin of the chamois (a wild antelope, the size of a goat) which dry rigid and leave horrible streaks across the windows they are supposed to clean.
Shandy - Generally lager and lemonade. However, bitter shandy and cider shandy are also popular, especially with drivers or at lunchtimes.
Shareholder - Someone who owns shares of stock in a company.
Shares - Stocks in a company are called shares.
Sheath - Condom.
Shepherds pie - Originally made from leftovers, this is not a true pie. It is mince, either beef or lamb, cooked with some veggies and topped with mashed potato with cheese on top and grilled till brown.
Shirty - To get shirty means to get bad tempered.
Shite - This is just another way of saying shit. It is useful for times when you don't want to be overly rude as it doesn't sound quite as bad.
Shitfaced - If you hear someone saying that they got totally shitfaced it means they were out on the town and got steaming drunk. Normally attributed to stag nights or other silly events.
Shop - A store. We will go to the shops the same way you will go to the mall. We don't have many malls, though they are beginning to appear.
Shopping trolley - Shopping cart.
Short sighted - Near sighted.
Shove-halfpenny - Pronounced "shove hape-knee", this is a an old pub game where you push polished coins, old halfpennies, along a polished board to score points. Still around in a few pubs but mostly replaced by newer games that take your money quicker.
Shufti - Pronounced shooftee, this means to take a look at something, to take a butchers.
Sick - Nauseous.
Sideboards - Sideburns. Both words are used here.
Silencer - Muffler. Or the device you put on a gun to shoot quieter.
Simnel cake - This is the traditional British Easter cake. It is a heavy fruit cake with a thick layer of marzipan right through the centre. There is marzipan on the top too plus usually balls or chicks made from marzipan decorating the top.
Single cream - This cream is used for pouring on cakes and pies and is best served poured over apple pie. Single cream can be whipped to make it stiff for topping cheesecakes etc.
Sirloin steak - A porterhouse steak in the US. And a rump steak in the UK is a sirloin steak in the US.
Sixes and sevens - If something is all at sixes and sevens then it is in a mess, topsy turvy or somewhat haywire.
Skew-whiff - This is what you would call crooked. Like when you put a shelf up and it isn't straight we would say it is all skew-whiff.
Skimmed milk - Skim milk.
Skip - Dumpster.
Skipping rope - A jump rope.
Skirting board - Baseboard. The wood that goes around the bottom of the wall.
Skive - To evade something.
Skiver - Someone who evades something. For example a truant is someone who skives off school instead of studying.
Slag - To slag someone off, is to bad mouth them in a nasty way. Usually to their face.
Slag - A slag or an "old slag" is not a very nice way of describing a woman who is a bit loose, a bit of a slapper.
Slapper - A slapper is a female who is a bit loose. A bit like a slag or a tart.
Slapper - A less offensive word than slag, this is another way of calling someone a tart, a major flirt.
Slash - Having a slash means to urinate. Other expressions used to describe this bodily function include siphon the python, shake the snake, wee, pee, piss, piddle and having a jimmy.
Sledge - Sled. We go sledging when you go sledding.
Sleeper - Railroad tie.
Slide - Barrette.
Slip road - Entry ramp or exit ramp.
Sloane Ranger - Preppie.
Sloshed - Yet another way to describe being drunk. Clearly we need a lot of ways to describe it since getting plastered is a national pastime.
Slowcoach - Slowpoke.
Smarmy - Another word for a smoothy, someone who has a way with the ladies for example. Usually coupled with "git" - as in "what a smarmy git". Not meant to be a nice expression, of course.
Smart - When we say someone is smart, we are talking about the way they are dressed. In the US, you might say they look sharp.
Smart arse - Someone who is a bit too clever for their own good. A wise guy. Often used to describe someone who has an answer for everything.
Smashing - If something is smashing, it means it is terrific.
Smeg - This is a rather disgusting word. Short for smegma, the dictionary definition says it is a "sebaceous secretion from under the foreskin."
Snap - This is the name of a card game where the players turn cards at the same time and shout "snap" when they match. And when you tell someone about something that happened to you, they might say "snap" to indicate that it has also happened to them.
Snog - Making out, serious kissing. If you are out on the pull you will know you are succeeding if you end up snogging someone.
Snooker - Also played on a large table, with pockets. There are 15 reds and 6 other coloured balls, each with a different value. Players take it in turns to use the white to pocket a red, then a colour then a red and so on. Once the reds are all gone, the colours have to be pocketed one by one in the order yellow (2), green (3), brown (4), blue (5), pink (6) and black (7). Highest break is 147. Pool is also played but mainly in pubs.
Snookered - If you are snookered it means you are up the famous creek without a paddle. It comes from the game of snooker where you are unable to hit the ball because the shot is blocked by your opponent's ball.
Sod - This word has many uses. You might say "Oh Sod!" or "Sod it!" if something goes wrong and you don't want to swear too badly. If someone is a sod or an "old sod" then it means they are a bit of a bastard or an old git. "Sod off" is like saying "piss off" or "get lost" and "sod you" means something like "f*** off". It also means a chunk of lawn.
Sod all - Nothing.
Sod off - Go away.
Sod's law - Another name for Murphy's law: whatever can go wrong will go wrong.
Soldiers - Finger-sized slices of toast which we dip in soft boiled eggs.
Solicitor - Attorney.
Sorted - When you have fixed a problem and someone asks how it is going you might say "sorted". It's also popular these days to say "get it sorted" when you are telling someone to get on with the job.
Spend a penny - To go to the bathroom. It is a very old fashioned expression that still exists today. It comes from the fact that in ladies loos you used to operate the door by inserting an old penny.
Spirits - Liquors. The 40% alcohol drinks. Not usually drunk in pints.
Splash out - If you splash out on something, it means you throw your senses out the window, get out your credit card and spend far too much money. You might splash out on a new car or even on a good meal.
Spondulicks - Money.
Sponger - Someone who borrows or begs and does nothing to earn their own money. People sponge off their friends or some who refuse to work and collect dole money sponge off the state.
Spot on - Perfect.
Spotted dick - A suet pudding with dried fruit and is an excellent pudding with custard.
Spotty youth - This is a generic term used by older people to refer to teenagers. The "spotty" refers to the fact that they may well have acne.
Spring onions - Salad onions, green onions or scallions.
Spring roll - Egg roll.
Sprog - A baby.
Squash - Juice concentrate. This is a sweet, fruit and sugar based drink for kids. It comes in concentrated form in big bottles that you just add water to.
Squidgey - A chocolate cream cake would be squidgey. It means to be soft and, well, squidgey.
Squiffy - This means you are feeling a little drunk. Some people also use it to mean that something has gone wrong.
Squire - "Morning squire" is something you may hear in England. Squire is used to mean Sir.
Staff - The employees in a company.
Stag night - Bachelor party. Before you get married, you and your buddies go out on a stag night, or a stag weekend. The object being to get as drunk as possible before the happy day, hoping to meet a bunch of girlies.
Stand for election - Run for office.
Standing order - Electronic funds transfer.
Starkers - Stark naked.
Starter - As well as being part of a car (usually coupled with the word "motor") this is what we call the appetizer on a menu. The more upmarket restaurants would use the word "entree."
Steak & kidney pie - Another
traditional English dish.
Steak & kidney pudding - This is variation of the traditional pie. It is steak and kidney in a thick, soft, suet pastry crust.
Stiffy - Yet another word for erection.
Stock cube - Boullion cube. The cheats way to make gravy is to use a stock cube.
Stodge - Stodge means heavy food.
Stone - The pit in fruit (such as in a peach or prune).
Stone - In weight, a stone is 14 pounds. So 10 stone is 140 pounds.
Stone the crows - This is an old expression with the same meaning as "cor blimey".
Stonker - Something that is huge. Looking at the a big burger you might say "blimey what a stonker". It is also used to refer to an erection.
Stonking - Huge. You might say "what a stonking great burger" about a big burger.
Strimmer - Weed eater or trimmer.
Strop - If someone is sulking or being particularly miserable you would say they are being stroppy or that they have a strop on.
Stuff - To say "stuff this [anything]" is a polite way of saying "f*** this [anything]". Who cares! Stuff it! You can also say "stuff him" or "stuff her" meaning they can sod off.
Stuffed - When you have had enough to eat it is quite acceptable to tell everyone that you are stuffed. It means you are full.
Subway - Underpass, pedestrian crossing. The tunnel that allows pedestrians to walk under a busy road.
Suet - Suet is a fairly dry white beef fat. It is rubbed into flour as a base for many puddings. Sweet and savoury.
Sultanas - Golden raisins.
Surgery - Doctor's exam room. Apart from what happens in an operating theatre, we also call the local doctor's office, the surgery. Also, when members of parliament hold meetings for members of the public to raise questions with them, they often call them surgeries.
Suspenders - Garter belts for holding up stockings.
Suss - If you heard someone saying they had you sussed they would mean that they had you figured out! If you were going to suss out something it would mean the same thing.
Swede - Rutabaga, turnip.
Sweet fanny adams - This means nothing or sod all. It is a substitute for "sweet f*** all". It is also shortened further to "sweet F A".
Sweets - Either another word for dessert or also the candies you give to kids.
Swimming baths - We say we are off to the swimming baths when we are going to the swimming pool. We use both expressions to mean the same thing.
Swimming costume - What you wear to go swimming. We also say swimsuit and cozzy.
Swiss roll - Jelly roll.
Swot - We used to call the boys at school "girlie swots" if they preferred to do homework and study, rather than proper kids things like shoplifting and hiding from teachers. It was not cool to be a swot.
Swotting - Swotting means to study hard, the same as cram does. Before exams we used to swot. If you swotted all the time, you would be called a swot, which is not a term of endearment.
Table - A motion is tabled when it is brought to the table, or suggested for consideration. In the US it's the opposite: You table a motion when it is left for a later date.
Tailback - Traffic jam. Bumper to bumper traffic.
Take-away - This word has several meanings. First it is the place that only sells food to take out. You might go to the take-away for an Indian or Chinese. If you got a take-away for dinner it would mean the meal itself. Also if you go to a restaurant where you can choose where you eat it then you would be asked if you want to "eat in or take away".
Taking the biscuit - Similar to "takes the cake" in the US. If something really takes the biscuit, it means it out-does everything else and cannot be bettered.
Taking the mickey - See taking the piss. Variations include "taking the mick" and "taking the Michael".
Taking the piss - Making fun of someone.
Talent - Talent is the same as totty. Checking out the talent means looking for the sexy young girls (or boys, if you are female).
Tap - Faucet.
Tara - Pronounced "churar", this is another word for cheerio or goodbye.
Tart - You old tart! That's what you'd say to someone whose morals are a little loose. A bit too much flirting. Normally you'd hear people being described as having been a tart after the office Christmas party, if they were caught snogging their secretary. People may also dress like a tart - maybe if their skirt is too short. Used to apply only to women but these days it is a mild insult used for both sexes.
Tarts - If you flirt with members of the opposite sex you could be described quite legitimately as a tart. If you are a pastry base with jam or fruit topping you would also be a tart.
Tea - One of the English classics. Tea is either a drink made from tea leaves (loose in a pre warmed pot), boiling water, served in china cups, milk first and at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Or tea is the name for the meal served early evening, nowadays by Grandma and Grandad since most modern folk eat dinner at about 7:30pm or later.
Telephone box - Phone booths. That lovely old red thing you see on every British street corner. Or did until they were mostly replaced by modern phone booths.
Telephone directory - We don't use the expression white pages like you do. We just refer to the telephone directory. However, we do talk about yellow pages in the same way as you.
Teletext - On our TVs, text is transmitted along with the programmes. You just press a button from any channel and you get the text channel. There you can book holidays, check the lottery results, read the news, check the weather and a hundred other things. And best of all - it's free.
Telly - Television. There are five channels. Still no commercials on two of them, still very few commercials on the others.
Tenner - Ten pound note. Our notes are all a different colour and different size. This, along with subtle but bold shapes on each note, helps partially sighted people and blind people to handle money as well as the rest of us.
Terrace - Bleachers.
Thatch - There are still many houses in England that have thatch for their roof material. It is basically straw and is very picturesque.
Thick - If someone is thick it means they are stupid. You might hear it said that someone is "thick as shi*" - that means they are really stupid. Thicko is a nicer way of saying someone is stupid though - try it on your friends. Throw a spanner in the works - This is an expression that means to wreck something.
Tick - When we fill in forms we are asked to tick the boxes. You check the boxes in the US. A tick is also a little biting insect.
Tick over - If you leave your car ticking over, it would be idling in the US.
Tickety-boo - If something is going well with no problems we would say it is tickety-boo.
Tidy - Apart from the obvious meaning of neat, tidy also means that a woman is a looker, attractive or sexy.
Tights - Pantyhose. Also a way that kids remember the difference between stalagmites and stalactites: The tights come down and the mites go up.
Timber - Timber is any kind of treated wood. It is also something a lumberjack shouts when the tree starts to topple. Note: Lumber is either a lolloping walk or the lower part of your back.
Time - Tthe way we tell time is different. We say "half ten" for 10:30. We say "quarter past ten" for 10:15. We say "quarter to ten" for 9:45.
Tin - Can of food. You could say either a tin of beans or a can of beans here.
Tip - Dump.
Tippex - This is another brand name for a correction fluid. However, we generally say "tippex" in the same way that you say white out.
Tire - Something you do when you are worn out or knackered.
Toad in the hole - Yorkshire pudding or batter with sausages embedded in it.
To - We go to school from ages 5 to 18. You might go to school from ages 5 through 18. We don't say through in that context at all.
Todger - Penis.
Toff - Someone who is rather well spoken, upper class and looks down on the rest of us. My mate calls them "posh gits".
Toilet - The Brits are not so shy about their use of the word toilet. In fact, it is perfectly reasonable to ask for the toilet in the most classy of establishments. A bathroom often does NOT have a toilet in it.
To let - Signs with "to let" on them mean "to rent" in the US.
Tomato sauce - Ketchup. We use both names here.
Ton - I remember telling my friends at the office that I was stopped doing a "ton twenty" up the M40 at the weekend. We use the word ton to mean one hundred miles an hour. A "ton twenty" is a hundred and twenty miles and hour.
Toodle pip - This is an old expression meaning goodbye.
Tool - Penis.
Torch - Flashlight.
Tosser - This is another word for wanker and has exactly the same meaning and shares the same hand signal.
Totty - If a chap is out looking for totty, he is looking for a nice girl to chat up.
Tout - Scalper.
Tower block - Highrise.
Traffic wardens - Similar to traffic cops. Our wardens wander the streets of our towns in their black uniforms, hiding until you leave your car illegally parked for 1 or 2 nano-seconds then they write you a ticket and stick it your screen before you can say "You B****rd".
Trainers - Sneakers. Short for training shoes.
Trainspotter - Not your mate. Not that you'd admit to anyway. A trainspotter is a particularly sad breed of middle-aged man, usually wearing a cardie and an anorak. He stands on the end of railway station platforms and writes down the registration numbers of trains. Pretty close to a nerd in American.
Tramp - This is a homeless person who begs on street corners. We don't use this word in the flirting sense that you have.
Transporter - The huge lorries that carry up to 10 cars.
Treacle - Molasses.
Treacle pudding - Smothered in custard, treacle pudding is a steamed pudding, eaten for dessert with a runny syrup topping.
Trolley - When you arrive at the airport the first thing you'll need is a trolley. Don't be tempted to ask for a cart.
Trousers - Pants. Note: Pants in the UK refers to men's underpants.
Trunk call - This is the old expression for a long distance call.
TTFN - Short for "ta ta for now". Which in turn means goodbye.
Tube - Subway. It is also called the underground.
Tuition - Instruction.
Turf accountant - This is one of the words we use to describe a bookie. You will see it outside their shops. We also use the expression "betting shop". The best place to bet, though, is on the racecourse.
Turn right - Make a turn. We don't "make" turns in the UK, we just turn. So when you'd make a left at the light, we would turn left at the light.
TV licence - These are the licences we buy in order to watch TV legally in the UK. There are detector vans that roam the country looking for TVs that are switched on at addresses that have not purchased a TV licence. The licence fee means we don't have commercials on the BBC.
TV programme - TV show. We use both phrases.
Twat - Another word used to insult someone who has upset you. Also means the same as fanny but is less acceptable in front of your grandmother, as this refers to parts of the female anatomy.
Twee - Twee is a word you would generally hear older people say. It means dainty or quaint.
Twiglets - A snack with a strange marmite tang. They look and feel like sticky twigs.
Tyre - A tire. The rubber based thing that goes on a wheel. It is illegal to guarantee 50,000 mile usage in the UK as these tyres contain less rubber and more nylon. Nylon doesn't stick to wet roads, hence the usual pile-ups on I35 when it rains.
Uni - Short for university, we would say we went to uni like you would say you went to school.
University - Age 18 to 21 or so. You say school. Basically still free, entry being based on merit and exam results, rather than money. However, the government is gradually sneaking in more costs for students and it is unlikely to remain free for much longer.
Up the duff - If a woman is up the duff it means she is pregnant.
Vacuum flask - Thermos. It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold.
VAT - Value added tax or sales tax in the US. The main difference is ours is included in the price you see, so nothing gets added at the till.
Verge - The grassy edge to a road. You park on the verge if you break down to avoid being hit by the traffic.
Very well - When someone says hello to you in England and asks how you are, please don't say good. Say you are "very well". Good is a behavioural thing, which would mean you are a good boy or girl and haven't been naughty today.
Vest - Undershirt. Worn by old men and anyone who is nesh, a vest is worn under your shirt to keep you warm.
Vet - Veterinarian. Note: It does not refer to a veteran here, just a veterinarian. Also means interrogate, investigate.
Vice girl - Prostitute.
Video - Video cassette recorder or VCR. Also the videotape you put in it.
Wacky backy - This is the stuff in a joint, otherwise known as pot or marijuana.
Wad - If you had a big fat wad, you would have loads of money.
Waffle - To waffle means to talk on and on about nothing. It is not something you eat.
Waistcoat - Vest. Worn under your dinner jacket, the waistcoat is called a vest in America.
Wallet - A bill fold.
Wally - Nerd. This is another term for someone who has been a bit stupid. Unlike the previous examples, this one is safe with the elderly or the young.
Wangle - Some people have all the luck. Some people that can wangle anything, such as upgrades on planes and better rooms in hotels.
Wank - This is the verb to describe the action a wanker participates in.
Wanker - This is a derogatory term used to describe someone who is a bit of a jerk. It actually means someone who masturbates and also has a hand signal that can be done with one hand at people that cannot see you shouting "wanker" at them.
Wardrobe - Wardrobes are usually free standing wooden cupboards, designed for holding clothes on hangers. In America you have closets. A walk-in wardrobe is a walk-in closet.
Wash up - Wash the dishes.
Water closet, or WC - Bathroom.
Way out - A sign saying "way out" is an exit sign.
Waz - To go for a waz means to wee or pee.
Wazzock - The same as a pillock - it's someone who has done something stupid. Not too offensive.
WC - Short for "water closet," meaning the loo or toilet.
Wedge - Money.
Weed - The skinny little wimps at school that wear glasses and get picked on.
Well - Well can be used to accentuate other words. for example someone might be "well hard" to mean he is a real man, as opposed to just "hard". Something really good might be "well good". Or if you were really really pleased with something you might be "well chuffed".
Wellies, Wellingtons - Galoshes, boots (rubber). Wellington Boots, named after the Duke of Wellington.
Welly - If you "give it welly", it means you are trying harder or giving it the boot. An example would be when accelerating away from lights, you would give it welly to beat the guy in the mustang convertible in the lane next to you. Welly is also short for wellington boots.
Whinge - Whine. Whingers are not popular in any circumstance. To whinge is to whine.
White - When someone in the UK asks you how you take your tea or coffee you should say "black", "white without" or "white with". White means with milk and the "with" and "without" bit refers to the sugar.
White goods - The electrical appliances that you have in your kitchen or utility room like fridges, freezers, washing machines and driers.
White horse - Around Wiltshire there are a number of white horses. They are cut into the hillside and are visible from miles around. In fact, if you are visiting Stonehenge there is a leaflet there that describes a three hour driving tour of about 6 or 7 local white horses. The reason they are white is that below the top soil the area is made of white chalk.
White sauce - A gravy made from flour, butter and milk.
Wholefood - Healthfood.
Willy - Penis. It is the word many young boys are taught as it is a nicer word than most of the alternatives. Some people also use it for girls as there are no nice alternatives. Hence "woman's willy". Also used by grown ups who don't wish to offend (this word is safe to use with elderly Grandparents).
Windscreen - A windshield.
Windscreen wipers - Windshield wipers.
Wind up - If something you do is a "wind up" it means you are making fun of someone. However it you are "wound up" it means you are annoyed.
Wine gums - These are a kind of sweet that are made from the same stuff as Gummi-bears.
Wing - Fender (as on a car).
Wireless - This is an old word for a radio.
Wobbler - To "throw a wobbly" or to "throw a wobbler" means to have a tantrum.
Wonga - Money.
Wonky - Unstable. If something is shaky or unstable (like an unstable chair) you might say it is wonky.
Woofter - If you are a gay man you might be called a "woolly woofter" or just woofter. This is one of the less offensive terms.
Write-off - This is when you have wrecked your car. Or totalled it. We don't use either of those expressions. It comes from the fact that the insurance companies have calculated that it would cost more to repair the car than to replace it. So the value is written off the books. If you are in a serious crash and you don't fancy some garage trying to put all the pieces back together as good as it was to start with, then you hope that your car becomes a write-off as that means you get a nice new one.
Wuss - Pronounced "woos" this is another word for a big girl's blouse, or namby pamby.
Year - At school we refer to the grades as forms or years. We call the first year, "the first year". We also call it the "first form". We also use years to describe our progress through university.
Yob, Yobbo - Hooligan.
Yonks - Years. If someone says to you, "Blimey, I haven't heard from you for yonks," it means that they have not seen you for ages.
Yorkshire pudding - A light batter that rises when it is cooked. In pubs you will sometimes see huge ones that rise at the edges to form a sort of bowl. The middle can be filled with anything from sausages and beans, to soup or stew. Traditionally, smaller Yorkshire puds are served with roast beef, as an accompaniment with horseradish sauce and gravy, roast spuds and veggies.