The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

American vs British: 11 trap words in English


Source: Oksana Dolinka on Yandex.Zen

English teacher Oksana Dolinka in her channel on Yandex Zen gives examples of 11 English words that baffle not only language learners, but also native speakers: depending on what meaning a particular word has in British and American English. Further - from the first person.

Photo: Shutterstock

In the bar sits an aristocrat. An umbrella stands near the table, and tea on the table. The head of the aristocrat is decorated with a black top hat. Sir British English is drinking tea - and he is the head of everything.

The door to the bar opens with a powerful boot, spurs are cracking. An American English cowboy pulls out a revolver and shoots the cylinder off Sir British English’s head with a shot.

The cowboy straightened his hat and turned to the aristocrat:

- And you did not confuse?

The aristocrat calmly looked at the Cowboy and asked:

“Do you really consider yourself the main American?”

“There are more of my people, and I myself am stronger than you!”

- Do not forget where your legs grow from!

Suddenly two guys came up to the arguing. One of them was in a kangaroo costume, the other in a maple-leaf t-shirt:

“We wanted to, uh ...”

The cowboy and Aristocrat looked in their direction and shouted in unison:

- Well, both shut up!

The situation in English looks something like this. What is it, he is already more American, Canadian, Australian ... even Indian!

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English is the mother tongue of 380 million people on Earth. And those who simply speak it can’t be counted at all. However, there are two major players in the arena: American and British English.

It would seem that there are two twin brothers, despite the presence of one "but". More precisely, many "but". The fact that an American will not understand an Englishman because of the pronunciation is clear to everyone. What if they start texting? How can a misunderstanding arise here? Very simple!

Over the years, the spread of the language, some words have acquired a different meaning. The American says one thing, but the Englishman understands another. And vice versa. Let me show you words that have different meanings in the US and the UK. Be careful!


A very common incident. In the USA, this word is called pants. And what happens if an American in England wants new trousers? A sales assistant in Britain is pretty awesome if a man asks for a pair of underpants. In British English, the word means this particular underwear item.


Did you know that English McDonald's sells potato Chips? We are talking about fried potatoes, better known to the Russian people as French fries. But in the USA chips are chips. And french fries are called french fries there.


The American may praise his football coach for a long time, but the Briton will be at a loss: why praise the bus? After all, Coach is a trainer in the USA, and in England it is just a long-distance bus.


By the way, about the coach. In America, a fitness trainer is a trainer. In the UK, trainers are sneakers.


American mothers may wonder: what does the dummy have to do with a small child? Dummy is a dummy in British English. In the US, this is called a mannequin. But the American dummy is a pacifier. By the way, in Canada it is called soother.


If your bald friend wears braces, the British will think he is a skinhead. Indeed, in British English, this word hides characteristic suspenders for trousers. But in the USA, these are braces.


In America, this word is called a raincoat or a moisture resistant jacket. But in the UK, if you call someone Anorak, you might be offended. In youth slang, this means that someone has a very boring hobby. If you fall in the rain (and fall) in London, look in parka / jacket stores.

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Oftentimes, angry Americans use this word to describe their condition. But the British, being pissed, find it difficult to somehow evaluate themselves. The thing is, in British English, it means being drunk as a lord.

First floor

This phrase often comes across people from the CIS countries abroad. In translation, this is the first floor: both in Russia and in America. But in England and Europe, the first floor is called the ground floor. Therefore, the second floor in Russia is the first floor in the UK.


All British babies wear nappies. And the American ones are diapers. It's simple - it's diapers. But lush, curly hair, an "afro" haircut in the USA is called nappy hair.

Fancy Dress

An Englishman can get into an awkward situation at an official event in the United States. And all because of the misinterpretation of the phrase fancy dress. In the USA, this means formal style: a black tuxedo for men and an evening dress for women. But in Britain, fancy dress is a unicorn costume at a school party.

The original column is published on Oksana Dolinka's blog on Yandex Zen

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