American and British vocabulary

There are differences between British and American English – but there are also regional differences in British and American dialects. If you spot something that you think is strange, or if you have an alternative for any of the words, please let us know.

In the list below, the first expression is always British English.


Washing up liquid = Dish soap

Hoover = Vacuum cleaner

Washing powder = Laundry soap

Clothes peg = Clothes pin

Fridge = Fridge / Refrigerator

Living room / lounge = Living room / Den

Chest of drawers = Bureau

Wardrobe = Closet

Armchair = Easy chair

Larder / pantry = Pantry

Oven = Oven / stove

Clothes and Style

Trousers = Pants (In British English, “pants” are the underwear worn under trousers)

Braces = Suspenders (Be careful: in British English, “suspenders” help keep up stockings)

Tights = Pantyhose

Waistcoat = Vest (Be careful: in British English, “vest” is an undershirt)

a Fringe = Bangs (a hairstyle when your hair falls to just above your eyebrows across the width of your head)


Mirror = Rear view mirror

Wing mirror = Side mirror

Indicators = Blinkers

Bonnet = Hood

Boot = Trunk

Windscreen = Windshield

Lorry = Truck

Petrol = Gas

Put your foot down = Step on the gas
(To drive fast)

Motor / wheels = Wheels
(Informal expressions for your car)

Out and about

Pavement = Sidewalk

Local area = Neighborhood

Shop = Store

Chemist = Drugstore

Ironmonger = Hardware store

Cinema = Theater

Advertising hoarding = Billboard

Motorway = Freeway

For more differences between American and British English (including grammar and speaking differences) see our page here.