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  #1  
Old 09-10-2018, 03:45 PM
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Fiendish Astronaut Fiendish Astronaut is offline
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The Great British English vs US English Playoff

Brit.
action replay
US
instant replay

Result: US win
Reason: The Don Hartman Song


Brit.
agony aunt
US
advice columnist

Result: US win
Reason: agony aunt would have won this but the UK loses for being outdated and sexist.


Brit.
anti-clockwise
US
counter-clockwise

Result: US win
Reason: counter has a nicer ring to it.


Brit.
boob tube
US
tube top

Result: British win
Reason: do I need to explain?


Brit.
bum
US
fanny

Result: British win
Reason: I wouldn't pinch a fanny but I would pinch a bum (on babies in my family of course - what do you take me for?)


Brit.
diamente
US
rhinestone

Result: British win
Reason: diamente elevates a rhinstone


Brit.
hot flush
US
hot flash

Result: British win
Reason: hot flash is something on a camera. And you cannot feel flashed.


Brit.
ladybird
US
ladybug

Result: US win
Reason: It's a bug, it's not a bird. Plus ladybird is giving too much credit to these cretins.


Brit.
nappy
US
diaper

Result: British win
Reason: a nappy sounds cute, a diaper already sounds soiled - there may be some subjectivity here.


Brit.
pavement
US
sidewalk

Result: US win
Reason: sidewalk is a much better description of what it is


Brit.
queue
US
line

Result: British win
Reason: queue is such a great word. And the Brits are best at that and therefore own this.


Brit.
trainers
US
sneakers

Result: no result
Reason: both are unsatisfying. They both describe actions you might do wearing these but neither really give you a sense of what they are.


Brit.
waistcoat
US
vest

Result: British win
Reason: vest? Really?
  #2  
Old 09-10-2018, 04:08 PM
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Brit: Torch
US: Flashlight

Result: US win. A torch has a flame, damnit.

Brit: Bonnet
US: Hood

Result: Neither. Both are items that you wear on your head

Brit: Boot
US: Trunk

Result: US win. A trunk is what you pack things in; a boot is what you put on your foot.

Brit: Lift
US: Elevator

Result: Brit win. I mean, c'mon, it's only one syllable and impossible to misspell. No contest.
  #3  
Old 09-10-2018, 04:48 PM
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Brit: Mum
US: Mom

Result: Brit win. We'd all like our mother to be quiet sometime.

Brit: Chips
US: French Fries

Result: US win. Chips are not fries.

Brit: Pram
US: Stroller

Result: US win. WTF is a pram?
  #4  
Old 09-10-2018, 04:54 PM
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Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowthx View Post
Brit: Pram
US: Stroller

Result: US win. WTF is a pram?
It's short for perambulator, which I think we can all agree wins.
  #5  
Old 09-10-2018, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish Astronaut View Post
Brit.
bum
US
fanny

Result: British win
Reason: I wouldn't pinch a fanny but I would pinch a bum (on babies in my family of course - what do you take me for?)
You do know what "fanny" means in Britain, don't you? I'd just back off the whole area, myself.
  #6  
Old 09-10-2018, 06:15 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish Astronaut View Post

Brit.
diamente
US
rhinestone

Result: British win
Reason: diamente elevates a rhinstone
And how many #1 chart-topping songs are there about Diamente Cowboys?
  #7  
Old 09-10-2018, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowthx View Post
Brit: Chips
US: French Fries

Result: US win. Chips are not fries.

Brit: Pram
US: Stroller

Result: US win. WTF is a pram?
If we're just going to have the US win because it's the word you recognize, this is going to get boring fast.
  #8  
Old 09-10-2018, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
If we're just going to have the US win because it's the word you recognize, this is going to get boring fast.
It will be more boring with posts that don't contribute.
  #9  
Old 09-10-2018, 06:41 PM
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Brit: 99th floor
US: 100th floor
Result: Brit win, by induction

Brit: 98th floor
US: 99th floor
Result: Brit win, by induction

Brit: 97th floor
US: 98th floor
Result: Brit win, by induction

.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Brit: 1st floor
US: 2nd floor
Result: Brit win, by induction

Brit: ground floor
US: 1st floor
Result: Brit win, because it's unambiguous when you're talking to a mixed audience
  #10  
Old 09-10-2018, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowthx View Post
Brit: Pram
US: Stroller

Result: US win. WTF is a pram?
Actually, the UK equivalent for stroller is pushchair (though the word buggy seems to have overtaken pushchair in recent years). A pram is what Americans would call a baby carriage.

So I would say the following:

Brit: pushchair
US: stroller

Result: US by a hair.
Reason: Pushchair is wonderfully literal, but stroller is a cooler word.
  #11  
Old 09-10-2018, 07:01 PM
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Another one:

Brit: macaroni cheese
US: macaroni and cheese

Result: US win.
Reason: Macaroni cheese just sounds odd. It would make as much sense to say fish chips, rather than fish and chips.
  #12  
Old 09-10-2018, 07:06 PM
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Sorry, I can't seem to stop.

Brit: fortnight
US: two weeks

Result: British win
Reason: having a single word for any measure of time is useful, and fortnight has a lovely crisp sound to it.
  #13  
Old 09-10-2018, 08:02 PM
Apollyon Apollyon is offline
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Brit: Torch
US: Flashlight

Result: US win. A torch has a flame, damnit.
Appeal to the umpire.
"Torch" in this instance is an abbreviation of "Electric Torch", and a penalty should perhaps be applied to the US term unless your Flashlight is actually being used for signaling with flashes.
  #14  
Old 09-10-2018, 09:28 PM
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Brit: Daft
US: Nuts

Brits by a hair.
  #15  
Old 09-10-2018, 10:25 PM
Baal Houtham Baal Houtham is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollyon View Post
Appeal to the umpire.
"Torch" in this instance is an abbreviation of "Electric Torch", and a penalty should perhaps be applied to the US term unless your Flashlight is actually being used for signaling with flashes.
Yeah, “Torch” wins. Classic wooden torches are essentially extinct, and battery powered lights are the functional successors. “Flashlight” makes no sense, and is not evocative.

I’ll also give the nod to Petrol over Gasoline.
  #16  
Old 09-10-2018, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish Astronaut View Post
Brit.
boob tube
US
tube top

Result: British win
Reason: do I need to explain?
Er wot? Have just polled several British friends and not a one of them has ever heard "boob tube" used as anything but another term for a television set (nor have any of my US friends ever heard of a television set being called a "tube top")...but I will give you this one if you can cite where in fact a tube top is called a boob tube.

(It is quite evocative of the same mental image offhand, though.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish Astronaut View Post
Brit.
hot flush
US
hot flash

Result: British win
Reason: hot flash is something on a camera. And you cannot feel flashed.
Au contraire. It's called this because it is a flash of heat.
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  #17  
Old 09-10-2018, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Map Ylow View Post
Er wot? Have just polled several British friends and not a one of them has ever heard "boob tube" used as anything but another term for a television set (nor have any of my US friends ever heard of a television set being called a "tube top")...but I will give you this one if you can cite where in fact a tube top is called a boob tube.
Try googling "boob tube" (from a US location) and then look at "images". (I'm not sure I understand why, since it does not mean that in the US.)

Perhaps it's a generational thing, but for me (grew up in London, born in the 60s) boob tube meant what Americans call a tube top, and did not mean TV.

Last edited by Riemann; 09-10-2018 at 10:48 PM.
  #18  
Old 09-11-2018, 12:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
Try googling "boob tube" (from a US location) and then look at "images". (I'm not sure I understand why, since it does not mean that in the US.)

Perhaps it's a generational thing, but for me (grew up in London, born in the 60s) boob tube meant what Americans call a tube top, and did not mean TV.
I sit corrected.
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  #19  
Old 09-11-2018, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaika View Post
Another one:

Brit: macaroni cheese
US: macaroni and cheese

Result: US win.
Reason: Macaroni cheese just sounds odd. It would make as much sense to say fish chips, rather than fish and chips.
Brit here, coming out in defence of our usage (perhaps it's just what I'm accustomed to): "macaroni cheese" makes perfect sense -- a compressed version of "macaroni made more exciting by being cooked with cheese". "Macaroni and cheese" strikes me as unnecessarily wordy and clumsy; with a bit of a suggestion of a load of cooked plain macaroni, with a hunk of cheese beside it on the plate. And the often-used American equivalent "mac-and-cheese" is to me, an abomination. My first encounter with that one, had me wondering "what in heaven's name is this? The latest horror from McDonalds?"

To contribute an entry, sort-of: I greatly like the US "Go figure". I can't think of a succinct British equivalent -- "go and figure it out, if you can" lacks all brevity and punch. To risk confusing things, with a totally different language: I like the near-counterpart which French has -- "Faut pas chercher a comprendre": giving the sense in an admirably snappy way, of "there's no point in even trying to understand this absurdity."

Last edited by Sangahyando; 09-11-2018 at 01:14 AM.
  #20  
Old 09-11-2018, 01:34 AM
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Brit: dual carriageway
US: freeway

This has to go to the Americans, just because “freeway” is so much more concise (though, TBCF, if you hear “duel carriageway”, it does describe traffic on the interstates rather well)

Brit: flat, walkup, bedsit
US: apartment

Goes to the British, just for being more descriptive

Brit: biscuit
US: cookie

Americans win this one if only because a biscuit in British can also be an American cracker (a word that may also be used in the US as a sort of ethnic slur) – there is that whole British “pudding” mess that is best avoided entirely
  #21  
Old 09-11-2018, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaika View Post
Another one:

Brit: macaroni cheese
US: macaroni and cheese

Result: US win.
Reason: Macaroni cheese just sounds odd. It would make as much sense to say fish chips, rather than fish and chips.
..Or one-hundred-ten. I mean, it's obviously one hundred *and* ten, right?
  #22  
Old 09-11-2018, 03:25 AM
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Brit: Aluminium
US: Aluminum

Result: The British spelling wins, because apart from the US and Canada that's what it's called.

Last edited by Leaffan; 09-11-2018 at 03:27 AM.
  #23  
Old 09-11-2018, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschereal View Post
Brit: dual carriageway
US: freeway

This has to go to the Americans, just because “freeway” is so much more concise (though, TBCF, if you hear “duel carriageway”, it does describe traffic on the interstates rather well)

I thought the US equivalent was "divided road" (which I suppose you win as more plainly descriptive),and the British equivalent of "freeway" was "motorway" (which we win because only motor vehicles can use it, and I take it bikes and animals are equally restricted from a "freeway").
  #24  
Old 09-11-2018, 03:51 AM
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UK:Tap
US: Faucet
Win: UK - short and sweet. And even the US uses tap for the important liquids.

UK: boiler suit
US: coveralls (South Africa: Overalls)
Win: US. A Boiler suit sounds painful.

UK: candyfloss
US: cotton candy
Win : UK. Candyfloss sounds lighter and airier.

UK: courgette
US: zucchini
Win: UK. Everything's better in French.

UK: fringe
US: bangs
Win: UK - I wouldn't want explosions anywhere near my hair. Plus fringe is descriptive.

UK: hairslide
US: barrette
Win: US - see courgette

UK: hen night
US: bachelorette party
Win: Neither - the UK one is horribly sexist, the US one has that horrible made-up pseudofrench word.
  #25  
Old 09-11-2018, 04:10 AM
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Brit: Tuna
US: Tuna fish

Result: British. Do you need to say "bovine beef" or "chicken poultry" in the US?


(As a Canadian this is interesting because we're always caught in the middle of all this stuff.)

Last edited by Leaffan; 09-11-2018 at 04:13 AM.
  #26  
Old 09-11-2018, 04:27 AM
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Well now I've got one.

UK: aubergine
US: eggplant

I'm going to say UK wins this one, because it sounds quite mysterious.
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  #27  
Old 09-11-2018, 06:15 AM
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UK: trousers
US: pants

UK win. Because it sounds better when verbified. Compare:

"I gave him £5 to buy me some crumpets, but he trousered it"

With "... pantsed..."

Last edited by RobDog; 09-11-2018 at 06:16 AM.
  #28  
Old 09-11-2018, 06:39 AM
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Speaking of clothes...

UK: Jumper
US: Sweater


Result: Slight advantage to the US since is sounds marginally what we're talking about.
  #29  
Old 09-11-2018, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
UK:Tap


UK: hen night
US: bachelorette party
Win: Neither - the UK one is horribly sexist, the US one has that horrible made-up pseudofrench word.
I'm not sure the UK one is sexist; 'hen' is a pretty common friendly slang word in Scotland and some Northern areas for a woman, which seems to be especially commonly used by other women. Look a bit lost or upset and female, and 'You alright hen?' is something people, especially other women, will ask. Speaking as an English woman, I've encountered it far more as a neutral-positive term than the old 'gossipy woman' definition.


UK: Car boot
US: Car trunk

Win: UK; a car trunk sale just sounds weird, plus it adds a layer of unnecessary confusion to Nellie the Elephant.
  #30  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:01 AM
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Hen is perfectly fine in Scotland.

Boot was already mentioned in post number 2.
  #31  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Brit: Lift
US: Elevator

Result: Brit win. I mean, c'mon, it's only one syllable and impossible to misspell. No contest.
Plus then you can have the elevator company "Schindler's Lifts".
  #32  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:05 AM
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UK: Maths
US: Math

Win: US, we don't study the subjects of "Histories" or "Englishes", so why would we study "Maths"? (Mathematics? Pshhh, fight me!)
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  #33  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
...

Brit: Lift
US: Elevator.
Is there an equivalent shortcut for escalator?
  #34  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sangahyando View Post
Brit here, coming out in defence of our usage (perhaps it's just what I'm accustomed to): "macaroni cheese" makes perfect sense -- a compressed version of "macaroni made more exciting by being cooked with cheese". "Macaroni and cheese" strikes me as unnecessarily wordy and clumsy; with a bit of a suggestion of a load of cooked plain macaroni, with a hunk of cheese beside it on the plate. And the often-used American equivalent "mac-and-cheese" is to me, an abomination. My first encounter with that one, had me wondering "what in heaven's name is this? The latest horror from McDonalds?"
For me, "cheese macaroni" would make sense if one wanted to dispense with the conjunction. Then it would be analogous to cheese pizza or cheese sandwich or whatever. But we would never say pizza cheese or sandwich cheese, so macaroni cheese just sounds odd.

But where do we all stand on the Canadian Kraft Dinner?
  #35  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:32 AM
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Some more:

Brit: rubbish
US: garbage

Result: US win
Reason: This one is difficult. Rubbish is a nicer word, but I think it sounds far too neat and tidy for what it signifies. Garbage sounds exactly like what it is. Especially effective when said in a broad New York accent.

Brit: dummy
US: pacifier

Result: US win.
Reason: Pacifier expresses the (perhaps naive) hope of the sleep-deprived parents that something (for-the-love-of-God-please-something) will actually soothe the baby. Dummy sounds vaguely insulting.

Brit: loo (or toilet)
US: bathroom

Result: Brit win
Reason: Without getting into all the class implications of these words in the UK, I think loo is a brilliant word and toilet certainly wins for directness.
  #36  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:42 AM
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Brit: Go to hospital.
US: Go to the hospital.

You don't say "Go to store." "Go to park." Do ya'? US for the win.

Note that things like "Go to school." and "Go to work." refer to a place you do the corresponding activity at. No one goes "to hospital" to do some "hospital(ing)".
  #37  
Old 09-11-2018, 07:44 AM
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Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaika View Post
Brit: dummy
US: pacifier

Result: US win.
Reason: Pacifier expresses the (perhaps naive) hope of the sleep-deprived parents that something (for-the-love-of-God-please-something) will actually soothe the baby. Dummy sounds vaguely insulting.
When I was a wee lad a dummy was often given the full name of dummy-tit, which is nicely descriptive I think.
  #38  
Old 09-11-2018, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Brit: Go to hospital.
US: Go to the hospital.

You don't say "Go to store." "Go to park." Do ya'? US for the win.

Note that things like "Go to school." and "Go to work." refer to a place you do the corresponding activity at. No one goes "to hospital" to do some "hospital(ing)".
They used to...

And do you university at uni? Or college at college?

And only theachers go to school to school. Pupils got to be schooled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Filbert View Post
I'm not sure the UK one is sexist; 'hen' is a pretty common friendly slang word in Scotland and some Northern areas for a woman
But "Hen party/night" isn't just used Oop Norf and beyond...
Quote:
Speaking as an English woman, I've encountered it far more as a neutral-positive term than the old 'gossipy woman' definition.
It's sexist when you compare it to the male equivalent - women are hens, men are stags. The women I know took to calling them vixen parties, instead. That's women in the UK, mind you.

Last edited by MrDibble; 09-11-2018 at 08:24 AM.
  #39  
Old 09-11-2018, 08:27 AM
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Mr.Dibble, I grew up in the US (Northeast), and say “overalls.” I’ve barely heard of “coveralls,” and I’ve lived all over the US, but I haven’t been in many situations where the word would be used, since moving out of the northeast.
  #40  
Old 09-11-2018, 08:29 AM
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Brit: Fag
US: Smoke

Uhhhh....

ETA: I can imagine the response if someone from the UK walked up to a stranger in the US and said "Can I bum a fag?"

Last edited by Leaffan; 09-11-2018 at 08:32 AM.
  #41  
Old 09-11-2018, 08:31 AM
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Brit: flat
US: apartment

Result: Brit win for brevity

Brit: lorry
US: truck

Result: truck wins. What the hell is a 'lorry', anyway?
  #42  
Old 09-11-2018, 08:37 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is online now
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Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Brit: flat
US: apartment

Result: Brit win for brevity
I can never shake myself of the subtle implication that a "flat" should be one story with no stairs. So a "walk up flat" and a "two story flat" sound like oxymorons.
  #43  
Old 09-11-2018, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by JKellyMap View Post
Mr.Dibble, I grew up in the US (Northeast), and say “overalls.” I’ve barely heard of “coveralls,” and I’ve lived all over the US, but I haven’t been in many situations where the word would be used, since moving out of the northeast.
Usually in the US, overalls and coveralls refer to completely different garments. Overalls, sometimes called "bib overalls" (UK: dungarees) are the stereotypical farmer's outfit, with shoulder straps, worn over a shirt. Coveralls are one-piece garments with sleeves, often worn by mechanics and the like.

Would you use the term overalls to describe both garments? I am not challenging your usage, just interested.
  #44  
Old 09-11-2018, 09:19 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaika View Post
Usually in the US, overalls and coveralls refer to completely different garments. Overalls, sometimes called "bib overalls" (UK: dungarees) are the stereotypical farmer's outfit, with shoulder straps, worn over a shirt. Coveralls are one-piece garments with sleeves, often worn by mechanics and the like.
My first instinct would be to call it a "jumpsuit" even though that also means other things.
  #45  
Old 09-11-2018, 09:45 AM
Treppenwitz Treppenwitz is offline
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Posts: 158
UK: Autumn
US: Fall

Result: tied at the end of regulation, so we play overtime (ahem!) on the adjectival form. UK win because, whatever the US adjective may be, it is not better than Autumnal.

j
  #46  
Old 09-11-2018, 09:56 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Hey! I'm located! WOOOOW!
Posts: 39,183
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
Brit: ground floor
US: 1st floor
Result: Brit win, because it's unambiguous when you're talking to a mixed audience
Including lots of people whose first language isn't English. Any languages or dialects which refer to the ground floor as the first floor are just wrong.
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  #47  
Old 09-11-2018, 10:10 AM
senoy senoy is online now
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 946
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treppenwitz View Post
UK: Autumn
US: Fall

Result: tied at the end of regulation, so we play overtime (ahem!) on the adjectival form. UK win because, whatever the US adjective may be, it is not better than Autumnal.

j
It's autumn in the US as well. It just depends upon the usage and dialect of the person with whom you are speaking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDibble
UK:Tap
US: Faucet
Win: UK - short and sweet. And even the US uses tap for the important liquids.
It's tap in the US as well although it's dialectual. Faucet is much rarer where I'm from than tap.
  #48  
Old 09-11-2018, 10:19 AM
enalzi enalzi is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 7,140
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschereal View Post
Brit: biscuit
US: cookie

Americans win this one if only because a biscuit in British can also be an American cracker (a word that may also be used in the US as a sort of ethnic slur) – there is that whole British “pudding” mess that is best avoided entirely
I remember the first time I heard Douglas Adam's story about the guy at the train station stealing his biscuits, I was extremely confused.
  #49  
Old 09-11-2018, 10:42 AM
Filbert Filbert is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 4,665
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post

Boot was already mentioned in post number 2.
Yeah, but it was wrong

US: Entrée
UK: Main course

Result, narrow win for the UK. 'Main course' is clunky and just 'main' is little better, but entrée is confusing, being used in most of the rest of the world to refer to the first course, or first after the soup if they're really being fancy.
  #50  
Old 09-11-2018, 10:49 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,877
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Brit: flat
US: apartment

Result: Brit win for brevity
Yeah, "flat" is one of those words that still ends up creeping into my vocabulary from time-to-time while speaking US English because it's so darn snappy. (I spent a good number of years in mixed US/UK speakers company, and that word became instinctual to me that I have to correct myself occasionally when speaking US English, which is what I speak pretty much always now.)
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