British-American Dictionary

Some words and phrases in translation as I discover them… 🙂

~ barbecue – grill/cook out — As a Southerner, this REALLY bothers me. I tried to explain that barbecue/to barbecue has to do with smoking meat, and grilling is about cooking the meat on an open flame/direct heat source. No one listened. Ignorance is not always bliss, people!!!
Example: Are you coming to the picnic? We are going to have a barbecue there for hamburgers.
~ brae – hillside
~ bum bag – fanny pack…b/c fanny is slang for lady’s naughty bits (see below)
~ camp – gay as in homosexual
Example: My best male friend hasn’t admitted to liking boys, but he’s as camp as Christmas.
~ cash point – ATM
Example: I need to stop by the cash point to get some money.
~ cheers – thanks
Example: Would you mind closing the window? Cheers!
Side note: The appropriate response to “cheers” is not you’re welcome. “No problem” is more fitting.
~ dodgy – lame/not good/sketchy
Example: The sandwiches at that restaurant across the street are dodgy. It’s not worth the money to go there./ Be careful walking down that street. It’s in a dodgy neighborhood.
~ fanny – slang for vagina…So, as referenced above for bum bag, if you said, “I need to get the keys out of my fanny pack” in the UK, the British would take that to mean, “I need to get the keys out of my vagina pack.” Not to be a total adolescent, but I find that HILARIOUS!! 🙂
~ half (in reference to time) – thirty
Example: We should get to the theatre at half nine since the movie starts at ten.
~ hash key – pound sign
Example: Please press the hash key to speak to a representative.
~ hob – stove
Example: I boil water in a pot on the hob.
~ lorrie – big truck
~ I’m not bothered/I’m not fussed – I don’t care.
Example: My mom said she’d ground me if I came home late, but I’m not bothered. I will stay out anyway.
~ naff – tacky/unstylish/lame
Example: Some clothes sold at thrift stores are so naff nobody should be allowed to wear them.
~ nick – to take or steal
Example: Keep an eye on your belongings. You don’t want them to get nicked.
~ plaster – band-aid
Example: Do you have any plasters in your first aid kit? I’ve cut my finger.
~ right – total/totally/really
Example: You should’ve come out with us last night! We had a right fun time! (See also example for ‘spanner’ below.)
~ spanner – tool (as in a douchy guy)
Example: You are a right spanner because you’re acting rude and ridiculous.
~ twee – inauthentically/trying too hard to be wholesome, cutesy, sweet
Example: The fact that you made scones for a person you don’t even like is so twee of you!
~ uni – university/school
Example: I am taking classes at the uni this fall. / Uni is tough this year!
Side note: This word is also used in Australia.
~ wanker – loser
Example: Don’t be such a wanker! Get off your bum and get a job!


  1. This is really a helpful glossary. Thanks. 🙂

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