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    Updated on Jul 9, 2020. Posted on Jul 9, 2020

    14 British Versus American Word Differences That Have Me So, So Confused

    Don't call an American "homely."

    So I'm originally from England, but I live and work in New York, which means I've had to adjust from the Queen's English to American English. I started using month/day formatting and basically got rid of the letter "u." All was well — until I saw a comment that shook me to my core.

    BBC

    You see, I'd written a post about Pizza Hut in the '90s wherein I'd described the establishment as "homely." You know, like cozy, comfortable, generally like my home. OR SO I THOUGHT.

    BuzzFeed

    "Homely is a nice word for ugly."

    Yes, the word "homely" means something totally different in American English and British English.

    A Google definition of the word "homely" which says that the North American definition means "unattractive" while the British definition means "cozy and comfortable."
    Google / BuzzFeed

    So, in order to prevent further offense to any chain restaurants, please enjoy these other words that have different meanings depending on which side of the pond you're on:

    1. "Quite"

    Tainar / Wenjie Dong / Getty

    What it means in the US: Very.

    What it means in the UK: A bit, fairly.

    Potential cause of international drama: Hearing "it's quite cold outside" and not knowing whether to wear a jacket.

    2. "First floor"

    lechatnoir / Getty

    What it means in the US: The ground floor.

    What it means in the UK: The level above the ground floor.

    Potential cause of international drama: Lost Brits and Americans roaming two different parts of a building, each convinced they are in the correct place.

    3. "Table"

    HS3RUS / Olena Babii / Getty

    What it means in the US: Let's postpone talking about this!

    What it means in the UK: Let's begin to talk about this!

    Potential cause of international drama: Trying to decipher political news.

    4. "Pants"

    Poike / stuartbur

    What it means in the US: Outerwear that you put your legs through.

    What it means in the UK: Underwear that you put your legs through.

    Potential cause of international drama: The question "what pants are you wearing tonight?" turning from innocuous to saucy and vice versa.

    5. "Suspenders"

    m-imagephotography / Dmitry Belyaev / Getty

    What it means in the US: An item people usually use to hold up pants or to look vaguely like a hipster.

    What it means in the UK: An item people use to hold up stockings.

    Potential cause of international drama: The instruction of "I think you should wear suspenders to the bedroom, baby" being entirely misunderstood.

    6. "Nervy"

    Rawpixel / Deagreez / Getty

    What it means in the US: Used to describe someone who's bold.

    What it means in the UK: Used to describe someone nervous.

    Potential cause of international drama: Your feelings going into a bungee jump being entirely misread.

    7. "Public school"

    DONGSEON_KIM / Getty

    What it means in the US: A free school.

    What it means in the UK: A fee-paying school, often associated with a long and fancy history.

    Potential cause of international drama: Wholly mischaracterizing your youth.

    8. "Scrappy"

    Merlas / SilviaJansen / Getty

    What it means in the US: Having a strong character that ain't going to give up.

    What it means in the UK: Messy or badly organized.

    Potential cause of international drama: Describing a company's work as "scrappy," leading to an accidental insult or compliment.

    9. "Rocket"

    3DSculptor / Yuliya Shauerman / Getty

    What it means in the US: A big thing that goes into space.

    What it means in the UK: A big thing that goes into space, but also a green, leafy vegetable (aka arugula).

    Potential cause of international drama: Asking for rocket in your salad and appearing a bit bonkers.

    10. "Vest"

    NejroN / binik / Getty

    What it means in the US: A sleeveless item of clothing you typically wear over other clothes.

    What it means in the UK: A sleeveless item of clothing you typically wear under other clothes.

    Potential cause of international drama: A vest-themed party leading to chaos.

    11. "Purse"

    alexalenin / mediaphotos / Getty

    What it means in the US: A handbag.

    What it means in the UK: A wallet, which you might put inside a handbag.

    Potential cause of international drama: Saying "have you got my purse?" and then suddenly being locked outside your apartment with only your wallet and no keys or phone.

    12. "Biscuit"

    pamela_d_mcadams / martinrlee / Getty

    What it means in the US: A soft, flaky baked good.

    What it means in the UK: A hard, sweet baked good.

    Potential cause of international drama: Biscuits and gravy being a tasty treat or the stuff of nightmares.

    13. "College"

    sshepard / monkeybusinessimages / Getty

    What it means in the US: An academic institution where you'd typically get your bachelors degree, often known as a university.

    What it means in the UK: An academic institution where students sit the final two years of high school and receive various qualifications.

    Potential cause of international drama: Saying "it happened when I was in college" and having someone wonder whether you meant age 16 or 23.

    14. Finally, "Fanny"

    VladimirFLoyd / Getty

    What it means in the US: Bottom.

    What it means in the UK: Vagina.

    Potential cause of international drama: Perhaps not drama per say, but a lot of unintentional humor.

    Of course, there's infinite regional differences and exceptions within this strange, strange language. Still, if you've found yourself in a moment of confusion like this before, let me know in the comments!

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