16 Words That Can Mean Something Completely Different In The U.K.

And how to avoid potentially embarrassing situations while abroad.

1. Pants

 

What it means in the U.S.: Outerwear from the waist to the ankles; trousers.
What it means in the U.K.: Underwear.
Potentially confusing sentence: “Wow, your mom has the nicest pants!”

2. Braces

 

What it means in the US: Devices for straightening teeth.
What it means in the UK: Suspenders.
Potentially confusing sentence: “I used to always get food caught in my braces as a kid.”

3. Biscuit

 

What it means in the U.S.: A buttery, flaky bread served with savory meals.
What it means in the U.K.: A cookie.
Potentially confusing sentence: “I can’t eat a biscuit unless it’s dripping in gravy.”

4. First floor

 

What it means in the U.S.: The floor at ground level.
What it means in the U.K.: The floor above the ground level floor.
Potentially confusing sentence: “That super-important meeting is taking place on the first floor — don’t be late!”

5. Fancy dress

 

What it means in the U.S.: Formal attire.
What it means in the U.K.: Costume.
Potentially confusing sentence: “Those girls invited us to a fancy dress party tonight. Now where can I get a tuxedo?”

6. Trainers

 

What it means in the U.S.: A fitness expert who helps you work out.
What it means in the U.K.: Sneakers.
Potentially confusing sentence: “Work out with trainers? What do I look like, a millionaire?!”

7. Chaps

 

What it means in the U.S.: Leather leggings worn by cowboys designed to protect the legs whilst horseback riding.
What it means in the U.K.: Guys.
Potentially confusing sentence: “Nothin’ sexier than a pair of assless chaps!”

8. Comforter

 

What it means in the U.S.: A quilted bedspread.
What it means in the U.K.: A baby’s pacifier.
Potentially confusing sentence: “I can’t fall asleep without my favorite comforter.”

9. Cider

 

What it means in the U.S.: A nonalcoholic apple juice popular in the fall.
What it means in the U.K.: An alcoholic beverage derived from fermented apples, popular every season.
Potentially confusing sentence: “I used to drink cider every day as a kid.”

10. Knob

 

What it means in the U.S.: A rounded door handle.
What it means in the U.K.: A penis.
Potentially confusing sentence: “I broke my knob rushing out of the house this morning.”

11. Bin

 

What it means in the U.S.: A storage container.
What it means in the U.K.: A trash can.
Potentially confusing sentence: “I put all my grandmother’s valuables in a bin.”

12. Garden

 

What it means in the U.S.: A designated area for growing flowers or crops.
What it means in the U.K.: A backyard.
Potentially confusing sentence: “No thanks, I don’t want to drink beers in your garden because I’m not a crazy person.”

13. Rubber

 

What it means in the US: A condom.
What it means in the UK: An eraser.
Potentially confusing sentence: “Why on EARTH would you give those school children rubbers?!”

14. Pissed

 

What it means in the U..S: Angry.
What it means in the U.K.: Drunk.
Potentially confusing sentence: “Sorry that I’m late for work. I got a parking ticket and I’m pissed.”

15. Shag

 

What it means in the U.S.: Carpeting with particularly long and soft fibers.
What it means in the U.K.: Sex.
Potentially confusing sentence: “Shag? Gross. What is this, the ’70s?”

16. Football

 

What it means in the U.S.: Football.
What it means in the U.K.: Soccer.
Potentially confusing sentence: “I don’t like football.”

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