Top Ten English vs American Words

English to the left, the other lot on the right. Who has the best words meaning the same thing?

The Top Ten

1 Lift / Elevator

I'm American. I say both. It just matters what mood I'm in. - Icantbelieveitsnotbutter

2 Nappies / Diapers

Nappies sound weird I go for diapers

3 Chips / Fries

This is my Fave English Vs American word because it's Something I've heard very often!

Britgirl I Love this List for 2 reasons
#1 It's a New List made by my Amazing Friend
#2 It helps Because I'm Canadian & I don't know all the British words very well so thank you for Teaching me! - Curti2594

It's pretty confusing. In Britain, fires are chips, chips are crackers, crackers are biscuits (I think) which are dog treats in the USA. Confusing! - PolishGuy

4 Excellent / Awesome

Excellent! Awesome makes my teeth itch. - Britgirl

I say both all the time. - moonwolf

Yeah! Excellent is far better than awesome. - Fan_of_Good_Music

It would be strange for instance to hear a doctor saying " I have an awesome medication for your case " instead " I have an exellent medication for your case ". I think " exellent " is the right word to use.

V 6 Comments
5 Pavement / Sidewalk

Why can't they both reconcile and call it a 'junksty'? Just curious... It sounds a bit more classier. - HezarioSeth

In Australia, we say 'footpath'. - ParasN2000

6 Boot / Trunk

Is this about a shoe or a box?

7 Rubbish / Trash

Throw in the Canadian: garbage. I like rubbish. - PetSounds

We say garbage in Oregon and Cali

8 Autumn / Fall

I'm American and say autumn because I find fall incorrect for some reason. I mean fall is an action not a season. - happyhappyjoyjoy

I say both sometimes. I'm from the country so I say Fall a lot. - funnyuser

Personally, I think Autumn sounds better - JandS3000

I find it better to say Autumn. - cosmo

V 1 Comment
9 Father Christmas / Santa Claus

Because Father Christmas was before Santa Claus was made up. Father Christmas was originally a man in green robes who performed for adults and then Americans invented Santa Claus.

I have one question why do British call him father Christmas it's not like Saint Nicolas gave birth to Christmas. - FrankP

I didn't know that Santa Claus is called Father Christmas in the UK. Santa Claus is the best! - Fan_of_Good_Music

Like the Kinks song.
"Father Christmas!
Give us the money!
We don't have time for your silly toys!
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over! "
yeah, it's about Santa being robbed. - Bboymakinwitthefrekfreak

10 Series / Season

Season is a set of episodes; series is a set of seasons. I'm suprised to find that the british (with how strict and picky they are with grammar/spelling) would have this big of a mistake as a common error.

Really annoys me when my idiot brother says "Season 2..." of something. - Britgirl

In Canada, we would use "series" to refer to the entire set of seasons of a given T.V. show.

It would be more logic to say " series 1, series 2,... than " season 1, season 2,... As far as I know, seasons are related to the four seasons. Why should a T.V. serie be related to that?

V 2 Comments

The Contenders

11 Crisps / Chips
12 Maths / Math

I don't know why, but this really drives me spare. No offense to anyone, but "Math" just doesn't sound right. - PositronWildhawk

Wait you call it maths? That just sounds weird... - Icantbelieveitsnotbutter

Is maths a short word for "mathematics"? - creed99

And here I am thinking that maths was just a Internet phrase like 'meh' or 'nao'. - RiverClanRocks

V 2 Comments
13 Football / Soccer

I personally like American football. But I have to agree on why they named it football? I mean, most of the time they don't even use their feet. Heck, it would make more sense if they called it hand ball! - Icantbelieveitsnotbutter

There's always arguments about these words. Football vs Soccer.

I do love Football & soccer sucks! - Fan_of_Good_Music


V 3 Comments
14 Friend / Buddy

In America, we say both all the time. - funnyuser

15 Z (Zed) / Z (Zee)

The UK pronounces it "Zed" but it would sound so ridiculous saying "I love Zed Zed Top." - Britgirl

16 Philosopher's Stone / Sorcerer's Stone

Reminds me of a boy who knew some magic and was chased by a Hitler type guy throughout the series (and I won't say season). He was considered awesome (correction: excellent. Don't feel right saying awesome here) by the magicians of this magical world. When he was just a baby and thus wore nappies (so cute! Diapers doesn't sound right for a cute little baby), the hitler guy attacked him with his wand. The story is too long for me so I just end it here.
The author of this story is someone who would often say the words belonging to the left side.
Who is the winner? - Kiteretsunu

They're used interchangeably in the US, but honestly I never heard Sorcerer's Stone until after Harry Potter

Its called the sorcerers stone in america? - Harri666

I mean, we're stupid, but not that stupid! - keycha1n

V 1 Comment
17 Arse / Ass

In america even " Ass " becomes obsolete. They prefer the " strange ugly sounding " booty now. Whatever that means?

I’m British and only posh idiots say arse. I say ass.

18 Yanks / Americans

This list is about the differences, not about if you know or don't know the meaning. Even Americans know what yanks are plus insult? I say : Yankee, go home!

Even Americans know what yanks are dummy. - Icantbelieveitsnotbutter

Didn't Yank come from a song?

19 Cinema / Theater

In Britain, theatre means the exhibit for a play. Cinema is the exhibit for a film. When you call both a theatre, it's weird. - PositronWildhawk

I usually say cinema because I find it easier. It's a similar word to "cine", which means "cinema/theater" in Spanish.

20 Full Stop / Period

Before anyone giggles, this refers to the point at the end of the sentence. Not the other meaning. - PositronWildhawk

My full stop has come around again. :(

21 Mum / Mom

It's really the difference with the accents that has affected the spelling of the word. - PositronWildhawk

Mum's better than Mom, but Mama's the best! - Fan_of_Good_Music

22 Dustbin / Trash can
23 Holiday / Vacation
24 Film / Movie

Both countries use both of these words.

25 Loft / Attic

I'm British and I don't think I've ever said loft.

26 Dummy / Pacifier
27 Postman / Mailman
28 Caravan / Trailer
29 Flannel / Wash Cloth
30 Ground Floor / 1st Floor

I didn't know that. We are saying ground floor and 1st floor for the " 1st " floor above the groundfloor what's logical. Even the mail-boxes are numbered in relation with the groundfloor. If you live at streetnumber 36 for instance the mail-boxes would indicate for the groundfloor " 36 ", for the 1st floor " 36A or 36 /1 ", for the second floor " 36B or 36 /2 " and so on. If the 1st floor have for example more than one habitants it would be " 36 /1A ", " 36 /1B "... I wonder how it works in America?

31 Lorry / Big Rig
32 Loo / Bathroom

That's what that word means... - funnyuser

33 Tap / Faucet
34 Jelly / Jello
35 Jam / Jelly

Merica has jam too but they are definitely. jam is softer than jelly - thebounty

36 Biscuit / Cookie
37 Sweets / Candy
38 Courgette / Zucchini
39 Tube / Subway
40 Aubergine / Eggplant
41 Angry / Mad
42 Frosties / Frosted Flakes
43 Underarm / Armpit

Actually both countries say armpit

44 Underground / Subway
45 Shed / Outhouse
46 Rocket/Arugula
BAdd New Item

Related Lists

Words That Have Different Meanings In American English and British English Best English Accent By An American Actor Best American Accent by An English Actor Top Ten Best English and American Rock Bands Top Ten Hardest English Words to Pronounce

List Stats

100 votes
46 listings
5 years, 25 days old

Top Remixes (4)

1. Father Christmas / Santa Claus
2. Excellent / Awesome
3. Chips / Fries
1. Lift / Elevator
2. Nappies / Diapers
3. Excellent / Awesome
1. Lift / Elevator
2. Chips / Fries
3. Nappies / Diapers

View All 4

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.