The Index

In The Prodigal Tongue I was unable to mark all of the Americanisms and Britishism that came up in passing as I wrote. The index in the book includes only those words and phrases that are substantially discussed. This is a supplementary index of British/American expressions that aren’t in the book index.

As discussed in the book, it’s difficult to say which words are “Americanisms” or “Britishisms”. Are we talking about current usage? Or where the word started? I’ve got a mixture of both here—if you see an expression that you say in the other country’s column, then it’s more than likely that I’m just pointing out that it didn’t originally come from your country. Most words here will be familiar to most readers.

To build this index, I looked in particular at words or meanings that were likely to have arisen after 1750 (when the English-speaking population of the future US was sizable). Not all of those expressions are here; in some cases, the evidence of who said it first is just too tenuous to call. For example the OED’s first citation for dentistry is in 1838 Edinburgh. But the word took off faster in the US than in the UK, according to Google Books Ngrams, and that OED entry has not been updated since 1895. So I’ve just left it out, rather than picking a side. Transatlantic was similar; slightly different uses of the word seem to have sprung up in different places around the same time. It’s interesting, but requires too many caveats to fit in this table. So in such cases, I’ve tended to err on the side of non-inclusion.

The list includes:

  • expressions I’ve used in passing as part of the “LynneMurphyish” that the book is written in. These are in bold.
  • expressions that are raised (briefly) as examples, but not included in the book’s index. These are in italics. (If it’s in the book’s index, it’s probably not here.)
  • only spellings that are not part of a general pattern. That is, artefact/artifact is here, but not centre/center, theatre/theater
  • only expressions originating in the UK or US. There are, of course, phrases in the book that originated in Australia, Canada and Ireland. Sorry, Commonwealth words; you’re not what my book is about.
  • no pronunciation differences (you’ll just have to read the book to find out about them!)
  • few grammatical differences (because they’re hard to describe and put into an alphabetical table)

For many items, I’ve given a short explanation or first citation date (usually from the OED, sometimes from Green’s Dictionary of Slang or Merriam-Webster).

Where a clear US/UK equivalent exists for a bold or italic word in the list,  but that equivalent is not mentioned in the book, it’s given in plain roman.

This was a rather overwhelming task, so I have probably missed things. If you spot something in the book that you think should be on this list, please get in touch.

page UK US comment
0   American English possibly coined by Noah Webster
0   British English mid-1800s 
1 talking heads   first used in UK in 1960s; almost immediately taken up in US too
1 university college  
1   chutzpah from Yiddish
1   wrecking ball general English now, but first used in US
2 management-speak   1980s
2 superhero   first OED citation = UK 1899
2   fast food 1950s
2   gobbledygook 1940s
2   ground zero 1940s
2   hip-hop late 1970s
2   kidult 1940s
2   sign up for (something) early 20th c
2   teenager 1940s
2   tween 1940s
3 grumpy   late 1700s
3 psychologize   first OED citation = Coleridge in 1810
3 technologize   this word has probably been re-invented many times, but the 1st OED cite is UK 1900 (with -ise)
3   Americanism coined by Rev. John Witherspoon, 1781
3   globalize this word has probably been re-invented many times, but the 1st OED cite is US 1937
3   go-getting 1920s or earlier
3   leverage (v.) in the financial sense,  1970s
3   microwave (v.) orig. tech jargon 1960s
3   personal computer orig. tech jargon 1950s, though it came to be used more in UK than US (see ch. 3)
3   pop (adj.) meaning ‘popularized’ (frequently implying ‘dumbed down’)
3   reach out ‘to contact’
3   suit meaning ‘business executive’, 1970s
3   unfriend online culture early 2000s
3   unlike in its modern, online sense, 2000s
3   upload The OED’s first citaton for this noun is from a NATO document, following ones US in origin
4 Chicken Licken Chicken Little  
4 mum mom  
4 tut (v.)   in the ‘to express disapproval’ sense, 1970s
4   Public Enemy Number 1 circa 1930: the first person on a list of wanted criminals
6   co-author (v.) first OED citation by Groucho Marx, 1948
6   stew (over) fret’ first OED citations are US, from early 20th c
7   uppity self-important’; mid-/late-1800s
8 déclassé   turn of 20th c
8 working class   mid-1700s
8   immigrant  late 1700s (also discussed in ch. 7)
8   kick in ‘take effect’ (as of drugs); 1980s (after other US senses)
8   nitwit early 20th c
9 towards toward both are used in both countries—click link to read more; These occur in passing on several other pages, but I won’t repeat it here.
9   belittle possibly coined by Thomas Jefferson
9   moose from an Algonquian word
9   player meaning ‘influential person’, 1930s
10 fairy cake cupcake  the US term is now used in UK, sometimes to refer to a more American-style one
10 knob-shrivelling   in the quoted context, it means something like ‘horrifying’ (knob=’penis’)
10   political correctness 1800s
10   t-shirt 1920s
11 cabby/cabbie   mid-19th c
11   Brit for a person, first OED citation is from Texas
11   expatriation in the sense of ’emigration’ (rather than exile), first known use by Thomas Jefferson
12 aubergine eggplant  
12 boardroom   seems to be orig. UK, mid-1800s
12 film movie Film is used in US too, but tends to be reserved for more “serious” or “arty” ones. 
12 lift elevator  
12 news, the   for a radio or tv broadcast, seems to be UK first
12 television programme television show Though show has been used in this way in UK since the 1930s, it’s used about twice as much in US.
12 wireless radio The US term has completely overshadowed the UK one now. 
12   blah blah blah early 20th c
13 rubbish garbage garbage was used in Britain since the 1400s, but now sounds “American”
14 anorak   1980s ‘obsessive or uncool type of person’ (from a UK term for a parka) 
14 biscuits cookies  
14 boffin   ‘expert’: originally Royal Air Force scientists
14 pavement sidewalk sidewalk originated in London
14 poo poop see the link for the tricky story of these two
14 swot   mid-1800s ‘person who studies (BrE revises) a lot’ 
14   nerd 1950s
15 brilliant   as a general positive evaluation, popularized in UK in 1970s
15 Special Relationship, the   Winston Churchill is credited with coining this, though references to UK & US having a special relationship predate him by 45 years.
15 standfirst subhead journalism jargon
15   Anglo-American First OED citation of this word is by Benjamin Franklin
15   groovy jazz slang from 1930s
16 chest of drawers/draws dresser  
16 fortnight   from fourteen nights
16 pal   late 1700s
16 wardrobe armoire  
16   ok early 1800s, probably from a jokey ‘orl korrect’
16   peanut butter  
17 have a look take a look  
17 July the fifth July fifth  
17   ahead of meaning ‘before’; this is used more in American, but there are plenty of old UK examples of it
17   fess up ‘confess’; mid 19th c
18 one-off   1930s
18 presenter    for a television/radio announcer, orig. & chiefly UK
18 scare quotes   appears to have first been used in UK in 1950s
18   folks orig. British, but more US in usage since early 19th c
19 half an hour half-hour, a US says both, UK prefers one
19 towards toward both are used in both countries—click link to read more; These occur in passing on several other pages, but I won’t repeat it here.
20 grey gray both spellings go way, way back
20 nappy diaper  
20 programme program the computer sense is program in both countries
20 whilst while  
20   baby-talk late 1700s
20   Britishism meaning ‘a British word’, first cited in Texas 1879
20   Britishness this word has probably been re-invented many times, but the 1st OED cite is US 1857
20   public television non-commercial television, funded through government grants and donations
21   cute the ‘adorable’ meaning is 19th-century US (orig. meant ‘acute’); now common in UK
21   parking ticket 1920s
21   singles bar 1960s
22 league table   ‘ranking’
22   sexy  turn of 20th c
24 standard (English, etc.)   for a variety of language; early 19th c
26 car boot car trunk  
26 motorway highway  
26 tyre tire for the round, rubber thing
26   go-to (adj.) 1980s
27 hotch-potch hodge-podge  
27 not be having any of that    
29 bookstall   for a place to buy books, 1700s
29 bum bag fanny pack  
29 earplug   mid/late 1800s
29 holiday vacation  
29 knock me up in the morning   to mean ‘wake me with a knock’—as discussed in the book, I’ve never heard anyone say it seriously
29   kooky Green’s Dictionary of Slang has this as orig. US, but the OED has UK examples pretty soon after coining
29   PIN (number) Personal Identification Number’; 1970s
29   stump orator possibly coined by Thomas Jefferson
30 chilli chili  
30 pepper (or sweet pepper) bell pepper  
30 pub   short for ‘public house’
30   quiz (n. & v.) well-used in the UK now, the ‘test’ sense is 19th century US
30   second-guess 1940s
31 council estate projects  
31 eaterie eatery the word is more American, but the French-like spelling is more British
31 estate development, subdivision an area of uniform housing, including grouped apartment buildings or  what might be called ‘a subdivision’ in the US
32 off-licence liquor store (there are also regional US terms)
32 shop store It’s not that the two words aren’t used in both countries, but shop is used far more in UK
13 rubbish at (something), be stink at (something) to be bad at’ (doing something)
36 afterwards afterward The story is more complicated—see the link!
36 trendy   1960s
37 couldn’t care less*   The claim (in the first printing of this book) that this is originally US is an error. It is originally 1940s UK. My apologies!
37 dead good real good That is, adverbial usages of adverbs.
37 proper (adv.)   as in proper drunk
37 toodle-pip   Also mentioned on this page, cheerio.
37   could care less Couldn’t care less is still more common in American English.
38 car park parking lot  
38 me (possessive)   The more ancient pronunciation of my
38   kind of (adv.) as in they kind of did that; late 1700s
38   right back at ya  
39 cartoonist   UK 1880s; US soon followed
39 laddish   refers to a stereotyped kind of young men’s behavio(u)r 
39 Morris-dancing   the kind of folk-dancing that Dick van Dyke did in the fair scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
39 telly TV  
39   one-man (adj.) this word has probably been re-invented many times, but the 1st OED cite is US 1842
40 brolly bumbershoot slang terms for umbrellas
40 school tie   This is quoted from an American source, where they’re probably using <i>school tie</I> to mean <i>old school tie</I>: a signal of having gone to an elite ‘public’ school
41 bag of tripe   doesn’t seem to make sense in Powers’ sentence, but it has been a British put-down for an unpleasant person
41 chuffed as nuts   ‘extremely pleased’
41 J. Arthur   Rhyming slang: J. Arthur Rank = ‘wank’ (masturbation). Green’s Dictionary of Slang’s first citation is from Australia, but it quickly spread to UK
41 nudge, nudge, wink, wink   a catchphrase from Monty Python’s Flying Circus
41 pork pies   meaning ‘lies’, rhyming slang
41 rumpy-pumpy   ‘casual sexual relations’
41 todger   ‘penis’
41   comic to mean ‘comic strip’, early 20th c.
42 argie-bargie   ‘argument, row’; also argy-bargy
42 bonkers   ‘crazy’, 1940s
42 gobsmacked   ‘shocked’–that is, smacked (‘slapped’) on the gob (‘mouth’), 1950s
42 kerfuffle   ‘commotion, to-do’, started as curfuffle in 19th c Scotland
42 wanker jerk wanker, like jerk, is a word for a contemptible person that literally refers to masturbation—but wanker is applied to more types of contemptible
42   bullshit 20th c
42   cross-dressing first found in US academic works, early 20th c.
42   eat ’em up eat meaning ‘devour a performance’ is orig. UK Americans seem to have added the up.
42   poppycock from Dutch for ‘doll’s farts’ or ‘doll’s poo(p)’
42   scouring pad early 20th c. 
43 bookshop bookstore bookshop is also used in US, but tends to be for smaller places
43 codswallop   ‘nonsense’ (1950s)
43 dogsbody gofer ‘person who’s low on the pecking order and does menial tasks’ 
43 gobby   ‘mouthy’
43 How’s your father?   ‘sexual relations’ (very dated)
43 impulse (purchase)   Use of impulse to describe a type of shopping seems to have originated in 1950s Britain
43 sprog   ‘offspring’
43 toff   ‘upper-class person’ (disparaging)
43 tosh   ‘nonsense’ (1890s)
43   chain as in chain store; as a noun mid-1800s, as an adj. early 20th c.
44 bare   ‘very’, ‘a lot of’ (recent slang)
44 bladdered   ‘drunk’
44 china (plate)   ‘friend’, from Cockney rhyming slang
44 cotch   ‘relax’ (or a place to relax)
44 dodgy geezer   ‘untrustworthy man’
44 hairdresser   orig. 2 words, seems to be from late 18th c Britain
44 half-cut   ‘drunk’
44 knackered   ‘tired, exhausted’
44 risqué   used earlier in UK than US, mid-1800s (from French)
44 secret service secret service mentioning this one because the OED notes that the ‘specifically national security’-oriented meaning is US; the original British meaning just had to do with anything the government didn’t disclose.
44 shag   ‘sexual intercourse’
44 squiffy   ‘mildly intoxicated’
44 trollied   ‘drunk’
44 well-oiled   ‘drunk’
44 willy   ‘penis’ (childish)
44   inner-city 1960s
44   network meaning a ‘nationally broadcasting television company’ (orig. British television usage referred to a network of transmitters)
44   party animal 1970s
44   skatepark 1970s; quickly picked up in UK
44   soap meaning ‘soap opera’, 1940s (soap opera also US, slightly earlier)
45 bollocks   in the meaning ‘insulting nonsense’
45 bum butt  
45 camp (adj.)   early 20th c.; my US editor wanted to change this to campy (which also seems to be orig. UK)
45 cheeky   ‘impudent, often in a charming kind of way’; 1830s
45 cheeky monkey   late 1800s 
45 hygienic   seems to be from UK medical literature, early 1800s
45 lovely jubbly   1980s
45 mad as a box of frogs crazy as a loon  
45 pillock   ‘penis’ (16th c Scotland) ‘idiot’ (1960s UK)
45   billboard 1850s
45   bloviate ‘talk at length, emptily’
45   catchphrase It’s likely this is orig. US 1840s (Merriam-Webster), but it quickly caught on in UK.
45   discombobulate ‘put out of sorts’
45   gonzo ‘a subjective style of journalism’
45   hootenanny ‘improvised folk concert’
45   lickety-split ‘quickly’
45   mugwump ‘independent politician’
45   plug (v.) meaning ‘promote’, early 1900s
45   recombobulation ‘put back into order’
48   at full blast early 1800s
49 P.E. gym class  
50 have a bath take a bath  
50 toilet (i.e. public toilet) restroom  
50 toilet, loo powder room but note that toilet in the current UK sense is originally US
50   go to the bathroom ‘urinate or defecate’
50   shitloads 1950s (or earlier) 
51 ladies’, the women’s room  
51 lavatory   This is used some in US, but note that usual southern English pronunciation differs markedly from US: LAVatrY versus LAVaTORy
51 loo bathroom  
52 back passage   ‘rectum’
52 make-up   ‘cosmetics’; from UK theatre mid-1800s
52 privy outhouse  
52 spend a penny   ‘urinate’
52 water closet/W.C.    
52 waterworks plumbing in the sense ‘urinary tract’
52   pee though in the book it’s quoted in a UK context, first citations are US (GDoS) & it’s often thought of as the ‘American’ alternative to UK wee.
53 arse ass  
53 cock rooster rooster probably came to US from an English dialect
53 cockerel   increasingly used as a synonym of cock (bird) though it technically means ‘young cock’
53   roach shortening of cockroach
54 arse over tit ass over elbow/tea kettle The US phrases here are also used in arse form in UK and probably came from there.
54 bowdlerize   after Englishman John Bowdler
54 Gordon Bennett doggone it; gosh darn it  
54 ladybird ladybug ladybug came to the US from Britain
54 tit (bird) chickadee some species are called tit in the US
54 titbit tidbit  
55 action (v.)   ‘to take action on’; first OED citation = 1960 UK
55 bleedin’ heck   euphemistic for bloody Hell
55 by George, by Jove   euphemistic for by God
55 cor blimey   euphemistic for God blind me
55 crikey   euphemistic for Christ
55 incentivise (incentivize)   First OED citation = 1968 UK
55 my goodness   British origin; used in US too; euphemistic for ‘my god’
55   business school, business (as a subject of study) mid-1800s
55   cussing ‘cursing, swearing’
55   gee whiz, Judas priest, jeepers creepers euphemistic for Jesus Christ
55   gosh, golly euphemistic for God
56   boss (n.) from Dutch baas
56   can-do attitude early 1900s
56   flip side, the metaphorical usage, after the sides of a grammophone record
56   get into bed with  meaning ‘do business with’, late 1800s
56   go-getter turn of the 20th century
57   A-lister 1970s
57   action-packed 1920s
57   doom-sayer 1950s
57   fixer-upper 1930s
57   fund-raise 1950s—now usually hyphenless
57   high stakes 1920s, from gambling
57   hit pay dirt mid-1800s, from gold-mining
57   maverick  
57   pan out (=succeed) mid-1800s, from gold-mining
57   saloon a drinking bar, esp. in the old west
57   stiff upper lip 1815
57   strike it rich mid-1800s, from mining
57   table-hop (v.) 1940s
57   time-share  (v.) 1950s
57   win big post-verb use of adverb big seems to start in early 1900s
58 American football football  
58 close of play   a sport idiom, used in business-speak
58 cowboy (builder)   1970s; for someone who unscrupulously does shoddy work
58 demonize   ‘portray as wicked’ meaning: early 1800s
58 goodies good guys  
58 hospital pass   a sport idiom, used in business-speak
58 it’s a game of two halves   a sport idiom, used in business-speak
58 knocked for six   a sport idiom, used in business-speak
58 sport sports sport activities collectively
58   blue jeans mid-1800s
58   drink the Kool-Aid meaning ‘follow blindly’; 1980s, alluding to the Jonestown massacre
58   frontierspeople after frontiersman
58   groundbreaker 1940s
58   group-think 1950s or earlier; often groupthink
58   passel ‘group, lot’. Orig. UK (a variant of parcel), it is now more associated with US.
58   pathfinder mid-1800s
58   trailblazer It’s possible this one was Canadian first–referring to Europeans’ westward expansion. 
59 rugby (football)   mid-1800s
59 touchdown   originally from rugby, mid-1800s
59 wash up do the dishes  
59 wash-up meeting   business meeting in which a project is finished up and reflected upon
59   ballpark figure baseball idiom, used metaphorically
59   basketball 1892
59   contact (v.) ‘get in touch with’, 1920s
59   gridiron (football) late 1800s 
59   hail-Mary (pass) US football idiom, used metaphorically
59   hall pass a note or token that gives a school student permission to be outside the classroom
59   hit a home run baseball idiom, used metaphorically
59   home plate the place where the batter stands in baseball
59   inside baseball ‘having expert knowledge’
59   it’s a game of inches US football idiom, used metaphorically
59   knock it out of the park baseball idiom, used metaphorically
59   lay-up basketball idiom, used metaphorically
59   slam-dunk basketball idiom, used metaphorically
59   spiking the ball US football idiom, used metaphorically
59   step up to the plate baseball idiom, used metaphorically
59   touch base baseball idiom, used metaphorically
59   wash up ‘wash one’s hands (and maybe face)’
60 360° thinking   business cliché with UK origins
60 across the piece   business cliché with UK origins; ‘affecting everything/everyone’ (e.g. in an organization)
60 at the end of the day   business cliché with UK origins
60 at this moment in time   business cliché with UK origins
60 borough council municipal government  
60 buffling   originally meant ‘to puzzle’, but seems to have been revived or reinvented to refer to bamboozling business-speak
60 cradle-to-grave   business cliché with UK origins
60 flag it up   business cliché with UK origins
60 looking under the bonnet   business cliché with UK origins
60 not letting the grass grow   business cliché with UK origins
60 singing from the same hymn sheet   business cliché with UK origins
60 thought shower brainstorm the US-origin term is used more in both countries
60   blue-sky thinking US origin, now used more in UK
60   pro-active US origin, now seems to be used more in UK
60   thinking outside the box US origin, now seems to be used more in UK
61 expatriate (n., adj.)   early 1800s; seems to be UK origin
61 junction intersection on roads
62 half a dozen half dozen, a both are possible in both countries, but prefered forms differ
62 know your onions know your stuff UK phrase is from US, but now mostly unknown there
62 peak (v. ‘reach its maximum’)   seems to originate UK 1950s
62 pen pusher pencil pusher both come from US, but pen pusher is now used more in UK than US
62 secondary school high school UK secondary school starts earlier (around age 11) than US high school
62 shambles   the metaphorical usage ‘chaos’ seems to originate in US, but it’s now a UK phrase
62 skive play hooky  the US one is usually specific to skipping school
62   dated in the sense ‘outmoded’, early 20th c.
64   hype  (v.) ‘promote’; from hypodermic, i.e. to stimulate, as if with drugs
65   never mind (conjunction) meaning ‘let alone…; not to speak of…’,  OED’s first use of this meaning is US from 1907. 
65   uh-oh early 20th c
66 shifty   early 1800s
66 suffice to say suffice it to say  
68 on show   ‘on display’
68 turn out   meaning ‘to turn over to empty out’
69 artefact artifact  
70 bicarbonate of soda baking soda  
70 tin pan both countries have both words, but apply them to somewhat different ranges of things
70   bakeware see this link for related terms
71 cocktail stick toothpick the things called cocktail stick in the UK would almost always be called toothpick in the US, toothpick has more restricted use in UK
71 tongue-in-cheek   1930s
71   measuring cup mid-1800s
72 American-style muffins muffins  
72 cake mixture batter batter is used much more broadly in US than UK
72 cookery book cookbook cookbook is far more common in the UK nowadays
72 courgette zucchini  
72 How long is a piece of string?   i.e. ‘Who can count that?’
72 pancake (English type) crêpe What Americans call pancakes are often called American pancakes in the UK.
72 Yorkshire pudding   another British culinary triumph
72   quick bread a category of baked good that’s not used in the UK; many, but not all, would be called cake in the UK
73 in a street on a street for example, you might live in/on a certain street
73 road street Both exist in both places, used a bit differently. Click on link for more. 
73 trousers pants  
74   Americanize 17th c.
76 Go on, then   ‘yes please, I’ll have some of what you’re offering’
76 instrumentalist (n.)   seems to originate in UK, early 1800s
76   already sentence-final already expresses impatience
76   pop music this phrase seems to originate in Variety magazine, early 20th c.; used a bit differently in US/UK
76   publicist in the ‘publicity officer’ sense, seems to be early 20th c US
77 sadly died   something you don’t read in US news stories the way you read it in UK news stories…
78 plonk (v.) plunk plunk may have come to the US from Scotland, but it came to be considered an Americanism
78   breakfast is the most important meal of the day 1917, in a magazine edited by Mr. Kellogg
79   caribou  from Algonquian languages
79   chipmunk  from Algonquian languages
79   hominy  from Algonquian languages
79   opossum  from Algonquian languages
79   pecan  from Algonquian languages
79   persimmon  from Algonquian languages
79   powwow  from Algonquian languages
79   raccoon from Algonquian languages
79   skunk from Algonquian languages
79   succotash from Algonquian languages
80 bank holiday public holiday  
80 duvet comforter  
80 embankment levee a dike; from French
80 knobhead   a term of disparagement (18th century)
80 lovey   a term of endearment (17th century)
80 maize, sweetcorn corn  Originally, ‘corn’ generally meant ‘grain’
80   bluff a kind of cliff; from Dutch
80   butte a kind of plateau; from French
80   clapboard  
80   deputize Seems to have been first used in Britain, but then used more in America
80   dime ’10-cent piece’
80   Episcopalian  
80   mesa a plateau; from Spanish
80   moccasin  from Algonquian languages
80   prairie from French
80   rapids  
80   squatter US origin, now seems to be used more in UK
80   wigwam  from Algonquian languages
81 head start   mid-1800s 
81 standardi{s/z}ation    late 19th c
81 turn (of the century)   mid 19th c
81   twinkle in (your daddy’s) eye, a the phrase (which I’ve changed) comes from a musical film, Dames 1934
82 American War of Independence American revolution  
82 train (on railway)   early 19th c
82   automobile late 19th c
83   constitutionality  
83   presidential  
84   speller to mean ‘spelling book’, early 19th c 
85   Anglophobia coined by Thomas Jefferson
85   electioneering coined by Thomas Jefferson
85   indescribable coined by Thomas Jefferson
90 you lot you guys, y’all, youse, yinz informal/regional second-person-plural pronouns
91 fish-and-chip shop   informally, this can be called a chippie
91   retiree 1930s
96   badmouth (v.) mid 20th c
97 digs    meaning ‘abode’, late 19th c
98 cupboard, wardrobe closet closet came to US from Britain, then mostly forgotten in UK
98 tap faucet faucet came to US from Britain, then mostly forgotten in UK
98 Yankee (=’American’)   the word originated in the US, but the ‘American’ (rather than “New Englander’) sense was orig. a British thing
99 football soccer soccer came to US from Britain, then mostly forgotten in UK
99 lurgy, the cooties for the playground malady
102 pop over to   using pop as a motion verb is a much more British thing to do
103 riding/horse riding horseback riding  
103 way in entrance on signage
103 way out exit on signage
103   bit (comedy/performance)  1950s
104 do the trick   the ‘be what’s needed’ sense from thieves’ jargon, early 19th c
104   jazz orig. African-American English, early 20th c
104   romance (v.)  in the sense ‘pursue romantically’, 1930s
104   sassafras a tree
104   semester not, strictly speaking, an Americanism, but its use in UK universities is mostly due to US-influenced reform
104   standard (n.) in the ‘song of established popularity’ sense, 1930s 
104   terminally ill both the ‘leading to death’ use of terminally and the phrase terminally ill seem to stem from US medical usage, early 20th c
105   leaf peepers tourists who look at the fall colo(u)rs in the US northeast
106 mature cheese, strong cheese sharp cheese UK uses ‘strong’ or ‘mature’ for a ‘sharp’ cheddar
106 note (bank note) bill bill came to US from Britain, then mostly forgotten in UK in this sense
106 trendsetter   often with a hyphen; 1960ish
106   brush (=cut-down branches) orig. British but noted as an Americanism in early 19th c
106   hick originated in Britain; now mainly American
106   sharp dresser for fashion; UK smart is a possible synonym
107   smarts for ‘natural intelligence, acumen’; US 1960s or earlier
108 smart casual    
109 petrol gas(oline)  
109   Americano (coffee) Italian & Spanish—as an English word, first cited in US 1960s
109   guy the word is British, but using it generally to mean ‘man’ is US, mid-1800s
111 dandy (n.)   late 18th c for ‘fashion victim’
111 estate agent real estate agent also in AmE: realtor
112   finicky from northern England or Scotland to US back to UK
112   jagger W Pennsylvania dialect from Scots-Irish 
112   neb W Pennsylvania dialect from Scots-Irish 
112   Old Country referring to one’s pre-immigration land; first citation is Benjamin Franklin 1751
112   whenever (meaning when) W Pennsylvania dialect from Scots-Irish immigrants
113 jug pitcher for the vessel
113 posh   early 20th c
113   buck (v. trans.) ‘to butt against; to oppose’, mid-19th c
113   hamburger turn of 20th c (orig. hamburger steak)
113   hillbilly  
114 sub-editor copy editor  sub-editor is more used in newspaper publishing, not so much for books, etc.
114   beat the s(hit) out of  1920s
115 go about (VERBing) go around (VERBing)  
115 haitch, aitch aitch  
116 niggling   in the current ‘annoying’ sense, UK 1850s; found in US, but not as much
123 Establishment, the   early 20th c
123   fan  in the ‘keen spectator of a sport’ sense, orig US late 19th c
124 kick your arse kick your ass the British version is older
125 match game when referring, e.g. to football/soccer
125   damn (adj.) instead of damned; late 18th c
126 expiry expiration British origin; now considered American 
126 physicality   British origin; complained about as an Americanism
126 rail station train station British origin; now considered American 
126 transport transportation British origin; now considered American 
126 zed zee zee probably originated in Britain
126   alphabetize British origin; now considered American 
126   crush (romantic) late 19th c
126   learn (=’teach’) British origin, now used mostly jocularly in US
126   oftentimes British origin; now considered American 
126   troupe as in dance troupe; earliest (19th-c) uses in OED are all US
126   turn (an age) British origin; now considered American 
126   twerk the dance meaning is US origin, but the word originally comes from Britain, meaning ‘to jerk’
126   wait on  meaning ‘wait for’; British origin, now considered US 
127   frenemy friend + enemy; 1950s
128   gussy up meaning ‘smarten up’ (clothing, etc.); US 1950s or earlier
129   heave-ho, the  as in give the heave-ho; mid-20th c
130 on the table on the floor  (in meetings); discussed in more detail in chapter 7
130   egghead ‘intellectual, scientist’
131 humourist*   *this made it into the UK edition, but the usual UK spelling is humorist, according to the OED
132   granddaddy not orig. US, but now chiefly US in usage
132   science fiction early 20th c
134 fit-for-purpose    
134 mucked up   this originally meant ‘clean up’ (now usually muck out), but now it’s mostly used to mean ‘mess up’ (literally and figuratively)
134 plough plow  
135 slap on (something)   orig. from turn-of-20th-c theatre (where make-up = slap)
135   primary education first known usage, Virginia early 19th c; now a more common phrase in UK referring to the first 7 years of formal schooling
136 rejig(ging)   originally a mining term, the figurative ‘rearrange, refashion’ sense is from mid-20th c.
137 cheque check for the monetary object. Other meanings are mostly spelled check in both Englishes.
137 sceptic skeptic  
137 take decisions make decisions  
140 aeroplane airplane  
140   airport originally aeroport in UK, but now airport there too
141 sulphur sulfur  
143   douchebag as an insult, 1960s
147   learning disability 1930s; it’s come to mean somewhat different things in US & UK (see link)
148   spellchecker whether to spell it with a hyphen or not is another matter…
151 do the rounds make the rounds  
151 spoof   coined by a British comedian in the late 19th c
154 coriander cilantro  
154 rocket/roquette arugula  
155 centre stage center stage late 19th c, seems to be orig. US
155 haricot bean kidney bean, navy bean which bean haricot refers to has changed in the UK
155 mange-tout sugar pea, now mostly snow pea
155   get one’s goat early 20th c
157 pet (adj.)   as in pet project; early 19th c.
158   get medieval on your (ass) from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction
159   hangover early 20th c
162   hassle (n.) 1940s or earlier
163 Beeb, the   the BBC
163 caff   short for café, usually referring to the type of place where workers would have their breakfasts
163 cardie   short for cardigan (1960s)
163 dust sheet   for protecting floors or furniture from paint (Americans might just call it a sheet)
163 spag bol   short for spaghetti bolognese, which would usually be ‘spaghetti with meat sauce’ in US
163   tarp short for tarpaulin
164 patch turf ‘the area one has rights to/responsibility for’; the first citation for the British variant here is Australian
165   rapper in the ‘performer of rap songs’ sense, 1970s
165   super  as an adverb meaning ‘extra, very’, it’s more American. As an adjective and interjection, it’s more British
166 out of the window out the window British is more apt to use the ‘of’
168 flies fly on trousers/pants
168 scales scale  
168 zip (n.) zipper  
169 Lego Legos  
169 mashed potato mashed potatoes  
169 scrambled egg scrambled eggs  
170 a McDonalds, a Burger King   a meal from’ one of these establishments
170 Biro ballpoint (pen) the US generic term is also used in UK
170 Hoover vacuum (cleaner) the US generic term is also used in UK
170 Lego: a piece of Lego/a Lego brick Lego: a Lego  
170 murder a Chinese   for ‘devour an order of Chinese food’
170 own-brand store-brand  
170 plaster (i.e. sticking plaster) Band-Aid if avoiding the brand name, Americans would say (adhesive) bandage
170 polystyrene Styrofoam  
170 ring (v.) call (v.)  meaning ‘to telephone’
170 scream blue murder scream bloody murder (p.171)  
170 Tannoy public address system  
170 tissue Kleenex the UK generic term is also used in US
170   watch out to mean ‘look out, be cautious’, mid-1800s
171 a coffee a cup of coffee the UK form is increasingly heard in US
171 flat apartment  
171 runner beans string beans  
171 tin (of dog food) can (of dog food)  
171 trademark   orig. trade mark 1830s
171 two pints of milk quart of milk the words exist in both countries, but how we talk about milk measures differs
171   genericide 1970s
175 acclimati{s/z}e acclimate, acclimatize the two forms have slightly different meanings in US; UK uses same word for both
175 obliged obligated in US ‘be obliged’ is used to mean ‘be grateful’—e.g. I’d be obliged if you’d read this
175 orientate/to orient orient  
175 pressuri{s/z}e (someone) pressure (someone)  
175 soya soy  
175 speciality specialty in general usage; in medicine, it’s specialty in both
175   normalcy mid-1800s; normality is used in both countries
177   television set  
178 menopause, the  menopause for other cases of present/absent the, see the in the book’s index
179 pupil, student student US uses ‘student’ for a learner of any age/level
179   summer camp as a place to send children, US late 1800s
180   medal  (v.) medal was already a verb when US added the particular sense ‘win a medal’
180   podium  (v.) to win a medal at the Olympics’
183 range (of goods) line, collection  
184   head up (a committee) the ‘up’ is noted as American
184   visit with meaning ‘to go and spend some time chatting with’
185 appeal against (a verdict) appeal (a verdict)  
185 protest at protest (something) see link for more details
185   run into (someone) meaning ‘encounter’; late 19th c
186   write (someone) meaning ‘write to someone’
187 take-away to-go  
187   coffee shop in the sense ‘a place where coffee and snacks are served’, 1940s US
187   copy machine 1950s
187   sitcom 1960s
188 octogenarian   I’m calling this one for the Brits, since the first 80 years of 19th-c citations are from the UK
189 stymie   golfing term originating in 19th c Scotland
190   bat an eye at bat was a regional British word for ‘blink’ or ‘wink’; the figurative expression is 19th c US
191 hoodie   ‘hooded sweatshirt’
191   bro originally Caribbean; used widely in US
191   chillax  
191   hip meaning ‘cool, with-it’, early 20th c
191   white-bread (adj.) meaning ’embodying the values of the white middle-class’
192 moustache mustache  
193 sadface  frown/frowny face emoji names
196 crumpet   both a British thing and a British word. The best thing to put in a toaster.
196 first floor second floor  
196 ground floor first floor  
196   noodle see the link for the different meanings in US and UK
197 liquidize blend (in a blender)  
197 refectory dining hall  
197   chunky 1700s
197   matzo ball from Yiddish
198 bits   UK uses this much more than US to mean ‘small pieces’
198 starter appetizer ‘first course’
199 crisps potato chips  
199 savoury savory UK uses this much more than US does as an opposite to ‘sweet’
199   chowder 1700s
199   English muffin bears only a superficial resemblance to the traditional ‘muffin’ in UK
199   open-face(d) sandwich early 20th c
200 bap bun (as for a hamburger) a type of soft roll; regional usage
200 beef mince ground beef, hamburger  
200 brown sauce steak sauce these aren’t really the same thing, but they’re as close as one country has to the other’s sauce
200 butty   meaning ‘sandwich’
200 sauce condiment condiment is used in US and UK, but with different coverage—see link
200   hot dog  
200   in my book ‘in my opinion’; early 20th c
200   patty ‘a cake of ground food’, US turn of 20th c
201   frankfurter from German
202 illegal immigrant   first referred to Jews entering Palestine without permission during the British mandate
204 BME, BAME   Black, (Asian), and Minority Ethnic’
204   people of color first use in OED is by Thomas Jefferson
205 benefits welfare (checks)  
205 degree college degree  
205   burger-flipping after the US use of ‘flip’ for ‘turn over in a pan/on a grill’
206 food shopping grocery shopping  
206   barbecue American colonies, 1600s
206   consumerism early 20th c
206   put-down ‘insult’, mid-20th c
208   catch-22 coined by Joseph Heller
209 jacket potato baked potato baked potato is perfectly understandable in UK, but tends not to be the term used
209   boss (someone) around  
209   bossy late 1800s
209   server certainly not orig. US but as a way to avoid saying the gendered terms waiter/waitress, much more common in US
210 shop assistant store clerk  
212 charity shop thrift store  
212 cheers   to mean ‘thanks’
212 hang about hang around  
212 ta   ‘thanks’
212   customer service  early-mid 20th c
213 bus conductor   in the US, conductors are on trains; in the UK the train kind are traditionally called guards
214 strike (n.)   meaning ‘success’, unlike a baseball strike
214   department store US late 19th c, but the British took easily to this idea and have some great ones
214   get a strike meaning ‘fail’
214   starter the sense ‘something which is good to start with’ is orig. US (mid-19th c), but it’s used very much in the UK, esp. in the sense of a starter question in a quiz game
215 armed forces military  
215 go down a bomb   a bomb meaning ‘a success’ is originally US, but now mostly displaced by the ‘failure’ meaning’; the go down a phrasing is very British
215 homely homey  
215 moot   meaning ‘up for debate’
215 nervy   ‘nervous’
215   bomb (v.) meaning ‘fail’; US 1960s
215   homely ‘plain looking’
215   moot meaning ‘not worth debating’
215   nervy ‘over-confident’
216 letterbox mailbox  
216 post (v.) mail (v.)  
216 slutty   meaning ‘slovenly’ (be careful—the newer meaning has taken over)
219 bumf   ‘toilet paper; unimportant papers’ from bumfodder; late 1800s
219 naff   ‘unfashionably vulgar’; 1960s
219 plonk (n.)   ‘inferior wine’ 1920s
219   kitty-corner/cater-corner/catty-corner ‘diagonally across from’
219   nickel-and-dimed ‘overcome by tiny expenses’
219   snit ‘fit of temper/bad mood’
220 jobsworth   someone who’ll only do ‘as much as their job’s worth’
220 moreish    
220   make nice with (someone)   
220   push it  meaning ‘to go too far’ seems to be US from 1960s; the one UK example before that is from 1840s—doesn’t seem to have developed there
221 dodgy sketchy meanings similar, but not the same
221 grill broil  
221 marmite   of something people either love or hate; after a yeast-based spread
221 tizz tizzy UK borrowed US tizzy and shortened it.
221   101 ‘the basics of a subject’ (after US college course numbering system)
221   bus tables (v.)  
221   family style ‘with dishes in the middle of the table for sharing’
221   on the side  meaning ‘not as part of the dish’; late 19th c
221   over easy/medium/hard ways of preparing fried eggs
221   sunny-side up way of preparing fried eggs
222 gap year    
222 gutted    
222 holiday (v.) vacation (v.)  
222 vet (a candidate)    
222   bake-off see link for more of the story
222   staycation  
222   wonk  
223 lie-in    
224 rained off rained out  
224   frazzled late 19th c
224   hit on ‘to make romantic/sexual advances on’ 1950s
224   policymaker earliest (19th & 20th c) examples in OED are American
224   who’s who (n.) I’m calling this one for US: the original book is British, but all the 19th c. figurative uses in the OED are from the US
225 hobnob   a type of sweet oat biscuit (US cookie)
225 Jaffa cake   a baked good with no US equivalent
225 jelly jello, gelatin  
225   cakewalk orig. a contest in graceful walking, then a dance, in African-American communities
225   snickerdoodle a type of cinnamon-and-sugar-coated cookie
226 dressing gown bathrobe  
226 terry (towelling) terrycloth  
228 broad church, a   for something that’s inclusive
228   divvy up ‘to divide up, portion out’
230 grammar school Latin school, classical school  
230 independent/public school private school  
230 primary school grammar/elementary school  
231 stone rock the range of things called rocks is larger in US
231   cookie-cutter [adj.] ‘standard, from the same mo(u)ld as others’
232 top hat   probably originally UK, mid 19th c
232   business suit mid-19th c
233 post (n.) mail (n.)  
234 alternative comedy/comedian   1980s
234 furore furor  
234 River Thames, the   see link for discussion
235 daft   far, far more common in UK
235 John Lewis   a ‘middle class’ department store
235 National Trust   charity that looks after historically important properties
235 teaching staff faculty members  
235   take a back seat to figurative use, late 19th c
237 vox pop man-on-the-street interview  
237 with hindsight in hindsight UK also uses in
237   down-home (adj.) ‘unpretentious’; 1930s
237   serial killer 1970s
237   talking out of one’s hat ‘talk nonsense’, orig. talking through one’s hat; late 19th c
240 pay rise pay raise  
240   monster truck 1970s
240   spelling bee  
242 half a dozen half dozen, a both are possible, but prefered forms differ
243   graduation applied to school years, this is US; in the UK you only graduate if you’re getting a university degree
243   term paper UK uses the general term ‘essay’
244   pocketbook here used metaphorically to mean ‘financial means’
245 mark (n.) grade (n.) what’s given to schoolwork
246   basics, the mid 20th c
247 first-year student, fresher freshman  
247 mark (v.) grade (v.) what teachers do to students’ work
247   liberal arts not orig. US, but OED lists as ‘now chiefly N. Amer.’ 
247   no picnic ‘not easy’; late 1800s
253   bestseller OED says: “The particular association of the word with books follows its widespread adoption in U.S. bookselling contexts from the late 19th cent.”
255   irregardless considered to be a non-standard usage 
257   sell (n.) a hard sell is orig. US, 1950s. An easy sell comes later.
257   wannabe 1970s
258   jaywalking 1910s
259   maven ‘expert’; early 20th c, from Yiddish
262 chat show talk show  
262   host (of a television show) now used widely in UK, but orig. US
262   reality television orig. US, now huge in UK
263 mush   ‘a pulpy or formless mass’ meaning from early 19th c, based on other regional meanings
264 stuffy   in the ‘conceited’ sense, looks to be orig. UK late 19th c
264   hang out  ‘spend unstructured time in a particular place’; mid-1800s
264   School of Hard Knocks early 20th c.
265 actorly    
265   pollster 1930s
266 pinch of salt, take with a grain of salt, take with a translation from Latin; the now-US translation is the older one
266 superpower   seems to appear a few decades earlier in UK (20th c)
267 over-the-top   1930s
267   phoney late 19th c
269   hate on (v.) orig. African-American usage; 1990s or earlier
269   zombie rules coined by US linguist Arnold Zwicky
270 different to different than both are considered non-standard
270   eye-roll (n.) 1920s
271   let your [freak flag] fly  
272   Go team! using go to encourage is not orig. AmE, but this phrase has a definite mid-20th c. US feel. 
274 compere emcee  
274 ironmonger hardware store ironmonger is a bit old-fashioned (but still common on signs)
274 plasterboard sheetrock also US: drywall
274 skirting board baseboard  
274   earthie-crunchies vaguely ‘hippies’
274   wet noodle ineffectual, uninteresting person’
275 babygro onesie Babygro was orig. an American trademark (1959)
275 coach bus  (Greyhound type)  
275 gazump    
275 gazunder    
275 health visitor   a public health nurse who visits people at home
275 lay-by rest area/pull-out/turn-out the terms are  regional in US
275 muslin burpcloth not the same thing, but the same purpose
275 platform 8 track 8 where a train arrives
275 pushchair stroller  
275 return (ticket) round trip (ticket)  
275 snag (v.), snag list    
275 tinned canned  
275   hospitalize AmE origin, used in both
275   mileage AmE origin, used in both
275   monobrow AmE origin, used in both
275   out (someone) (v.) AmE origin, used in both
276 alcopop flavored malt beverage The US term doesn’t have the currency that the UK one does.
276 awayday work retreat  
276 bestie BFF both now have currency in the other country
276 BOGOF BOGO ‘buy one get one (free)’
276 boyf   short for boyfriend
276 bruv bro  
276 chips fries, french fries  
276 chugger   from charity + mugger
276 chunky chips steak fries  
276 detectorist   ‘someone who does metal detecting’
276 fnarr fnarr   onomatopoeic for lecherous laughter
276 gobsmack (v.)    
276 hot-desk  (v.)    
276 house-share (v.)    
276 ladette    
276 longlist  (v.)    
276 mini-break    
276 mis-selling     
276 mobile phone cell phone the UK version is US in origin, but not used much there
276 moobs man boobs  
276 overspend (n.)    
276 pap   short for paparazzo
276 phwoar    
276 quango    
276 stitch-up frame-up  
276 subway pedestrian underpass  
276 trustafarian    
277 banging [adj.]   meaning ‘exciting, happening’
277 banoffee pie    
277 breaking up (from school)    
277 chav    
277 crep check   youth slang: check out someone’s shoes
277 dead-leg (v.)    
277 dogging    
277 E-fit police composite (sketch) the E-fit uses a computer program(me)
277 fit   meaning ‘attractive’
277 gastropub    
277 half-term mid-term break  
277 happy-slap (v.)    
277 joined-up writing cursive  
277 minger   ‘ugly person’
277 pull (v.)   meaning ‘get lucky with (a potential sexual partner)’
277 slap-head    
277 wazzock    
278 baby bump    
278 bespoke custom-made Bespoke has been gaining currency in the US in recent years. 
278 credit to…   business/sports cliché
278 flummox    
278 joy ,to get no    
278 knock-on effect    
278 liaise    
278 long game, the    
278 on the back foot    
278 peckish    
278 punch above one’s weight    
278 run-up (to an event)    
278 sack (v.)   ‘to fire (a person)’
278 second (v.)   accent on the 2nd syllable, meaning ‘to temporarily reassign’
278 short-listing    
278 spoilt for choice    
278 stockist    
278 trainers sneakers, tennis shoes, etc.  
278 year-on-year    
278   Anglocreep  
278   calling card literal calling card (=visiting card) is orig. UK (1800s), but use as a metaphor for ‘a definitive characteristic’ seems to be orig. US (1930s)
279 boots, football cleats  
279 Boxing Day sales    
279 kit uniform (in sports)
279 nippy    
279 panto   short for pantomime; a traditional type of comedic play (not mime)
279 pitch field for some sports
280 talk to talk with US makes a distinction between to & with in this context
280 television programme TV show  
280   publicity stunt early 20th c
281 wot   a spelling of ‘what’ indended to show ‘non-standardness’
281   post-truth  
281   talkie i.e. ‘talking picture’
282 round around  
282   park (v.)  
285 grime (music)    
285   het up ‘heated; excited’ orig. Britishdialect, now US
287 school year grade  
288   strut [one’s] stuff 1920s
290   come late to the party 1940s
294   ace (v.) ‘win, achieve high marks/grade’; 1950s
294   cool as a term of approval, orig. African-American usage early 20th c
294   too close to call ca. 1930
296   have got it made 1940s or earlier
296   sideline (v.) particularly in the figurative sense ‘to remove from the cent{er/re) of action’
297 up-and-comer   1940s
298 brunch (v.)    
298 nil   ‘zero’; used in sports scores 
298 road-tripper   1st known use 1930
298 sell-by date; best-before date expiration date  
298   race of a heart, ‘beat fast’ sense is US 19th c
298   speeding ticket  
301 clunk   orig. Scotland
302 sod   meaning ‘sodomist’
302 Sod’s Law Murphy’s Law  
304 blag(ger)    
304 guv’nor   mid 19th c
305 hen party bachelorette party  
305 porn porno porn is used in both places now.
305 star   in the ‘popular actor’ sense, late 18th c
305   cocktail in the ‘drink’ sense, orig. US early 1800s
305   gawker US gawk is late 18th c; gawker doesn’t show up till 20th c.
305   gay to mean ‘homosexual’; 20th c
307 building work construction work  
307 doctor’s surgery doctor’s office  
307 property real estate  
313   drive-thru 1940s
314 vice vise (tool), vice (sin)  
315   PSA ‘public service announcement’