What I would be looking for is a dictionary, printed or downloadable, containing the differences between British and US English and nothing else. For example, it would contain boot/trunk, but not “steering wheel”. I did find online dictionaries that can be switched between being British and US English, but nothing focused just on the differences.

PS. The British Council list is missing dived vs dove, for example (which would also need some more explanation). Or aluminium vs. aluminum. I have no idea what else it misses. I expect a dictionary to be reasonably complete.

  • It wouldn't be much of a list anyway. This list from the British Council gives a couple of dozen "differences" - but for half of those, if you did happen to use the "wrong" version for whichever side of the pond you were on, I suspect few if any people would even notice. For example, if someone said they were going to put on a sweater because it's cold it certainly wouldn't occur to me to think that on that basis, s/he might be American. Jan 17, 2021 at 11:30
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    @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica On the other hand, I gather that a British man telling an American that he's going to put on a jumper might get a funny look! Jan 17, 2021 at 12:21
  • Some of those British Council "differences" are a bit old or formal. My Lancashire partner calls trousers "pants"; Morrissey famously sang that "if a ten ton truck /Kills the both of us /To die by your side/Well, the pleasure, the privilege is mine" Jan 17, 2021 at 14:04
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    @KateBunting: I quit smoking last year, but before that I couldn't help noticing that Americans often gave me a sideways look when I said I was going out for a fag. Jan 17, 2021 at 15:01
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    @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica There's also the problem that neither "British English" nor "American English" are fixed standards. For example, there's a famous geographic division between soda vs. pop vs. coke within the US; and I'm sure you could produce a list of countless regionalisms within British English as well. Jan 17, 2021 at 18:37
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    Here is a handy list of 280 different words from Lexico. It should be enough for most scenarios. Regarding "dived" and "dove", both verb inflections are used in American and British English. Jan 18, 2021 at 0:38
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica - I thought that the one thing every Yank knows about Brits is that we call cigarettes "fags", and that certain offal meatballs are called "faggots". Jan 18, 2021 at 7:40
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica - I think that in certain 1950s American magazines, "sweater girls" were a thing. Jan 18, 2021 at 7:42
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    I always thought a fag was a first former who made ones crumpets at tea time ;)) Jan 19, 2021 at 11:27
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    Overall, there aren't many differences, so such a dictionary would be really short. Another example where someone might be confused is the case of eggplant (US) vs aubergine (UK). I cannot speak for the UK, but few in the US would know what an aubergine is.
    – maxbear123
    Jan 20, 2021 at 15:14
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    There's also the differences between both UK and US English from Australian English, as epitomized by this infamous meme: i.pinimg.com/originals/fc/c1/cf/…
    – nick012000
    Jan 24, 2021 at 8:26

1 Answer 1


The Wikipedia article “Comparison of British and American English” is quite good, because it discusses more that just differences in single word meanings.

As mentioned in the comments, there is also a list of differences from the British Council.

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