Common Language

Indeed, in many respects, she was quite English, and was an excellent example of the fact that we have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.

Oscar Wilde from “The Canterville Ghost”

This page is for those who are a bit confused by familiar words or phrases used herein that do not seem to make sense in American vernacular or in the context offered. These are my translations based on my personal observations, research, and conversations offered sincerely but with a bit of tongue-in-cheek. Please offer comments, corrections or insights.  I will cherish each and every one.


  • Gobsmacked – A state of complete astonishment.

Food and Drink

  • Chips – Strips or wedges of potato fried and seasoned with salt and optionally vinegar eaten alone as a snack or as part of a meal.
  • Crisps – Very thinly sliced potatoes fried to a fragile crispness flavored with salt or other seasoning including onion, prawn, vinegar, cheese or others. Typically available in pubs to accompany beverages.


  • Trousers – Clothing that covers each leg separately usually from the waist to the ankles worn by either gender.
  • Pants – Undergarments worn under trousers.

Sport and Entertainment

  • Football – a game played with a round ball  generally using feet to propel towards a goal defended by a player from the opposing team.  It often incites verbal discord and occasionally fisticuffs.

Home and Hearth

  • Cloak Room – typically a small room on the ground floor of a dwelling with a toilet and a sink.
  • Ground Floor – The level of the house or building at ground level. Generally the entry-level. Reception rooms and kitchens are most often on the ground floor.
  • Cellar – The level of a house or building below the ground floor often used for storage, wine, and ghostly apparitions.
  • First Floor – The level of the house that is one level above the ground floor.  Bedrooms are most often on the first floor.
  • Garden – An outside area in front or rear of a dwelling that may or may not include living organic features.  Any living or recently living organic material may include flowering plants, grass, moss, vegetables, herbs, bushes, hedges, or trees.  Non-organic material may include paving stones, concrete, macadam, pebbles, garden sheds, statuary, table, chairs, benches, flower pots, trampolines, clothes airing lines, or parked motor vehicles.


  • Mum – The person who will raise her eyebrows and scold you for failing to keep your room tidy and your teeth clean.


  • Curry House – An establishment that provides cuisine originating in one of several Asian countries including but not limited to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Singapore, or Malaysia.
  • High Street – The equivalent of Main Street but much more meaningful as they are the heartbeat of villages and towns across UK.  High Streets generally host market days either weekly on a small-scale and historical Market Towns have a large market day each month.


  • Cooker – A kitchen appliance used to prepare food by boiling, baking, frying, grilling, roasting or simmering.  Cookers  are fueled by electricity or gas, and in some cases oil or wood.
  • Hob – A counter top kitchen appliance used to prepare food by boiling, frying, or simmering.  It is either integrated into a cooker or is a separate appliance.  It is fueled by gas or electricity.


  • Trolley – Just about anything on wheels that one pushes, but commonly a wheeled cart used for shopping.  In stores it will typically be of the spinner variety equipped with wheel system that allows forward, backward, and side movement.  Since many people walk to shops two or four-wheeled carts are used for hauling about the accumulated purchases from a visit to High Street.

Don’t Let Your Mom Hear This

  • Bloody Hell – My personal favorite expletive.  So much variation depending on the vocal tone, volume, and emphasis.

Defacto Misc