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List of British Words and Phrases for the Traveler

TranslationsWhen traveling in the UK it is always fun to hear different English accents and sometimes even mimic them. Sometimes you can have a conversation with a local whose accent is so thick that you wonder if they are even speaking English!

For example, a gentleman came to the door the other night at our recent London house sit. When I answered the door and the man started talking, I had absolutely no idea what he said. He might has well have been speaking Japanese because I could not understand him due to his heavy English accent. I think I replied, “Oh, thank you, but we are not interested,” and closed the door. I felt bad because perhaps he was from Publisher’s Clearing House UK (if that exists) and the homeowners we are sitting for may have just won millions!

For that reason, I devoted the better part of a day and hunted the internet to assemble a handy list of British words and phrases. Obviously it won’t help decipher accents, but it may help understand the slang and words used in London than are different back home.

I am already trying to memorize many of the translations below so that I will know what to say when someone asks if I need to ‘hire a saloon’ or that I ‘owe a fiver after I bring my aubergine and courgette to the till.’ Huh? Whaaa?

List of British Words and Phrases for the Traveler

North America


[accordion] [section name=”Clothing / Personal Items”]
Bathing Suit / Swim Suit Swimming Costume/Trunks
Pants Trousers
Pantyhose Tights
Tights Stockings
Undershirt Vest
Vest Waistcoat
Garters Suspenders
Suspenders Braces
Pajamas Jim-Jams
Bathrobe Dressing Gown
Sweater Jumper
Jumper Pinafore
Parka Anorak
Windbreaker Cagoule
Tennis shoe Plimsoll
Runners Trainers
Gum Boots Welly
Gym Shoe Pump
Personal Items
Umbrella Brolly
Cotton Ball Cotton Wool
Q-Tip Cotton bud
Band aid Elastoplast
Facecloth Flannel
Bobby pin Kirby grip
Nail Polish Nail Varnish
Tylenol Paracetamol
Spool of Thread Reel of cotton
Toilet Paper Bogroll
Jockey shorts/briefs Y-fronts
Panties Knickers
Underwear Smalls
Underpants Pants
Formal Attire Smart dress
Baby Gear
Diaper Nappy
Stroller / Baby Buggy Pram
Crib Cot
[/section] [section name=”Money & Banking / Stores”]
Buck Quid
Funds Remaining Legacy accounts
Checking Account Current account
Dough, moola Dosh
ATM Cash machine / Cashpoint
Broke Skint
Pay Cheque Wage packet
Unemployment Benefits (Welfare) Dole
5 Pounds Fiver
10 Pounds Tenner
5 Pence Piece Bob
Money Order Postal order
Layaway / Installment Plan Hire purchase
Currency Exchange Bureau de Change
Store Type
Drug Store Chemist
Hardware Store Ironmongery
Laundromat Launderette
Produce Store / Farmers Market Store Greengrocer
Corner Store, Convenience Store Newsagent
Liquor Store Off-licence / offie
Dollar Store Pound Shop
Custom-Made Bespoke
Take Out Takeaway
Bar Pub
Fish & Chips Restaurant Chippy
Day-Care Creche
Boarding School for 8-13 year olds Prep-School
Store Shop
Shop Workshop or Garages
Candy Store Tuck Shop
Postal Service
Shipping and Handling Postage and packing, P&P
Certified Mail Recorded delivery
Mail Box Pillar box
Main Street High street
Postal Code / Zip Code Post Code


[section name=”People, Words, Time/Date and Office Supplies”]
Cop Bobby
Guy Bloke
Caregiver Carer
Babysitter Child-minder
Realtor, real estate agent Estate agent
Principal Headmaster, Headmistress
Land lord Publican
Mail Man Postie
Tenant (Renting a room) Lodger
Vacationer Holidaymaker
Bullshit Bollocks
Screwed Buggered
See ya Later Cheerio!
Flirt with Chat up (someone)
Thanks! or Goodbye Cheers
Sketchy Dodgy
Thank-you Ta
Food Nosh
High-class Posh
Time & Date
In 2 Weeks Fortnight
Half past 8 (O’clock) Half-eight
Office Supplies
Scotch Tape Sellotape
Ball Point Pen Biro
White Out Tippex
Thumb Tack Drawing Pin
[/section] [section name=”Food, Kitchen Ware and Meal Times”]
Fruit & Vegetables
Egg Plant Aubergine
Green Onion Spring Onion
Zucchini Courgette
Pickle Gherkin
Arugula Rocket
Baked Potato Jacket potato
Cilantro Coriander
Squash (vegetable) Marrow
Rutabega Swede
Cocktail / A Drink (Alcoholic Beverage) Bevvy
Coffee with Milk or Cream White Coffee
Hot water and espresso Americano
Cup of Tea Cuppa / Brew
Pop Fizzy drink
Cookie Biscuit
Hard Candy Boiled Sweet
Cotton Candy Candy Floss
Layer Cake Sandwich cake
Candy Apple Toffee apple
Popsicle Ice Lolly
Molasses Treacle
Candy Sweets
Chocolate Chips Chocolate Drops
Jell-o Jelly
Sweet Pie Mince Pie
Dessert Pudding
Kitchen Ware
Plastic wrap / Saran wrap Clingfilm
Cooler Cool Box
French Press Cafetière
Paper towel Kitchen roll
Napkin Serviette
Dish Soap Washing up Liquid
Ground Beef Mince
Strips of bacon Rashers
Sausages Bangers
French Fries Chips
Chips Crisps
Cup-of-Noodles Pot Noodle
Golden Raison Sultana
Wholewheat Flour Wholemeal flour
Steak Sauce Brown Sauce
Ketchup Tomato sauce
Meal Times
Mid-morning Snack Elevenses
Appetizer Entrée
Evening Meal High-tea
Dessert Afters
Coffee-break Tea-break
[/section] [section name=”Transportation and All Things Travel”]
Parts of a Car / Vehicles
Hood (of car) Bonnet
Trunk (of car) Boot / Car Boot
Jumper Cables Jump leads
Shifter Gear-lever / gearstick
Defroster Demister
Convertible Hood
RV Caravan
Truck Lorry
Sedan Saloon
Gas Petrol
Windshield Windscreen
Turn signal Turn-indicator
Garbage truck Dustcart
Bus Coach (50 miles or more)
Lane Carriageway
Median (Barrier in between lanes) Central Reservation
Overpass Flyover
Highway / Freeway Motorway
Driver’s Licence Driving licence
Parking lot (Outdoor) / Parking Garage (Indoor) Car Park
Trailer Park / RV Park Caravan Park
On ramp or Exit Ramp Slip road
Speed bump Sleeping policeman, hump
Yield Give Way
Truck Stop Transport Cafe
Cross Walk Zebra crossing
Construction Road-works
Billboard Hoarding
Rest Stop Lay-by
Flat Tire Puncture
Tow Truck Recovery Lorry
Traffic Jam Tailback
Travel Gear
Backpack Rucksack
Fanny Pack Bum Bag
Duffel Bag Hold-all
Carry on Bag Hand-luggage
Travel Terms
All Off (Train) All Change
Voice Mail Answerphone / Answering Machine / Call Minder
Car Rental Car Hire
Coach Economy class
Rent Hire
Switch (Railroad) Points
Side Walk Foot-path
Elevator Lift
Busy Signal Engaged Tone
Collect Call Reverse Charge Call
Toll-Free Number Freephone
Stub (Ticket) Counterfoil
Balcony (in theater) Dress circle
Aisle (in a theater) Gangway
Carnival Funfair
Bike Pushbike
Slot Machine Fruit Machine
[/section] [section name=”Part of, Types of and Furniture In a House”]
Furniture / Parts of a House
Comforter Duvet
Garbage Can Dustbin, Bin
Baseboard Skirting board
Dumpster Skip
Door hardware Door furniture
Bathroom / Washroom / Toilet Loo
Attic Loft
Furnace Central Heating Boiler
Stove Cooker
Christmas Lights Fairy lights
Electric Cord Flex
Space Heater Electric fire
Extension Cord Extension lead
Vacuum Hoover
Burner Hob
Gas Line, Water Line Main
Types of Housing
House with 2 rooms upstairs & 2 downstairs Two up, Two down
Even smaller house One-up, One-down
Single Rented Room in a Shared House Bed Sit
Apartment or Condo Flat
Low Income Housing Council house/flat
Home Gaffee
[/section] [/accordion] If nothing else, this list may help you at your local British pub on trivia night!

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