A British Vocab Quiz

Thursday, May 2, 2013

When I first came to England I assumed (naively) that because English is the generally spoken language, I wouldn't come across anything too unfamiliar in everyday conversation. While I haven't had a problem generally understanding people (ahem), there are a lot of things I had to explain to my mom and aunt during their visit. I hadn't realized how much I had learned since January! There actually is a lot different about the vocabulary in the UK versus in the US. Here are some differences:

Pants: in the US pants are jeans, trousers, etc, and in the UK pants are underwear (my American friend was super embarrassed on a bus once when she saw a guy wearing cool trousers and said "I like your pants!" and he gave her a really weird look!)
Jumper: I have no idea what this would be in the US because I'd never heard it, but in the UK a jumper is a sweater
Biscuit: in the US biscuits are homemade like this, in the UK biscuits are little cookies eaten with tea, like this (I personally would call that a cookie)
Chuffed: in the UK being chuffed means you're really happy about something, like if you got a good grade
All right?: in the US "all right?" sounds like something bad has happened, in the UK it just means "how are you?" This one took me a while to get used to, considering that's how everyone is greeted
Bob's your uncle: I've never heard this in the US, but in the UK it basically means "exactly!" or "that's it!"
Tea: I've learned tea in the southeast US is very different than in the UK - as in iced sweet tea versus hot tea
Knackered: basically, you're really really tired if you're knackered
Bullocks: in the US I thought bullocks meant someone's bum...but apparently in the UK it means another part of the male body in the same general area
Cheeky: again, this isn't something said much in the US, but in the UK it seems like cheeky can be used to describe anything! If a person is called cheeky, it generally means they're acting like a smart ass
Sorry: literally, this is something everyone says in London a million times a day, I'm sure of it. In the US you only say sorry if you're actually apologizing for doing something wrong. Here, sorry can mean pardon, excuse me, or whatever else these Brits would like to say
Cheers: in the UK it means thank you, hello, or goodbye

That's all that I can think of for now, but if any of my British readers can think of any, please let me know! I'm sure I'm missing a ton!

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