A UK / US slang glossary

My publisher is in the US. I’m a Brit. Between us we try and iron out the things that are so British that they are confusing, but a few things get through, so I’ve decided to keep a list – a sort of US/UK dictionary for my books. Please contact me (@Rhodabaxter) and let me know if I’ve missed any.If you have any suggestions for things to add, please let me know!

Arse – Ass (we think ‘ass’ means ‘Donkey’)

Boot – the storage space in the back of the car. It’s called the trunk in the US (or the ‘dicky’ in Sri Lanka).

Duvet – a comforter

Lancashire – a county in the North of Enlgand. The cities of Manchester and Lancaster are in Lancashire. Daphne from Fraiser comes from Lancashire. So does Victoria Beckham.

Mobile/ mobile phone – Cell phone. Or ‘Handi’, if you’re German.

MOT – Ministry of Transport road safety test. All cars need to have this done once a year, or they are not legally allowed on the road.

The North – there is a fairly obvious North/South divide in England. Northerners tend to be friendlier, have strong accents and consider Southerners to be soft. As most of the jobs are in London and the South East, there are a lot of Northerners in the South. The bits in the middle are called The Midlands (obviously).

Pavement – side walk

Phwoar! – I had to take this out of the book because I couldn’t think of a better substitution that didn’t involve a hand gesture. It’s a very British expression that means something along the lines of “Goodness, look at that body. I’d like to get my hands on that.”

To be pissed/ get pissed – to be drunk. To be annoyed is to be pissed off.

Take the piss – joke or tease

To pull – to get together with someone. At least a kiss.

Snog – kiss, with tongues. Not to be confused with smog.

Tea – A hot drink. We Brits like tea. Especially around 4pm. With cake, please. Apart from the drink, ‘tea’ can also mean a main evening meal, as in ‘high tea’. Some people call it supper, some call it dinner, in the North we call it tea. Confused? Me too. May I have more cake please?

Telly – Television

Text – SMS message

(The) Tate Modern – a modern art gallery on the South bank of the Thames in London. Its sister gallery The Tate Britain (also in London) which has more traditional british art.

Wales – a proud nation that shares a border with England. There are Welsh people who live in England and English people who live in Wales (no, really). The Welsh accent is lovely and musical.

Yorkshire – a county in the North of England. The cities of Leeds, Sheffield, York and Hull are in Yorkshire. Yorkshire and Lancashire have a longstanding rivalry.

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