British English vs American English

British and American English are the reference norms for English as spoken, written, and taught in the rest of the world. For instance the English-speaking members of the Commonwealth often closely follow British English forms while many new American English forms quickly become familiar outside of the United States. Although most dialects of English used in the former British Empire outside of North America are, to various extents, based on British English, most of the countries concerned have developed their own unique dialects, particularly with respect to pronunciation, idioms and vocabulary. Chief among other English dialects are Canadian English, based on the English of United Empire Loyalists who left the 13 Colonies, and Australian English, which rank third and fourth in number of native speakers.

The info-graphic below details some of the differences between American and British English.

British Vs American English

Here are some more examples:

B road / rural road
bonnet / hood
boot / trunk
bumper / bumper, fender
car park / parking lot
dual carriageway / divided highway
estate car / station wagonflyover / overpass
gearbox / transmission
juggernaut / 18 wheeler
lorry / truck
articulated lorry / trailer truck
motorway or M way / freeway or highway
pavement / sidewalk
petrol / gasoline or gas
saloon / sedan
silencer / muffler
spanner / wrench
ticking over / idling
windscreen / windshield
anti-clockwise / counter-clockwise

British English / American English
not touch something with a bargepole / not touch something with a ten-foot pole
sweep under the carpet / sweep under the rug
touch wood / knock on wood
see the wood for the trees / see the forest for the trees
throw a spanner (in the works) / throw a (monkey) wrench (into a situation)
skeleton in the cupboard / skeleton in the closet
a home from home / a home away from home
blow one’s trumpet / blow (or toot) one’s horn
a drop in the ocean / a drop in the bucket
flogging a dead horse / beating a dead horse
haven’t (got) a clue / don’t have a clue or have no clue
a new lease of life / a new lease on life
lie of the land / lay of the land

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