The American Guide to the "English" Language
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The American Guide to the "English" Language

The American Guide to the "English" Language

We both call it English, but in reality, the lads and mates of the United Kingdom should really distinguish their language as different from ours.

After being surrounded by some awesome British people this summer, I was confused. But then I quickly learned a lot of their lingo from across the Atlantic.


To be honest, the British actually got this one right. This is not the sport where giant men tackle each other for a weirdly shaped ball that looks like a cylinder that got into a nasty accident. This football is where incredibly fit and attractive boys play a game with a ball and their feet…do the math. Foot. Ball.

Pitch and boots
“Hey mate, do you fancy a football match on the upper pitch before supper this evening? Don’t forget to bring your boots!” American translation: “Yo bro, are you down to play soccer on the upper field before dinner tonight? Don’t forget to bring your cleats!”


This is one of my favorite — these mean rain boots. For a while because of the accent I thought they were saying “whalies,” which I guess makes sense: rain leads to floods, which leads to bodies of water and whales live in water. Yeah, that’s not what it means at all. There is a rain boot company called Wellington, hence the nickname. (Cue roommate: Oooh that makes sense!)   

Swimming costume 

This is just a straight up bathing suit, and I don’t really understand the English version of it. This is not Halloween. You’re not putting on a mask before going in the pool. That would be extremely inconvenient and hinder one’s ability to successfully not drown.  


I used to wear the American version of a “jumper” when I was about four. They were weird looking dresses and romper-esque contraptions that my mom dressed me in. Might I add that they were wildly unattractive — the #tbts that I don’t want to resurface via Instagram. But the British are simply referring to sweatshirts, which are in my list of top six favorite clothing items.   


The literal translation is garbage, but the British can use this word in regards to something that is bad as in a not so stellar performance, disappointing grade, questionable edibility of a meal, poor excuse to not attend an event… (For success in making up excuses, take a digression to a past article of mine.)   

Fancy dress 

Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean formal attire, suits, ties, and all that jazz. To the Brits, this means wacky, crazy clothing, including but not limited to: tutus, boas, rainbow speedos, overalls, banana suits, gorilla suits, clown wigs, superhero onesies…     


This can be used in pretty much every situation: to say thank you, hello, goodbye…pretty much it means everything except lets clink glasses and make a toast to something. I like to think of it as an equivalently used word to “okay” because it’s just used so often. Cheers!  

You alright  

I was confused by this one. I thought there was supposed to be something wrong with me, but this is their way of saying, "Hi, how are you?" I’ve foolishly responded with, “Uh, yeah, I’m totally fine, thanks?”   

This was just a taste of the English lingo — be prepared for other obscure words. 

So best of British and cheers mates! (Good luck and goodbye friends!)

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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