Do You Know the British Words For All of These Common Items?


By: Becky

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Are you a fan of the way the Brits talk? Do you watch enough British television to consider yourself an expert on British terminology? Then this quiz is for you. Try your hand at correctly identifying these 35 common items that Brits have different names for.

We're not entirely certain where many of the names that the Brits use to identify common items came from, but we do know that we here in the States tend to be a bit out of the loop in regard to what these common items are called. Of course, it stands to reason that, because the British virtually settled the world, many other nations would use the same terms as the Brits do to refer to these things. But, we wonder, if the Brits settled our country too, and they did, why don't we use the same terms? We're just going to assume that we here in the US prefer to be different ... yeah, that's the ticket ... we don't use the metric system, and we don't use words such as lorry to refer to a bus, football to refer to soccer and nappies to refer to diapers.

How many of these 35 British words for common items can you identify?

Americans have friends. Brits have what?

Brits have mates instead of friends. So do the Australians.


Americans call it their apartment -- what do the British call it?

An apartment is a flat in Britain. We can see why they would call it a flat, but we do wonder what they might call a condo.


You ride the tallest freestanding elevator in the U.S. to get to The Lookout at the Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee. What's the British word for "elevator?"

Just as we Americans elevate, the Brits lift. Six of one, half dozen of another.


An American may visit the "powder room," but what's the British euphemism for going to the bathroom?

The Brits might way "pop to the loo." This is their way of saying they're making a quick trip to the bathroom.


What does it mean if a Brit calls you a "nosy parker"?

You're definitely nosy if a Brit calls you this. Hmm... wonder where the "parker" part came from.


Want potato chips? If you're in the UK, look for these.

Confusing, right? Fish and chips are fish and fries, but chips are crisps.


Most of the cars we drive in the U.S. run on gasoline. What's the British equivalent?

We love how the Brits tend to be quite literal about what they name things. The word "petrol" certainly does reflect the fact that auto fuel is petroleum based.


To make room for your family, you put your shopping packages in the trunk of the car. What's the equivalent "trunk" in British English?

In British English, a trunk is a boot. So, is a boot a trunk? Confusing!


Although it's known as "football" in most countries, including the UK, what do Americans call the same sport?

We often wonder why football in the U.S. is a ball that you throw, while soccer is football in the rest of the world. After all, it is against the rules to throw a soccer ball.


Shopping for groceries in the U.S. is easier when you can put your items in a shopping cart until you check out. What do you put them in if you're British?

Trollies have multiple meanings on the UK. Remember, in Harry Potter, young Harry and Ron loaded their belongings onto trollies to take them to Platform 9.5.


In the U.S., babies wear diapers until they're potty trained. What do British babies wear?

British babies wear nappies. So do Australian babies.


In the U.S. we eat corn. But in Britain -- and most of the world -- what is corn known as?

Yup, the same word that the American Indians used. Seems like the word "maize" was one we Americans wanted to forget.


In the U.S., you reach for a sweater when you're cold. What does a Brit call a sweater?

Sweaters are jumpers in Britain. So are pullover sweaters, by the way.


Brits play the same game of tic-tac-toe as Americans, but by what name do they call it?

Noughts are zeros, and crosses are ... well ... crosses. We certainly can see how they arrived at the name.


When you order the British classic fish and chips, what are "chips"?

In the U.S. we know these as french fries, and a burger and fries is a popular order. In the U.K., though, "fries" are called "chips" -- so if you want fish and fries, you need to ask for "fish and chips."


In the U.S., we grow vegetables and flowers in gardens that we tend to in our yards. In British English, what do you call your yard?

Here in the states, a garden is something that we plant intentionally. We don't include the grass in the yard, because it is, for the most part, incidental. Seems the Brits want credit for the whole kit and caboodle.


You ask your British friend for the time, and he says 'half-eight' -- what time is that?

"Half-eight," to a Brit, is the same time as "half past eight" to an American -- in other words, it's 8:30.


Americans pronounce the letter 'Z' as, 'zee' -- how do the Brits say it?

Once upon a time, both of these options were used in American and British English -- and they weren't the only way to speak the last letter of the alphabet; "ezod," "izzard," "uzzard," and "zad" were also all acceptable. Today, though, most English-speaking countries -- including the United Kingdom, Canada, India, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand -- the letter's pronounced as "zed," derived from the Greek "zeta."


If you take your coffee with cream, what should you order in Britain?

It's true. The Brits call creamer "whitener." Well, that sure does describe what it does, in the literal sense.


In the U.S., the first floor is street level and the second floor is the floor above it. What's the floor at street level called in British English?

In the U.S., a first-floor apartment is at ground level. But it's not the same in British English, where the street-level apartment is the "ground floor" and the first floor is above it (which makes it a second-floor apartment to an American).


Americans make a check mark, while Brits they make a what?

We call it check, Brits call it tick. So, next time you see/hear the phrase "tick the box," you'll understand what they're talking about.


In the U.S. you'd go to the pharmacy to buy some aspirin for your headache. Where would you go in Britain?

Making an errand to the chemist's in Britain is like running to the pharmacy in the U.S. -- it's a store that sells health and beauty products, with a counter for buying medications.


When Brits "go to uni" it's the same thing as when an American does what?

Just like they go to hospital, the Brits go to university. In the states, we put the word "the" in front of both words. The word "uni" is short for university.


The red-and-black flying insects called ladybugs in the U.S. are known as what across the pond?

Hmmm... we think that bugs and birds are very different, but the Brits must believe differently. They call ladybugs "ladybirds" across the pond.


To a Brit, being "legless" means you're what?

Yeah, we can see how this reference came about. Our legs don't want to work either after a bawdy night out on the town with our mates.


In the U.S., we use crosswalks to safely cross our streets. Brits do, too -- but what do they call their pedestrian crossings?

We love how literal the Brits are. The stripes in the crosswalk are rather zebra-like.


In the U.S., the active ingredient in the pain reliever Tylenol is called acetaminophen. But it's not known as acetaminophen in many places around the world. What do the British call it?

Just like Tylenol, Paracetamol is the brand name for acetaminophen. Most of Europe uses the name Paracetamol.


Its scientific name is Solanum melongena, and in North America it's known as an eggplant. What do the Brits call this vegetable?

In the states, the word "aubergine" refers to the color of eggplant. Whoa ... insight.


In the U.S., public schools are maintained at public expense. What are "public schools" in the UK?

Interesting, but true. What's also interesting is that college, or university, is free in many parts of the world.


In North America, a car with elongated trunk space is called a station wagon. What's the name for it in the UK?

In the UK a car with an elongated trunk space is called an estate car. Perhaps this is because the family's entire estate would fit into it?


In the U.S., we watch an instant replay. What's an "instant replay" called in British English?

Here in the states, we replay the action in an instant. In the UK, they initiate the action replay instantly.


Americans buy alcohol at the liquor store, but what's the store called in British English?

What we refer to here in the States as a liquor store, is called an off-license store in the UK. This name reflects the rule that the beverages purchased in the store must be consumed off the premises.


In the U.S., chocolate made from cocoa butter instead of milk-based butter (like milk chocolate) is called "dark chocolate" -- but what would you ask for if you were trying to buy some in Britain?

The Brits are rather particular about their chocolate, and we don't blame them. Plain chocolate is the kind that is not milk-based.


In the U.S. some of us call these ice cream and cupcake toppers sprinkles, while others know them as jimmies. What do the British call them?

The British call them hundreds and thousands. If you've ever spilled some, it sure seems like there's that many.


Americans have "Dear Abby" or "Ask Amy" to give them advice -- what do Brits call an advice columnist?

Oh dear, we're going to have to assume that the Brits equate advice with agony. Of course, we have to assume that Dear Abby and Ask Amy were also in agony quite often.


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