THE QUEEN'S ENGLISH OR THE PRESIDENT'S PROSE?

Some compiled variations in word usage between Australia and the United States:

(These are general observations and not exhaustive)
AUSTRALIA UNITED STATES
Chemist/PharmacistPharmacist/Druggist (druggist seems to be an older term)
BiscuitCookie
CarparkParking lot
PetrolGas
Toilet (the room)Bathroom/restroom
Bonnet (on car)Hood
BootTrunk
TyreTire
WindscreenWindshield
PrawnShrimp
Griller (on stove, not bbq)Broiler
Barrack (for team)Root (for team)
AeroplaneAirplane
JellyJello
JamJelly (only for seedless jam)
JumperSweater
CaravanTrailer
HessianBurlap
Take-away (food)Take-out
Rug up (to keep warm)Bundle up
LaundryLaundry room
"I'll have a coffee""I'll have some coffee"
KerbCurb
BushfireBrushfire or forest fire
Soft drinkSoda, pop, coke (it's regional)
Two minute noodlesRamen noodles
MuesliGranola
Horse ridingHorseback riding
Chips(French) Fries
EskyCooler
Fairy flossCandy floss
CutlerySilverware
DummyPacifier (also binky, passy, plug)
Railway sleepersRailroad ties
HolidayVacation
ECGEKG
Throat infectionStrep throat
ParacetamolAcetaminophen
RubbishTrash
Post natalPost partum
Post codeZip code
Mobile phoneCell phone
LolliesCandy
Hot flushesHot flashes
FootpathSidewalk
Christmas beetleJune bug
Glandular feverMono
ConjunctivitisPinkeye
Gastro/GastricStomach flu
One quarterOne fourth
Cheque accountChecking account
EntreeAppetizer
Main courseEntree
LifesaverLife guard
Cake stallBake sale
Hire careRental car
CapsicumsBell peppers
CorianderCilantro
PyjamasPajamas
SecateursPruning shears
Whipper SnipperWeed Whacker
100's and 1000'sSprinkles
Shopping trolleyShopping cart
OverallsCoveralls
Tomato sauceKetchup
UltrasoundSonograph
Pat (as in "I patted the dog")Pet
TimberLumber
Earth (as in electrical terminology)Ground
Fairy flossCandy floss
Fringe (of hair)Bangs
Cot (bed for baby)Crib

American words/terms which aren't used in Australia

Faucet, airplane, broiler, hoagies, weiners, turnpike, whipping cream/whip cream (always just "cream" or "whipped cream" in Oz), crawdads, "in back of"

Australian words/terms which aren't used in America

Bacon rashers, fortnight, barrack, esky, strife, punnet (of strawberries), yonks, pushbike/treddly (bicycle), superannuation

Miscellaneous Oddities

In Australia, the word "tile" is never used as a plural. Car brands are often pronounced differently, ie: Nissan is pronounced relatively phonetically in Australia but in the US it is pronounced as "Nee-sahn". Mazda, Daimler and Celica are other names pronounced differently. Other words with different pronunciations include: aluminium, laboratory, herbs, schedule.

Even spelling mistakes vary from country to country. Americans are very prone to spell separate as "seperate" and definitely as "definately" for example (I'm not saying this is exclusive to the US, just that these are very common mistakes there). Americans also like to join words like "a lot" to make one word. The term "different from" is often incorrectly said as "different than" in the US and "different to" in Australia.

"Lite beer" in the US refers to low calorie beer whereas it's low alcohol beer in Oz.

Americans are fond of gradually dropping small words out of their speech so they end up with sayings such as: "it's so fun", "a couple people" and "I'll write you".

 

Suggestions welcome: <horne@senet.com.au>

Copyright Sandy Horne 2004