EFL teacher David Appleyard
CUP free search box

British > American Glossary | P

Smoothing transatlantic communication
Index of Briticisms
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P

Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z    |  


AmericanBritish term or expression BritishAmerican equivalent, or explanation
pack of cards deck of cards
packed lunch sack lunch
patch [colloq.] (e.g. 'he went through a bad patch') difficult phase
paddle to walk barefoot in shallow water
paddling pool wading pool
paddy [colloq.] fit of rage or bad temper
Paddy [colloq.] (short form of Irish name 'Patrick') Irishman
Page Three Girl model featured on page 3 of Rupert Murdoch's
U.K. tabloid 'The Sun' (until 2015, topless)
panda car police patrol car
pantechnicon  (large truck for transporting furniture,
                         etc., when moving house)
moving truck, moving van
panther cougar, puma
pantomime, panto [colloq.] fairy-tale-based musical comedy for the whole family staged at theaters across the U.K. in the Christmas and New Year holidays
pants underpants, shorts, jockey shorts, briefs
papaw, pawpaw  (fruit) papaya
paper handkerchief Kleenex™
paper round paper route
paracetamol  (analgesic) acetaminophen
paraffin kerosene
parcel package
parish the area/residents covered by a church/priest;
in England, the smallest unit of local government
parky [colloq] chilly
parting (in hair) part
pastry case pie crust
pasty individual pie with meat or savory filling
patience (a card game for one) solitaire
patterned (clothing material) print
pavement sidewalk
pay packet pay envelope
pay rise raise
pease pudding peas, onions and carrots boiled and mashed
peckish [colloq.] feeling hungry
pedestrian crossing crosswalk
pedestrian precinct a vehicle-free area of town or city
pedlar peddler
pee down [slang] rain heavily
peeler [archaic slang] police officer
peg out [slang]  (die) check out, conk out, kick in, kick off, pop off  [slang]
pelican crossing a pedestrian light controlled crosswalk
pelmet valance
pen torch penlight
penknife pocketknife
pepper (vegetable) bell pepper, sweet pepper
perish deteriorate or rot
perished [colloq.]  (as in 'I'm perished!') suffering from cold
perishing [colloq.]  (as in 'It's perishing in here!') freezing cold
pernickety (overly fussy or fastidious) persnickety
personal ad a personal
personal call (operator-connected private call) person-to-person
personal stereo a Walkman™
Perspex™ Plexiglas™, clear plastic
petrol gas [colloq.], gasoline
petrol station gas station
petrol tanker fuel truck
petty officer (Royal Navy) petty officer 1st class > petty officer 2nd class
(U.S. Navy)
phone box phone booth
photocopier, photocopy machine Xerox™ machine
photocopy (n.) (v.) xerox
physiotherapy physical therapy
pickle  [colloq.] a mischievous young child
pictures, the [colloq.] movies, the
pigsty pigpen
pilchard fish similar to a sardine but slightly larger
pillar-box red, round, pillar-shaped mail box for mailing letters
pillock [slang]  (foolish or stupid person) jackass
pilot officer (Royal Air Force) second lieutenant > chief warrant officer
(U.S. Air Force)
pinafore, pinny [colloq.] large apron/sleeveless smock worn by adult female
pinafore dress jumper dress
pincer (e.g. on a crab) claw
pinch [colloq.]  (steal or take without permission) glom [slang]  
pint (1 imperial pint = 0.565 litres) pint (1 U.S. pint = 0.473 liters)
pip (fruit seed) a smaller size pit  (see also British English stone)
piped music (also referred to as 'muzak') elevator music
the pips [colloq.] time signal, usually on the radio on the hour
piss artist [slang] drunkard; person who fools around
piss down [slang] rain heavily
Piss off! [slang]  (Go away!) Get lost! Beat it! [slang]
pissed [slang]  (drunk) blasted, blotto, canned, sloshed, smashed, stoned
[all slang]
pissed off [slang]  (annoyed or depressed) pissed [slang]  
pisshead [slang] drunkard
pitch playing field for soccer, rugby or cricket
plain chocolate dark chocolate
plain flour all-purpose flour
plain pattern solid pattern
plaits hair braids
plaster Band-Aid™
plaster cast cast
platform 1 (of a railway station) track 1 (of a train station or railroad station)
play truant play hooky (or hookey) [colloq.]
playground schoolyard
plimsolls   sneakers, deck shoes
plonk [colloq.] cheap or low-quality wine
plonker [colloq.] foolish or stupid person
plot (piece of land) lot
plough   plow
Plough, the (group of seven stars in northern sky) Big Dipper, the
plug [colloq. for 'plug socket'] electrical outlet
plug (in a washbasin or bath) stopper (in a sink or bathtub)
plus fours baggy knickerbockers
pneumatic drill jackhammer
pocket money weekly allowance a parent pays to a child
points (pl.) (mechanism for changing rail tracks) switches
pointsman switchman
polo neck, polo-necked jumper turtleneck sweater
Polyfilla ™ spackle compound
ponce [slang] pimp;
effeminate man
pong [colloq.] unpleasant smell or stink
pony-trekking horseback riding
poo [colloq.]  (faeces) doo-doo [colloq.]
pop (v.) [colloq.] (as in: 'I'll just pop in to the bank.') quickly go somewhere in particular
pop music (especially more tuneful popular music) pop rock;
rock ('rock' covers a broad spectrum in U.S.)
pop one's clogs [colloq.]  (die) check out, conk out, bite the dust [all colloq.]
pop shop [colloq.] pawnbroker
POP-size (envelope) 'Post Office Preferred' size
popper (press stud) snap
poppet [colloq.] (said to young, dainty girl) honey, hon'  
porch   shelter over entrance of building
porkie  [from Cockney ryhming slang for 'pork pie']
            (as in: 'Joe told a whopping big porkie!')
lie or falsehood
porridge oatmeal
poof, poofter [slang] (gay or effeminate man) fag, faggot [slang]
porridge [slang] imprisonment
porter (in a hotel) bellhop, bellboy, bellman
posh fancy [colloq.], stylish, classy, smart
positive discrimination reverse discrimination
post  mail
postal ballot absentee ballot
postal code, postcode zip code
postal order money order
postal vote absentee ballot
postbox public mailbox
poste restante general delivery
postgraduate college or university graduate
postgraduate school graduate school
postman mailman, mail carrier
pot (of yoghurt, cream, etc.) tub 
pot noodles cup noodles
potato chips fries, french fries
potato crisps chips, potato chips
pots [colloq.]  (as in 'Dan's got pots of money') loads [colloq.]
potty [colloq.] nutty, crazy
power cut power outage
power point outlet, electrical outlet, wall outlet
pram (abbr. of perambulator) baby carriage, baby buggy, stroller
prang [slang] (minor vehicle collision) fender bender [slang]
prat [slang] (an inept, foolish or annoying person) jerk, goofball, dork [all slang]
prawn shrimp
precinct traffic-free shopping area or indoor shopping mall
preference share (investment) preferred stock
preggers [slang]  (pregnant) in the family way [colloq.]
Premium (Savings) Bond government lottery bond that enters the holder for a monthly cash prize draw but yields no interest
prep school a private elementary school preparing kids for a private high school (see BrE public school)
presently soon, in a while
press stud  (clothes fastener) snap
press-up (physical exercise) push-up
primary school elementary school
prise open (lever open) prize or pry open
Comment: In early 19th century America, the verb 'pry' resulted from British English 'prise' being misconstrued as a 3rd person singular form 'pries'.
prison jail, jailhouse, penitentiary
product range (goods produced by one company) product line
professor in U.K., a university academic of highest rank only
profit (in accounting) income
profit and loss account (in accounting) income statement
promenade concert, prom concert at which part of a concert hall has been cleared of seats to allow in more people standing
propelling pencil mechanical pencil
property (buildings) real estate
pseud a socially pretentious person or fake intellectual
public bar bar in a public house simply furnished and slightly less expensive than the adjoining saloon bar
public convenience [euph.] public lavatory
public house (i.e. a 'pub') tavern; inn
public school    a private, fee-paying school (the term 'independent school' is now preferred by the schools themselves and their representative bodies, while 'public school' is still common in everyday conversation)
public transport public transportation
pudding in Britain a hot or cold dessert of any kind
pull [colloq.] (as in 'he pulled a bird at a nightclub') succeed in finding a female sex partner
pull round (recover from an illness) pull through
Pull the other one! [colloq.] You're kidding!
punchbag punching bag
puncture (in a tyre) a flat or blowout (in a tire)
punnet (e.g. of strawberries) a small basket
punter a gambler, especially one who bets on horses or against a bookmaker
pupil (schoolchild) student
purse in Britain, a small pocketbook or coin pouch
push the boat out [colloq.] spend lavishly to celebrate something
pushchair stroller, baby buggy
put the boot in [colloq.] kick brutally;
act firmly against someone
pyjamas pajamas
pylon (metal tower supporting high-voltage cables) transmission tower, high tension tower