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Varieties of English Vocabulary‏‎

Maltesers vs Whoppers

This page shows major differences in vocabulary between different varieties of English‏‎. 

The vocabulary differences here are mainly between American English‏‎ (AmE) and British English (BrE), the two most prevalent varieties of English‏‎. However, bear in mind that there is a great deal of overlap between the two (often due to cultural influence) and the differences are not as clear-cut as might be imagined.

Note that in the lists below Australian English‏‎ & New Zealand English ‏‎are the same as British English unless noted otherwise.

Meanings

In many cases there is a direct correlation between the words. For example, AmE uses the word cab and BrE uses the word taxi and yet both refer to exactly the same thing.

However, there are sometimes differences in meaning between the same word. For example in AmE quite works as a intensifier:

He was angry before and that was ok, but now he’s quite angry so we’d better leave!

In BrE, however, quite works to reduce the intensity of the word.

He was angry before and I was thinking of leaving; he’s still quite angry but I think it’s safe to stay.

Miscellaneous Meanings

Word Meaning
first/ground floor in the US the first floor is equivalent to the UK ground floor; the US second floor is equivalent to the UK first floor and so on.
quite in AmE intensifies; in BrE de-tensifies

Semantic Fields

The lists below are divided into several general semantic fields. The words here are almost all nouns.

Road/Traffic

American English British English Australian English New Zealand English
automobile car  
cab taxi  
detour diversion  
divided highway dual carriageway  
expressway motorway  
fender bumper, mudguard  
flat puncture, flat tyre  
freeway motorway  
gas petrol  
gearshift gear-stick, gear-lever  
highway main road  
hood bonnet
intersection crossroads  
motor engine  
muffler silencer  
oil pan sump  
patrolman (traffic) policeman  
drug store chemist’s chemist/pharmacy
elevator lift  
eraser rubber  
faculty staff (university)  
fall autumn  
pavement road surface  
sedan saloon car  
shoulder verge  
sidewalk pavement  
traffic circle roundabout  
trailer caravan  
truck van, lorry  
trunk boot  
turnpike toll motorway  
windshield windscreen  
wreck crash

Clothes/Accessories

American English British English Australian English New Zealand English
billfold wallet  
coin-purse purse  
cuffs turn-ups (on trousers)  
diaper nappy  
pants trousers  
pantyhose tights  
pocketbook, purse handbag  
shorts underpants, pants  
sneakers trainers  
suspenders braces  
undershirt vest  
vest waistcoat
zipper zip  

Miscellaneous

American English British English Australian English New Zealand English
afternoon afternoon arvo afo/arvo
alumnus graduate  
anyplace anywhere  
apartment flat apartment/flat
attorney barrister, solicitor lawyer
baby-carriage pram  
bar pub  
billboard hoarding billboard
broiler grill  
burglarize burgle  
call-collect reverse charge  
can tin  
candy sweets lollies
checkers draughts
closet cupboard  
cookie biscuit  
corn maize corn
crib cot  
dishtowel tea-towel  
drug store chemist’s chemist/pharmacy
elevator lift  
eraser rubber  
faculty staff (university)  
fall autumn  
faucet tap  
first floor ground floor  
flashlight torch  
garbage rubbish  
hobo tramp  
janitor caretaker  
kerosene paraffin kerosene
liquor store off-licence bottle shop
mail post mail
math maths  
mean vicious  
no place nowhere  
optometrist oculist, optician optometrist
pacifier dummy (for a baby)  
pitcher jug  
potato chips crisps chips
private hospital nursing home  
railroad railway  
Realtor estate agent  
rest room toilet  
rubber condom  
rubbers Wellington boots gum boots gum boots
school school, college, university  
someplace somewhere  
spigot tap  
sponge off sponge off   bludge
spool reel  
store shop  
stove cooker  
stroller push-chair pusher
subway underground/tube loop
thumbtack drawing pin  
trash rubbish  
vacation holiday  

Expressions

American English British English Australian English New Zealand English
I could care less. I couldn’t care less.  

Useful Links

Varieties of English‏‎ – a look at the different types of English around

Varieties of English Spelling – major spelling differences between different types of English

Varieties of English Grammar – major grammar differences between different types of English

American English‏‎ – a look at American English or AmE

British English – a look at British English or BrE

Australian English – a look at Australian English or AuE

New Zealand English – a look at New Zealand English or NZE

Maltesers and Whoppers; they look the same, some say they are the same… but are they?
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