An English to English Dictionary

WorthingGooner, Going Postal
English to English.
Aleksandra Szarek
Unsplash licence

I have long wondered if a dictionary existed that translates the bastardised version of the English language used in America to our original version. That bloke Webster has a lot to answer for, compiling his ‘simplified’ dictionary that dropped ‘U’s’ and swapped the letter ‘Z’ for the letter ‘S’. But it is not just the spelling it is the use of different words. Many of them seem to be a description of the item and I have often wondered if Americans are so stupid that they had to simplify spelling and use descriptive words instead of its real name.

I have started compiling a list but if you would like to add more please add them to the comments and I won’t read them.

Real name first, then the bastardised version.

Aerial – Antenna.
Aeroplane – Airplane.
Anti Clockwise – Counter Clockwise.
Arse – Ass.
Articulated Lorry – Trailer Truck.
Aubergine – Egg Plant.
Autumn – Fall.
Bank Cashier – Teller.
Banknote – Bill.
Bill – Check.
Biscuit – Cookie.
Block of Flats – Apartment Building.
Bogey – Booger.
Bottom – Backside.
Box Room – Lumber Room.
Braces – Suspenders.
Bumper (car) – Fender.
Cheque – Check.
Car Bonnet – Hood.
Car Boot – Trunk.
Car Park – Parking Lot.
Caravan – Trailer.
Caretaker – Janitor.
Car Windscreen – Car Windshield.
Candy Floss – Cotton Candy.
Chips – French Fries.
Chemist – Drug Store.
Chest of Drawers – Bureau.
Cinema – Movie House.
Clothes Peg – Clothespin.
Coach – Bus.
Condom – Rubber.
Coffin – Casket
Colour – Color.
Cooker – Stove.
Corn Flour – Corn Starch.
Cot – Crib.
Cotton – Thread.
Cotton Wool – Cotton Batting.
Courgette – Zucchini.
Crash – Wreck.
Crisps – Chips.
Cross Roads – Intersection.
Curtains – Drapes.
Diversion – Detour.
Draughts – Checkers.
Drawing Pin – Thumb Tack.
Dressing Gown – Bath Robe.
Dual Carriageway – Divided Highway.
Dummy – Pacifier.
Dust Bin – Garbage Can
Dustman – Garbage Collector.
Estate Agent – Realtor.
Estate Car – Station Wagon.
Face Flannel – Wash Cloth.
Film – Movie.
Fire Engine – Fire Truck.
Fizzy Drink – Soda.
Flat – Apartment.
Flyover – Overpass.
Football – Soccer.
Fortnight – Two weeks.
Fringe (hair) – Bangs.
Full Stop – Period.
Garden – Yard.
Gear Box – Transmission.
Gear Stick – Gear Shift.
Girl Guide – Girl Scout.
Green Fingers – Green Thumb.
Grey – Gray.
Grill – Broil.
Ground Floor – First Floor.
Handbag – Purse.
High Street – Main Street.
Hoarding (advertising) – Billboard.
Holiday – Vacation.
Hood (car) – Convertible Top.
Hundreds and Thousands – Sprinkles.
Icing Sugar – Powered Sugar.
Indicator (car) – Turn Signal.
Interval – Intermission.
Jam – Preserve or Jelly.
Jelly – Jello.
Jug – Pitcher.
Juggernaut – 18 Wheeler.
Label – Tag.
Lift – Elevator.
Litre – Liter
Little Finger – Pinky.
Lollipop Man/Woman – Crossing Guard.
Lorry – Truck.
Luggage – Baggage.
Main Road – Highway.
Maize – Corn.
Maths – Math.
Mincer – Meat Grinder.
Metre – Meter.
Motorbike – Motorcycle.
Motorway – Expressway.
Nappy – Diaper.
Noughts and Crosses – Tic Tac Toe.
Nowhere – Noplace.
Optician – Optometrist.
Oven Glove – Oven Mitt.
Packed Lunch – Sack Lunch.
Pants – Drawers.
Pen Knife – Pocket Knife.
Pillar Box – Mail Box.
Pavement – Sidewalk.
Petrol – Gas.
Plimsolls – Sneakers.
Postman – Mailman.
Post Code – Zip Code.
Pram – Baby Carriage.
Pub – Bar.
Public Toilet – Public Restroom.
Puncture – Blow Out.
Purse – Billfold.
Push Chair – Stroller.
Queue – Line
Railway – Railroad.
Receptionist – Desk Clerk.
Return Ticket – Round Trip.
Reverse Charges – Collect Call.
Reversing Lights (car) – Back Up Lights.
Ring Road – Beltway.
Road Surface – Blacktop.
Roundabout – Traffic Circle.
Rubber – Eraser.
Rubbish – Trash.
Runner Bean – String Bean.
Saloon (Car) – Sedan.
Sellotape – Scotch Tape.
Shoelace – Shoe String.
Shop – Store.
Shopping Trolley – Shopping Cart.
Silencer – Muffler.
Skip – Dumpster.
Skipping Rope – Jump Rope.
Snakes and Ladders – Chutes and Ladders.
Solicitor – Attorney.
Spanner – Wrench.
Stalls – Orchestra Seats.
Starter – Appetizer.
Sweets – Candy.
Takeaway (food) – Takeout.
Tap – Faucet
Tap (outdoor) – Spigot.
Tea Towel – Dish Cloth.
Term – Semester.
Terrace House – Town House.
Third Party Insurance – Liability Insurance.
Tights – Pantyhose.
Timetable – Schedule.
Tin – Can.
Toilet – Bathroom, Restroom.
Toll Road – Turnpike.
Torch – Flashlight.
Train Driver – Engineer.
Train Guard – Conductor.
Tramp – Hobo.
Trousers – Pants.
Turn Ups – Cuffs.
Tyre – Tire.
Underground (train) – Subway.
Verge (Road) – Shoulder.
Vest – Undershirt.
Waistcoat – Vest.
Wallet – Billfold.
Wardrobe – Closet.
Waste Paper Basket. – Trash Can.
Wellington Boots – Rain Boots.
Zip – Zipper.

A couple of other odd things I have learnt on my trips to America, it is not just the language that separates us. Staying in an apartment in Florida I fancied a soft-boiled egg for my breakfast but there were no egg cups in the kitchen, so I set about buying some. It was totally impossible in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. I tried dozens of places and failed to locate anywhere that sold them. In fact, the Floridians thought I was mad wanting to eat a soft-boiled egg, they had never heard of such a thing.

And then the eggs themselves, they have to be kept in the fridge in America. Why? Because they wash them to kill any bugs on the outside of the shell and this removes the natural protective membrane that eggshells have, so they go off quickly. In the U.K. and Europe, we don’t bother, and the eggs keep for ages out of the fridge and months in it!

Americans have little idea of the world outside their own town and possibly state. The percentage who have a passport is tiny and to travel abroad is unusual. In a Fort Lauderdale diner, the waitress asked me if I was British and then explained her surname was MacDonald and did I know the MacDonalds from Glasgow. On explaining that I lived in London, 400 hundred miles away, she couldn’t comprehend the distance and I didn’t know her folks. Perhaps it’s not having much paid holiday in the US that stops them traveling and adds to their general isolationism.

On another occasion I was in a small Pennsylvania town on business, and I was taken to a bar on Friday night. It was jam-packed with young women and on asking why, I was told they were trainee nurses at one of the town’s two big employers, the state hospital, the other was the factory I was visiting. They were paid in cash weekly, on a Friday, and then descended on the one big bar in town. I was soon chatting to some of them and their ignorance about the world outside the small town was amazing. I was asked if I had driven there and how long did it take from London. Did England, they couldn’t understand the concept of the U.K., have mains electricity, running water and television? Did I know the Queen, did we use Dollars? How did the NHS work if nobody paid to see a doctor or for a stay in hospital?

I found rural American to truly be another world, not just separated by the language but also populated by people who are supposedly educated but know nothing about the world outside where they lived. Lovely people but poorly educated when it came to geography and the world.

© WorthingGooner 2024