I’m sure you know there are many types of English. Each English speaking country has its own unique vocabulary, grammar structure and pronunciation.
Today we take a look at ten words which are used in natural British English, but are not really used in American English. All of these words are very common and are used in casual spoken-English.
(noun) synonym: man.
We use bloke to describe a man whose name is either not known or not important. It implies that the man is ordinary:
‘I heard a bloke on the train say that tomorrow's trains will be delayed.’
(noun) synonym: cigarette.
In British English a cigarette is known as a fag, but in American English fag is a slang word for a 'homosexual'! So be careful where you use it!
‘Tom went outside for a fag. I think he smokes too much!’
(verb) to want to do or have something/ to be sexually attracted to someone.
To want to do something: ‘Do you fancy going to the cinema on Friday?’
To be sexually attracted to someone: ‘I fancy the new guy in my office. I think he’s hot!’
(verb/noun) synonym: to vacuum/vacuum cleaner.
Hoover is a company that makes vacuum cleaners. The company is so well known that the brand name is often used instead of vacuum cleaner.
‘I need to buy a new hoover. Mine is broken.’
‘The carpet is dirty. When was the last time you hoovered?’
(noun) synonym: friend
Widely used in British and Australian English. It simply means ‘friend’:
‘We’ve been mates since we met in high school.’
(noun) synonym: beer
A pint is 568ml using the Imperial system. In British bars and pubs pints of beer (or half-pints) are served. We use pint to mean a beer in a pub.
‘Do you want to go for a pint after work?’
(noun) synonym: pound (£).
Just as Americans use the slang word 'buck' for a dollar ($), British people use quid to mean a British pound (£).
‘Forty quid for a ticket to the game? That’s too much!’
(verb) synonym: to think, to suppose.
Reckon is very widely used in British English. It has the same meaning as ‘to think’.
‘I reckon it will rain tomorrow.’
(noun/verb) synonym: Noun= garbage, trash,waste/ low quality,untrue. Verb= criticise
Rubbish can be used in a few ways. It can be used to describe garbage/trash:
‘Throw the empty coke can into the rubbish.’
‘After the festival was over the field was covered with people’s rubbish.’
It can be used to describe something you think is not good:
‘I don’t like Green Day. I think their music is rubbish.’
It can be used to say that something is not true or a lie.
‘Did you read that article in the newspaper? What a load of rubbish! I don’t believe it.’
It can be used as a verb meaning ‘to criticise’:
‘I don’t want to rubbish your plan, but I don’t think it will work.’
(adjective) synonym: cool, great, excellent.
A young persons word meaning 'great' or 'cool'. Wicked also has the formal (old-fashioned) meaning of 'bad' or 'evil'. These days it has a positive meaning. Remember, it’s very casual and mostly used by young people:
‘Look at that jacket. It’s wicked! I’m going to buy it.’
I hope to know if that is all right!
What's funny is that the word "reckon" in the US sounds very old fashion/hick when said by other Americans.
I couldn't find the video, but the conversation on "fag" in the US made me think of this dialogue from Arrested Development.
British soldier: When I miss your lips, I'll put a fag in my mouth and think of you.
Buster, before going to Iraq: When I miss your lips, I'll put a fig in my mouth and think of you.
British nurse: Oh, Buster! You're such a pussy!
[Buster is confused]
Michael: It means she likes you.
Chris, as an American, I understand all of those terms, although I can't speak for everyone. I definitely wouldn't use "fag" here, and "quid" wouldn't make any sense since we don't use pounds. In parts of the US(particularly in the northeast) we use "wicked" to mean "cool," so that would be easily understood. "Reckon" is used here regularly and has the same meanng. All the rest would be easily understood, except perhaps "hoover," but it's easily guessed from context.
Thanks Mate! But are you now telling me that if I would say these words to a bloke in the USA, he wouldn't understand me? I would like to order a pint in a bar, and I would fancy a fag if smoking is allowed there. I know it really costs a few quid there though. Or dollars more likely. Alcohol is expensive. Alright, I reckon nobody understands me then, man what rubbish. These wicked ways of the Americans. I've even heard that in American hotels you have to hoover your own room! :-P
The words mentioned by you are very familiar to me. But I am Dutch, hence I am more or less your neighbour from across the Northsea, and I mostly watch and listen the BBC. I am a little surprised I cannot use these words everywhere. Though they seemed a bit slangish. So thanks for the warning.
Thanks Chris, i copied this list of words because i dont know and didnt use must of these words.. :)
Thanks a lot Susan612 for the clarification.. ^_^