EFL teacher David Appleyard
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Smoothing transatlantic communication
Index of Americanisms
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AmericanAmerican term or expression BritishBritish equivalent, or explanation
sack lunch packed lunch
sack time [colloq.]  (sleep) kip [colloq.]
sailboat yacht, sailing boat
sales clerk sales assistant
sales tax VAT (value added tax)
sandbox sandpit
sanitary napkin sanitary towel
Santa Claus Father Christmas
saw (carpenter's tool) handsaw, saw
sawed-off shotgun sawn-off shotgun
scab (one who continues working during a strike) blackleg, scab
scale (weighing implement) scales
scallion spring onion
scarf, scarf down [colloq.] (eat quickly and greedily) wolf, wolf down; scoff, scoff down; bolt, bolt down;
scarf up  [colloq.]  (nab) snap up
scatological humor lavatorial humour
schedule timetable (bus, train, plane, etc.)
schoolyard playground
Scotch whisky
Scotch tape™ Sellotape™, sticky tape
scouring pad scourer
scratch pad jotter, jotting block or pad, scribbling block or pad
scratch paper (bit of used paper to write notes on) scrap paper  
screwball [colloq.] (strange or eccentric person) oddball, weirdo [both colloq.], freak
scrub brush scrubbing-brush
seaman (U.S. Navy) able seaman (Royal Navy)
seaman recruit (U.S. Navy) junior seaman (Royal Navy)
seat (on bicycle) saddle
second floor (U.S.) first floor (UK)
second lieutenant > chief warrant officer
                    (U.S. Air Force)
pilot officer (Royal Air Force)
second lieutenant > chief warrant officer
                    (U.S. Army & U.S. Marine Corps)
2nd lieutenant (British Army & Royal Marines)
section (subdivision of town or city) district
sedan saloon car, family saloon
self-rising flour self-raising flour
semester (1 of 2 seasons in the academic year) term (1 of 3 seasons in the academic year)
semi [colloq.], semi-trailer articulated lorry, juggernaut
senior senior citizen, OAP (old-age pensioner);
4th-year student/undergraduate on 4-year course
seaman apprentice (U.S. Navy) ordinary seaman  (Royal Navy)
senior master sergeant  (U.S. Air Force) warrant officer (Royal Air Force)
Sergeant (various U.S. Army categories):
first sergeant > master sergeant > specialist 8 > sergeant 1st class > specialist 7 >  staff sergeant > specialist 6 > sergeant > specialist 5  
sergeant (British Army)
sergeant (various U.S. Marine Corps categories):
first sergeant > master sergeant >
gunnery sergeant > staff sergeant > sergeant
sergeant (Royal Marines)
sergeant major > master gunnery sergeant
                                     (U.S. Marine Corps)
colour sergeant (Royal Marines)
sergeant major > specialist 9 (U.S. Army) staff sergeant (British Army)
server waiter, waitress
service area (on freeway) service station (on motorway)
set the table lay the tale
sewage treatment plant sewage works, sewage farm
shade [C] (on window) roller blind
shades [colloq.]    sunglasses
shareholders' (or shareowners') equity shareholders' funds
shaving cream shaving-foam
shebang [colloq.] (as in 'the whole shebang') the works [colloq.] (everything to do with the matter)
sheer curtains, sheers net curtains
sherbet ice cream sorbet
shoeshine shoe polish
shoestring shoelace
shooter gunman
shooting stick stick or bipod/tripod to rest rifle on to steady a shot
shopping bag  (the strong disposable paper or
                         plastic type supplied by a store)
carrier bag 
shopping cart shopping trolley
shopping mall shopping centre
shopworn shop-soiled
shot [colloq.]  (injection) jab [colloq.]
shoulder (fringe area) hard shoulder (on motorway);
verge, grass verge (strip of land bordering road,
                                 path, or even flowerbed)
shrimp prawn, shrimp
shucks [exclam.] (as in 'Shucks, Mr. Miller, I don't
                           deserve this gift. You're too kind!')
an expression of modesty, regret, disappointment, and occasionally annoyance
side mirror (on vehicle) wing mirror
sideburn, side-whiskers (hair on side of man's face) sideboard  
sidewalk pavement
siding weatherproof cladding for house exteriors
signal tower (alongside railroad) signal box
sink sink (in a kitchen); basin or washbasin (in a bathroom)
silent partner (person investing money in a business
                       but not given any managerial role)
sleeping partner
sirloin steak rump steak
sixteenth note (music) semiquaver
skeleton (small sled) toboggan (small sledge)
skeleton in the closet (embarrassing detail
                                     from one's past)
skeleton in the cupboard
skid row [slang] run-down area of town frequented by vagrants and alcoholics
skillet frying pan
skim milk skimmed milk
skyscraper tower block
slammer, the [slang]  (jail, prison, penitentiary) nick, the [slang]  
slate (v.)   schedule or arrange an event, lay something on;
adopt/nominate/propose someone for public office  
sled sledge
sleeping car, sleeper sleeping carriage
slingshot catapult
slipcover (removable cover for chair, sofa, etc.) loose cover
slot machine fruit machine, one-armed bandit, slot machine
slowdown  (labor union work-to-rule
                   in order to push a wage claim)
slowpoke [colloq.] (person who works/acts slowly) slowcoach [colloq.]
small-game hunting shooting (In the UK, the only type that's legal!)
smokestack (on ship or steam engine/locomotive) funnel
smooch [colloq.] kiss, hold and touch someone very affectionately
snag (v.) (as in 'police snagged the kidnapper
                when he came to collect the ransom')
catch or obtain by quick action or good luck
snap popper, press stud;
cinch [colloq.] (a very simple task)
sneakers plimsolls, trainers
snit [colloq.] (as in 'she went off in a snit') huff [colloq.] (as in 'she went off in a huff'), angry mood
snow pea mangetout
So fun! (in U.S. 'fun' often treated as an adjective) Such fun!
soccer (association football) football, soccer
soccer field football pitch
soccer mom politically significant, your average middle-class mother who accompnies her kids to sports events and such
soda (beverage) fizzy drink, pop [both colloq.], effervescent soft drink
solid pattern (textiles and clothes) plain pattern
solitaire (card game for lone player) patience
someplace [colloq.] somewhere
sophomore second-year student or undergraduate
sorority university society for female students
sound system hi-fi (system)
soybean soya bean
space heater any type of portable electric fire or heater designed to warm up a small area of the home
spackle compound Polyfilla ™
specialty speciality
splash guard mudflap
split [slang]  (run away) scarper [slang]
sponge bath (given to bedridden person) blanket bath
spool of thread cotton reel
squash (vegetable) a vegetable similar to a marrow
Staff Sergeant (U.S. Air Force) Sergeant (Royal Air Force)
stand (e.g. in a market or at a trade fare) stall
stand in line queue
state fair agricultural show (with a funfair and entertainments)
station wagon estate car, shooting brake
stick shift gear lever in a vehicle with manual transmission
stock [U] (company) shares, stocks
stock option share option
stockholder shareholder
stomp (put a foot down heavily and noisily) stamp
stop light,  stop signal traffic lights
stopper (in a sink or bath) plug (in a washbasin, kitchen sink or bath)
store (retail outlet) shop
store brand own-brand product, own-label product
store clerk shop assistant
store owner shopkeeper
story  [pl. stories]  (a floor in a building) storey [pl. storeys]
stove (kitchen stove with oven and grill) cooker
strainer  (kitchenware) sieve
streetcar tram, tramcar
string bean runner bean
stroller pushchair
student In the U.S. a learner of any age or level.
studio apartment bedsit, bedsitter, bedsitting room
subdivision  (residential area) estate, housing estate
subway underground (railway); in London 'the Tube' [colloq.]
subway stop underground station
superhighway motorway
supertitle surtitle
supplemental supplementary
Sure thing! (expressing consent or agreement) Righto! Right-ho! Righty-ho!
suspenders (shoulder straps to hold up
                      men's pants)
sweater jersey, jumper, woolly [colloq.], sweater
sweep something under the rug [idiom] sweep something under the carpet
sweet pepper (vegetable) pepper
swell [old-fashioned slang] (very good, excellent) spiffing [19th century slang]
swing-arm lamp Anglepoise™ lamp  
switchblade flick knife
switches (for changing tracks on a railroad) points
switchman pointsman