Vocabulary Difference between British English and American English

When the British arrived in the Americas by water between the 16th and 17th centuries, they were the ones who brought the language. Spelling had not yet been standardised at the time.

It took the creation of the first dictionaries to cement the appearance of these words. The dictionary was developed by London-based academics in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, in the United States, a man named Noah Webster served as a lexicographer. He allegedly changed the spelling of the words to distinguish the American version from the British to demonstrate cultural independence from its mother nation.

The contrasts between American and British English in terms of speech emerged after the first immigrants arrived in America. These people talked in a style known as rhotic speech, in which the ‘r’ sounds of words are spoken.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the upper classes tried to separate themselves from the common people by softening their pronunciation of the ‘r’ sounds. Because the wealthy were regarded as the standard for being trendy even back then, other people began to imitate their speech, and it finally became the norm in the south of England.

The difference between American and British English

The difference between American and British English is largely a question of usage, with variances in vocabulary and idiomatic expressions and, of course, pronunciation. However, there are some tiny grammatical variations that most people are unaware of.

let’s start with some vocabulary differences:

British English American English
flatapartment
wardrobe closet
liftelevator
ground floorfirst floor
garden yard
hoovervacuum cleaner
lorrytruck
taxicab
indicatorturn signal
car parkparking lot
bonnethood
boottrunk
number platelicense plate
motorway expressway, Highway
spanner wrench
roundabout traffic circle
puncture blow out
petrol gas, Gasoline
flyoveroverpass
crossroad intersection
undergroundsubway
railwayrailroad
pavement sidewalk
appetiser starter
courgette zucchini
cookerstove
takeaway takeout (food)
sweet(s)candy
sweetdessert
crisps chips
biscuits cookies, cracker
candyflosscotton candy
fizzy drinksoda
aubergine eggplant
sumpoil pan
chipsfrench fries
oven gloveoven mitt
autumn fall
shopstore
postcodezipcode
waistcoat vest
vest undershirt
jumpersweater
trouser pant
tightspantyhose
handbagpurse
dressing gownrobe, bathrobe
trainers sneakers
gumshoes rubber
rubbereraser
condomrubber
dustbingarbage can
rubbishgarbage, trash
tin can
holiday vacation
junior/primary schoolelementary school
public schoolprivate school
state schoolpublic school
termsemester
time tableschedule
graduate alumnus
full stopperiod(punctuation)
toiletwashroom/restroom
noughts and crossestic-tac-toe
drawing pin thumbtack
braces suspenders
pushchair stroller
cotcrib
nappydiaper
permbaby carriage
dummypacifier
hundreds and thousands sprinkles (for ice cream)
football soccer
skipping ropejump rope
torchflashlight
dynamogenerator
sledgesled
curtains drapes
shopping trolley shopping cart
queueline
turn-upscuff
luggage baggage
post boxmailbox
off-license liquor store
cottonthread
tapfaucet
railway carriage railway car
constablepatrolman
optician optometrist
barrister attorney
nursing home private hospital
pubbar
the cinema the movies
chemist’s drugstore
nowherenoplace
somewhere someplace
silencer muffler
hoardingbillboard
anticlockwise counterclockwise
jugpitcher
angry mad
madcrazy
cello tape scotch tape
illsick
snakes and ladders chutes and ladders
intervalintermission
mobile phonecell phone
hairslidebarrette
fringebangs

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