These 8 British Words Mean Something Completely Different in American English

The most common language in both England and America is the English language. But who knew one language could be so different across the pond?

From the pronunciations to the spelling and even different words, it can be a challenge to understand the exact context of the meaning of a word you thought you knew. Here are some common British words and sayings that mean something else in America. 

These 8 British Words Mean Something Completely Different in American English

Crisps

In the UK, crisps are what Americans call chips – like potato chips. They can be any “chips” from Doritos to Cheetos or even a packet of Lays. In most cases, you won’t find those large bags of “crisps” that they sell in America, in the UK. The crisps they sell in the UK are typically single-serving packages. 

Chips

These are called “fries” in America. This is an English word that often gets American’s confused when ordering. Often, chips in the UK are chunkier than standard French fries. In most cases, you can get chips with your fish if you order “fish and chips” at a restaurant or, in other words, it is referred to as “the Chippy.” 

 

Lift

In America, to get to the top floor of a building, you would have to take the elevator. However, in England, you would hop in the lift to get to the top. 

Flat 

This is considered to be a descriptive word of a surface in American English. Still, in the UK, a flat is an apartment. 

Boot

The type of footwear is what most Americans think of when they hear the word “boot”, but for an English person, it means the trunk of a car. 

Biscuit

These 8 British Words Mean Something Completely Different in American English

A biscuit in the UK is a thin baked treat that might be covered in chocolate or some dried fruit, and it is used commonly consumed with tea. However, in America, a biscuit is made from dense, buttery dough.  

Purse

To those in the UK, a purse is a wallet that is kept in a handbag. In America, a wallet is kept in a purse.

Pissed

To many in America, if someone was to refer to themselves or another individual as “pissed,” they would be saying they are angry. However, in the UK, if someone is “pissed,” they are most likely drunk.

A Divided English Language

The different words, pronunciations, and spelling have divided the language into two – British English and American English. Words, phrases, and slang can mean one thing in the UK and a completely different thing in the US, and vice versa.