British Jargon Buster

Americans and Brits speak the same language but sometimes it can feel like two different languages!

Terminology mapper

AmericanBritishBritish Example
AppliancesWhite goodsI am going to John Lewis to shop for new white goods.
Auto repair shopGarageI need to bring my car into the garage to get fitted with new brakes.
Belly buttonTummy buttonSuck in your tummy button when planking.
Bi-weeklyFortnightThe government will review the restrictions fortnightly.
Brownie panFlapjack tinWhiz ingredients together, press into flapjack tin, and place in the fridge for four hours.
Calendar/scheduleDiaryI need to check my diary for a suitable date and time.
Christmas lightsFairy lightsIt was a romantic rooftop dinner with fairy lights and wine.
ClinicSurgery/GP surgery/local surgeryTests are performed at your local surgery.
Commercial/shopping areaBuilt-up areaThe national speed limit in built-up areas is 30 mph.
DessertPuddingWhich pudding should we order?
Dish soapWashing up liquidI need to buy more washing up liquid.
FlashlightTorchDo not forget to pack the torch for our camping trip.
Garbage bagBin linerI need to buy more bin liners.
Garbage can/trash canRubbish bin/dust binThe dust bin is full.
HobStoveOur hob is electric.
Hood (of a car)BonnetHail destroyed the bonnet of my car.
Jumping jacksStar jacksWe had to do 100 star jacks today in gym class.
Packed (with people)RammedThe pub was rammed with people.
PavementTarmacCyclists should ride on the tarmac.
Pet hatePet peeveMy pet hate is when businesses use Facebook as their ‘website’.
Pop/”Coke”/sodaFizzy drinkStop drinking all of the fizzy drink.
Primary care physicianGeneral practitioner (“GP”)I need to make an appointment with my GP.
Side mirror (on a car)Wing mirrorWhen changing lanes, check for cars using your wing mirror.
SidewalkPavementCyclists should not ride on the pavement.
SongTrackTake the next track to let your heartrate slow down.
Street lightLamp postThe car crashed into the lamp post.
Stop lightTraffic lightTurn left at the traffic light.
SwimsuitSwimming costumeI need to pack my swimming costume for our trip to Greece.
TruckLorryThe lorry is driving down the road.
Trunk (of a car)BootHail destroyed the boot of my car.
WindshieldWindscreenThere is a rock chip in my windscreen.
Windshield wipersWindscreen wipersI need to buy new windscreen wipers.

Phrase mapper

American Phrase(s)British Phrase(s)Meaning
Up the wooden hill to bedfordshireTo walk up the stairs and go to bed.
To beat a dead horseTo flog a dead horseTo continue talking about a topic that has already been discussed at length; to waste time and energy trying to explain something that is impossible to explain.
It’s a horse a piece

Six of one, half dozen of the other
It’s swings and roundaboutsThe choices/options are roughly equal.
It’s the morning after the night beforeIt is the morning after a big announcement or event.
It’s like putting a cherry on a turdTo try to make something terrible better but the thing is so terrible nothing can make it better.
It’s a doddle to cleanSomething that is easy to clean.
It’s raining cats and dogsIt’s blowing a hoolieThe weather is very windy, rainy, cold, and generally awful.
Don’t get your undies in a bunchDon’t get your knickers in a twistTo not worry or stress about the thing or item being referenced.
Sporting a bit of a hangoverTo feel like crap after drinking too much alcohol.
Knock on woodTouch woodKnocking or touching wood is a way to ask for good luck.
You can’t polish a turdThere is nothing that can be done to improve the thing or item that is being referenced.
Without the fussWithout the faffSomething that is no hassle.