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- For that other dictionary, see English-American Dictionary.
“I kicked American English's arse”
Welcome, readers, to the exciting windless deserts of the American–English 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.
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:
|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.
|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 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.
|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.
edit ER and RE
A strange phenomenon has been noted when translating English words that end in "RE", often, the American translation will transpose the two last letters.
|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.|
edit K to Que
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:
|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|
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.
|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.|
|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".
edit Different Definitions
In addition to the unusual alphabet and spelling, the Americans use different definitions for different phrases.
|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)|
(as in Coalition of)
|Bomb the enemy||Bomb coallition troops or groups of innocent civilians||Bomb the enemy|
(as in 1st May 2003)
|Mission failed||Can we go home now? Please?|
edit "og" and "ogue"
Sometimes an extra "ue" is removed from words ending in "ogue" in English.
|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.|
edit "um" and "ium"
Some words in American lack the "i" in words ending in "ium" in English.
|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.|
edit "ce" and "se"
Sometimes the English C will be replaced with a S in American when an E is next to it.
|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!|
edit "x" and "ct"
The "x" variations don't exist in American, so ignore this section if you feel the need to do so.
|example||ectample||America is the perfect ectample of a demokracy.|
|exit||ectit||Ectit, stage left!|
|Xylophone||Ctylophone||Can you play the ctylophone?*|
|Linux||Linuct||I can program my own distribution of Linuct!|
Sometimes referred to as the Cthulu-phone
edit "cks" and "x"
However, Americans decided not to entirely omit "x", creating the folling irregular plurals:
|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|
edit "oe" and "e"
Americans tend to forget the o that precedes e in a number of words:
|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:
|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.|
|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.
edit Extending words
Prompted by transformational American linguist George W. Bush, American English extends words to make them as long as possible. Examples follow:
|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!|