List of British Words Not Widely Used in The United States - A


to descend on a rope (US: rappel). From German abseilen.
calculating and tracking financial matters (US: accounting).
In the UK accounting is explaining oneself or one's actions ("to give an account" or "accountability" in the U.S.A.), accountancy is the profession.
Action Man
A toy similar to G.I. Joe.
viper, a species of venomous snake
advertisement (US and UK also: ad, commercial (on TV)).
agony aunt
the author of an agony column – a magazine or newspaper column advising on readers' personal problems. The image presented was originally that of an older woman providing comforting advice and maternal wisdom, hence the name "aunt". Better known to most Americans as a "Dear Abby" column or advice column. Similarly, agony uncle.
air marshal
an Air Force officer of high rank (US: general)
all change
announcement on train or bus on approaching the last stop (US: All out)
Generally still in wide usage in the UK, with the alternative among also used. Amongst is considered archaic in US usage, but is still occasionally used.
(originally from trademark Ansafone) automated telephone answering device (US and UK also: answering machine).
direction opposite to clockwise (US: counterclockwise).
approved school
(old-fashioned) school for juvenile delinquents; reform school. Such institutions have not been referred to officially as "approved schools" since 1969. Juvenile delinquents, depending on their age and level of malfeasance, may now be sent to Secure Training Centres (for ages 15 to 18) or YOIs (Young Offender Institutions – a prison for offenders aged between 18 and 21). (US: juvenile detention center, JDC, juvenile hall, (slang) juvie.)
(informal) a disagreement ranging from a verbal dispute to pushing-and-shoving or outright fighting.
buttocks, backside or anus, depending on context (US equivalent: ass); to be arsed: to be bothered to do something, most commonly as a negative or conditional (e.g. I can't be arsed, if/when I can be arsed). (Usage of the US equivalent "ass" as a verb is uncommon except in the expression "half-assed", meaning poorly, hastily, or sloppily done.)
arse over tit
(vulgar) head over heels. (US: ass over tea kettle).
artic (lorry)
abbreviation of 'articulated lorry' (US: semi, semi-trailer truck, tractor-trailer).
(French) a solanaceous plant bearing a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking (US: eggplant). Also a dark purple colour resembling the colour of the fruit.
Auntie – sometimes 'Auntie Beeb' (see below)
(affectionate slang) the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).
a prompting system for television announcers (genericised trademark, after a leading manufacturer) (US: teleprompter).

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