David Appleyard's English Language User Guides and References
Index of Briticisms
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AmericanBritish BritishAmerican
sack (dismiss an employee) fire [colloq.]
saddle (on bicycle) seat
sailing boat sailboat
sales assistant sales clerk
sales turnover sales revenue
saloon bar bar in a public house better furnished and slightly more expensive than the adjoining public bar
saloon (car) sedan
sandpit sandbox
sandwich cake layer cake
sanitary towel sanitary napkin
sawn-off shotgun sawed-off shotgun
scales (weighing implement) scale
scarper [slang]  (run away) split, beat it [both slang]
school report report card
scoop the pool [colloq.] win every single prize avaialble
scourer scouring pad
scrap paper (used paper for writing notes on) scratch paper
screw (n.) [prisoner slang] prison guard
scribbling block or pad scratch pad
scrub round [colloq.]
avoid, circumvent
scrubber [slang] sexually promiscuous female;
prostitute
scrubbing brush scrub brush
scrum [colloq.] undisciplined or disorderly crowd
scrumple crumple, wrinkle
scrumpy [colloq.] a rough cider made in the west of England
scrunchy decorative fabric-covered elastic band used to fasten hair
scrutineer (UK election official) person who ensures votes are counted correctly
seafront, front promenade
seaside resort beach resort
season ticket commuter pass
secateurs a pair of hand-held pruning clippers
2nd lieutenant (British Army & Royal Marines) 2nd lieutenant > chief warrant officer
(U.S. Army & U.S. Marine Corps)
second floor (UK) third floor (U.S.)
second name last name, family name
secondary school high school
self-raising flour self-rising flour
Sellotape™, sticky tape Scotch tape™
semibreve (in music) whole note
semi-detached house duplex (house), two-family house
semiquaver (in music) sixteenth note
semitone half-tone, half-step
semolina (pudding)
cream of wheat
send down (as in 'the thief was sent down for 5 years') sentence to imprisonment;
suspend or expel from a college or university
senior citizen senior, retiree
senior nursing officer person in charge of all nursing at a British hospital
sergeant (British Army) 1st sergeant > master sergeant > specialist 8
> sergeant first class > specialist 7
> staff sergeant > specialist 6
> sergeant > specialist 5 (U.S. Army)
sergeant (Royal Air Force) staff sergeant (U.S. Air Force)
sergeant (Royal Marines) first sergeant > master sergeant > gunnery sergeant > staff sergeant > sergeant (U.S. Marine Corps)
service flats apartment hotel
service station   gas station, garage (on a regular road);
service area (on a freeway)
serviette napkin, table napkin
set square (drawing instrument) triangle
sewage farm, sewage works sewage treatment plant
shag [slang] have sex
shagged out [slang] tired out, exhausted
shambolic [colloq.] disorganized, in state of confusion, chaotic
shandy  drink of beer and lemonade
Shanks's pony relying on your own two feet to get around
share (in a company) stock
share option stock option
shareholder stockholder, shareholder
shareholders' funds shareholders' (or shareowners') equity
shaving foam shaving cream
sheath condom, rubber [slang]
shelve (put on a back burner) table
shepherd's pie ground meat topped with mashed potato
shirty [colloq.] irritated, annoyed, peckish
shoe polish shoeshine
shoelace shoestring
shoot (n.) hunting party or expedition
shooting (sport) small-game hunting
shooting brake (estate car) station wagon
shooting stick pointed walking stick with a double handle that opens out to serve as a seat at outdoor events, etc.
shop store
shop assistant sales clerk
shop floor, the (in a factory, etc.) non-management workers and their working area
shopkeeper store owner
shopper [slang] informer
shopping centre shopping mall
shopping precinct traffic-free shopping area in town or city;
indoor shopping mall
shopping trolley shopping cart
shop-soiled shopworn
shopwalker (person in large store who directs
                     customers and supervises sales staff)
floor walker
shortsighted nearsighted
show home, show house model house
shower [slang]  (a bunch of undesirable people) riff-raff, rabble
shufti [colloq.]  (as in 'I took a quick shufti at it') look, glance, glimpse, peep
sick (as in 'I feel sick') nauseous
sickie [colloq.]  (as in 'I threw a sickie') calling your boss to falsely claim you're sick in order to get a day off work
sideboard (piece of furniture)   buffet
sideboard (hair on the side of man's face) sideburn, side-whiskers
siding railroad siding
sieve strainer
signal box (alongside railway) signal tower
silencer (on motor vehicle) muffler
silly billy foolish person
silver paper (or foil) aluminum or tin foil
silver top  (silver-coloured foil cap on pint bottle
                  of milk; see also gold top)
standard milk of the kind delivered to British homes
silverside cut of beef taken from the area adjacent to the tail
single (ticket) one-way ticket
sirloin steak porterhouse steak
sister (hospital nurse) senior female nurse in charge of a ward
sitting room living room
skeleton in the cupboard (embarrassing detail
                                          from one's past)
skeleton in the closet
skimmed milk skim milk
skint [colloq., from 'skinned'] broke
skip (container for large-scale refuse disposal) Dumpster™
skipping rope jump rope
skirt [slang] (as in 'She's a nice bit of skirt!') women seen as objects of sexual desire
skirting board baseboard, mopboard
skive [colloq.] play hooky;
shirk or evade one's duties, especially by avoiding being seen by others hard at work
skiver [colloq.]
shirker; truant; one who is absent from work or school without permission
skivvy [derog. colloq.] female domestic servant
slag [slang] prostitute or promiscuous woman
slanging match prolonged heated exchange of insults or abuse
slap and tickle [colloq.] fun and games of a sexual nature
slap-up [colloq.] (as in 'Jack ate a slap-up meal') excellent, lavish
slash (n.) [slang]  (act of urinating) pee [colloq.]
slate (v.) scold; criticize severely
sleep rough sleep outdoors because you have no home or money
sledge sled
sleeper (on railway line) railroad tie
sleeping carriage sleeping car, sleeper
sleeping partner (person investing money in a business
                            but not given any managerial role)
silent partner
sling one's hook [colloq.]   (leave in a hurry) be gone, buzz off [colloq.]; back off
slip road (on motorway) ramp; on-ramp, entrance ramp; off-ramp, exit ramp
(on highway or freeway)
Sloane Ranger [colloq.]  stereotypical rich young upper-class socialite, who might well have come from Sloane Square between London's upscale districts of Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Belgravia
slosh [slang] hit especially heavily
slowcoach [colloq.] (person who works or acts slowly) slowpoke [colloq.]
smallest room (euphemism for lavatory) restroom, bathroom
smallholding agricultural holding smaller than small farm
smalls [colloq.] underwear
smarmy [colloq.] overly flattering or obsequious
smasher [colloq.]   (great-looking girl)
peach, lulu, stunner, knockout [slang],
smashing [colloq.] fabulous, marvelous
smooch [colloq.] in BrE, smooch can mean dance slowly close together
snack nosh
snakes and ladders (children's board game) chutes and ladders
snap card game during which you shout 'Snap!'
snip [colloq.];
the snip [humorous]
bargain;
a vasectomy
snog [slang] kiss and caress amorously, neck, smooch
snout [slang] nose; informer; tobacco or cigarette
snuff it [slang]  (pass away) kick in, kick off, check out, peg out [all slang]
sodding [slang] blasted
Sod off! [slang] Beat it! Get lost! Go to hell!
sofa couch
soft drink (effervescent type) soda
sole trader sole owner or proprietor
solicitor attorney, general lawyer
sonny Jim [colloq.] (condescending form of address) bud, buddy
soppy [colloq.] silly; foolishly sentimental
sorbet sherbet ice cream
soya
soya bean
soya sauce
soy
soybean
soy sauce
spanner wrench
spanner in the works, a obstacle, impediment
spate (as in 'the river is in full spate') freshet, river flood
special delivery express mail
speciality specialty
spectacles (glasses) eyeglasses
spend a penny (one penny was once the cost of using a
                          public convenience)
go to the bathroom or restroom
spiffing [colloq.]   (splendid, excellent) swell [colloq.]
spirit-level level
spirits (distilled alcohol) liquor
splashback tiles (to protect kitchen wall) backsplash tiles
sponge bag (travel accessory) toiletry kit or bag
sponge bath blanket bath
sponge finger (long soft sweet cake) ladyfinger  
sponge pudding  (e.g. treacle pudding) steamed or baked sponge dessert
sponge sandwich layer cake
sports centre health club, fitness club
sports day (at school or college) field day
spot on [colloq.] (as in 'his assessment was spot on')
accurate, precise, on target
spring-clean (as a noun) spring-cleaning
spring greens (vegetable) leaves from a young cabbage plant
spring onion green onion, scallion
sprog [slang] baby or young child  
sprout  (vegetable) Brussels sprout
spunk [slang] (semen) come [slang]
squaddie, squaddy [slang] private soldier;
soldier of low rank;
soldier who thinks he's God's gift to women
squadron leader (Royal Air Force) major (U.S. Air Force)
squash (drink) fruit drink concentrate
squire [colloq.] (e.g. "What can I do for you, squire?") sir (an old fashioned, working man's way of addressing 
      another man he thinks might be his social superior)
staff sergeant (British Army) sergeant major > specialist 9 (U.S. Army)
stag [colloq.]  (short-term speculator) day trader on the stock market
stag party, stag night bachelor party
stall (in a market) stand
stalls (in a theatre) orchestra seats
stand (in politics)  (e.g. 'she stood for re-election') run (as in 'he ran for public office')
standard lamp floor lamp
standing order (banking) automatic draft
Stanley knife (craft knife) utility knife, box cutter
starkers [colloq.] stark naked
starter (first course of a meal) appetizer
state school (providing free basic education to all) public school
stick (n.) [colloq.]  (as in 'the chef has taken a lot of stick
                               for his uninspiring menu')
flak [colloq.], criticism
stick (v.) [colloq.]  ('I couldn't stick it a day longer!') bear, endure
stick insect
walking stick
sticking plaster Band Aid™
stickweed ragweed
sticky end (as in 'he came to a sticky end') an unpleasant or painful death
sticky tape Scotch tape™
sticky wicket difficult or awkward situation
stiffy [slang] (penile erection) boner [slang]
stinks [school slang] chemistry class
stocks (goods available for delivery) inventories
stocktaking making an inventory
stodgy (food) heavy, indigestible
stone (fruit seed) a larger siz pit (see also pip)
stone (unit of weight) 14 pounds in weight (= 6.35kg)
stoned (olives, etc.) pitted
stop clock timer
stoppages (sums taken out of wages before payment) deductions
storey  [pl. storeys]  (floor in a building) story [pl. stories]
storm in a teacup (a lot of fuss about nothing) tempest in a teapot
stream [acad.] (as in 'Sue got into the A-stream') a group of school children of similar age and ability selected to be taught at same level
streets ahead (of) [colloq.] overwhelmingly superior (to)
strewth, struth [colloq.] God's truth! (a mild oath)
stroppy [colloq.] bad-tempered and awkward to deal with
struck on [colloq.] infatuated with
student in Britain, first and foremost a college student
stupid dumb
sub-editor, subeditor copy editor
subfusc drab, dull, dusky, gloomy
sub-lieutenant (Royal Navy) lieutenant junior grade (U.S. Navy)
subordinate clause  [grammar] dependent clause
subway (pedestrian walkway under a busy road) underpass
sultana golden raisin
summer time   daylight saving time
Sunday supplements the additional newspapers and sometimes magazines ('color supplements') accompanying a UK Sunday paper
sunshine (a form of condescending, informal address)
                (as in: 'I wouldn't do that, sunshine!')
buddy, bud
surgery [C] doctor's or dentist's office
surgical spirit rubbing alcohol
surname last name, family name
surtitle supertitle
suspender belt garter belt
suspenders (to hold up women's stockings) garters
suss out  (as in 'he's gone up to London
                  to suss out job opportunities')
figure out, investigate
swear blind [colloq.] state categorically
swede (vegetable) rutabaga
sweep something under the carpet [idiom] sweep something under the rug
sweet corn (or corn on the cob) corn
sweet (last course of a meal) dessert
sweet, sweets candy
sweet Fanny Adams [slang]   nothing at all; complete idleness
sweetshop candy store
swimming trunks   men's swimsuit or swimwear
swings and roundabouts (as in 'what you lose on the
                               swings you gain on the roundabouts')
the philosphy that everything evens itself out in the end
Swiss roll jelly roll
swizz, swiz [colloq.] swindle or scam; unfair or dishonest practice
swizzle [colloq.] swindle
swot (v.)  (for an exam, etc.) cram, grind
swot (n.) [colloq.] someone who studies very hard, usually a child

 

Index of Briticisms
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z   |   American-British