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->''"England and America are two countries separated by a common language."''
-->-- Attributed to Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw

Differences between the American and British versions of English (abbreviated by scholars as [=AmE=] and [=BrE=]) have been cropping up since the first British colonists began settling the east coast of North America in the early 17th century. The colonists, faced by a "new world" filled with new things that the mother tongue lacked vocabulary words for, began coining their own. The political upheaval and separation caused by UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution and the fact that the two countries are separated by several thousand miles of water led to further diversion between the two dialects.

Some academics once believed that British and American English would diverge to the point of incomprehensibility, and later academics theorized that the influence of television and movies might cause the dialects to become identical. Neither has happened, but the differences in vocabulary and slang between the two dialects remain, with new words and slang expressions cropping up even as others become universal on both sides of the Atlantic.

In some quarters of Britain – and most of the rest of the Anglosphere, in fact[[labelnote:*]] the exception being Canada, which is (much as they hate to admit it) part of a dialect continuum with the United States[[/labelnote]] – the American dialects are looked upon unfavorably as a decayed version of the language, with American usages derisively called "Americanisms". The first documented observation of the distinction between the two dialects was a sneering comment from 1735 by an English visitor to Savannah, Georgia who referred to the American word "bluff" (meaning a raised riverbank) as [[http://books.google.com/books?id=znFmBZ2D8rEC&pg=PA186&dq=differences+american+and+british+english+bluff&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6p16UdbFIMfuiQKWn4GQBw&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=differences%20american%20and%20british%20english%20bluff&f=false "barbarous"]]. There are, of course, no intrinsic qualities that make any one dialect of a language superior to any other, and in any case, American English is [[http://www.pbs.org/speak/ahead/change/ruining/ in many ways]] a more conservative, traditionalist dialect than British English. American English has, among other things, retained the flat "a" in words like "bath", retained the past participle "gotten" (dates back to Middle English at least), retained the figurative use of "I guess" for "think, suppose" (used by Creator/GeoffreyChaucer), and retained the word "Fall" to describe the season that comes after summer (that being a usage that dates back to the Anglo-Saxons but was replaced in [=BrE=] by the Latinate "autumn").

This phenomenon obviously is not limited to English, but applies to any language that is spoken over wide geographical areas by people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. One language that probably has even more peculiarities of this type is Spanish, which is spoken in Spain as well as the vast reaches of the former Spanish Empire in North and South America. Examples from many different languages are listed below.

For instances where this is used in fiction as a trope, see the trope page, SeparatedByACommonLanguage. When this happens to puns, you've got a case of AccentDepundent.

!!Useful Notes:


NOTE: This trope is a common occurrence in Arabic, what with being spoken in about 20 countries, some of which have multiple dialects, and whose dialects are often mutually unintelligible (much as in German). In general there are two broad dialect groups in Arabic, Western (''Maghrebi'' in Arabic) and Eastern (''Mashriqi'' in Arabic). The line between them falls somewhere in the big desert that separates Libya and Egypt. Within the Eastern group, there is further variation: there is Nile Valley Arabic (Egyptian and Sudanese), Levantine (Lebanese, Syrian, Jordanian, and Palestinian), Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait), Iraqi (also spoken in southwest Iran), and Yemeni. Each country typically has a unique dialect nevertheless mutually intelligible with the others within its group, and there is often some cross-group intelligibility as well: Egyptians – particularly those from Cairo and northward – can typically understand western Levantine (everything but the far eastern reaches of Syria, eastern Jordan being a desert wasteland), while eastern Syrians can understand at least some Iraqis, and many Iraqis can understand Kuwaiti and northeastern Saudi. Some examples:
* The Standard Arabic term for a woman is ''imra'ā'' or ''mar'ā'', plural ''nisā[='=]'' (don't ask why). This becomes ''mara'' and ''niswān'' in dialect. However, while these are perfectly acceptable in some countries (like Lebanon), ''niswān'' is highly derogatory in Egypt, and ''mara'' is downright offensive. (It's rather analogous to the non-anatomical usage of "cunt" in British and American English, [[DisSimile except that in Lebanon it's not even remotely offensive]]).[[note]] For the curious, the anatomical word for "cunt" in Arabic is fairly consistently ''kuss'', which is always a curse word – although how strong of one varies based on the country – and [[InMyLanguageThatSoundsLike occasionally gets visiting Germans in trouble]].[[/note]]
* The word ''niswanji''/''niswangi'', "womanizer":[[note]] ''-ji''/''-gi'' being a suffix meaning "guy who does x"; the spellings are different because of pronunciation differences.[[/note]] In Lebanon it means, roughly, a player or TheCasanova: a guy who's good with the ladies, and is vaguely positive, or at least cool. In Egypt, it has historically meant a habitual customer of prostitutes, or at least a guy who consorts with other kinds of low women, and is vaguely negative, although Lebanese influence has toned town the negative connotations somewhat.
* In Moroccan Arabic, the word ''`ayyaṭ'' means "to call" someone (on the phone) or "to call on" someone (at a place). In Egypt and several other Eastern Arabic dialects, it means "to cry."
* The word ''ḥūt'' means "whale" in Standard and Eastern Arabic. In Western Arabic, it can refer to most fish. Imagine an Eastern Arab's surprise at being offered a tagine of ''ḥūt'' in Tangier...

* One of the most famous is ''queue'' vs. ''line'', with the former being used in Britain and the latter in the United States. (In Canada, it's a "line-up", though line is still used frequently.) "Queue" has caught on somewhat in America in describing computer applications such as the printer queue. The list of movies you want to get from Netflix is your Netflix queue.
* In a related point, a famous internal difference within the US is your relationship to the line while waiting: in most American dialects, you stand or wait ''in'' line, but in New York-area dialects, you stand/wait ''on'' line.
* Another famous example is the spelling differences, most commonly seen with -er vs. -re, -or vs. -our and -ize vs. -ise endings (center/centre, color/colour, apologize/apologise). The difference largely springs from two influential early dictionaries standardizing spelling on either side of the Atlantic. Samuel Johnson (British) tended toward codifying the most common spelling at the time his dictionary was published, and at the time it was in fashion to emulate French spellings even in words with non-Latin origins or which English got directly from Latin as opposed to through Old French. Noah Webster (American) tended toward codifying the spelling more in line with a given word's etymology, thus using -re only in French loan words like genre and -er elsewhere, dropping the U in words ending in -our, and using the -ize suffix in words with a Greek root. Interestingly, the ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (British) agrees with Webster on that last.
** One source of potential confusion (as seen below) is that where in American English "-se" denotes both noun and verb, in British English often "-se" is the verb whilst the noun is spelt/spelled "-ce"; for example "licence" vs. "to license" or "practice" (what a GP has) vs. "practise" (what a GP does).
** British writers often use the -our variant even when using American proper nouns. An American reader of Martin Gilbert's generally excellent history ''The Second World War'' may be thrown by the repeated references to "Pearl Harbour", and British publications refer to the U.S. "Department of Defence".
*** This happens the other way around as well, although not nearly as frequently; American web pages commenting on British politics sometimes refer to the "Labor" Party. (They are the ''Labour'' Party, people.)
*** Meanwhile, in Australia "labour" is used for everything except the party, which is called the "Australian Labor Party" for historical reasons.
** And British English can be seemingly inconsistent over various forms of a word, for example "honour" but "honorary". (And the fact that the "h" and "ar" of "honorary" are silent doesn't help matters.)
** The use of the double-s can be potentially confusing as well, as it's standard for British English, but not seen in American English. For example, in British English "focusses" or "focussing" would be standard spelling, but it's spelled "focuses" or "focusing" in American English. To escalate the confusion, it's also acceptable British English to use the American spelling even though the double-s is preferred.
* ''Reckon'' is an interesting example. In both Britain and America it means "think/guess/suppose", but in Britain it is a common expression among all classes while in the United States it has come to be stigmatized (at least in some areas) as uneducated speech associated with hillbillies and rednecks. This interpretation isn't entirely unknown in the UK; the stereotype Somerset yokel precedes every sentence with a slow "Oi reckon..."
* Almost everything about automobiles – petrol/gasoline, boot/trunk, bonnet/hood, [[DrivingStick stick-shift]]/manual, car park/parking lot, etc. Supposedly Jeremy Clarkson has said this may be the reason ''Series/TopGear'' took so long to catch on in the United States.
* Be especially careful when talking about clothing.
** "Pants" in America are called trousers in most of Britain (although Americans do understand what trousers are; in the USA, "trousers" refer specifically to dress slacks, as opposed to the more common blue jeans), while pants in Britain are called underwear by Americans. A British person's "suspenders" are an American's "garters"; American "suspenders" are British "braces". Though in Britain the term 'garters' is also used, but not in fine society (at least not anymore), and is rather common OopNorth.
** Because of the underwear association, in UsefulNotes/BritishEnglish 'pants' can also be an adjective meaning 'a bit crap'. Not something truly dreadful, but underwhelming or a waste of your time. 'I went to the circus, but it was pants' has confused US speakers.
** In Britain "vests" refers to undershirts, and what Americans would call vests are referred to in Britain as waistcoats (which in American English is considered a very fancy word for the same thing. That is to say, a vest could be basically any sleeveless jacket--see, e.g., "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweater_vest sweater vests]]," which would be extremely confusing in Britain--whereas a waistcoat is generally part of a suit).
** "Jumper" refers to two different articles of clothing in the States and in Britain. In Britain and Australia, it's the heavy long sleeve shirt Americans would call a sweater; however, in the States a jumper refers to a sleeveless dress worn over a shirt or another dress, often by little girls but also by some adult women. In Britain these are known as Pinafores or Pinafore dresses. In American English a "pinafore" is a dress that has an apron-like bib above the waist in front but only straps in back.
* If a British English speaker says "I got off with X all night" it means they kissed or made out. In America, it means X brought the speaker to sexual climax.
** It doesn't help that the rough American equivalent, "hook up", can have both definitions depending on who you're speaking to--and that's just in America.
** Brits have the slang term "snog", which means roughly the same thing (making out) but often sounds ridiculously obscene to American audiences.
* In Britain the word "randy" simply means "horny", in a very straightforward manner. In North America on the other hand, the word "randy" carries the implication that the man in question (and it would ''always'' be a man) is also young, inexperienced, wildly exuberant, and not terribly threatening. A colt is randy; a stallion is horny. That's probably why Randy is a nickname in North America, usually short for Randall or Randolph, there's an element of "cuteness" to the word in North American English that doesn't exist in British English. From a letter to the editor in an issue of Wizard Magazine: "Do British people make fun of Randy Queen's name?"
* There's 'rubber', which in some places is an eraser, and in other places it's a condom. In still other times and dialects, "rubbers" are rain boots. The standard American term is "galoshes", the Brits use "wellies" and the Aussies use "gum boots".
* 'Fit' in America and Australia means someone who is physically fit. In England, while it also means this, it adds the pleasant frisson of "highly sexually desirable."
* 'Pull' means 'attract a girl' in Britain, but means 'masturbate' in some parts of Canada.
* 'Pull' can mean 'kiss using your tongues' or 'make out' in the UK.
* In both Britain and America, a thong is an item of ladies' underwear. In Australia, the word refers to what the others would call flip-flops. In the United States it tends to be a regional preference for thongs/sandals/flip-flops.
** There's a memoir by an Australian sailor where one of the back cover quotes compares sailing around Cape Horn to "climbing Mount Everest in thongs". Which, wonderfully, works with both meanings--you'd be insane to try climbing Mount Everest in just scanty underwear, and neither would it be sensible to climb it wearing sandals rather than boots.
* There's the word ''bender''. In America, it's an extended drinking spree; but in Britain, while it can mean this, it's more often a derogatory term for a gay man. This goes meta, but it makes ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' even funnier, and for this reason, ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' is called ''Avatar: the Legend of Aang'' over there. This had led to problems for [[Film/TheLastAirbender the film]] (which incidentally didn't get such a rename in Britain), however, which features such lines as, "From the minute I lay eyes on you, I knew you were a bender." Haru's line "The only way I can feel close to my father is by bending." is particularly {{narm}}tastic to British viewers.
* In the United States, "root" as a verb means, among other things, to cheer something or someone on, or to support a sports team. In Australia and New Zealand, "to root" means "to have sex with". Australians barrack for sports teams. In Britain and Ireland "to root for" something can also mean to go looking for something, generally with the implication that it is buried in an untidy heap. ("Root around" has a similar meaning Stateside; the verb "root" alone generally refers to pigs digging in the dirt for food, and "root out" means to uncover something, usually a scandalous secret; it can also mean "to remove" as in the phrase "root out corruption" - something politicians often claim they will do, but [[SleazyPolitician rarely follow through on]].)
* "to shag":
** "Shag" means [[SexTropes one thing]] in Britain (and the ''Film/AustinPowers'' movies made that definition popular in America) but something completely different along the coast on North and South Carolina, where Shag means a form of slow Lindy Hop dance popular since the 1940's.
** In America, prior to the ''Austin Powers'' movies and even since, "shag" when used as a noun typically refers to a type of fuzzy carpet popular in the 1960's and 70's, or a hairstyle reminiscent of the carpet.
** Even in Britain, some readers of SherlockHolmes stories can raise their eyebrows when a character expresses a desire for "shag" —- meaning coarse-cut tobacco.
* "Knocked up":
** "Knocked up" used to mean "woken up" in Britain, although the American sense of "made pregnant" [[HaveAGayOldTime has pretty much taken over]]. Still, hilarity often ensues.
** In Australia, in the the time of time of the Second World War, "knocked up" meant "exhausted and unable to continue". This caused confusion when American Navy personnel were asked to rescue Australian Coast Watchers who were knocked up.
** In the {{Garbage}} song "Vow", the lyrics sheet uses the term "I came to knock you up" in what appears to be a rather unique sense of beating the crap out of a faithless lover. However, Shirley Manson swallows the initial consonant, and, well, [[PrecisionFStrike it doesn't come out sounding like "knock".]] (It's not clear if her Scottish accent has anything to do with it.)
* In America, "pissed" means angry; in most of the rest of the English-speaking world, it can also mean "drunk", while angry people tend to be described as pissed ''off'' rather than just pissed. ("Pissed off" also means this in American English, just more emphatically.) On the commentary for ''Film/ShaunOfTheDead'', it's stated that the only thing they consciously did to avoid confusing Americans was to say Mary the zombie was "so drunk" instead of "so pissed", because they were aware of this.
* A "dink" in the UK is a small dent, as in a car bumper. In the US it's a childless married couple, [[FunWithAcronyms an acronym of "Double Income No Kids"]]; it can also be slang for "flake". In parts of Australia, it means to give someone a lift on your bike. In Western Canada, it's a particularly rude bit of schoolyard slang meaning "penis". The British "dink" is called a "ding" in America. Thus the Creator/{{Billy Mays}} - sponsored "Ding King". The Canadian definition—with the addition of a single "y"—is the one that made it into ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit''.
* The word ''bum''. In Britain, it refers to one's backside. In America, it's generally either a derogatory term for a homeless person or a verb similar to "mooch"; it's only ever heard to mean "butt" by little kids and adults trying to sound cute. In Canada in the 80s, "bum" was so G-rated that it could be used on children's TV shows. "Butt" was considered much more explosive, on the level of "shit" or "goddammit".
* In the UK, when the word "bumming" is used without an object (e.g. a cigarette), it refers to the act of anal sex, usually of the male homosexual variety, and is considered a slightly immature phrase. "To bum" can also be used as a term to borrow or beg on both sides of the Atlantic.
* "Tramp" in British English means "a homeless person", while in American it means both that and "[[ReallyGetsAround a woman who gets around]]". See "Lady and the Tramp" vs. Frank Sinatra's "The Lady Is A Tramp".
* A "discursive essay" is rambling/freeform in America, but tightly structured in Britain.
* In America, a roommate shares the same suite or flat, not necessarily the same room as in England or Australia (they would say "flatmate" or "housemate").
* In the UK, "mental" is a playgroundish insult for "crazy". In America it lacks that meaning, being simply an adjective describing matters of the mind (except barring a bit of PopCultureOsmosis - if you tell an American kid, "You're mental!" when he suggests jumping off the swingset, he'll get your meaning). Similarly, a "mentalist" in the UK is an insane person, while in the US it can mean either a certain type of stage magician (such as Kreskin or Reveen) or a psychic who claims to speak to the dead.
* Nothing dirty on either side of this one: "chips" refer to different types of food depending on whether you're in England or America. The British call the American chips "crisps", and the Americans call the British chips "French fries" or just "fries". This raises yet another difference as in the UK, French Fries refer specifically to the type you get in fast food places rather than chips as you would get in a Chippy. The popular meal known as "fish and chips" is still commonly called "fish and chips" no matter what side of the Pond you're on. However, in America the thick-cut, skin-on chips associated with chippies are commonly called "steak fries", "jojos", or "potato wedges", depending on the region.
** Pringles brand crisps is an American exception to this rule – they were forced to brand their product as "crisps" because American law defines "potato chips" to be actual sliced potatoes, while Pringles are little bits of potato pressed together (and less than 50% actual potato content at that). That said, most Americans refer to them as Pringles or simply as chips.
** In Ireland at least "fries" are slowly becoming identified with the dry, very thin sort found in [=McDonalds=] or Burger King (or with steak in quality restaurants) while "chips" are the much thicker, chunkier stuff you eat with fish. If you eat it with vinegar it is probably a chip.
** In Australia, on the other hand, the word "chips" refers to both what they call "crisps" in Britain ''and'' what they call "fries" in America. The "fries" variety are often called hot chips to differentiate, especially in the context of buying them alongside some fish from a takeaway store. Like in Ireland, the very thin [=McDonalds=]-style chips are often called "fries" to differentiate them from the larger chips you get in most other places.
** In South Africa, neither "fries" nor "crisps" are a thing. Chips are chips; fries are "slap chips," "slap" being Afrikaans for "soft/floppy."
** As a partial exception, in [=BrE=], "game chips" refers to "crisps/[=AmE=] chips" freshly fried, and served hot with roast game-birds.
* Another one is tinned/canned when referring to food. The process of home canning (preserving food not in tin cans, but in vacuum-sealed glass jars) adds another layer of confusion - [=BrE=] calls this "bottling".
* The phrase "she's full of spunk" would be interpreted by most Americans to mean that the woman in question is opinionated and outgoing in a cute and charming way. In Britain it would [[DidYouJustHaveSex be interpreted to mean that the woman had just slept with a large number of men]]. (This is relatively recent; the US definition of spunk was used in 1930s UK children's books without a raised eyebrow.)
* Soccer/football/American football/Australian Rules Football, etc. The international {{flame war}}s that have resulted from this are legendary. "Football" is a generic name for a group of sports with a shared history; the source of the word is that they are played on foot (i.e., not on horseback or with a bat/stick). In any part of the world where one of them is the dominant code, ''that'' code will be called simply "football".
* In Canada and the United States, "hockey" refers to IceHockey, a sport played with a puck between two teams of six players on ice. In the rest of the English-speaking world (UK, Ireland, South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand), "hockey" refers to field hockey, a sport played with a ball between two teams of eleven players on artificial turf or grass. Furthermore, the international governing body for field hockey is the International Hockey Federation (FIH), while the international governing body for ice hockey is the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). The Olympics uses this naming convention as well.
* The British expression "keep your pecker up" does not translate well into American English. Pecker in Britain means "spirits" or "nerve" (or more literally "nose"), but in America it is slang for penis. This is why the line "Be firm, be firm, my pecker" in ''Trial By Jury'' will inevitably make American audiences laugh; he's just telling himself to be more confident, not dealing with a case of TheLoinsSleepTonight.
* "Screwed up" means "rolled up" in Britain. In America it means "messed up" (what the British might call "bollixed up") or "disturbing", and in Australia it means "broken" (though the American version has filtered into British and Australian usage).
* "Spastic" has the same ''literal'' meaning on both sides of the Atlantic: relating to muscle spasms. However, its ''colloquial'' use, "spazz" or "spaz" couldn't be more different. In the United States it is a rather mild, childish insult meaning "clumsy or inept". However, it has become a much more offensive word in the UK – originally applied to people with disabilities characterized by muscle spasms such as cerebral palsy, but later broadened to refer to mental retardation due to people's ignorance about disabilities.
* The word "Paki" is a very derogatory term for a Pakistani person in Britain, while in parts of the US – notably New England – "packie" is a slang term for a liquor store ("package store"). In New Zealand it's the regnal name of the current King of the Maori.
* What in the United States is called a "liquor store" is in Britain called an "off-licence," or "offie" for short.
** Within the category of establishments an Englishman would call an "off-licence", the United States has a bewildering galaxy of kinds of establishments (and thus terms for kinds of establishments) to buy alcohol, as [[AmericanFederalism each state regulates alcohol differently]], and alcohol is usually heavily regulated and restricted in the place and time of sale; thus we get linguistic separation ''across state lines'', let alone the Atlantic. In each state, each type of alcohol store -- each of which, again, any Brit would just call an "off-licence" -- may or may not have a special name, but when they do the same term often means completely different things in different states: for instance, in Georgia, a "package store" is licensed to sell liquor, and may sell beer and wine as well, while in Connecticut a "package store" is licensed to sell wine and liquor but not usually beer.
** In Australia a liquor store is normally called a 'bottle-o', short for Bottle Shop.
* 'Stuffed animal' in America means a plush toy shaped like an animal. In Britain, it means... well, it means a [[TaxidermyIsCreepy stuffed animal]], like what a hunter might keep as a trophy from hunting game. They would refer to the toys as "soft toys" or "teddies" or specifically describe the toy, e.g. "teddy bear", "toy rabbit". Likewise, Americans would refer to the specific animal that was stuffed in the way British people think of when they hear when someone says "stuffed animal" (such as a stuffed deer) while "stuffed animal" only refers to plush toys when used as a general term.
** The word "stuffed" in Britain has [[PrecisionFStrike a sexual connotation]] it lacks in the United States, where it means one's stomach is full of food after a meal. In Australia the primary meaning is "broken", usually beyond use or repair. However, telling an American to "get stuffed" will get the message across just fine, and probably some form of retaliation.
* "Pudding":
** In Britain, "pudding" usually implies a hot sweet course (and dessert a cold one) although the lines are somewhat blurred nowadays. In parts of the country, a pudding may refer to a specific type of hot dish (such as a steamed pudding), some versions of which can be savoury. Specific types of pudding (Sticky toffee pudding, queen of puddings, suet pudding) are traditional British dishes. In the US, it's a dairy dessert thickened by starch and served cold (a British person would likely call it "custard", although in America that's specifically thickened with eggs).
** Americans visiting the UK would not want to try Yorkshire pudding for dessert; it's actually a kind of dry batter dish accompanying roast meat. The closest American equivalents are the popover, from which individual-sized Yorkies are nearly indistinguishable, and the Dutch baby pancake, which is a decadently buttery, massively puffed breakfast pancake often served with fruit and whipped cream.
** Black pudding is a blood sausage.
** Pease pudding is a bit like peanut butter, or a dripping, only made from peas.
* "Pie":
** Australian and British savoury pies containing meat are very common, while in the United States "pie" seems to refer primarily to a sweet pastry stuffed with fruit or (less often) vegetables... or with dessert things like chocolate or creme. Occasionally, American productions will treat pies full of meat as unusual, which itself seems very odd elsewhere. There is also the "pastie" or Cornish Pasty, (pronounced "Pah-stee", not "pay-stee"), a type of meat and vegetable pie which is common in Australia and Britain but unknown in many parts of the US, where a pastie is apparently what strippers wear over their nipples to adhere to state decency laws. (Pasties – the pie – are rather closely associated with Michigan's Upper Peninsula though, where a lot of Cornish immigrants settled to work the copper, iron, and silver mines in the 19th century;[[note]]Although oddly, the pasty has since become associated with ''Finnish'' people in the UP, as the Finns greatly outnumbered the Cornish in the mines and quickly adopted the dish[[/note]] most Michiganders and many Wisconsinites are at least aware of the dish.) In America, a meat pie will usually be referred to as a "pot pie", like "chicken pot pie"--except for Pennsylvania, where "pot pie" is a noodle soup. An extension to this is "mince pie", which can refer to a pie filled with either minced ''fruit'' or minced ''meat'' (most commonly beef) depending on region.
** A regional exception is the Natchitoches ("nack-a-dish") meat pie from Louisiana. And it's regional to that part of Louisiana. Another regional exception is the Southwest, where they do have these things, but call them ''empanadas''.
* According to Wiki/TheOtherWiki, a misunderstanding once took place between American and British planners during [=WW2=] surrounding the verb, "to table". (US usage: "postpone", UK usage: "propose") The British wanted to table a matter immediately, as it was important, while the Americans felt that the matter was important and should not be tabled ''at all''. The closest term the US has to the UK usage is "to bring [the matter] to the table".
* Some police ranks mean different things depending on what department you're in.
** Many police agencies in the United States use the rank of "Major" for officers in senior administrative and supervisory positions. The position is most often found in larger agencies, where the number of sworn personnel requires an expanded and complex rank structure. The term "major" is not always used in these scenarios, and some police departments prefer to use titles such as "Deputy Chief," "Commander," or similar, retaining only the rank insignia. Then there are agencies, particularly state police, which prefer to use both the insignia and title. The rank may also be used in conjunction with, rather than instead of, a descriptive title, such as in the example, "Major John Smith, Patrol Commander".
** 'Inspector' in the United States may be analogous to a detective or junior administrative officer, or may be a senior executive officer analogous to a Commonwealth police superintendent or chief superintendent.
*** In the NYPD, an Inspector is a high-ranking executive position, two grades above a Captain, one grade above a Deputy Inspector, and immediately below a Deputy Chief. Inspectors in the NYPD wear the eagle insignia worn by colonels in both the military and the New York State Police, and their rank may be thought of in those terms.
*** In the LAPD, the rank of Inspector, one grade above captain, was changed to Commander in 1974, because LAPD senior officers preferred the more military-sounding title.
*** Inspector is a senior executive rank in both the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia and the Philadelphia Police Department; Inspectors in both departments wear the insignia of a lieutenant colonel.
*** In the San Francisco Police Department, Inspector was the normal title for what other agencies might call a Detective, though unlike some of those agencies, the SFPD used Inspector as a promotive rank with some supervising responsibilities. Officers and Sergeants wear a silver star (badge) while Inspectors and higher ranks wear a gold star.
*** The Berkeley, California, Police Department formerly used Inspector as the title for an investigative supervisor who commanded a specific specialized detail, like Homicide, Robbery, or Property Crimes, within the department's Detective Division. They ranked between sergeants and lieutenants and, on the comparatively rare occasions when they wore uniforms, their rank insignia was identical to that worn by warrant officers in the US Armed Forces. The title has since been phased out, and the duties once performed by inspectors are now performed by detective sergeants.
*** In the Hayward, California Police Department, the rank of inspector is a civil service rank above a detective and below that of a sergeant.
*** In the Detroit Police Department, an inspector is the equivalent of a major in most police forces.
*** In the Oklahoma City Police Department, Inspector is the senior investigative rank, gained through seniority after serving as a Detective (0-5 years in investigations), and an Investigator (5-10 years in investigations).
* Date marking convention: In America, dates are usually written mm-dd-yy or mm-dd-yyyy, so Christmas 2013 would be noted as 12-25-13 or 12-25-2013. In Britain, most of the British Commonwealth, and in fact most of the world, dates are written dd-mm-yy, so Christmas would be 25-12-2013. It should be noted that the dates are written in the manner in which it would be spoken. Americans lead with the month ("December 25th") while the British traditionally lead with the date ("25th December"). It is now becoming more common for the British to lead with the month first, like the Americans. It's also becoming more common in America to write the dates the way other countries do, particularly in corporations that do business internationally. Majorly important dates (to Americans) seem to be the international exception: the celebratory holiday for American independence is "the Fourth of July" rather than "July Fourth", and nobody anywhere says "the Eleventh of September", it's always "September Eleven" or "9/11".
* [[CountryMatters Cunt]]:
** It is a ''much'' worse insult in Canada than in the US, and much worse in England than in Australia (where it is still unsuitable for polite conversation, but is not social death to use). In the UK it typically tops lists of British swear-words year after year, and is so offensive, many people won't even speak it even when having a casual conversation about swear words, preferring to say "the c-word" or "A four-letter word beginning with 'c'." instead. People who do use the word freely are regarded as being unacceptably/uncomfortably vulgar. In both the US and the UK, it's often directed at women as an insult, in contrast to Australia where it's used regardless of gender. It's very acceptable in some parts of Ireland, and in Connacht 'cuntish' is regularly used to drive something as bad or undesirable.
* In the States, a fag is a nasty slur against gay people and other members of the LGBT community (to the point that nowadays it is bleeped on television). In Britain, a fag is a cigarette or cigarette butt. Can lead to awkward cases where an American is confused when a British tourists asks where he could have a fag.
** One 1950's WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}} WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts cartoon, called "No Smoking," sometimes uses the word "fag" to refer to a cigarette, despite the fact that the cartoon was made in the US.
* "Faggot" [[HavingAGayOldTime historically meant]] either "bundle of firewood held together with string" or a kind of meatball in the UK - the former has mostly fallen out of use, but the meatballs are still fairly widely available (although the American usage is more well-known now). Creator/JRRTolkien would occasionally have his hobbits throw faggots on the fire. The urban legend that homosexuals are called "faggots" because the penalty for homosexuality was burning at the stake is a creative modern lie; the two words arose independently many centuries before the law was enacted. [[note]]For those interested, one word derives from French and the other from Norse.[[/note]]
** The American meaning of "bundle of sticks" would be "[[http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fagot fagot]]," but since it sounds the same as "[[http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faggot faggot]]" and nobody says "fagot" anymore, nearly all Americans don't think of the words as homophones but rather the same word with one meaning being archaic.
* Historically, "fagging" in British schools is what Americans would call "hazing".
* 'Shit', in colloquial US and Australian parlance, seems like [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f46HRlTIYDM it can be used to denote anything]]; a substitute for 'stuff' (whilst retaining its specific, scatological meaning), or as a concise form of "bullshit", a general synonym for "nonsense". In the UK it remains much more of a negative word. A US observer commenting on, say, your fully-stocked fridge by saying 'Wow, you've got loads of shit in here' would probably be received a little coldly. You can describe random stuff as 'shit', but only to give the impression you don't think much of it. ([[Series/TheArmstrongAndMillerShow Unless you are a World War II RAF pilot who speaks like a 2010s teenager]].) Admittedly, whether "shit" as "stuff" has a positive or negative connotation is entirely dependent on context and tone.
* The term "bollocks" seems fill the role of "shit" in the UK, much to the confusion of Americans. Whilst the literal term differs (bollocks being slang for testicles), the usage is the same: Example 1: "This is bollocks." = "This is shit." (i.e. negative term, means bad, terrible, etc.) Example 2: "This is ''the dog's'' bollocks." = "This is ''the'' shit." (i.e. positive term, means great, brilliant, etc.)
* In the USA, the term 'handicapped' remains acceptable from a Political Correctness point of view. In the UK, it has fallen out of favour, and some disabled people will take significant offence if called handicapped. In Canada, "handicapped" refers specifically to disabled persons with mobility problems, and has no negative connotations whatsoever.
* English as spoken in Ireland (and sometimes in the UK as well) has picked up a few words from Irish. Many Irish people have gone to America and had [[HilarityEnsues amusing reactions]] to their use of the phrase "How's the craic?". It means "What's up?/What's happening?", but craic is pronounced 'crack'. And was originally an English word spelt 'crack' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craic that was adopted into the Irish language]].
** 'Craic' can also mean "fun or amusement". Although an Irish doctor could tell an American patient to "have some craic" on their vacation, an American doctor wouldn't dare wish the same for their patients, Irish or not.
* "Solicitor", in Britain, refers to a lawyer who (generally speaking; there are [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_of_audience a few]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solicitor_advocate a small but significant exceptions]]) cannot engage in oral advocacy before a court (whether it be a trial or other argument, e.g. on a motion or on appeal). The American legal system does not have the Barrister/Solicitor separation, and as such, neither word is common – they're all lawyers (the type of lawyer who takes part in trials is sometimes simply called a "trial lawyer"). In the US, "solicitor" is synonymous with "telemarketer" or "door to door salesman". Some homes & businesses have signs saying "no solicitors".
* In Britain, "outhouse" can be used to refer to any number of subsidiary buildings on a property, such as a barn, guest house, or shed. In America, it's used exclusively for that type of enclosed outdoor toilet which might be called a "privy" in the UK, a "dunny" in Australia, or a "long-drop" in New Zealand and South Africa. The British "outhouse" is the American "out-''building''".
* Be very careful asking for a "napkin" while in a restaurant. It can mean either "serviette" or "diaper" depending on where you are. "Napkin" has even made its way into Japanese as a loanword, referring to ''sanitary napkins''. Asking for one in a restaurant will get you some ''very'' strange looks, especially if you're a man. "Serviette" also tends to get used in Canadian English, especially among Easterners and older generations who may interpret "napkin" as the Japanese do.
** On the flip side, if you ask for a "serviette" in the US, particularly the south, you're likely to get a blank, confused stare. No one uses or has even heard of the word. That's a napkin you want. "Sanitary napkin" is understood, but considered somewhat of a stuffy term dancing around the concept; a lady is much more likely to refer to them as "pads" to her friends.
* In America, "fanny" means "butt". Particularly, it's similar to "hiney" or "rear" as a giggly euphemism used by little kids, so it's often used as ToiletHumor in children's shows. This must be pretty horrifying to British viewers — over there, "fanny" is a ''much'' ruder word which refers to female genitalia, similar to "snatch" or "pussy" in the US. On top of that, there's the American tourist garment called the "fanny pack", which makes things even more confusing as it's actually worn across the front. In the UK, they call a "fanny pack" a "bum bag". Yes, that's a bum as in your gluteus maximus, and yes they do still wear it on the front. In American ''military'' usage, "butt pack" refers to a somewhat larger kind of bag which is meant to be worn in the small of the back.
* One example that frequently affects this wiki and other wikis like it: What American TV calls a "season"; i.e., a sequence of episodes produced and aired in a particular year, is part of a "series". For example, ''Series/{{Friends}}'' was a series which ran for ten seasons, from 1994 to 2004; Season 1 started on Sept. 22, 1994 and ended on May 18, 1995. In the UK, these are often used far more interchangeably when talking about seasons (although not when talking about ''a series''). So the UK ''[[Series/TheOfficeUK Office]]'' consists of Series 1 in 2001, Series 2 in 2002, and a concluding 2003 Christmas special.
* In America, 'Hooker' is a common term for 'prostitute'. In Ireland, 'Hooker' (properly the Galway Hooker, pronounced HOO-kah) is a term for a traditional fishing boat used in Galway Bay, and sometimes used for racing.
* In Ireland "cute" is sometimes used to mean sly. A "cute whore" is an especially sly person, not an attractive prostitute.
* In the US, "Oriental" means "of East Asian origin" and is properly applied only to things (i.e. "an Oriental rug") and considered outdated, politically incorrect, and potentially racist when applied to people, the term "Asian" being much preferred. In the UK, "Oriental" is considered politically correct and the term "Asian" tends to be reserved for people from South Asian countries (as opposed to the more specifically China/Japan/Korea/Vietnam connotation the word has in America).
* When an American asks for a brew, it means a beer. In the UK, it means a cup of tea.
* In the US, you travel between floors of a building in an elevator. In the UK, you travel between floors in a lift ("lift" in America usually refers to an open platform used in industrial settings, or an automatic wheelchair mover). In addition, in the US, you start at the 1st floor and go up to the 2nd (though there might be separate "ground" and "first" floors if the building is on a slope); in the UK, as in Europe, you start at the ground floor and go up to the 1st.
* In the US, "cow" is slang for a fat or stupid woman (or both), while in the UK and Canada it's a mild word for bitch. So to an American "skinny cow" could be taken as redundant or contradictory.
* In the UK, a flashlight is called a torch. In the US, a torch is a stick with a flame on the end.
** Interestingly, many smartphones with cameras use "torch" to refer to the camera flash's flashlight mode regardless of whether the device's language is set to British or American English.
* In Australia, "bogon" or "bogan" is a class-based putdown, often used in a vaguely affectionate way. In Canada, it's a racist insult. (Possibly because in French, a ''bougnoul'', or ''bougnoule'' is a derogatory racist word for a North African Arab, on a par with "wog" or "nigger"). In the rest of the world, a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogon_filtering bogon]] is an address in unassigned or reserved IP space, which is clearly invalid and non-routable.
* What Americans call a purse – a small-ish bag carried by women containing their keys, phone, etc. – is called a handbag in the UK (which generally denotes a ''large'' purse in America). The small thing women keep their money and credit cards in—the [[DistaffCounterpart female version]] of a wallet, is what Brits call a purse (Americans generally say "coin purse").
* British ''tights'' and American ''pantyhose'' are exactly the same thing. Some Americans do use "tights" and "pantyhose" interchangeably (with "tights" referring specifically to the heaver opaque version). "Tights" is also associated with the thicker variety worn by little girls and dancers (also known as leggings), and which is acceptable as outerwear.
* In most of the world, the word "barbecue" is a verb, meaning "to grill". However, in the [[DeepSouth American South]] (and part of the Midwest) it refers to a specific style of outdoor cookery, distinct from grilling. Grilling is done fairly quickly, over an open flame and/or coals. Barbecue is a far slower process (several hours at minimum) involving lower heat, which may or may not involve the subspeciality known as "smoking", which is even slower. The word barbecue can also be applied as a noun to the products of the whole process. In Britain, it generally applies to any form done outside without a specific process, as well as as a noun to the object this is done on. This technique--and insistence that it is the only thing entitled to be called "barbecue"--is tremendously SeriousBusiness to its practitioners and aficionados (for details, see UsefulNotes/CuisinesInAmerica). In Britain, a grill is an indoor appliance, often part of the oven, consisting of a ''downwards'' heating element with a rack underneath it for the food--Americans call it a "broiler." It's good for making food, especially anything with melted cheese, go brown and crispy on the top. A barbecue (or BBQ to most Brits) is something outdoors, and to barbecue is to use one of these outdoor appliances with coals in the bottom and a rack on top to slowly char your food - not grilling it at all.
* A biscuit in America is a small- to mid-size round, savory quickbread[[note]]Bread raised with chemical leavening, like baking soda or powder, rather than yeast[[/note]] with a soft and rich inside (usually being made with a great deal of butter, buttermilk, shortening, and/or lard) and slightly crispy and very flaky outside. Scones are a whole other matter; it's best you just don't bring them up. In the Commonwealth, a biscuit is a dry cookie that in America would be called a cracker or simply cookie (that popular accompaniment to ASpotOfTea, the digestive biscuit, is similar to a Graham cracker, but much thicker). For further confusion, there's a similar item called "beaten biscuit" in the American South or "sea biscuit" in New England, or "pilot biscuit" or "pilot bread" in other regions.
** Oddly, Americans ''do'' routinely use "biscuit" instead of "cookie" when referring to small baked treats, but only if they're intended for dogs not people.
** And in Australia "Biscuit" is the general catch-all term for all of the above, though "Cookie" has recently come into use for particularly large sweet biscuits, at least 15cm-ish across.
* In the UK, letters arriving through the door are the post, are posted when sent, and the man delivering them is the postman. In the US it's the mail, is mailed when sent, and delivered by the mailman. Just to confuse things further, the postman is an employee of Royal Mail, whereas the mailman is an employee of the Postal Service.
** While not as common as mailman, the term postman ''is'' used in the States. However, when a document is "posted", it means it's been hung on the wall as a notice. "Postman" is a somewhat more formal term than the common word "mailman". This is probably why the notorious Creator/KevinCostner flop (or rather, the Creator/DavidBrin [[Literature/ThePostman novel on which it was based]]) was called ''Film/ThePostman'', because an epic drama called ''The Mailman'' would sound silly.
* In America, the fruit of the capsicum plant is typically called a "pepper", or sometimes "chili pepper", whereas in Britain said fruit is typically referred to simply as a "chilli" (note the spelling), and "pepper" by itself refers exclusively to the dried and ground fruit of the piper plant, which Americans usually call "black pepper", while "peppers" generally refers to American bell peppers. The term "chili", when used by itself in America, usually refers to chili con carne.
** And in Australia, the small spicy ones are called "chilli" and the larger ones "capsicum"
** And what Britons refer to as an "aubergine" is called an "eggplant" by Americans. And the same thing is referred to as a "brinjal" in Asia and Africa.
** Additionally, the UK/commonwealth "marrow" refers to the US "squash", and the UK "courgette" refers to the US/Australian "zucchini".
** In Britain the squash is called a squash, as is often the 'marrow'. The word 'squash' can refer to a type of oblong pumpkin. They are two different foods but usually called by the same name. Sometimes the squash is called a 'swede' in Britain, but more often that word refers to what Americans (and Canadians) call a rutabaga (and the Scots call a turnip, distinguishing the vegetable everyone else calls a turnip as "white turnip").
* "Lemonade" is a drink made from lemon, sugar, and water in the US; and a similar but carbonated drink in the UK. However, in Australia and New Zealand, it refers to clear carbonated drinks like Sprite.
** American style Lemonade does exist in the UK, though is usually explicitly referred to as ''Still Lemonade'' to differentiate from "traditional" UK varieties: likewise, UK-style lemonade can occasionally be found in America (typically called "sparkling lemonade").
** Also, in Britain, ask for lemonade at a restaurant and you are likely to be served 7-up, which is to Sprite what Coke is to Pepsi. It's all lemonade to us, unless it's lemon-flavoured sparkling water.
* Carbonated drinks have many names, depending on the region you're in—pop, soda, coke, fizzy drink, etc. In the U.S., the word "fizzy" has silly or childish connotations; the usual adjective is "carbonated" for sweetened drinks or "sparkling" (which isn't considered pretentious) for unsweetened ones. By analogy with the UK definition of lemonade, the "-ade" suffix is used for other carbonated drinks: "orangeade" = "orange soda", "cherryade" = "cherry soda", and so on. In Scotland, carbonated drinks are sometimes called "juice". In other parts of the UK, never mind other English-speaking countries, "juice" only means, well, juice.
* Food example: "candy" (North America) vs "sweets" (UK and Ireland) vs "lollies" (Australia and New Zealand).
** In America, "sweets" is a catch-all term that includes both confectionery sugar candies and chocolates - and, depending on context, can even incorporate pastries and cakes.
** In Britain, a Lolly refers to a specific type of hard confectionery on a stick that one sucks (more often referred to as a "Lollipop"), or (as a shortening of "Ice lolly") to a block of frozen juice on a wooden stick referred to as an "Ice pop" or "popsicle" in the US.
* British people often use "meant" in casual language, where an American would say "supposed", which is also accepted in British speech. For example, in America, the question "Who am I meant to be?" would only be used if the person speaking was contemplating their existence; in Britain, one could ask that question in order to clarify after being mistaken for someone else, in which case an American would say "Who am I supposed to be?".
** Likewise, to an American, "it was meant to be a red pen" implies that a higher power intended the item in question to be a red pen; a reference to pulling out the wrong item from your pocket would be "it was supposed to be a red pen".
* Brits mostly say "different to", while Americans prefer "different from" or "different than" and argue about which one to say where. Oxford dictionary considers all three forms correct.
* Some Brits use "what" where Americans would use "that" (as in ''That Play What I Wrote''). In America, (and by some Britons) this usage is considered uneducated country speech (see ''reckon'' above).
* "Cider" is always alcoholic in Britain — it's what Americans would call "hard cider". The non-alcoholic variety is just called "apple juice" in the UK. Since "hard cider" was banned during Prohibition, Americans now make a distinction between apple juice (which is heavily filtered and not spiced at all) and what came to be called cider (which is unfiltered, commonly spiced, and often seasonal, the season being the fall--when apples are harvested). NOTE: American usage has been shifting around a bit in the past ten years or so with the rise of alcoholic craft cider along with the craft brewing movement, with some beginning to use "cider" to refer to the alcoholic drink and "apple cider" to refer to the unfiltered juice, so watch this space!
** Furthermore, it used to be in Britain that "cider" specifically meant fermented apple juice, fermented pear juice was "perry", and fermented any-other-fruit juice was "wine". In recent years, "cider" has come to mean fermented any-fruit-except-grape juice. This has lead to drinks in the UK marketed as Cider, Pear Cider, Peach Cider, and so on...
* In North America, a "straight-A student" is a student who excels at everything academic.[[note]] This is due to the grading system going alphabetically – A, B, C, D, and F.[[/note]] If you say you were a "straight-A student" in New Zealand, everyone will think you're a slacker, as A (for Achieved) is the lowest passing grade under the NCEA secondary school grading system[[note]] The four grades in the NCEA system, from worst to best, are Not Achieved (N), Achieved (A), Merit (M) and Excellence (E)[[/note]]. The straight-A isn't a familiar concept in England, either, as it doesn't come into play until GCSE (which is usually at 15 years), and if you take exams on the Foundation level of GCSEs you can only achieve a C. It then disappears after A-Levels (the 'A' stands for 'Advanced'; these are usually done at about 18).
** That said, although lettered grades are only really important at GCSE and A-Level exam times in the UK, most British secondary schools do grade work using lettered grades the rest of the time, more or less. But bragging about being a straight-A student in the UK is still unlikely to go down well, as most British schoolkids don't appreciate the academic excellence of one of their peers (it's more likely to get you beaten up, if anything...)\\
Talking about your grade point average is also likely to cause confusion; for example, 4.0 is the maximum GPA in the US, while in many Australian countries, it's the equivalent of the lowest passing grade.
* The British "bird" and the American "chick" are both avian-based slang terms for young, attractive women.
* Trainers in UK are sneakers in the US and runners or joggers in Australia and Ireland. Ask an American for trainers and they'll likely point you to children's underwear. At least one survey on social media sites such as Facebook will ask what one's first pair of trainers were. Americans typically wonder what the question is referring to, with some people making random guesses (training bras are one fairly common assumption).
* A 'tube sock' in the USA is a calf-length white sock with no defined heel and (often) stripes at the top. You will not find these in Britain (and if you do, they will just be a sock). A 'tube sock' in Britain is what you might call a muscle bandage (but not that tape stuff from the Olympics). A 'tube sock' in Australia is what we'd call an ankle sock.
* A 'bike' in British English can mean anything from a push-bike with stabilisers to a motorcycle to a young promiscuous woman with no shame. The latter are along the lines of a 'hooker' in American English, which causes hilarity when visiting Yanks ask young British women who work at cycle shops if there's a local bike hire (though most Yanks would call it a bike rental. There aren't many bicycle rental places in Britain unless you're at an outdoor activity centre, anyway. Granted there aren't many bicycle rental places in America either. 'Bikes' seem to be used much more often in America to mean motorbike than in Britain, where the ''usual'' meaning of bike is a bicycle, while a motorbike is a motorbike.
* A toilet is that porcelain bowl in pretty much every English-speaking country. The room it lives in, however, is to an American a 'restroom' or 'bathroom', to a Canadian a 'washroom' or 'lavvie', to a Brit a 'loo' or 'toilet' ''in polite conversation (see below)'' and to an Aussie a 'dunny' (or loo, toilet, bathroom ... Australians borrow a lot).
** Saying ''toilet'' to mean 'restroom' in America is traditionally considered quite rude, but it's the polite British version.
** If the toilet-room the British are describing is outside, they will handily add the word 'public' to the front of their chosen word ('loo', 'WC', 'lav', etc.). Apparently, these only exist in Europe (maybe because of the major design flaw).
** A 'bathroom' in Britain must A) be inside and B) contain a shower, bath, toilet, sink, mirror, (opaqued) window, a towel rack, and a shelf or cupboard for wash-stuff. Some include a bidet, too. A room with just a toilet and sink is a 'cloakroom'. In America, a room with only a toilet and sink is sometimes referred to as a "powder room" or a "half-bath."
** In AmericanEnglish, the room where you go to void your unmentionables goes by many names, often varying depending on where it is located and who you are talking to. Bathroom, restroom, lavatory, latrine, etc. Many of these words have slightly different definitions and connotations with common overlap. A latrine, for instance, could be an entire dedicated building full of toilets and sinks, or it could be a hole you just dug out in the woods, and anything in between, at least [[BusmansVocabulary in the military.]]
** In US usage, "lavatory" exclusively refers to toilets on airplanes.
** Canadians will refer to a small guest bathroom on the main floor of the home (with only a sink and toilet) as being a 'Powder Room', while a bathroom that is accessible only via a master bedroom or other large bedroom may be called 'En Suite'. The term 'En Suite' refers to similar conjoined bathrooms in Britain.
** In America, the powder room can also be referred to as a "half-bath". This is because a "full" bathroom in the US typically consists of four pieces: tub, shower, sink, and toilet (it's also quite common for the shower to be ''in'' the tub, rather than separate from it, and the room still counts as a "full bath"). A half bathroom or powder room only has a sink and a toilet. To make things even more confusing, you can also have a 3/4 bathroom which only has either a bathtub or a shower (usually the shower) in addition to the sink/toilet combination.
* An American going to high school will attend from around age fourteen to age eighteen depending on how the school district is organized; a Brit from eleven to sixteen and an Australian from twelve, thirteen or fifteen to seventeen or eighteen, depending on the state or even the school.
* The word "College" has wildly different definitions depending on what country you're in.
** In America, "college" and "university" are often functionally interchangeable, and "college" is the vernacular shorthand for attending either. There is no legal and little if any academic distinction between the two.[[note]]At least formally. Informally, a university is often a larger institution which may subdivide itself into groupings of facilities and/or study programs called "colleges." This is hardly universal, however.[[/note]] Where there ''is'' a distinction is between these two and "community college", which is a technical schools that grant certifications and lesser academic degrees (an "Associates")... and is usually much less expensive. When an American describes something that happened while pursuing a degree, they will invariable say "when I was in college", not (as most other English speakers would say) "when I was at university" (or nowadays, they might say "when I was at Uni").
** In Canada, a stricter distinction is drawn between "colleges" (certificate- and diploma-granting institutions) and "universities" (degree-granting institutions). A university student would never refer to "going to college" the way an American might, for instance, but the American meaning is understood because of EaglelandOsmosis. Adding a complication is that certain universities, in a holdover from the UK system, contain "colleges" (notably the University of Toronto). For added fun, in some provinces (e.g. Manitoba) English-language high schools are called "collegiates", while French-language high schools are "collèges".
** In Britain, "college" is what in America would be the last two years of high school (also known as "Sixth Form"), which may or may not offer post-school education for adults. In Scotland, the word College can either be used for a (usually older) high school, or more commonly for what Americans would call Community college. "College" is also the term used for semi-independent establishments that make up [[{{Oxbridge}} Oxford and Cambridge universities]].
** In New Zealand, "college" is another term for a secondary school alongside 'high school'. Depending on the region, the difference between a high school and a college can be single-sex vs coed, Years 9 to 13 vs Year 7 to 13, state vs state-integrated[[note]]Put simply, private schools which have gone bust and bought out by the government, becoming state schools but retaining their special character. Two-thirds of them are Catholic schools.[[/note]] and private, old schools vs new schools, or completely random.
** In Australia, private high schools are often called colleges (e.g. St. John's College), although they are still referred to as schools ("I went to school at St. John's College"). However in some jurisdictions, colleges are senior high schools like in New Zealand. To add to the confusion, the residential houses on university campuses are also called colleges, and often have similar religious-based names; they are only referred to in terms of accommodation, not university itself (e.g. "While I was Sydney University I lived at St. John's College").
* Kindergarten, a colourful room full of American kids who apparently eat wax crayons and do nothing else, doesn't exist in Britain. It could be any one of nursery, nursery school, pre-school, playgroup, reception or Year 1. This difference reflects the strong German influence on American education reformers in the 19th century ("''Kindergarten''" means "children's garden" in German, which makes a lot of sense when comparing to "nursery school" when you remember that a nursery is a kind of garden). "Nursery school" and "Pre-school" are mostly interchangeable in America, and refer to what educators and politicians often shorthand as "Pre-K".
** In Malaysia, Kindergarten is the grade between Pre-school and First Grade, while Nursery is the grade that comes before pre-school. To be concise, you attend Nursery at the age of 4, pre-school at the age of 5, and kindergarten at the age of 6. Primary school doesn't start until age 7. It doesn't help that the three years is also generally called ''Kindergarten''.
* Primary school in Britain is from four to eleven, and is broken down into infant (four to seven) and junior (seven to eleven). In America, there are no further subdivisions (when it's referred to at all; the generally preferred term in the States is "elementary school"), and it broadly designates Kindergarten through fifth grade, sometimes sixth depending on the school (that would be about five to ten or eleven).
** In Malaysia, students start primary school at age 7, and graduates at age 12.
* In Ireland, kindergarten is roughly equivalent to play-school, the first two years of primary school are junior- and senior-infants respectively and the following six years are 1st to 6th class. Secondary school is the following five or six years, (depending if the individual school provides an optional Transition Year as fourth year) and is divided into Junior Cycle (1st to 3rd year) and Senior Cycle (5th to 6th year).
* "Public school" means a standard government-run school in America, Scotland and Australia. In England, it means an expensive, highly prestigious private school (the term "public" was originally not in the sense of public ownership but rather being open to the public, rather than being in the form of private tutoring or being restricted to members of a single sect). As Scotland is bombarded with English media, the English usage of public school is commonly understood, however "Anytown Public School" would be a school run by the local board of education, not a private school. The term "state school" is commonly used in both Scotland and England to differentiate from one that is private. "State school" has a very different meaning in the U.S., referring exclusively to postsecondary institutions operated by a [[TheSeveralStates state]] government. The British "public school" would be known in America as a "prep school" or (more pretentiously) a "collegiate academy".
* In Ireland, the word "deadly" can mean "cool" as well as "very dangerous" to the confusion of the rest of the English-speaking world.
** This meaning is also common among Aboriginal people in Australia - so much so, in fact, that it's come to be used to represent modern Aboriginal culture in some contexts (e.g. the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts/sports/media awards are called "The Deadly Awards")
* Irish slang: "shifting" is common slang for French kissing, more commonly phrased as "getting the shift". For Irish teens the word's more likely to be "maul" and for younger teens it'll usually be "meet". This kind of thing is constantly in flux though; Irish slang changes a lot. "Shifting" in America refers to DrivingStick (e.g., "shifting into second") or to the equivalent functions performed by a bicyclist or (less commonly) an automatic transmission.
* The popular painkiller paracetamol is called acetaminophen in the United States, Canada and some East Asian countries.[[note]]Both come from one of the chemical names for the drug -- "para-acetylaminophenol".[[/note]] BrandNameTakeOver takes this even further -- its called "Tylenol" or "Panadol" depending on where you live.
* No matter where you live, a "kiwi" is a brown, furry New Zealand icon. However, if you are in New Zealand, you most definitely will ''not'' eat one. New Zealanders call the green-fleshed fruit "kiwifruit", and use "kiwi" to refer to their national bird -- the fruit got its name from looking similar to the bird. Kiwi birds are an endangered species and protected by the law. "Kiwi(s)" may also refer to a New Zealand person, the New Zealand dollar,[[note]]In terms of currency trading, e.g. "The Kiwi is up half a cent against the Euro" - in everyday speak, New Zealanders like Americans use the term "buck"[[/note]] the New Zealand national UsefulNotes/RugbyLeague team, or it may just be an adjective meaning "of New Zealand" (because it's a pain to write "New Zealander" every time we want to describe something). Kiwifruits are actually not native to New Zealand[[note]]It used to be called "Chinese gooseberry"[[/note]] or considered the plant that represents New Zealand - that honour would go to the silver fern.
* The game known as TabletopGame/TicTacToe in North America is known as Noughts and Crosses in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and "X's and O's" in Ireland.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'', one line mentions a woman in the hospital being given "a pot plant" for Christmas. To at least some Canadian and American readers this is highly entertaining, because the commonly used term here is "potted plant"; a "pot plant" is marijuana/cannabis.
* The once commonly-seen-in-British-pubs sign "[[FootballHooligans No football coaches allowed]]" which translates to "No tour buses carrying soccer fans allowed".
* British English uses "metre" for the unit of length and "meter" for a measuring device; American uses the latter spelling for both. Partly for this reason, a millionth of a metre is a "micron", even in British where "micrometre", if such a term existed, would not only be spelled differently but pronounced differently from "micrometer" (a device for measuring very small lengths).
* No actual Australian will ever say "put another shrimp on the barbie", despite the stereotype. If it's large enough to be grilled on a barbecue, it's a ''prawn''.[[note]]The commercial featuring Paul Hogan that created the stereotype deliberately used "shrimp" because it was made specifically for US broadcast.[[/note]]
* "Gypsy" as a term for the Roma people is generally considered a slur in the United Kingdom. In the United States, where there are very few Roma anyway, the word has no negative connotations. In Britain the terms 'Traveller' and 'Pikey' are used as slurs alongside 'Gypsy.
* ''Geezer'' is an informal but otherwise neutral word for a man in British English. In American English, it's a rude term for an old man, often in the form of "old geezer." On a different note, ''geyser'' is pronounced like geezer in British English, something Americans were rather amused by in ''[[VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}} Xenoblade Chronicles]]''.
* In New Zealand, it's not uncommon to hear about someone "going to [[Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz Oz]] for a holiday". It's less exotic than it sounds: "Oz" is short for Australia (from "Aussie", pronounced ''Ozzy''). This has, more recently, started to show up in the rest of the Anglosphere, though.
* In the UK, you go to the dodgems at a funfair. In the US, you go to the bumper cars at an amusement park.
** [=BrE=] has both terms; the distinction is that a funfair travels, an amusement park stays put.
*** Malaysian English typically take the middle ground- the ride are called bumper cars, and funfairs are fairs that travel, but amusement parks are called ''theme parks'' as per the US connotation. Instead, amusement parks are ''arcades'' that are found inside malls. Arcades instead refers to the seedy establishments in shop lots that may be banned in certain states.
** [=BrE=] has both other terms too; the distinction is that with bumper cars, you are encouraged to hit the other cars with your own, for fun. With dodgems, you are supposed to be attempting to avoid the other cars as you all drive about. If you're at a funfair - or an amusement park - in Britain and you go on the dodgems and start bumping your car into the others, you will get thrown off by a very angry ride manager.
* In the UK and US, 'chat' is a verb meaning small-talk. In Australia, the slang word ''chat'' is an adjective meaning something awful. However, Australians will understand you if you meant the verb (partly in deliverance: "We were just having a chat" compared to "That was a chat movie").
* Amongst American youth, the slang term 'dog' is often used affectionately. For Australian youth, it's a ''very'' harsh putdown, used for the selfish and disloyal.
* The word ''grub''. For Americans, it's a slang term for food. For Americans and Brits, it's insect larvae. For Australians, it's an insult meaning 'degenerate'.
** It's also a verb to denote digging, usually in a messy manner. You can indeed go "grubbing for grubs" digging up those little creatures who are eating your lawn, but you're likely to make an even bigger mess of your lawn than they do. A "grubbing hoe" is not used for this, however; that's a heavier tool meant to dig out stumps.
* The word "fancy". In America, it's mostly an adjective meaning "elegant" or "stylish". As a verb, it can describe how one views someone or something. (e.g. I fancy myself the best soccer player in town.) In Britain, it is mostly used as a verb meaning to desire someone or as a noun to describe such a desire ('Tickled her fancy" or "Fancy a shag?" "Fancy" is also used in Britain to distinguish domesticated pet rabbits, mice and rats from wild or laboratory breeds; in America, only serious aficionados of such pets are likely to have ever heard the term.
** On that note, while Britons use the phrase "I fancy [person]" to mean "I am romantically and/or sexually attracted to [person] but [[CannotSpitItOut am unwilling to say I love them]]", Americans and other denizens of the Anglosphere say "I like [person]" to mean the same. Since this phrasing [[LoveYouAndEverybody can lead to confusion]], it's sometimes emphasised as "I ''like'' like [person]".
* In most dialects of English, collective nouns are generally interpreted as referring to the group's ''members'', so plural pronouns are used for them (e.g. "the football team aren't doing too well this season"). In American English, they are always interpreted as referring to the group itself, and singular pronouns are used instead ("this band is awesome").
* In British English, the part of the news where they tell you about the day's football games is called "sport" ''("...up next, weather and sport").'' In American English, it's "sports".
** Conversely, mathematics is generally referred to as 'math' in American English, and 'maths' in British English.
* Garden: In the US, it's a small plot of land where one grows flowers and some small vegetables. In the UK, it is the land that adjoins one's house, what Americans call a "lawn" or a "yard". A British 'yard' can refer to an enclosed portion of land on a property but does not imply tended plant in the way that a 'garden' does.
* Within the United States, there's a pretty significant one referring to time: when referring to the time fifteen minutes before the hour, people in the Northeast are likely to say that it's "a quarter of" the hour (e.g. 10:45 would be called "a quarter of eleven"). People from elsewhere in the country, particularly the Midwest, generally say "a quarter to" and tend to be a bit confused for a moment before they understand.
** In Britain as well, "a quarter of eleven" is also used to denote 10:45. "Half eleven" denotes 11:30, whereas an American would insist the term is "half ''past'' eleven" even in informal situations. In Austria and Germany, however, "half eleven" denotes 10:30. If you're trying to meet an international friend at a specific time, be sure you know which version they're using!
* The term "wog" in Britain is a ''very'' offensive slur towards Africans. In Australia, it's a neutral ([[AppropriatedAppellation though formerly offensive]]) term for people from south-east Europe (e.g. Italy, Greece, Croatia, etc.).
* In North America, "slag" as a noun pretty much only refers to the by-product of working with metals, most prominently the liquid leftovers of ore refining, and as a verb is typically used to refer to destroying something completely, particularly if it is melted down, i.e. reduce it to slag. In the UK, though, "slag" is another word for "slut".
** This has had a particular effect on the ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' franchise, as one of the original Dinobots was named Slag, an early nickname for Megatron [[AllThereInTheManual in the bios]] was "The Slag-Maker", and "slag" was a common slang term in the cartoons, especially in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''. However, in recent years, sensitivity to the meaning of the term in the UK has caused Hasbro to steer away from that word, with the Dinobot eventually being renamed "Slug", and "scrap" becoming the preferred in-universe slang term.
* If you're an American in Ireland looking for transportation in a vehicle, asking around for "a ride" will get you funny looks and snickers. In Ireland it's a euphemism for sexual intercourse.
* In British and Australian English, "overalls" refers to what an American or Canadian would call a "coverall" -- a suit that goes ''over all'' your body. The general term for the long trousers/jeans with straps holding them up is "dungarees".
* In British, "ass" means, literally, a donkey, or oftentimes a very stupid person. Either use is acceptable in mixed company. In America, it's a somewhat rude term for one's butt (what the British call one's "arse"), and -- to describe a person -- a somewhat harsher insult than in Britain. (Although "dumbass carries the same meaning in both places.)
* The common British term for the thin adhesive pulled off a roll is "sticky tape", but Americans just call it "tape", or sometimes, due to brand takeover, Scotch tape.

* In European French, ''gosses'' and ''crosse'' mean "kids" and "stick" (as in "hockey stick") respectively. In Canadian French, they are also euphemisms for "testicles" and "masturbation". So when a Frenchman who's just moved to Quebec and wants to demonstrate his interest in the culture of his new country tells his new Canadian friends that he can't wait to handle the stick with his kids...
* One cultural difference between France and Canada is the definition of ''turlutte''. For the North Americans, it’s a folkloric dance. For the Europeans, its an euphemism for a fellatio.
* French-Canadian seem prone to funny Anglicisms too : when a Quebecois says "Je suis chaude" (literally from English "I'm hot", in the "too warm" meaning of the word), a French will understand "I'm horny" (they would use "J'ai chaud"). Confusion (and expectation) particularly arises when you take off some clothes since you're "hot". It gets funnier: The most common Quebecois meaning of the phrase "Je suis chaud/chaude" (adjectives are gendered in French) is "I'm drunk".
* According to most French speakers "chauffer" means "to heat" as in over a fire. In Quebec, it's a loanword from English, derived from "chauffeur" and means "to drive". Along a similar line, "char" in France means "tank" or "chariot", but in Quebec it means "car". So, if you're going to "chauffer mon char"...
* There's also the minor problem of "sacre", the Quebecois system of swearing. Europe isn't nearly as strict about religion as Quebec was when the swears were established, so they don't translate. This leads to French speakers in Europe adopting them without understanding their severity. But saying "tabarnak" in Quebec is considered worse than ''any'' English or European French swear word (an American equivalent would be at somewhat over the "Jesus motherfucking Christ" level of profanity). In France, it's more of a GoshdangItToHeck replacement for France's swear words, which are related to sex, not religion. So when a Quebecois travels to Paris... That's something of a two-way street, with the Quebecois thinking nothing of using French swears. Perhaps fortunately (for this trope anyway), Quebecois tend to prefer using American swearwords for mild ones.
* Occasionally pops up in French / Belgian conversations, such as a Belgian asking for a towel and getting scented wipes instead ("essuie" for Belgians, "serviette" for the French).
* In Standard French, and most French dialects, numbering gets a bit strange between 70 and 100; instead of having unique base forms for "seventy," "eighty," and "ninety," French uses "soixante-dix" ("sixty-ten") for 70, "quatre-vingts" ("four twenties") for 80, and "quatre-vingt-dix" ("four-twenty-ten") for 90 (with the somewhat confusing French teens coming into play for the 70s and 90s: for instance, 75 is "soixante-quinze"--"sixty-fifteen"--92 is "quatre-vingt-douze"--"four-twenty-twelve"--and 99 is quatre-vingt-dix-neuf--practically "four-twenty-nineteen," but even more literally "four-twenty-ten-nine"). In some French dialects, particularly the ones spoken in Belgium and Switzerland, people have been known to use "septante," "huitante" (Switzerland only, in Belgium they instead use "quatre-vingts" as in France), and "nonante" respectively.
* In Metropolitan French, breakfast translated as petit déjeuner, while lunch and dinner are known as "déjeuner" and "dîner" respectively. In Switzerland, Belgium and Québec, breakfast becomes simply as "déjeuner", while the words for lunch becomes "dîner" and dinner as "souper" (supper).
* The term "dépanneur", mentioned above in the bit about English terms for places to buy alcoholic beverages (being what even an English-speaking Quebecker will call where he/she goes to buy beer), also causes problems in French: in Quebec French, it means "corner store/convenience store," but in France it means "repairman", "tow truck driver" or "troubleshooter."
* In Quebec, "suçon" means a lollipop. In France, it means a hickey. Lollipops are referred to in France as "sucette".
* "Savane" is universally understood in all French dialects to mean "savannah." However, not only Quebec uses the word as such, "savane" has also become synonymous to "swamp". In other cases, the word "marais" would be used.
* There are also some differences between French as spoken in the north and the south of France. For instance, a "sac" (bag) in northern France is a "poche" in southern France, which for a northerner means "pocket".
* One difference that has reached an almost memetic status among French speakers is the name given to [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pain_au_chocolat this pastry]]: ''pain au chocolat'' (mostly in northern France) or ''chocolatine'' (southern France and non-Metropolitan French). Expect plenty of jokes on the topic that one of them is the "correct" name of the pastry, the other being a nonsensical word or designing something else entirely.

* There are 53 officially recognized German variations. While some are related and thus understandable among each other, others are so vastly different that German shows ''subtitle'' them for the rest of the country. Bavarian dialects are often major offenders for this, to the point where even Bavarian channels sometimes use them as well.
* There is a line somewhere between the South and North of Germany that marks the separation between [[GermanDialects Bavarian/Alpine and Central German dialects]][[note]] (this is NOT to be confused with the parallel line even further north between High German (the language most English speakers generally refer to as just German) -- to which both Alpine and Central dialects belong) -- and Low German, which is a completely different language more closely related to the Anglo-Frisian languages (English, Scots, and the various Frisian languages)[[/note]]. Which is not to say that the various countries and regions south of the line are not also SeparatedByACommonLanguage. For example, the phrase "Half ten" can shift in meaning by a full hour over a distance of a few hundred kilometers. [[AsYouKnow In most of the world, this means 10:30]] (half ''past'' ten), but in German, it means 9:30; as in "half to ten". People from North America use a different set of phrases for giving the time without reading the whole thing out; half past ten means the same thing as half ten in British English, quarter past ten means 10:15, and quarter till eleven means 10:45.
* Generally speaking, due to the fact that Germany was politically and culturally fragmented for a very long time (with cultural unification only somewhat beginning to happen a few centuries back, and political unification even later), being more a set of somewhat related tribes than a nation, the differences in dialects are much more severe than in many other (European) languages. While the examples below reflect differences in vocabulary and idioms between Northern and Southern variants of Standard German, for the ''actual'' dialects (which are still widely spoken) it's less a matter of "false friends" or different idioms and more of a matter of hardly being able to understand anything, because it sounds almost like an entirely different language. [[GermanDialects See here for further details.]]
* In Germany, "Stuhl" means "chair", and "Sessel" means "comfy chair". In Austria, it's the other way round.
* Most Swiss are aware their dialect is just a standardized orthography and a serious literary tradition away from being a separate west Germanic language (like Dutch) and thus try to speak "standard German" when conversing with Germans. However, there are some subtleties not everyone is aware of, like "Peperoni" meaning (fruity) bell peppers in Switzerland and (hot) chili peppers in Germany. "You are going to put ''what'' into the salad?"
* "Finken" is a form of the German word for "finch" and in Swiss German means a sort of shoes you wear inside the house.
* The word "Fotze" can mean "bitchslap" in Bavaria or Austria, while in Germany as a whole, it is mostly a vulgar term for vagina.
* In most of the German-speaking world, ''anmachen'', "turn on," has a similar slang meaning as in English, though it can also be used to mean "hit on" or "chat up." In Berlin, it means to piss someone off. However, the latter meaning did ultimately expand beyond Berlin in youth slang and so-called "ghetto language", although in common, non-subcultural slang it still primarily means "to turn on".
* There was a case of a Bavarian teacher who got to teach in a more Central German school. He was accused of insulting a female pupil whom he, precisely, called "Luder". In Bavaria, this is a common and pretty harmless term meaning "naughty girl". In other parts of Germany, it means "bitch".
* Names for food differ greatly between Germany and Austria, often depending on which language or dialect they were loaned from. Germans would call an eggplant ''Aubergine'' (French), but Austrians use ''Melanzani'' (Italian). Carrots are ''Karotten'' (Austrian) or Möhren (Northern German), (rote) Rüben (Southern Germany). Potatoes are Kartoffeln (standard German), ''Erdäpfel'' (Austrian) or ''Grundbirn'' (southern Austria). And that's not even getting into the multiple terms used in local dialects - in some places the term for "potato" changes thrice in less than ten kilometers of distance.
* There's the ''Berliner'', which is a complicated matter requiring its own point. It is of course a person from Berlin, but it's also a donut in some Northern German areas. However, it notably is [[SadlyMythtaken ''not'' called that in Berlin]], where it is called a ''Pfannkuchen''. A ''Pfannkuchen'', again, is what the rest of Germany calls a pancake. And in Austria, donuts are ''Krapfen'' and pancakes are ''Palatschinken''. Confused yet?
* "Das geht sich aus" is pretty standard in Austria for "that works" or "that is sufficient/ enough" in the rest of the German speaking world its a nonsensical phrase reminiscent of "that ends" or "that's turned of".
* And to acknowledge the elephant in the room, there are indeed some differences in the types of spoken German between WestGermany and EastGermany, though they tend to be few and far between. The most example is the word for roasted chicken. While Wessis call it ''Hähnchen'', Ossis call them ''Broiler''; supposedly after American broiler chicken breed WarsawPact countries bought en masse after they failed to create a chicken breed that produce much meat.

[[folder:Nordic Languages]]
* The Nordic languages Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are close enough that native speakers of one language will understand the other two. Basically it's three dialects that happen to be separated by political borders, and use slightly different spelling conventions. This, of course, means that the occasional differences in vocabulary (particularly where the same words have different meanings) can lead to much hilarity. One frequent source of puns and misunderstandings is the word "rolig", which means "calm" in Danish,[[note]]Thus the FanCommunityNickname for supporters of the Danish national [[UsefulNotes/AssociationFootball football]] team, the "roligans"--because they're very calm and pleasant and not FootballHooligans at all.[[/note]] but "funny, amusing" in Swedish.
* There's "rar", which is the Swedish word for "cute, sweet", but means "strange, weird" in Norwegian. "You're the strangest girl I've ever met." (In Swedish "rar" can also mean "rare". However, it's almost never used that way.)
* The word "yr", which in Swedish means "dizzy", but in Norwegian can mean "frisky" (although used, in that sense, about as rarely as the word frisky in English) or "light drizzle". However, the Norwegian word "ør" (pronounced as American "her" without the h) has approximately the same meaning as Swedish "yr", so that confusion will often be avoided.
* A notable example is the Swedish word "grina". If someone from Stockholm says to someone who lives in Scania: "Jag grinade när min katt dog", they mean "I cried when my cat died", but the Scanian would probably think they're talking to some kind of demented animal abuser since the word means "laugh" or "smile" in the Scanian dialect.
* Not even the two written forms of Norwegian, Bokmål and Nynorsk, are immune to this. In Bokmål, the pronouns "han" (he/him), "ham" (him), "hun" (she) and "henne" (her) are reserved for persons. In Nynorsk, "han" (masculine), "ho" (feminine) and "henne" (feminine object) can be used about anything as long as the grammatical gender is right. Have fun writing Nynorsk sentences like "Bob found Alice's cake (feminine) and ate 'her'".
** The slight unfamiliarity of Bokmål users towards can be exploited to humorous effect. For example this phrase: "Meir enn halvparten av arbeidarane ved Lommedalen sagbruk og høvleri vart i går sagd opp på grunn av usemje med bedriftsleiinga. Bedriftsleiinga har truga å sage opp fleire av arbeidarane neste veke." It sounds like: "More than half of workers at Lommedalen sawmill were sacked (sagd opp) yesterday because of a disagreement with the management. The managment is threatening to sack (seia opp) more of the workers next week." However it actually says: "More than half of workers at Lommedalen sawmill were sawed up (sagd opp) yesterday because of a disagreement with the management. The management is threatening to saw up (sage opp) more of the workers next week.
* A couple of Danish examples that are generational rather than geographical, but nonetheless tends to confuse people ''a lot'':
** If you are 50+ years, "gå i byen" ("going to town") means going out in general - visiting friends/family, going to the movie theater/restaurant etc. while to younger people, it means hitting the town, i.e. going to the bars/clubs to drink, dance and have fun.
** If you are 50+ years, "komme sammen" ("coming together") means being friends with someone, while to younger people, it means dating someone.
* "He went away" is a Swedish and old Norwegian euphemism for "He died". This leads to confusion with modern Norwegians, as illustrated [[http://notalwaysright.com/left-at-the-hereafter/6657 here]].

[[folder: Portuguese]]
Portuguese in Portugal and Brazil is similar, but many words mean different things overseas:
* "Banheiros": in Brazil, bathrooms/restrooms; in Portugal, lifeguards.[[note]]The latter is archaic; a more modern term is "nadador-salvador". Portuguese may also use the word in the Brazilian way, albeit much more rarely.[[/note]]
* "Durex": in Brazil, Mexico and Australia, duct tape; in the rest of the world, a brand of condom common in North America, the UK, and Europe.
* "Puto": in Portugal, kid; in Brazil, masculine of "whore".[[note]]In Portuguese dictionaries, the only definition that appears is the Brazilian one. Also, the word "puta", which is the feminine version, means "whore" in both sides of the Atlantic.[[/note]] In Tagalog, rice cakes, though that depends largely on the intonation: ''pu''-to means male-whore, pu-''to'' means rice cake.
* Similarly, "Rapariga" in Portugal means girl, young woman; in Brazil, it means "whore".
* Even more similarly, "Polaco/a" in Portugal means a Polish man/woman; in Brazil it means "whore" (of either sex).[[note]]Until the late 19th/early 20th Century, it had the meaning of Polish woman in Brazil too, but then a [[KosherNostra Jewish mafia]] known as Tzvi Migdal or Zvi Migdal was involved in trafficking white women with blonde hair and blue eyes (a stereotypical Polish phenotype) from Europe to South America, so the name "Polaco/a" stuck for every prostitute, whether actually from Poland or not.[[/note]]
* If you say "Vou tomar uma pica no cu." in Portugal, you're about to go get a shot for, say, flu, on your buttocks. In Brazil, not only are you telling people that you're gay, but you're also announcing that you're about to be sodomized. And being quite vulgar about how you say it, in fact.
* "Camisinha" litterally means "little shirt", but in Brazil it's an euphemism for condom. This, by itself, isn't very problematic. The problem is that, in Portuguese, "-inho/-inha", a suffix that indicates smallness, is possible to be used as a kind way to speak. Therefore, in Portugal, "Eu queria esta camisinha" means "I wanted this shirt", while in Brazil, it can mean "I wanted this condom".
* Computer jargon in Brazil and Portugal is also pretty much mutually exclusive, since Brazil prefers to import words from English or do only mild adaptations, while Portugal translates.
* Sometimes you need to think about the etymology of the translated word to be able to understand the other ("Arquivo"/"Ficheiro", both meaning File. Brazilians can only understand "Ficheiro" by thinking about what "Arquivo" meant 50 years ago)
* There are also significant differences in grammar, such as the gerund. Portugal usually uses "estar a <<plain verb>>" (with the "estar" appropriately flexed), while Brazil uses "<<verb>>ando" (or "endo" or "indo").

* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LjDe4sLER0 As this (English-speaker friendly) video hilariously illustrates]], Spanish is chock-full of these on account of being spoken in 20 countries in North, Central, and South America, plus a very heterogeneous country in Europe, an African and an Asian country (Equatorial Guinea and the Philippines respectively[[note]] though since World War II, Spanish has been largely supplanted by English in the Philippines[[/note]]), and a significant chunk of the United States. Dialects differ to the extent that Spanish pages have to either focus on a specific target country or use a region-neutral dialect, and movies and TV shows [[SameLanguageDub frequently have to be dubbed into separate dialects]].
* More important than any word is the [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Seseo-ceceo-distinci%C3%B3n_en_el_espa%C3%B1ol.png phonetic difference]]: In most Spaniard dialects (including the Standard Castilian used on national TV), and also in Africa and the Philippines, the letter "s" is pronounced as in English, but "c" before "e" and "i", and "z" are pronounced /th/. In the Cordobese, Canarian and all Latin American dialects, however, the /th/ sound does not exist and all three letters are pronounced /s/. Finally, in southern and western Andalusia, it's the opposite and all three are pronounced /th/ (some Latin Americans wrongly believe that this is the case elsewhere in Spain).
* "Caliente" means "hot" in Spanish. When said about a person, in many Latin American countries it means that person is good looking, like in English. However, in Spain it means that person is horny, and in Venezuela, that is very angry.
* "Cajeta" is Argentinian for "vagina", and Mexican for a caramelized milk confection known in Argentina as "dulce de leche".
* In Spain, "Euzkadi" would not be understood as anything but the Basque name of the Basque Country, but in Mexico people would think first of a famous brand of car tires, "Euzkadi Radial", who was founded by ''Germans'', ironically enough.
* The Spaniard phrase "por la cara" is a literal translation of the British phrase "by the face" which normally mean "free" in Spain and the U.K. but in Mexico "por la cara" would be translated as "receiving something in the face" (normally a punch).
* "Pendejo" is Mexican for "moron" and Argentinian for "brat". It can also mean "pubic hair" or "coward".
* "Cachondo" is Spaniard for "funny" and Mexican for "horny" (although "cachondo" can also mean "horny" in Spain).
* "Guarro" is Spaniard for "dirty" (both in the sense of "unclean" and "pervert"), and Mexican for "bodyguard".
* The verb "coger" is probably the most (in)famous example of SeparatedByACommonLanguage in Spanish. It means "get" or "pick up" in Spain and a few Latin American countries, but in Mexico and many South American countries, it's an offensive word that means "to fuck." In Costa Rica, at least among younger people, it can mean both. So if you say something completely innocent like "voy a coger eso" ("I'm going to take/pick that up") some people will look at you weirdly or make fun of you.
** Spanish singer David Bisbal made a Latin American room burst into laughter when he said that he had been very lucky to be picked up in the first edition of ''Operación Triunfo'' (Spanish equivalent of ''AmericanIdol'').
** This is even worse in the bullfighting world between Spain and Latin America: In Spain, when a bullfighter is caved or gored by a bull, the word is used for those cases. In Mexico and probably other countries, the term "cornada" is used instead.
* The word "guagua" means "bus", "van", or "truck" in Canarian Spanish and several dialects influenced by it (Cuba, Puerto Rico, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isleño#Louisiana_Communities_of_the_Isle.C3.B1os Louisiana]]). So, "coger la guagua" means "to take the bus" in Canarian and Puerto Rican Spanish. In Chile, however, "guagua" means "baby." Ahem. It is also very close to the babytalk word for dog, "guauguau" (guau is the Spanish rendering of woof).
* Computer-based terminology can be a royal pain to translate depending on which Spanish-speaking country you're talking about:
** In Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, Puerto Rico, Argentina and Uruguay the word "computer" is translated as "computadora" but in the rest of Latin America it's translated as "computador" and in Spain as "ordenador", in this case it could possibly be a way to avoid a version of the ScunthorpeProblem, as the Spanish word "puta" (whore) is in the words "computador" and "computadora." The same problem occurred in French. The word "computer" sounds like "con putain", meaning "cunt whore", so the word "ordinateur" was proposed instead.[[note]]It's common for 19th or early-mid 20th century inventions to have names derived from English in Latin America but from French in Spain. Other examples are elevator (''elevador'' and ''ascensor'', respectively) and truck/lorry (''troca'' - this time only in Mexico - and ''camión'' - Spain and elsewhere in Latin America)[[/note]]. This is quite problematic in some places like Wiki/TheOtherWiki, when any of the three words can be used in any of the articles, depending of the dialect used by the editor.
** In programming, the English word "array" (a series of data elements in a certain order) doesn't really have a translation in Spain: many people use the English term, while some try to shoehorn the word "vector" if the context allows for it.[[note]]Vectors are much the same thing as arrays, but some programming languages treat them as different things with different properties.[[/note]] In Mexico and maybe the rest of Latin America, the word used to translate it is "arreglo", usually meaning a fix for something broken, or a musical arrangement.
* The Mitsubishi Pajero is a car named for the Pampas cat (from "paja" meaning hay). But it had to be renamed for certain markets because "pajero" also means "wanker" in various Spanish dialects. In the US, Canada, and most of Latin America,[[note]]As the "wanker" meaning is common in Latin American Spanish outside Argentina, and of course most Spanish speakers in the US and Canada are from Latin America[[/note]] it is the Mitsubishi Montero, and it is the Mitsubishi Shogun in Britain.
* Gaming terminology can be a bit confusing between countries:
** A game in Mexico is translated as "juego" (both videogaming and sports games), but in Spain, a game in videogaming is a "partida", and a "partid'''o'''" in sports.
** When you ''press a button'' in a joystick or control pad, you say "presionar un botón" in Mexico and "pulsar un botón'' in Spain.
** An arcade in Mexico is called "maquinitas" or "chispitas", and "recreativas" in Spain.
** A video game is a "juego de video" in Latin America and a "videojuego" in Spain.
* ''A video'' is a "video" in Latin America (vee-DEH-oh) and a "vídeo" in Spain (VEE-deh-oh).
* A "pinche" in Spain is a kitchen help. In Central America it is TheScrooge. In Chile it is a [[HairDecorations hair clip]]. And in Mexico it is a pejorative word akin to "damn" or "bloody".
* Cars: While equivalents of "vehicle" ("vehículo") and "automobile" ("automóvil", as well as its short-hand "auto") are used on both sides of the pond, the most common, coloquial term akin to the word "car" is "carro" in Latin America and "coche" in Spain. In Spain, a "carro" is a ''cart'', while in Mexico, a "coche" is a ''carriage''. In Guatemala, a "coche" is a pig: Spanish "cooperantes" have been known to get confused by the number of "coches" the average poor rural Guatemalan family has.
* Soy is "soya" in Latin America and "soja" in Spain ("j" is pronounced like a hard /kh/ sound in Spanish).
* "Gringo" is universally a term for someone whose native language isn't Spanish, usually people from the US. However, it varies extremely in how pejorative it is among countries, from being essentially the inverse of "Spic" to being just a neutral, informal term like "Kiwi" for New Zealanders. Americans tend to be offended by it because in northern Mexico and the United States, where most Americans are likely to encounter Spanish speakers, it ''is'' an offensive or condescending term, which causes many, many problems when they encounter Spanish speakers from other countries who use the word with no negative connotations. Problems like the Argentinian not being able to understand why his pal from Houston just broke his nose.
** That being said, while the word "Gringo" is known in Spain it is considered Latin American slang. The Spaniard (and Cuban) slang for US citizens is "Yanqui" (as in "Yankee", as used in Britain for referring derisively to Americans).
* Even nationalities aren't safe: ''gallego'' in Spain is someone from Galicia, while in Argentina it's someone [[NationalStereotypes as dumb as a Pole]].
** Because of extensive Galician migration to Latin America in the late 19th and early 20th century, "gallego" is widely used as a synonym of "Spaniard" all over Latin America, to the exasperation of many a non-Galician Spaniard who makes conversation with a Latin American and does not know better (Scottish and Welsh people who get called "English" will relate).
* In Latin America, a "cholo" is a person of mainly native American descent. In Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia the term was appropriated by many natives and mixed people who use it with pride to refer to themselves, but in Chile and Argentina it is a very pejorative term used to insult immigrants of the former countries or people with predominant Aymaran features. In the United States, it is a pejorative term for stereotypical Latin GangBangers, [[TheCartel Cartel]] types, and other low-class people of Latin American origin and their stereotypical associations (e.g. tattoos, weird variations on Catholicism, and [[PimpedOutCar low riders]]).
* "Mamón" is a species of tree in Cuba, Costa Rica, Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela, but in other Latin American countries it means literally "sucker", usually with sexual connotations. In Chile, however, the "mamón" is a MommasBoy (i.e. one who might as well be still sucking his mom's breasts, but no other part of her), and in Spain it's just a low-intensity insult on the range of boob or idiot.
** Bonus if a Chilean and a Mexican talk to a Filipino and they get confused and/or disgusted as to why the latter loves to eat "Mamon". In the Philippines, it's the name of a buttery palm-sized sponge cake.
** Many loanwords from Spanish are mostly the same in Tagalog, but used in different forms. ''Chisme'' is the Spanish verb for "gossip," while "chismoso/chismosa" is the noun for a gossiper. Many Filipinos just use ''chismosa'' as the verb and bypass ''chisme'' entirely, which [[YouNoTakeCandle can make a sentence sound incoherent to other Spanish speakers]].
* Spaniards only call it ''rancho'' if the place they are talking about is in the Americas. If it's in Spain, it's a ''finca'' or a ''cortijo''.
* There are two state lotteries in Chile - the oldest and largest is the Polla Chilena de Beneficencia note . Originally, the word "polla" meant "betting pool", a meaning that's still in use in most of Spanish-speaking Latin America... but in Spain, it's slang for "penis". Invariably, Spaniards visiting Chile are amused by this particular lottery and some of its advertising: "Juegue con la polla y sea feliz." ("Play with ''the lottery'' and be happy."), "Hágase millonario con la Polla." ("Become a millionaire with ''the lottery''), etcetera.
* ''Cerdo'' is Spanish for "pig", in all meanings it has in English (except as slang for Police). However, in Spain it is more commonly used for the animal, while in Latin America it is more used as an insult (depending of the country, the animal will go by "chancho", "coche", etc).
* In Spain, a shooting is a ''tiroteo'', and to shoot is ''disparar'' or ''tirotear''. In Latin America, a shooting is a ''balacera'', and to shoot is ''balear''. In Spain, ''balear'' is only something or someone from the Balearic Islands.
* [[WesternAnimation Cartoons]] are ''caricaturas'' in Latin America and ''dibujos animados'' in Spain. In Spain, ''caricaturas'' are... well, caricatures.

[[folder:Dutch, Flemish and Afrikaans]]
* In Flemish Dutch, "Ik zit vol" ("I'm full") is a way of saying one is pregnant. In Netherlands Dutch, it's a way of saying one has had enough to eat.
* The phrase "Ik zie u graag" ("I like seeing you.") means "I'm in love with you." in Flanders, but not in the Netherlands. So when a Flemish person says this to a Dutch person, the message will quite probably not get across.
* Also famous for this is the verb "poepen", which to Dutch people means "to shit", but which for Flemish people means "to have sex".
* In the Netherlands "lopen" means "to walk", but in Flanders, it means "to run".
* The word "tas" means "bag" in the Netherlands. In Flanders, it can mean "cup" as well, which can lead to amusing conversations from a Flemish to a Dutch person about how they accidentally knocked their "tas" off the table and it shattered.
* Dutch and Afrikaans both have the word "Kont". In Dutch it's fanny as the Americans would say it[[note]]ass / butt[[/note]]. In Afrikaans... Fanny as the English would say it[[note]]vagina[[/note]], with the cultural faux pas of the C-word.

[[folder:Other languages]]
* In China, 搞 means "to do". In Hong Kong, it can mean "fuck". (Hey, just like American English!)
* This can happen with Chinese characters across different languages, as well. In Japanese, 手紙 (''tegami'') means "letter" (as in, one sent in the mail). In Chinese, 手紙 (''shouzhi'') is "toilet paper". The compound noun here is literally "hand-paper".
** Another example is the phrase 大丈夫. In Japanese (''daijoubu''), it's what you say when you ask if someone's alright or or injured. In Chinese (''dàzhàngfū''), it's an expression meaning "[[NoTrueScotsman a real man]]," as in 男人大丈夫,做得出就不怕認 (A real man is unapologetic for his actions).
* This happens in all of China's spoken dialects, including even the official one of Mandarin (Putonghua); for example, in mainland China 土豆 means "potato(es)", but in Taiwan the same phrase is used to mean "peanut(s)".
* Another example is between the Taiwanese/Fujian Hokkien dialect and Cantonese dialect of Hong Kong. In Cantonese, ''chai yan'' means ''police''. In Hokkien, it means ''jelly''. Cue Fujian viewers watching the original Jackie Chan ''Police Story'' dubs questioning themselves ''why did Jackie Chan just called himself a jelly?''. Also, in Hainan dialect, ''chia pui'' means to ''eat rice''. Unfortunately, in Hokkien dialect, it means to ''eat '''fat'''''.
* The Philippines, being an archipelago, has had several very different languages develop among the certain isolated island clusters. While there are many shared local words and similarly loaned words from former colonizers, quite a lot can mean different things even when spelled and pronounced similarly. For example, the word "langgam" means "ant" in Tagalog while in Visayan it means "bird."
* Some English words also mean very different things in Philippine English. For example, ''salvage'' in the military and police context means "[[DeadlyEuphemism summary execution]]." Girls should be careful about calling themselves ''tomboys'' – that term often means "lesbian" in the Philippines.
* There are so, so many in Indonesian and Malay. Not exactly a common language, but they're generally mutually intelligible languages so these are actually pretty common. (Most of the time, [[IThoughtItMeant awkward silence]] happens first, 'then' HilarityEnsues.)
** Malaysian cooking show hosts may ask their viewers to "menggauli", or mix a certain concoction. An Indonesian listening in may wonder why and how they'd rape a concoction.
** In Indonesian, "buntut" is perfectly normal word meaning "tail", but in Malay it means "butt". Malay uses "ekor" instead. (which is a synonym of "tail" in Indonesian)
** In Malaysia, the national census is known as "Banci Penduduk". An Indonesian would have presumed that transvestites are banned there...
** The word "budak" (Indonesian for "slave") can mean "child" according to some regional Indonesian languages, and definitely means "child" in Malay. Those only familiar with the Indonesian language may be surprised at how common and often the word is used in everyday conversations. ("Hey, your slave is misbehaving again. Try to discipline him, will you?" or "My slave is so lazy, he refuses to do his chores!" or even "This is Rudi, my slave. He's grown a lot since you last met him!")
** The word ''Busuk'' in Malay is used to describe pungent smell. However, Indonesians have no such word, the common word used is ''tajam'', which in Malay means ''sharp''. Thankfully it still does convey the message across, but the urgency of the message is lost.
* Modern Hebrew, despite having almost no actual dialectical variations, does have one prominent example: while ''metsitsa'' (מְצִיצָה, lit. ‘sucking’ as in ‘the act of sucking something out of something else’) means ‘lollipop’ in Jerusalem, it means ‘blowjob’ to any Hebrew speaker elsewhere.
* Japanese regional dialects can cause a lot of confusions. For example, "horu" in standard Japanese means "to dig". In [[KansaiRegionalAccent Kansai]] and some other parts of Japan, it means "to throw away rubbish".
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avianca_Flight_52 Avianca Flight 52]] was low on fuel after being placed in a holding pattern by New York controllers due to bad weather. The pilots radioed a request for a "priority landing," as the plane was running out of fuel. "Priority" would be understood by Spanish-speaking controllers as a need to land immediately, but English-speaking controllers are used to "emergency landing." The plane crashed, killing 73 people. This trope can be fatal.
* In Irish, the consonant clusters "cn" and "gn" are usually pronounced the way you'd expect, but in Ulster the "n" becomes an "r". Thus, "cnoc" (hill) becomes "croc" (hang), and "gnáth" (usual) becomes "grá" (love).
* Differences between Finnish dialects, mainly between the Eastern and Western dialects, usually end up causing lack of understanding at most, but there are some well-known examples:
** 'Itikka' is a mosquito in the east and a cow in the west.
** 'Kehdata' is "to bother", "to mind" (as in "I couldn't bother to...", "would you mind...") in the east and "to dare", "to have the nerve" (as in "I can't believe he dared to...") -- the latter meaning has its own word 'iljetä' in the east, which in the west is easily misunderstood for something doing with being mean or disgusted depending on the conjugation.
** 'Käskeä' means "to command" in both east and west, but in west it has a widely used second meaning of "to invite". Cue major misunderstandings when eastern refugees relocated in western dialect areas received "strict orders" to come and eat, to visit, and help with some work.
** "Pese vedellä" means "to wash with water" in standard Finnish. Some dialects pronounce the 'd' in the middle of a word as an 'r', turning it into "pese verellä", which means "to wash with blood".
* Someone from South Korea will have a hard time understanding someone from North Korea although both countries ostensibly have the same official language. There are some subtle differences in spelling and North Korea refuses to use foreign loan words so it has to come up with workarounds while South Koreans simply Koreanize the spelling and pronunciation of foreign words the local language doesn't have an equivalent to. Also, due to decades of isolation and little communication between the two countries, many South Koreans find the North Korean accent to be bizarre and nigh-incomprehensible. For a better example of this, there's the case of the Korean spelling of Egypt's capital, Cairo: In the North Korean dialect, it's spelled with the Arabic spelling ''al-Qāhirah'' or it's equivalent in the Korean spelling (까히라, ''kkahila''). On the the other hand, in the South Korean dialect, the same city is spelled using the English name (Cairo) as proxy (카이로, ''kailo''). Furthermore, the North Korean dialect is archaic and stilted compared to the more modern South Korean dialect. A good comparison is to the modern American English dialect with FloweryElizabethanEnglish
* There are few dialects in Russian, but the one that is most often poked fun at is the St. Petersburg one, which has the most unique vocabulary. Three most well known St. Petersburger words are "porebrik" (sidewalk edging, called "bordyur" in standard Russian), "paradnaya" (stairwell entrance, called "podyezd" in standard Russian) and "shaverma" (doner kebab, called "shaurma" in standard Russian).