Varieties of English Vocabulary‏‎

Varieties Of English

Maltesers vs Whoppers

This page shows major differences in vocabulary between different varieties of English‏‎.

The vocabulary differences here are mainly between American English‏‎ (AmE) and British English (BrE), the two most prevalent varieties of English‏‎. However, bear in mind that there is a great deal of overlap between the two (often due to cultural influence) and the differences are not as clear-cut as might be imagined.

Note that in the lists below Australian English‏‎ & New Zealand English ‏‎are the same as British English unless noted otherwise.

Meanings

In many cases there is a direct correlation between the words. For example, AmE uses the word cab and BrE uses the word taxi and yet both refer to exactly the same thing.

However, there are sometimes differences in meaning between the same word. For example in AmE quite works as a intensifier:

He was angry before and that was ok, but now he’s quite angry so we’d better leave!

In BrE, however, quite works to reduce the intensity of the word.

He was angry before and I was thinking of leaving; he’s still quite angry but I think it’s safe to stay.

Miscellaneous Meanings

WordMeaning
first/ground floorin the US the first floor is equivalent to the UK ground floor; the US second floor is equivalent to the UK first floor and so on.
quitein AmE intensifies; in BrE de-tensifies

Semantic Fields

The lists below are divided into several general semantic fields. The words here are almost all nouns.

Road/Traffic

American EnglishBritish EnglishAustralian EnglishNew Zealand English
automobilecar
cabtaxi
detourdiversion
divided highwaydual carriageway
expresswaymotorway
fenderbumper, mudguard
flatpuncture, flat tyre
freewaymotorway
gaspetrol
gearshiftgear-stick, gear-lever
highwaymain road
hoodbonnet
intersectioncrossroads
motorengine
mufflersilencer
oil pansump
patrolman(traffic) policeman
drug storechemist’schemist/pharmacy
elevatorlift
eraserrubber
facultystaff (university)
fallautumn
pavementroad surface
sedansaloon car
shoulderverge
sidewalkpavement
traffic circleroundabout
trailercaravan
truckvan, lorry
trunkboot
turnpiketoll motorway
windshieldwindscreen
wreckcrash

Clothes/Accessories

American EnglishBritish EnglishAustralian EnglishNew Zealand English
billfoldwallet
coin-pursepurse
cuffsturn-ups (on trousers)
diapernappy
pantstrousers
pantyhosetights
pocketbook, pursehandbag
shortsunderpants, pants
sneakerstrainers
suspendersbraces
undershirtvest
vestwaistcoat
zipperzip

Miscellaneous

American EnglishBritish EnglishAustralian EnglishNew Zealand English
afternoonafternoonarvoafo/arvo
alumnusgraduate
anyplaceanywhere
apartmentflatapartment/flat
attorneybarrister, solicitorlawyer
baby-carriagepram
barpub
billboardhoardingbillboard
broilergrill
burglarizeburgle
call-collectreverse charge
cantin
candysweetslollies
checkersdraughts
closetcupboard
cookiebiscuit
cornmaizecorn
cribcot
dishtoweltea-towel
drug storechemist’schemist/pharmacy
elevatorlift
eraserrubber
facultystaff (university)
fallautumn
faucettap
first floorground floor
flashlighttorch
garbagerubbish
hobotramp
janitorcaretaker
keroseneparaffinkerosene
liquor storeoff-licencebottle shop
mailpostmail
mathmaths
meanvicious
no placenowhere
optometristoculist, opticianoptometrist
pacifierdummy (for a baby)
pitcherjug
potato chipscrispschips
private hospitalnursing home
railroadrailway
Realtorestate agent
rest roomtoilet
rubbercondom
rubbersWellington bootsgum bootsgum boots
schoolschool, college, university
someplacesomewhere
spigottap
sponge offsponge offbludge
spoolreel
storeshop
stovecooker
strollerpush-chairpusher
subwayunderground/tubeloop
thumbtackdrawing pin
trashrubbish
vacationholiday

Expressions

American EnglishBritish EnglishAustralian EnglishNew Zealand English
I could care less.I couldn’t care less.

Useful Links

Varieties of English‏‎ – a look at the different types of English around

Varieties of English Spelling – major spelling differences between different types of English

Varieties of English Grammar – major grammar differences between different types of English

American English‏‎ – a look at American English or AmE

British English – a look at British English or BrE

Australian English – a look at Australian English or AuE

New Zealand English – a look at New Zealand English or NZE

Maltesers and Whoppers; they look the same, some say they are the same… but are they?

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