A common belief for an American visiting the UK is that language isn’t a barrier – you speak English, they speak English. Right? Wrong!
One of the biggest learnings Andy and I have had during the past year abroad is that British English and American English are very, very different. It’s like another language in a way. I am not going to sit here and entertain the famous argument of whose English is real English (feel free to debate that in the comments section below) but instead, I want to highlight the ways in which British English is very different from the English Andy and I spoke back home.
Below are some common phrases heard/used here in the UK. Bold type is the British word/phrase. Italics is the American translation. Enjoy!
Hiya – Hi there
You all right? – How are you? *Note: The correct response to “you all right?” is always “yes”. It is asked as a greeting and not because anyone actually cares how you are doing. Do not, I repeat, do not go on and on about how you are not alright. Seriously, no one cares.
On the piss – Getting drunk
Ace – When something or someone is good, great and/or awesome
Daft – When something or someone is dumb, stupid
Legend – When something or someone is awesome, amazing
Cracking – Similar to Ace. When something or something is the best
Smashing – When something is really good, terrific
Gutted -When you’re extremely disappointed, really upset
Bloke/Chap – a guy
Bird – a girl
Wanker – an asshole, a jerk, a loser
Fit – A good looking person
Grafter – A hard working person
Quid – What the Brits call their money (£££), similar to the American term “bucks”
Stag do/hen do – A bachelor party/bachelorette party
Fortnight – Two weeks time
I’m easy – I don’t care, it’s all the same to me
To pinch (something) – To steal something
Not my cup of tea – When you don’t like something/someone
(What are you) on about – (What are you) talking about
Taking the Mickey out of (something, someone) – Making fun of something or someone
Taking the piss out of someone – Making fun of something or someone
Made redundant – to be laid off
Bin – trashcan
Trousers – pants
Pants – underwear
Wellys – short for Wellington boots (aka rain boots)
Willy – penis
Wanking off – use your imagination 😉
What did I miss? There are so many British words and phrases that require American translation that I can’t think of them all! And, let’s not forget all the American terms the Brits have no clue about. I went first, now leave yours in the comments section below.