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Saturday, January 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Music

U.S. vs. U.K.: Is it restroom or loo? Sneakers or trainers?

UPDATED: Mon., Sept. 9, 2019

It’s true that English is spoken in the U.K. and U.S., but a word that means something to Brits might mean something completely different to those in America.

Having grown up in England, music director James Lowe has encountered more than his fair share of words while working in America that aren’t used the same way back home. With the help of Spokane Symphony public relations manager Alison Highberger, Lowe has provided a list of American terms and the British equivalent:

line vs. queue

intermission vs. interval

orchestra vs. stalls (hall seating)

molasses vs. treacle

elevator vs. lift

restroom/bathroom vs. loo – “Now the Brits know and sometimes use ‘bathroom’ in the U.S. context, too, but I think when we first encountered it, our reaction was, ‘You’re off for a bath now? In a restaurant??!!’,” Lowe said in an email.

apartment vs. flat

flashlight vs. torch

truck vs. lorry

parking lot vs. car park

french fries vs. chips

potato chips vs. crisps – “Yep, I still trip up over this one,” Lowe said.

cookie vs. biscuit

zucchini vs. courgette

baked potato vs. jacket potato

hungry vs. peckish

kid in a candy store vs. child in a sweet shop

drugstore vs. chemist’s

car hood vs. bonnet

car trunk vs. boot

windshield vs. windscreen

blinker vs. indicator

sneakers vs. trainers

vest vs. waistcoat

suspenders vs. braces

And, finally, the different meanings of “momentarily”:

“We can add a true story to this: In British English, ‘momentarily’ means FOR a moment rather than IN a moment. I was once flying from Edinburgh to NYC, and the plane taxied to the end of the runway and just sat there for 20 minutes.

“The American pilot came over the intercom and said, ‘Apologies for the long delay. We’ll be taking off momentarily,’ which made all the Brits very nervous,” he said.

“I was hoping to go all the way to New York, not three fields over!”

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