American vs British Words - Don't Get Lost in Translation

George Bernard Shaw once described the US and the UK as ‘Two nations divided by a common language’, and for those who work on both sides of the Atlantic, that can often seem to be true. There are some words that Brits use that make no sense to us, some that mean something else, or some that just seem offensive! Despite speaking the same language, we have different words for pants, cellphones, college, vacation, TV and don’t even get started on their word for cigarettes.



Expert Market has offices in the US and UK, and so knows only too well how embarrassing these misunderstandings can be. They wanted to make sure no one had to deal with the awkward silence from your British associates when you say your pants got wet in the rain on the way in, or tell them to check out your new fanny pack (N.B these both mean something very different in the UK!).

The ‘British vs American Terminology’ video guide is a fool proof cheat sheet to ensure next time you visit your British colleagues, you won’t make any embarrassing slip ups. Watch it, learn the language and share with your colleagues.

The Business Terminology You Can't Afford to Get Wrong

UK VocabularyUS Vocabulary
To phone/ring someoneTo call someone
MobileCell
HolidayVacation
CVResume
Annual leaveVacation days
LiftElevator
TrousersPants
RubbishTrash
LorrySemi
Paid maternity leave\_(ツ)_/¯
PhotocopierXerox
Franking MachinePostage Meter
Post/ Letter boxMailbox
Inland Revenue /HMRCIRS
PetrolGas
TillRegister
Cash PointATM
Pension SchemeRetirement Plan
National Insurance [number]Social Security [number]
UniversityCollege
Post CodeZip Code
BiscuitCookie
Weird scone thingBiscuit
Bum bagFanny pack
SkivePlay hooky
BootTrunk
What does your business need?


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