United Kingdom English for the American Novice
Sixth Edition, July 1983
"English" to "American" Dictionary

The items in this dictionary were collected while I lived in the United Kingdom from 1981 to 1983. The work is no longer maintained and so contains dated references to people of the time. The definitions are my interpretation of explanations from Brits with whom I came in contact and hence may not be complete or even totally accurrate.

Holy cow, who would have thought someone would want to translate the dictionary? Obviously, **I** had nothing to do with these, other than to say, "Sure, have a go at it" and agree to provide these links:

"The Americans are identical to the British in all respects except, of course, language."
Oscar Wilde

"Giving English to an American is like giving sex to a child. He knows it's important but he doesn't know what to do with it."
Adam Cooper (19th century)

"We (the British and Americans) are two countries separated by a common language."
G.B. Shaw

The Englishman commented to the American about the "curious" way in which he pronounced so many words, such as schedule (pronounced shedule). The American thought about it for a few moments, then replied, "Perhaps it's because we went to different shools!"


While in the UK I learned that the "English" and "American" languages have less in common than might be supposed. New words can be confusing and their meaning may be lost to you. More troublesome is a word which has a completely different meaning in each language. The problem is that you think you understand.

The items found below may cause confusion for one who is conversant in both languages. The word being defined is an "English" word or phrase. The definition is in "American". All English words are entered in capital letters so the reader will not be misled. Mixed case words may be safely interpreted by the American reader. Not all meanings are given for a particular word. English words often have several meanings and only those which differ (from American) are listed here.

The pronunciation in American sound phonetics (in parentheses) follows the word being defined. If this is omitted the pronunciation is as an American would expect. English pronunciation of these words is often similar to the American version. However, in general, the English pronunciation is more "clipped" and is said at twice the rate of American. English readers will find there is a definite tilt towards "southern English" in the dictionary. Readers from other parts of the U.K. should not be offended. This merely reflects that most of my sources were from that area.

Additional background on these pages is available here. This work is copyright by Terry Gliedt and may not be redistributed in any form without written permission from the author.