Quiet Mumblings

Sunday, August 06, 2006

British words not used in the USA

Just stumbled across a fantastic Wikipedia entry about British versus American English: List of British words not widely used in the United States. Some of the entries are very interesting (I didn't know Americans didn't use the words abseil, autocue, courgette, fiddly, holidaymaker, invigilator, pushchair, rota, and whinge), and many are genuine, but some of them are hilariously old fashioned. For any Americans out there who don't know better, the average Brit really doesn't use these words any more: argy-bargy, bate, berk, bimble, blimey, boffin, bonce, cobblers, cockle, fettle, flibbertigibbet, gen, gogglebox, gor blimey, guff, higgledy-piggledy, how do, hugger-mugger, manky, mardy, merrythought, mither, mong, nash, overfaced, recce, sixes and sevens, sleeping policeman, spawny, spiffing, spiv, squiz, tonk, trafficator, twee, wojumacallit and yomp.

Also of interest is the List of words having different meanings in British and American English - you can see why George Bernard Shaw would say that Britain and America are "two countries separated by the same language".


  • hahaha thank you for the link! But I definitely have to disagree with you about the words that aren't in use anymore. Out of those you listed, I honestly will quite happily say:

    Argy-bargy, berk, boffin, bonce, higgledy-piggledy, how do, manky, mong, nash, twee, and yomp.

    In fact, berk boffin bonce and mong all seem like more recent words -- I used to use them all the time when I was at school and I'm only 21!

    Thanks again

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:41 pm  

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