AMERICAN ENGLISH and MAINLY
England and America are two countries
separated by the same language (George Bernard Shaw)
Working And Money
American English - British
A M E R I C A N
E N G L I S H
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- To pony up to the bar
- Let's pony up to the bar
and have a drink.
- To be like a kid in a candy store
so happy about his new car... he's just like a kid in a candy store.
- To look very trashy, To look dressed to kill, To be
dressed up to the nine, To be piss elegant
- I know she tried to
do her best, dressing up for the party, but she looked very trashy... we
couldn't stop laughing.
- To do a number on somebody
- Harry did a number on
his girlfriend: she had to swallow her pride and take back all her stuff.
- To have (to get) one's shit together
One of these days you will finally get your shit together... you're a disaster!
To rub elbows with someone
Charles likes going to the parties to rub elbows with American gals.
To bum something
Excuse me... can I bum you a cigarette?
To card someone
The doorman wanted to make sure we were of age, so he carded us.
To horn in
Nora has the bad habit of always trying
to horn in our rap sessions.
- A dog and pony show
- They put on
a hell of a dog and pony show trying to build our enthusiasm for new products.
- Tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum (characters
in the novel Alice in Wonderland)
- The two losers at
the bingo parlor seemed like tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, just standing and
forgetting to punch the numbers!
- Ted: "I think I'd like a hot dog..." -
Brian: "Ditto! Let's go get one."
- To be fired up about something
so fired up about meeting her tomorrow... wow!
- To keep someone on pins and needles, To keep
somebody on edge
kept me on pins and needles (on edge)
all week, before confirming that we'll be staying
together at the week-end.
- Take a cab and explain
that your hotel is just kitty-corner to the post office.
- To take a rain check
too busy to accept Sam's invitation, so she'll take a rain check on it... maybe
for next weekend.
vediamo, decidiamo dopo...
- On the fly
that it is on the fly,
without planning beforehand.!
- To leave somebody hanging
leave me hanging... I need to know your decision by tonight.
- To be bummed, To feel bummed
- Don't be bummed
(don't feel bummed), my dear: things change!
- Tough love
group was led by psychologists, and patients were given tough love, in order to
give up drinking liquor.
- To hit on somebody, To pick up on somebody
- Jason dug
her... he wasn't embarrassed
to hit on the chick he liked in front of everyone.
- He was obviously picking up on Grace when he asked her for the astrological
To carry a torch for somebody (American English)
Steve's still carrying the torch for an
old squeeze... poor him!
John... Molly has been in love with you for years: she's carrying the torch
and you doesn't see!
- To be butt naked, To be stark naked
wino was lying down on the sidewalk butt naked (stark naked), tightly holding a bottle of whiskey.
- To hang tough
he makes up his mind he hangs tough, never moving from his position.
- To draw fire
drew fire on Mandy for wearing fur to the party.
get fire drawn on you for doing that!
- To talk out of one's ass, To talk out both sides of one's mouth
What do I make of him? He's a false person... he talks out of his ass (talks
out of both sides of his mouth).
- To be in (the) left field
- Joe's so
unreasonable: he never recognizes when he is in (the) left field.
- You're way out in left field on that one... you've no clue, no idea!
- To back stab, To do the dirt on somebody
back stabbed me (he did the dirt on me) by telling Sheila I didn't like her.
- To do a job on somebody
They did a job on Ted by filling his cas with water.
When I realized the stereo didn't work, I understood that the salesman had
really done a job on me.
- To blow a fuse
policeman blew a fuse when the driver told him
he forgot his driving licence at home.
- To be stir-crazy,
To go stir-crazy (nuts, bonkers), To bounce off the walls
haven't been out of the house for so long that I'm going stir-crazy (nuts,
bonkers, I'm bouncing off the walls).
- To be dead meat, Your ass is mine, Your
ass is grass
can run away but, you'll be dead meat (your ass is mine, your ass is grass) when I get you!
- To cut a deal
negotiating for a couple of weeks, we cut a deal with the landlord on the selling
price of the house.
- To shoot the shit
Don and Sally were shooting the shit till the bar closed.
- To plead (to take)
the Fifth Amendment (humorous)
...you mean I made on Chuck's girlfriend? Oh, sorry... I take (I plead) the
fifth on that!
- Yadder-yadder, Yap, Yidder-yadder, Gab, Gabbing,
- They are
so gabby all the time with their noisy yadder-yadder (yap, gab, gabbin',
- To put a foot in it
- I put a foot in it asking to
Mandy about her private life... I had no idea she got divorced.
- Howdy Jane, what's up? Are you
- Jesus! Gee!
- Jesus! The last time I met them they looked completely
strange and different!
Tell it to the Marines!
...Belinda an intelligent girl? Please,
Ned... tell it to the Marines!
Ottimo, ben fatto
Roy did a
bang-up job fixing the muffler...
- "How about meeting tomorrow?" -
"Positive! I'll be there."
E non tirarla troppo per le
- Quit stalling!
or you're gonna miss the train!
Hem and haw
After hemming and hawing I asked Marion to spend the weekend together.
Terry I don't know where you got your
ideas about who I am... they are all wet!
- And baby Jesus cried
- My girlfriend is mad at me,
they didn't admit me to the exams, I got a bad flu and... baby Jesus cried!
(the) whole ball of wax
Tom's fantastic: he restored the house
from the roof to the cellar... the whole ball of wax!
Ed set up the party making sure
everything was in order: food and drinks, invitations... the whole ball of wax.
Un sacco, un mucchio, molto
- An awful lot
doesn't know an awful lot about classic but, she's a talking artist... she'll
pass the exam.
(to) choke a horse (American English)
Dana was preparing a roast big enough to
choke a horse.
- Zip it! Bag your face! Bag it! Shut your pie hole! Put a sock in
- Janet, I'm tired of hearing your whining...
Zip it (shut your pie hole, put a sock in
Mike, stop talking rubbish... bag yo' face (bag it,zip it)!
- Move your ass! Hop to it! Get going!
- Come on...
you better move your ass (hop to it, get going)! You've to start packing your stuff.
To go to bat for somebody
Ted, if you think Wendy's in trouble,
you've to go to bat for her!
A man's got to do...
Steve, you're a man... there are things you
can't walk away from: a man's got to do what a man's got to do!
- Bummer (what a bummer!)
was so boring... a real bummer (what a bummer)!
The gas station is closed... we gonna gas up the car to the next
- To freeze one's butt off
Midwest? I can't get over how cold it was... I was freezing my butt off there!
- Outta here (blow this joint)
- I'm leaving... I'm outta
here (I'm blowin' this joint)!
- Don't take any wooden nickels
- "I'm leaving
tomorrow..." - "Have a good trip and don't take any wooden nickels!"
Ci puoi scommetere, ti puoi giocare la camicia
- You can bet your
You can bet your bottom dollar that I will get my own way... no doubt!
- To suck, To blow, To bite
- I've still heard nothing from you... that
sucks (that bites, that blows)!
- To get one's ducks in a row (lined up)
so busy getting her ducks in a row (lined up) for the next meeting.
To pour it on
Randy? Great performer! She's
a pouring it on to get a raise.
The team is pouring it on to win the
- To play ball
learn how to play ball with
- The meat and potato of something
last days of the tour will be the meat and potato of our journey.
Aver diritto su qualcosa,
avere la priorità
- To have dibs on
The teacher has dibs on the best seat in the refectory.
Freshmen have first dibs on the front seats.
The landlord has first dibs on buying the rest of the building site.
- To let the chips fall where they may
think too much about it: let's do it, it's a chance thing... let the chips fall where they may.
To come unglued, to come unstuck
Nancy's really strong but after she failed the final test she seemed to come
If someone talked to me like that I would just come unstuck!
Our plan started showing to come unglued with new problems coming up at
When Dana's parents got divorced her life came completely unstuck.
- To give the bum's rush
He was becoming a nuisance and we gave him the bum's rush and moved to the
other side of the bar.
- It's no skin off my back (teeth)
didn't watch the match... if the Red Bulls won, it's no skin off my back (off my
- To go down the tubes
a shame about your business going down the tubes.
- A monkey on somebody's back
Drinking has always been a monkey on Ted's back.
baby used to cry all the night long, like a monkey on his mother's back... they
couldn't sleep a wink.
ball somebody up; to ball something up
one-ways has balled Tom up... the right direction is lost!
don't use my pc! You'll ball it up!
Did you see the controller? ...better get
out of here likety split!
Don't mind for the car: Sam'll get a fix available likety split.
- A pretty kettle of fish
- You crazy! See what pretty
kettle of fish you've made: the house is all a mess!
- All over the lot
manager? I've been so unimpressed: he's all mixed up... all over the lot!
(to be) all wet
In my opinion your ideas about foreign
affairs are all wet.
you think I like Maud you're really all wet!
- To cut sombody some slack
if women were not allowed to vote and speak in public, the local television cut
them some slack, interviewing them in a short special.
- To play possum
- Don't trust Matt!
He's pretending! He's playing possum just to get round working the night shift.
be the head honcho
- Recently he has become the organization's
head honcho, as a reward for his problem-solving capabilities.
- The new kid on the block
the new kid on the block, he still has to get the hang of the situation.
- To get one's feet wet
he entered the new company he soon got his feet wet with the financial jargon
Essere determinati, risoluti, voler portare a termine un progetto
- To be bound and determined
Greg's bound and determined to set up an import-export activity... he will
be successful, let's bet on it!
- To chew somebody's ass
old manager chewed her ass for being not focused enough.
- To Spin one's wheels
- Ed, stop spinning
your wheels by just talking about the problem and not doing something!
- To light fire under somebody
boss lit the fire under the workers of the branch he was in charge of.
- To wrap one's brain
- I've been
wrapping my brain for new ideas and I can't think of any!
- They asked
Andy to wrap his brain around creating something unique for the new project.
- To dumb down
- You should
rewrite your letter and dumb it down, otherwise no one will read it to the end.
- To block out
you for blocking out my c.v. for me, I'll send it to that company tomorrow.
- Bush league
- He's a lazy-bones:
he normally does things in a bush league and slapdash fashion.
- To be a brown-nose, To be brown-noser
so hypocritical: he says 'yes' all the time and is such a brown-nose (brown-noser)!
- The ho-hum life (the hum drum life)
you gain in material satisfactions what you lose in freedom... that's the
ho-hum life (hum drum life).
- Bucks, greens, cash, bread, lucre, lettuce,
cabbage, pelf, dough, moolah, shekels, cha-ching, wampum
You know, homey... Life is simply a matter of
few bucks and buddies.
It's hard to make a buck today with the high cost of living.
- To make quick (fast) buck
Many of them made quick bucks by selling illegal whiskey... trading "moonshine",
what's the best way to make a fast buck,
earn money easily?
- A quarter
- Hey man, help
me, have you got even a quarter for me?
- To get more bang for one's buck
shopping when it's sale-time means getting more bang for few bucks.
- A tightwad, A tight-ass, A tight-arse, A cheapskate
Al's a real tightwad (tight-ass, tight-arse, cheapskate), unwilling to spend
money: you won't get a drink out of him!
- A straight shooter
- Bill's a
good buddy and he's always been a straight shooter: he gave me some good advice
when I was breaking up with my girlfriend.
- Nip and tuck
- The Government
announced a series of nips and tucks in order to help the economy.
- To put the bite on someone
- The poor
man was putting the bite on everyone, by entering the booths and not leaving them
till they gave him some money.
- As American as apple pie
- He's as American as apple
pie: he looks so yankee, talks in slang and always dresses in jeans and boots!
- A Joe Blow, An "average Joe"
- Greg is really
a self-made man: before scaling up the company, he was the Joe Blow (the "average
Joe") of the group,
that's why he's still so sincere and direct.
- A one trick pony
- Albert studies over and over
again, doin' anything else... he's a real one trick pony!
- A "fresh off the boat", a F.O.B.
- Chang is very
different... so F.O.B., you think? I wonder what country he's from?
- A two-bit swindler
attention when you go shopping in the inner city: it's full of two-bit swindlers.
You litterbug! The room is a pigpen...
when are you going to clean it?
- A space cadet
- Joe's a real space cadet, always
out of touch with reality... I don't think he even knows what he's doing!
- A ditzbag, A airhead, A jackass, A moron
- What do
I make of him? I think he's a ditzbag (an airhead, a moron), behaving like such
- Two vouchers short of a pop-up toaster
so strange: I think he's two vouchers short of a pop-up toaster.
- No ball of fire
- It's a shame:
he's so intelligent but, no ball of fire!
- A wild card
impossible to arrange something with him: he's a wild card.
- A hick, A hillbilly
buddy is a real hick (a hillbilly)... he sounds so rough and ignorant in city
mad as a hornet
- When he's plastered he's as mad as a hornet.
The group is getting boring... so, Dave's crazy and off-center attitude is
No, thanx... that screwball plan won't work.
A space cadet
Tricia's a space cadet: she forgets
something everyday; she's out of touch with facts and reality!
- One from the "Bible Belt"
brought up in the Bible Belt, she had a traditional Christian education.
- A schmuck
- I don't rely
on him: he's such a schmuck!
Betty? She’s not the girl of my life but I
with her anyway… she’s just a squeeze.
- A fly girl
- Sharon's a pretty fashionable girl
who loves amusing stuff and goin' to the parties... she's a real fly girl!
- A tramp
- She's a tramp... she
goes with a different man every night!
American English - British English (British English)
Unit apartment (flat)
- Roomer (lodger, tenant)
- Elevator (lift)
- Story, Floor (Storey, floor)
- Living room (sitting room, living room, lounge)
- Shade (blind)
- Sheers (net curtains)
- Drapes (curtains)
- Yard (garden)
- Green thumb (green fingers)
- Texas gate (cattle grid)
- Pantry (larder)
- Closet (wardrobe)
- Bureau, Dresser (chest of drawers)
- Pacifier (dummy)
- Stroller, Baby-buggy (pushchair)
- Spool (cotton reel, spool)
- Comforter (eiderdown, quilt, duvet)
- Outlet, Socket (socket, point)
- Tube (valve)
- Vacuum cleaner (hoover, vacuum cleaner)
- Wash (face flannel)
- Wall to wall (fitted carpet)
- Scratch pad (note pad)
- Eraser (rubber)
- Water heater (boiler)
- Faucet (tap)
- Antenna (aerial)
- Housewares (hardware)
- Duplex (semi-detached)
- Garbage, Trash (rubbish)
- Trashcan (dustbin)
- Restroom (toilet)
- Sewer pipe (drain)
THE KITCHEN, EATING AND DRINKING
- Stove (cooker, oven)
- To do the dishes (to wash up, to do the dishes)
- Roast (joint of meat)
- Meat grinder (mincer)
- Hamburger meat (mince)
- Bacon Slice, Bacon (rasher)
- Smoked herring (kipper)
- Lima bean (broad bean)
- Raisin (sultana, raisin)
- Soda cracker, Cracker (cream cracker)
- Sherbet (sorbet)
- Eggplant (aubergine)
- Endive (chicory)
- Pit (stone)
- Pitcher (jug)
- Popsicle (ice lolly)
- Powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- Straight (neat)
- Liquor (Spirits)
- American and Irish: Whiskey (British: whisky)
- Sweater (jumper)
- Vest (waistcoat)
- Derby (bowler, hard hat)
- Pants (trousers, slacks)
- Suspenders (braces)
- Cuff (turn-up)
- Undershirt (vest)
- Underwear (smalls, underwear)
- Boxer shorts, Underpants, Tightie whities (pants)
- Snaps (press studs)
- Shoestring (shoelace)
- Overalls (dungarees, overalls)
- Bathrobe (dressing gown/bath robe)
- Account (bill)
- Buck (dollar)
- Bill, greenback (bank note, note)
- Billfold (wallet)
- Mutual fund (unit trust)
- Time payment, instalment (hire purchase)
- Sedan (saloon car)
- Station wagon (estate car)
- Truck (lorry)
- Mobile home (caravan, trailer)
- Gas (petrol)
- Gas station (petrol station)
- Freeway, highway (motorway)
- Divided highway (dual carriageway)
- Stoplights (traffic lights)
- Traffic circle (roundabout)
- Pull-off (lay-by)
- To pass (to overtake)
- Gear shift (gear stick)
- Hood (bonnet)
- Muffler (silencer)
- Oil pan (sump)
THE TOWN, SHOPS AND PLACES
- Down town (centre)
- Subway (tube)
car (tram, tram-car)
- Booth, Phone booth, Phone (payphone kiosk, telephone box)
- Movie house (cinema, pictures)
- Newsdealer (newsagent)
- Jewelry (jewellery)
- Liquor store (Off licence)
- Public School (State School; in Britain a 'Public School'
is a private school)
- Front desk (reception)
- Pharmacy, drugstore (chemist)
- Drygoods store (draper)
- Dump (tip, dump)
- Hardware store (ironmonger, hardware shop)
- Candy store (sweet shop)
- Wharf, pier (quay, pier)
- Semester (term)
- Faculty (staff)
- Freshman (1st year undergraduate)
- Sophomore (2nd year undergraduate)
- Junior (3rd year undergraduate)
- Senior (4th year undergraduate)
- College, after 12 years of schooling (college, after
the age of 16)
LIFE AND PROFESSIONS
- Howdy! (Hi!)
- Vacation (holiday)
- Legal holiday (bank holiday)
- To make a reservation (to book)
- One way ticket (single ticket)
- Round trip ticket, two way ticket (return ticket)
- Roller coaster (big dipper, roller coaster)
- Movie (film)
- Balcony (gallery, balcony)
- Intermission (interval)
- Homely (ugly)
- Goose bumps (goose pimples, bumps)
- To knock up (make pregnant)
- Rubber (condom)
- Shot (injection)
- Line (queue)
- Line up (queue)
- Mail (post)
- Mailman (postman)
- Wire (telegram)
- Package (parcel)
- President (chairman, director)
- Realtor (estate agent)
slut, hooker (whore, tart)
- Attorney, lawyer (solicitor, lawyer)
- Cop (Copper, bobby, pig, silth)
- Draft (conscription)