The Best of British
The American's guide to speaking British.
The seven sections on the left contain over 1000 words and expressions that have varied in their usage between the US and the UK. This site started as a simple list to amuse our friends when we moved to the USA for 2 years - believe it or not, to a house in Tossa Lane!!!
This list was compiled around 10 years ago and is all based on actual discussions with Americans from many States as we travelled around the USA. Of course, everyone has different experiences and the language seems to vary so much, and has moved on over the last decade, so don't be surprised if you find yourself questioning some of what you read.
Take it all with a pinch of salt and in the spirit of fun.
But most of all .... Enjoy!
Anorak - No - not an article of clothing (though it means that too), an anorak is another word for a nerd or a square. Apparently originated from the anoraks that were worn by trainspotters whatever the weather. If you are described as being a bit of an anorak, beware!
Barmaid - A female bartender in a pub is called the barmaid.
Barman - The bartender in a pub is called the barman.
Barrister - An attorney that would represent you in court. Not that I know, of course!
Beefeater - This is the name given to the guards at the Tower of London and a chain of cheap steak restaurants. One is worth visiting, one is worth avoiding!
Bender - A bender is a gay man. Also referred to as a woofter and a few rather unsavoury terms that you'll have to visit England to find out!
Berk - A fool. I remember giggling every time James Burke came on telly when I was kid. Also spelt "burk". The origin is quite interesting - it is another rhyming slang word that many people don't even realise is short for "Berkeley-Hunt", who was an 1890s stage idiot. Hunt rhymes with, well use your imagination! It's OK to say berk.
Big girl's blouse - This is a nice way of saying someone is a wimp. It means someone is being pathetic. It works well for girls and blokes.