American-English Dictionary

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For that other dictionary, see English-American Dictionary.
Americans and Englishmen both use words, but in different ways. (Image not to scale of importance: Britain should be much larger.)

“I kicked American English's arse”

~ Oscar Wilde

Welcome, readers, to the exciting windless deserts of the AmericanEnglish Dictionary. This article is designed as a reference to Englishmen and Englishwomen as they attempt to understand, and be understood by, American-type people. Canadian speakers may find much of this information of use as well. It is the goal of this reference to prevent such embarrassment caused by the misinterpretation of eraser and other such words and phrases. In the tables below, the "usage" section refers to the American usage, of course.

"S" and "Z"[edit]

American spelling is worse for the visitor than the jet lag. Englishmen are amazed to learn that in the American alphabet, there is a letter known as Zee, and it bears only cursory relationship to Zed. It is used, when one least expects it, in place of the English letter "S". Examples:

English American Usage
Civilisation Civilization There's no such thing as the English 'Civilization'!
Specialise Specialize Some people heer seem to specialize in allowing people to change American spelling to English.
Organisation Organization The Cobra is a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world!
Sit Zit Watch wheer you zit!
Sip Zip He slowly zipped his tea


In the American alphabet, the letter "Z" is called "Zee", and Americans often overuse this odd letter, but they're wrong, so there.

English American Usage
Nissan 300 Z Nissan 300 Zee In English, the make of this car is pronounced "Nissin". In American, "Nee-Sawn".
Camaro Z28 Camaro Zee 28 Although the Camaro is sold in America (because there are rednecks), Canadians tend to use the letter "Zed".
Kawasaki ZX-11 Ninja Kawasaki Zee X-11 Ninja "Whose motorcycle is this?" —Winston Churchill

"It's not a motorcycle, it's a crotch-rocket, and it's Zee's crotch-rocket". —Oscar Wilde

"Who is Zee?" —Winston Churchill

"Zee's dead, baby!" —Oscar Wilde

"Zee third reich vill last for a thousand years!" —Adolf Hitler

The English "R"[edit]

The Americans are also known for preserving the "R"s in words not requiring one, while removing "R"s from words that are supposed to have them. By doing this the net effect is an equal usage of the letter "R" when compared to English, but a vastly different distribution.


English American Usage
Arse Ass I can kick yor ass!
Idea Idear* I have no idear what you're talking about.

*This is mainly found in Northeastern varieties of American.

ER and RE[edit]

A strange phenomenon has been noted when translating English words that end in "RE", often, the American translation will transpose the two last letters.

English American Usage
Centre Center The gooey nougat center
Theatre Theater I'm dating a slutty theater usher, he sneaks me in for fere.
Entree Enter I'll have some fries with my enter.
Repeat Erpeat Could you please erpeat that?
Ogre Oger Sherk is an unsanitary oger!
Acre Acer One acer of land is pertty big.

K to Que[edit]

In many instances, English spellling is changed from Que to K, this is mainly due to the American tendency to use chatspeak in everyday conversation. The pronunciation of the word is similar, but the spelling and look of the word is radically different. Examples:

English American Usage
Cheque Check My last pay check bonced, I kit!
Barbecue Barbek Fix me some steak on the barbek!
Question Kstion May I ask you a kstion?
Queer Ker That's a ker painting you've got there.
Queen Ken Ken is a synonym for Ker.
Quebec Kbec Kbec is a strange place.
Query Kry He searched the kry and cried because he found nothing

"Ou" and "O" (not firewourks)[edit]

The American language is also noted for the undereruse of the letter U, especially in making the "or" sound. The English always have used "u"; this often results in ending words with "our." This is because Americans are convinced that there is a global U shortage, and think mispelling words will save the planet.


English American Usage
Colour Color The Color Guard raised the flag.
Flavour Flavor I like the popular rap artist Flavor Flav.
Honour Honor I didn't do it, Yor Honor!
Neighbour Neighbor Love thy neighbor as thyself. (literal translation: "shoot the bean-eating brown bastards as they come across!")
Humour Humor Don't waste humour on Americans, they only understand humor.
Horrour Whore The whore!
Our Or That isn't yor ball! That's or ball!
Hour Hor Please hold. Yor wait shold be one hor.
Four For My kids can cont to for!
Would Wold I wold help you if I cold
Mourn Morn Her huzband died, so she's in morning

In the English-speaking colony of Canada, the English "Ou" is pronounced like the double-o in "boot".

Different Definitions[edit]

In addition to the unusual alphabet and spelling, the Americans use different definitions for different phrases.


English American Usage
Lift Elevator Elevator the baby gently.
Toilet Bathroom I'm just going to flush the bathroom.
Flat Apartment Paper is as apartment as Kansas.
Saloon Sedan I got my haircut at a Beauty Sedan
Rubber Eraser I have an eraser ball.
Cling-Film* Condom redneck South only
Napkin Diaper I need a diaper to wipe my mouth.
Bonnet Hood What a lovely Easter hood!
Boot Trunk Do you like cowboy trunks?
Lorry Truck That truck is awfully fun to ride, but kind of a slut.
Chips Freedom Fries Don't eat paint freedom fries!
Crisps Chips A nipple chips when stepped on.
Food Meat byproducts and remnants The fat man eats meat byproducts and remnants.
Jam Jelly I'm in a bit of a jelly here. Can you help me out?"
Jelly Jell-O Winalot Prime with Meaty Chunks and Marrowbone Jell-O
Vest Undershirt I think he has an undershirted interest in it.
Tie Necktie Both runners finished the race simultaneosly—the result was a necktie!
Fag Cigarette It's just that by acting like you would like sectual intercorse with a person of the same sect, you are coming off as a cigarette!
Sack Fire I've bought a fire of potatoes
Nursery Kindergarten I'm going to buy a plant from the kindergarten

Also, some words are used in both English and American, but to different effect:

Word American Meaning English Meaning
Football A game with 100 players to a side and only one kicker A game with 11 players to a side and only one allowed to use their hands (hint: Football)
World (insert sport event) Series, Event at which only N. Americans are allowed to enter (and definitely not Cuba!). The event must not be shown on television if America doesn't win. Cup, Event at which the whole world is allowed to enter (including Cuba)
Knock-up Impregnate Awaken
(as in Coalition of)
Willing Coerced
Bomb Liberate Invade
Bomb the enemy Bomb coallition troops or groups of innocent civilians Bomb the enemy
Mission accomplished
(as in 1st May 2003)
Mission failed Can we go home now? Please?

"og" and "ogue"[edit]

Sometimes an extra "ue" is removed from words ending in "ogue" in English.

English American Usage
catalogue catalog I found a nice TV in the catalog.
dialogue dialog The dialog in that horror film is garbage.
rogue rog The Scarlet Pimpernel is such a rog.
vogue vog This look is really in vog.
vague vag Now you mention it, I can vagly remember.


tongue tong I burnt my tong on the hot meat byproducts and remnants.

"um" and "ium"[edit]

Some words in American lack the "i" in words ending in "ium" in English.

English American Usage
aluminium aluminum I buy soup in aluminum cans.(Note. English pronunciation of aluminium is 'tin'.)
Calcium Calcum Milk is full of calcum.
Helium Helum My voice gets squeaky when I breathe helum.
Sodium Sodum Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of Sodum.

"ce" and "se"[edit]

Sometimes the English C will be replaced with a S in American when an E is next to it.

English American Usage
defence defense You be the defense on the football team.
offence offense You be the offense on the football team.
cell sell I might as well throw you in a jail sell.
Mince Minse I don't minse my words!

"x" and "ct"[edit]

The "x" variations don't exist in American, so ignore this section if you feel the need to do so.

English American Usage
example ectample America is the perfect ectample of a demokracy.
exit ectit Ectit, stage left!
sex sects Age/sects/location?
Xylophone Ctylophone Can you play the ctylophone?*
Linux Linuct I can program my own distribution of Linuct!

Sometimes referred to as the Cthulu-phone

"cks" and "x"[edit]

However, Americans decided not to entirely omit "x", creating the folling irregular plurals:

English American Usage
Socks Sox His sox are a micture of blax, grays and blus.
Locks Lox She cut her lox very short
Clocks Clox Clox tell us what time it is

"oe" and "e"[edit]

Americans tend to forget the o that precedes e in a number of words:

English American Usage
Manoeuvre Maneuver That's 3 letters maneuvered out of plase
Diarrhoea Diarrhea That large Soth American bird has Diar-rhea
Oedipus Edipus He has an Edipus complex
Hoe He Use a he to get rid of weeds in yor garden
Toe Te Och, I've stubbed my te!

Similarly, the a before an e can also be targeted:

English American Usage
Haemoglobin Hemoglobin I must eat more hemoglobin.
Caesar Cesar Cesar salad is my favorite meat byproduct and remnants.
Algae Alge Blu-green alge is a major problem in or lakes.


The French-descended Jean-Luc Picard speaks with a fluent British accent, landing him many jobs as Scrooge, Oliver Twist, and Black Adder. Two words are unique in his vocabulary: privacy and issue

English American Usage
PRIH-va-see (i = dick) PRY-va-see (i = lice) My privacy has been violated, you dick!
ISS-you (ss = hissy-fit) ISH-oo (ss = shit-fit) Where is my new issue of Bigguns?

An interesting urban legend states that if Picard ever says "Privacy is not the issue" the Enterprise will blow up.

Extending words[edit]

Prompted by transformational American linguist George W. Bush, American English extends words to make them as long as possible. Examples follow:

English American Usage
Anesthetist Anesthesiologist He's an anesthesiologist - it's why he charges so much.
Burgle Burglarize Call the police! I've been burglarized!
Finish Finalize I'll get Marketing to finalize the plan right after I finish it.
Teacher Educationalist The attempt by my opponents in Congress to measure teaching is an affront to our temperamental educationalists!

See also[edit]