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England Urban Dictionary

Your ‘Mom’ is now your ‘Mum’… Phrases to know before you Go

British Phrases and their American Counterparts

If you didn’t grow up in the UK, but did grow up speaking English, you will soon find out that there are lots of different types of English. And the Brits have their own (sometimes peculiar) way of speaking.  You may know some of these already, but just in case you have been brought up with American English and find yourself a little confused here is a little urban dictionary.

Some common American words phrases/with their British counterparts. See how many you knew already!

    • Buck (as in one dollar) – Quid (one pound GBP)
    • Calendar – Diary (as in putting an event in your diary)
    • Bathroom – Toilet or The Loo (after all there isn’t a bath in it!)
    • Vacation – Holiday
    • Call – Ring (in England calling is when you stop around someone’s house)
    • Cookie – Biscuit (don’t worry they have cookies in the UK too)
    • French Fries – Chips (These are thick and fat and often served with salt and vinegar)
    • Potato Chips – Crisps (You will be truly amazed what exotic flavours await you!)
    • Line – Queue
    • Mail – Post
    • Soccer – Football
    • Playful – Cheeky (often paired with monkey)
    • Nonsense – Rubbish or Bollocks (though the second one is borderline swearing so not in polite company please!)
    • Garbage – Rubbish
    • Suspicious – Dodgy
    • Underwear – Pants (for boys), Knickers (for girls)
    • Pants – Trousers
    • Baked Potato – Jacket Potato
    • Dessert– Pudding
    • Pharmacy/Drug Store – Chemist
    • Television – Telly
    • Sausage & Mashed Potatoes – Bangers & Mash
    • Bandaid – Plaster

One other quick thing to note – try not to swear by accident. There are certain words that may not be considered profanity in your home country but are here (eg. cr*p) And though seen as a stereotypically British word,  bl**dy is definitely not to be used in polite conversations!

These are just a few phrases to get you started! We know you will come across different one’s every day, but as long as you say “trousers” instead of “pants” while you are talking about your choice of clothing for the day with your coworkers or uni friends, then you’ll be just fine.

Still unsure what to do in London once you arrive? Check out our list of things to do all around our favourite city!

Think we missed a must know phrase before you go? Let us know your favourite British sayings below!