British Vocabulary

British Vocabulary Confusion

So, you’ve just zipped up your suit case and are praying it doesn’t exceed the weight limit at the airport. Your carry-on is full of magazines, snacks, and word puzzle books to help the 8-hour flight pass as quickly as possible. You are prepared, and so excited to finally see London for the first time. What you may not realize is that even though English is spoken there, there are many, many words that we use in the U.S. that have completely different meanings in the U.K. and vice versa. I couldn’t possibly go over them all, but here are just a few to help keep you out of trouble and help you out on your England adventure.
A rubber is not a condom, it’s a pencil eraser. Imagine my parent’s surprise when their 8-year-old daughter came home from her first day at her new British school and confidently told them she would be needing plenty of rubbers–see, aren’t you glad I warned you?

  • If you would like to ask for a cookie, ask for a biscuit.
  • If you run out of diapers for your baby, ask for nappies at the store.
  • Bangs are referred to as fringe (although, let it be noted that I do not in anyway endorse getting a drastic haircut while on vacation–besides, bangs are usually a mistake!)
  • A sweater is almost always a cardigan.
  • Going on vacation is called going on holiday.
  • If you need to make a trip to the doctor for a non-emergency reason, you will need to find the local surgery.
  • When you get a pain in your side from running, it’s called a stitch.
  • Instead of a candy bar, it is referred to as a chocolate bar.
  • A fag is not a derogatory name for a homosexual, it is simply a slang word for a cigarette.
  • Schedule is pronounced SHEH-JULE.
  • The subway is called The Tube.
  • If you are looking to order a refreshing glass of soda, it is usually referred to as fizzy drink (and remember, in most restaurants, they won’t give you ice in your drink unless you specifically ask.)
  • Elementary school is primary school.
  • Saying Knock me up in the morning, does not necessarily mean Get me pregnant. It’s a way of saying, Knock on my door in the morning to wake me up.

And for the most important tip of all….this is really important….it is extremely vital that you pay attention to this UK driving rules directives:
THEY DRIVE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD!

Happy Travels!

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