Differences between American and British: top 50 popular words that are confusing

British English vs American English vocabulary

American vs British English: 50 words that are often confused

English is a dynamic and evolving language, and it’s fascinating to see how it has evolved differently on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. British English and American English share a common foundation, but over the centuries, they have developed distinct vocabulary and even pronunciation differences. In this article, we’ll explore some key vocabulary variations between British English (UK) and American English (US). If you are interested in grammatical differences, we suggest you read the article: Grammatical difference between British and American English.

To help you remember these differences, we’ve prepared a Quizlet with flashcards and a matching game. You can find it at the end of this article.

Examples of the top 50 words that confuse between British and American vocabulary


  • Aeroplane (UK) – Airplane (US)
  • Car park (UK) – Parking lot (US)
  • Caravan (UK) – Trailer (US)
  • Lorry (UK) – Truck (US) –
  • Petrol (UK) – Gas (US)

Food and Cooking:

  • Aubergine (UK) – Eggplant (US)
  • Biscuit (UK) – Cookie (US)
  • Chips (UK) – (French) Fries (US)
  • Maize (UK) – Corn (US)

Seasons and Weather:

  • Autumn (UK) – Fall (US)

Everyday Items:

  • Bill (UK) – Check (US)
  • Bonnet (UK) – Hood (US)
  • Boot (UK) – Trunk (US)
  • Handbag (UK) – Purse (US)
  • Nappy (UK) – Diaper (US)
  • Rubbish (UK) – Trash (US)
  • Torch (UK) – Flashlight (US)
  • Wardrobe (UK) – Closet (US)
  • Zip (UK) – Zipper (US)
  • Moustache (UK) – Mustache (US)

School and Education:

  • Break (UK) – Recess (US)
  • Headmaster (UK) – Principal (US)
  • Timetable (UK) – Schedule (US)

Entertainment and Leisure:

  • Cinema (UK) – Movie theater (US)
  • Pub (UK) – Bar (US)

Health and Medicine:

  • Chemist’s (UK) – Drugstore (US)


  • Mobile phone (UK) – Cell phone (US)
  • Post (UK) – Mail (US)

Public Spaces:

  • City centre (UK) – Downtown (US)
  • Dustbin (UK) – Trashcan (US)
  • High street (UK) – Main street (US)
  • Pavement (UK) – Sidewalk (US)
  • Underground (UK) – Subway (US)


  • Indicator (UK) – Blinker (US)
  • Full stop (UK) – Period (US)
  • Queue (UK) – Line (US)
  • Railway (UK) – Railroad (US)
  • Restroom (UK) – Toilets (US)
  • Rubber (UK) – Eraser (US)
  • Sweets (UK) – Candies (US)
  • Tap (UK) – Faucet (US)
  • Taxi (UK) – Cab (US)
  • Trainers (UK) – Sneakers (US)
  • Trousers (UK) – Pants (US)
  • Favourite (UK) – Favorite (US)
  • Football (UK) – Soccer (US)
  • Indicator (UK) – Blinker (US)
  • Sweets (UK) – Candies (US)
  • Tap (UK) – Faucet (US)
  • Zip (UK) – Zipper (US)

Understanding these vocabulary differences can be beneficial for learners of English, as it helps them communicate effectively in both British and American contexts. Keep in mind that these are just a few examples, and there are many more subtle variations in vocabulary, pronunciation, and even grammar between British and American English.

To reinforce your knowledge of these vocabulary differences, you can use the Quizlet deck below for practice:

British vs American Vocabulary (practice)

By becoming familiar with these distinctions, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the rich tapestry of the English language, regardless of whether you find yourself in London or New York.

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