17 Words That Brits and Americans Pronounce Differently ... (2023)


By Holly

17 Words That Brits and Americans Pronounce Differently ... (2)

Everybody loves the sound of a British accent. It's soothing, sweet, and sexy. If you want to sound a little bit more like them, then you're going to have to figure out the differences between the way you talk and the way they talk. Here are a few words that Brits and Americans pronounce differently:

1 Zebra

Americans pronounce this word like ZEE - BRA. However, the British are a lot more simple. They just say the word the way that it's written.

2 Vitamin

Americans pronounce this word as if there's an "e" in it and say VITE - a - min. Meanwhile, the British pronounce it the way that it looks. They say VIT - a - min.

Ava ever heard of "long I"? You'd think considering w...

(Video) 20 Words Brits and Americans Say Differently

3 Aluminum

Americans pronounce this word as if it has four syllables. Meanwhile, the British pronounce it exactly like it's spelt, as if it has five syllables.

David What American hater wrote this stuff? Americans pr...

4 Privacy

Americans pronounce this word like PRY - VACY. Meanwhile, the Brits just say it like they see it and pronounce it PRIV - A - SEE.

5 Garage

The second "g" in the word makes a "zsa" sound in America. But in Britain, they say it more like GARE-idge.

6 Herb

In America, we drop the "h" and pronounce the word without it. However, in Britain, they pronounce that "h."

7 Laboratory

Americans pronounce this word as if the "o" doesn't even exist. Meanwhile, the Brits sound it out like they do with most words and make it have five syllables.

David You sound biased, like you are dissing Americans (...

8 Tomato

The British pronounce this word like "tomahto" while Americans pronounce it like "tomayto."

9 Route

In Britain, they pronounce route as "root."

(Video) 63 Words Brits and Americans Say Differently

10 Yogurt

This sounds pretty different in Britain. There, they say this word like "yog hurt."

11 Pecan

In Britain, they pronounce this word in a similar way to how they pronounce "can't."

12 Missile

The British pronounce the end of this word like "aisle." Meanwhile, Americans pronounce it as if the second "i" doesn't even exist.

13 Military

Usually the Americans are the ones dropping letters. However, when the British pronounce this word, they leave out the "a."

14 Advertisement

This word actually makes a lot more sense when you hear a Brit say it. After all, the shortened version is "advert." That's why they pronounce it as Ad - VERT - iz - ment.

15 Controversy

This is a word that is a little difficult to pronounce. In English, we tend to put an emphasis on the "o" while in Britain, they tend to put an emphasis on the "v."

16 Can’t

The British say this word almost as if it's a curse word. That's why you have to be careful when mimicking the accent.

17 Mobile

In America, we pronounce this word like there's a "u" toward the end. But in Britain, they pronounce the ending like "aisle."

(Video) Pronunciation Differences in British and American English - 60 Words #britishandamericanenglish

There's something about British accents that can drive any woman crazy. Of course, they can drive men crazy as well. That's why you should practice your pronunciation of these words. You might be able to use them to impress your crush with impersonations one day. What's your favorite word to hear a Brit pronounce?

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  • Ava #2 ever heard of "long I"? You'd think considering where English came from they'd know that. If that's the case how do you say right? There's no "e" in it? Smh Brits tryna be so sophisticated and loses like they did in the Civil War
  • David #3 What American hater wrote this stuff? Americans pronounce this one as it is spelled, with 4 syllables. It is NOT written with 5 syllables. British people pronounce it as if it is spelled "aluminium"
  • David #7 You sound biased, like you are dissing Americans ("as if the "o" doesn't even exist"). I'm all for dissing Americans, but Brits do NOT "make it have five syllables." Brits drop the second "o" as if it doesn't even exist.
  • Chrissxx I totally get how people pronounce these differently due to the spelling, but I don't get aluminum... there's no i after the n so they're adding letters when they pronounce it. I wonder how that started. No offense to anyone just curious lol
    • Neecey @Chrissxx, I think you've got that round the wrong way. The Brits didn't add the I. Americans take letters out of our language (yes I'm a Brit). English started in England. Not in America. The case of aluminium however, is somewhat interesting. The British chemist - Sir Humphrey Davy - first named the element, calling it alumium. He then changed it to aluminum. However in the early 1800s, most metallic elements had names ending in ium so to conform, it was changed to aluminium. The US kept aluminum. Most of the rest of the English speaking world calls it aluminium. Generally though, a word starts in English and is altered in American, usually by dropping letters (colour becomes color, traveller becomes traveler etc)
  • Bish What does that mean(privacy)?
    • Neecey @Bish, it means you do things hidden from view of the public. Not in a secretive way or sneaky. Just your right to be private and to do things unobserved or interfered with by others.
  • TorriWyatt Yes, I agree that route is root. Loll
  • TorriWyatt I am English born, raised and educated, but I pronounce aluminium the Australian way. I think it can depend on where in England you came from - I was from SW London
  • Laab La-bo-rah-tree... looks like 4 syllables
  • Uroosa Idk why but it seems like the whoever wrote this totally favors the British and dislikes Americans
  • Sparklestar6767 This was so much fun, in British 😜🇬🇧
  • Karia My best friend's mother was born in England, and got a degree at Oxford, and their entire family speak with very strong English accents. I've picked up on most of these little things by just being around them, so it sounds more natural to hear them said that way.
  • Anna Haha this was fun to read, as an Australian most of our accents are really a mix of American/British pronunciation. For me it was about 50/50 with American or British pronunciation with these words XD actually few people have that typical "Australian accent" it's mostly the people who live rural that grow up with that accent haha
  • Serene American pronounce 'vase' as 'vace' (ryhmes w face), Brits pronounce the word as vahs
  • peony Haha the word herb why the h is dropped puzzles me
  • Inna My dad is British :) I guess I've been pronouncing 'route' wrong all along (I was born in England but speak like a American)
  • Taylor I think most Americans pronounce route as root.
  • Kirsty Not all of your readers are American 😑 and a lot of these aren't true
  • Lala Iam British on my moms side my great grandmother was from London
  • Lala Very cool article💋💋



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What words do Americans and Brits say differently? ›

Here are some of the more common variations.
  • Brits use "re" while Americans use "er." ...
  • Brits add a "u" where Americans don't. ...
  • The Brits often use an extra "l." ...
  • Americans use a "c" or "z" where Brits use an "s." ...
  • Americans drop the "e" before "ment" in words like "judgment." ...
  • Aluminum/Aluminium. ...
  • Ate. ...
  • Herbal.
Aug 31, 2018

What words do Americans pronounce differently? ›

50 Words People Say Differently
  • Tomato. -Tuh-mah-toh. -Tuh-may-toh.
  • Horror. -Hoar-er. -Hahr-er.
  • Data. -Day-tuh. -Dah-tuh.
  • Pecan. -Pee-can. -Peh-cahn.
  • Apricot. -Ape-rih-caht. -App-rih-caht.
  • Leisure. -Leh-szuhr. -Lee-szuhr.
  • Handkerchief. -Hayn-kehr-chiff. -Hayn-kehr-cheef.
  • Adult. -Ah-duhlt. -Uh-duhlt.
Feb 16, 2022

What American phrases confuse Brits? ›

Americans often use idioms that can easily confuse foreigners. Phrases like "spill the beans," "piece of cake," "cold turkey," and "table an item" actually have nothing to do with food. Similarly, expressions like "cat's out of the bag" and "for the birds" have nothing to do with animals when Americans say them.

What words can't Americans pronounce? ›

Here are the top 30 words Americans struggle to pronounce
  • affidavit [af-i-dey-vit]
  • almond [ah-muh nd, am-uh nd]
  • beget [bih-get]
  • cache [kash]
  • caramel [kar-uh-muh l, -mel, kahr-muh l]
  • coupon [koo-pon, kyoo-]
  • croissant [French krwah-sahn; English kruh-sahnt]
  • epitome [ih-pit-uh-mee]
Aug 31, 2016

How do Brits say taco? ›

Below is the UK transcription for 'taco': Modern IPA: tákəw. Traditional IPA: ˈtækəʊ 2 syllables: "TAK" + "oh"

What are the 10 most mispronounced words in English? ›

10 Most Commonly Mispronounced Words
  1. GIF. Proper pronunciation is: J-IFF. ...
  2. Mischievous. Proper pronunciation is: MIS-CHUH-VUS. ...
  3. Library. Proper pronunciation is: LIE-BRAIR-EE. ...
  4. Pronunciation. Proper pronunciation is: PRO-NUN-SEE-AY-SHUN. ...
  5. Salmon. Proper pronunciation is: SAM-IN. ...
  6. Ask. Proper pronunciation is: AH-SK. ...
  7. Wednesday. ...
  8. Stomach.

What British words do Americans not understand? ›

The UK and America are two nations divided by a common language.
Synonyms for British Words Americans Don't Understand
  • Fringe: Bangs. ...
  • Jumper: Sweater.
  • Trainer: Sneaker.
  • Dummy: Pacifier.
  • Plaster: Band-aid.
  • Nappy: Diaper.
  • Hole-in-the-Wall: ATM.
Oct 12, 2021

What are the 10 most annoying mispronounced words? ›

Top 10 most annoying mispronunciations
  • Pacifically instead of specifically – 35%
  • Probly instead of probably – 28%
  • Expresso instead of espresso – 26%
  • Specially instead of especially – 25%
  • Artick instead of arctic – 19%
  • Nucular instead of nuclear – 19%
  • Tenderhooks instead of tenterhooks – 18%
Sep 1, 2021

What do Brits call toilet paper? ›

Bog roll. Taken from the 16th-century Scottish/Irish word meaning 'soft and moist,' bog means restroom or lavatory. Bog roll, naturally, is an idiom for toilet paper.

What is something only British people say? ›

I'm knackered – I'm tired. Cheeky – Mischievous or playful. Bloody – This is a very British thing to say – meaning very. I'm pissed – Not meaning the regular “angry”, in British talk it actually means you're very drunk and is used quite a lot when you are out drinking with friends.

What is America's longest word? ›


It's a technical word referring to the lung disease more commonly known as silicosis. Despite being in the dictionary, the word was originally made up by the president of the National Puzzlers' League.

Why can't Americans say squirrel? ›

'Her answer is that it is because the word 'squirrel' contains only one syllable. ' Len Clarke says that the Americans 'are simply copying posh English, in which syllables are discreetly halved in number.

How do Brits say angry? ›

You often hear Americans say that they are “pissed”, meaning that they are angry or annoyed. British people also use the phrase “pissed off”, which means the same thing.

How do the British say fridge? ›

I will add it to the article.
Traffic Words, Other Common Words in the US.
American English wordBritish English equivalentExplanation and usage.
RefrigeratorFridgeI have never seen anyone use Fridge. They use Freezer or Refrigerator to store vegetables and freezer to make ice or store frozen vegetables.
17 more rows
May 17, 2022

What are the 15 commonly misused words in English? ›

Words and phrases commonly misused
  • Stay vs. Live.
  • Chop vs. stamp.
  • Go to bed vs. sleep.
  • Fill in vs. fill out vs. fill up.
  • You and me vs. you and I.
  • As regards vs. In regards to.
  • Irregardless vs. Regardless.
  • Good vs. well.

What's the hardest English word to say? ›

The word onomatopoeia is a jumble of vowels and is probably the most difficult English word to pronounce. It is pronounced [on-uh-mat-uh–pee–uh], and it defines a word that imitates a sound.

How do you say yeah in British slang? ›

' Aye – It means yes. It is commonly used in Scotland.

How do you say oh my god in British slang? ›

Oh my giddy aunt – is another expression for “Oh my God!” and used to show shock or surprise.

What do British call sidewalks? ›

Also, a US sidewalk is a British pavement, and curb is spelled kerb (curb in UK English is a verb i.e. to “curb your enthusiasm”).

What are the 25 most commonly mispronounced words in English language? ›

We Bet You've Been Mispronouncing These 25 English Words
  • #1. Aisle. You may be pronouncing it: ai-suhl / ei-suhl. ...
  • #2. Archive. You may be pronouncing it: aa-keev / aa-cheev. ...
  • #3. Athlete. You may be pronouncing it: eh-tuh-leet / eh-tleet. ...
  • #4. Calendar. ...
  • #5. Colonel. ...
  • #6. Congrats. ...
  • #7. Cupboard. ...
  • #8. Debris.

What is the hardest word for kids to say? ›

And here's how they actually tend to pronounce them.
  • · Amblance (ambulance)
  • · Aminal (animal)
  • · Babbit (rabbit)
  • · Pasgetti (spaghetti)
  • · Binoclars (binoculars)
  • · Confoo'd (confused)
  • · Constructions (instructions)
  • · Hopital (hospital)
Sep 18, 2014

What are some tricky words to pronounce? ›

The 31 Most Hard-to-Pronounce Words in the English Language
  • of 31. Anathema. ...
  • of 31. Anemone. ...
  • of 31. Antarctic. ...
  • of 31. Antidisestablishmentarianism. ...
  • of 31. Asterisk. ...
  • of 31. Brewery. ...
  • of 31. Cavalry. ...
  • of 31. Comfortable.
Jul 21, 2017

What words do British people say that Americans dont? ›

12 British Sayings That Americans Don't Understand
  • “They lost the plot.” ...
  • “I haven't seen that in donkey's years.” ...
  • “Quit your whinging!” ...
  • “He's such a chav.” ...
  • “You've thrown a spanner in the works.” ...
  • “Let's have a chin-wag.” ...
  • “I'm chuffed to bits.” ...
  • “That's manky.”
Nov 10, 2014

What British words do Americans use? ›

Here we'll run down a few choice British English words which baffle and bamboozle the American ear:
  • Chips. Food is a recurring topic of confusion for the US and UK. ...
  • Pants. In the US, your pants are your trousers: what you wear over your legs. ...
  • Muppet. ...
  • Blinder. ...
  • Quid. ...
  • Aubergine. ...
  • Banger. ...
  • Biscuits.

What is the British word for toilet? ›

Loo. Despite being a very British word for toilet, 'loo' is actually derived from the French phrase 'guardez l'eau', which means 'watch out for the water'.

How do you say shut up in British slang? ›

Synonyms of 'shut up' in British English
  1. be quiet.
  2. hush.
  3. fall silent.
  4. button it (slang)
  5. pipe down (slang) Just pipe down and I'll tell you what I want.
  6. hold your tongue.
  7. put a sock in it (British, slang)
  8. keep your trap shut (slang)

What is a very British thing to say? ›

I'm knackered – I'm tired. Cheeky – Mischievous or playful. Bloody – This is a very British thing to say – meaning very. I'm pissed – Not meaning the regular “angry”, in British talk it actually means you're very drunk and is used quite a lot when you are out drinking with friends.

What is the most British swear word? ›

E.g. bloody moron, bloody hell. Of the four in this list, "bloody" is by far the British swear word I hear most among Americans.

What is a good British insult? ›

Here are just a few of our favorites, you nutters!
  • Muppet. “Get out of the way, you muppet!” As you could guess, this one is Jim Henson-inspired. ...
  • Trollop. One of the many misogynistic insults for ladies. ...
  • Scrubber. A woman deemed sexually promiscuous. ...
  • Git. ...
  • Chuffer. ...
  • Tosser. ...
  • Sod. ...
  • Slag.
Jan 16, 2023

How do the British say rude? ›

Below is the UK transcription for 'rude':
  1. Modern IPA: rʉ́wd.
  2. Traditional IPA: ruːd.
  3. 1 syllable: "ROOD"


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