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


(slang) faeces (feces); nonsense or rubbish: "what a load of cack" could equally be used to describe someone talking nonsense or as a criticism of something of poor quality. Also spelt "kak" as used in Dutch. Derived from an ancient Indo-European word, kakkos, cognate with German word Kacke, Welsh word "cach" and the Irish and Scottish Gaelic word "cac" which all mean 'shit'.
(informal) clumsy * ; left-handed. Derived from cack, meaning "fæces (feces)", with reference to the tradition that only the left hand should be used for cleaning the 'unclean' part of the human body (i.e. below the waist).
device for making coffee (US: French press)
abbreviation for a café; now used mainly for the old-fashioned establishment ("there's a proper caff up that side road") to distinguish from chain cafés.
type of lightweight hooded waterproof clothing (US: windbreaker)
call minder
(rare) telephone message recorder (US and UK also: answering machine; voicemail machine)
synonymous with candidacy
candy floss
spun sugar confection (US: cotton candy)
travel trailer (US: RV)
caravan park
area where caravans are parked (US: Trailer park for near-permanently-installed mobile homes, RV park or campground for areas intended for short term recreational vehicle parking. Trailer parks are typically low-income permanent residencies; RV parks/campgrounds are a holiday (vacation) destination.)
car boot
storage area of car (US: trunk). Can also mean car boot sale.
car hire
car rental
car park
area where cars are parked (US usually parking lot if outdoor, parking garage if indoor).
the part of a road that carries the traffic; see also dual carriageway (US and UK also: lane)
carrier rocket
(rare) a rocket used to place a satellite in orbit (US and UK usually: launch vehicle).
cash machine, cashpoint
automated teller machine. ("Cashpoint", strictly speaking, refers only to the ATMs of Lloyds TSB, although the term has become generic.)
cats eye
reflector used to mark lane divisions and edges of roads, also written cat's-eye, genericised from the trademark Catseye (US: raised pavement marker; Botts' dots are similar)
central heating boiler
(US: furnace)
central reservation
physical barrier (usually made from armco) dividing oncoming carriageways (only on dual-carriageways or motorways) (US: median strip)
(slang) an opportunist
char, cha
(informal) tea. From the Chinese.
(informal) see charwoman
see charwoman
Chartered Accountant
one authorised to certify financial statements; the equivalent of an American CPA (Certified Public Accountant)
(dated) a woman employed as a cleaner, especially as an office cleaner Tea lady or canteen staff.
(slang, often derogatory, used primarily in England) typically a nouveau riche or working class person of most of the time lowish intelligence who wears designer label (e.g. Burberry) copies, fake gold bling, and is a trouble-maker. "Chav" is used nationally, though "charv" or "charva" was originally used in the northeast of England, deriving from the Roma (people) word charva, meaning disreputable youth. The closest US equivalents to the chav stereotype are arguably wiggers, although the cultural differences are existent. To a lesser extent "Chotch" (reference sitcom character Charles "Chachi" Arcola), "chinstrap", or simply "douchebag".
cheeky *
impertinent; noun form, cheek, impertinence; a child answering back to an adult might be told "don't give me any of your cheek" (also there is the expression "cheeky monkey!" in reaction to a cheeky remark).
(informal, friendly) exclamation of farewell (similar to 'seeya!' and 'ta-ra!'). No connection to the breakfast cereal Cheerios.
A shop selling cosmetics, various personal products and over the counter medicines with an attached pharmacy. US: drug store.
(babysitter) a person who looks after babies and young children (usually in the person's own home) while the baby's parents are working. Babysitter is more common in the UK.
chimney pot
smoke-stack atop a house. But refers to the cylindrical topmost part. The part below is the chimney or chimney stack.
chinagraph pencil
pencil designed to write on china, glass etc. (US: grease pencil, china marker)
a Chinese takeaway (commonly used in the north of England). "Im going to the chinky, do you want owt?" Considered offensive by some.
chip shop
(informal) fish-and-chip shop (parts of Scotland, Ire: chipper), also chippy (see also List of words having different meanings in British and American English)
(slang) chat
chip and pin
credit/debit cards in UK have a computer chip embedded on the card & require a pin (personal id number) number at time of purchase.
chucked (out)
thrown out; expelled (US: kicked out)
(informal, becoming somewhat archaic, originally Liverpudlian) proud, satisfied, pleased. Sometimes intensified as well chuffed; cf. made up
a place to watch movies (US: a movie theater)
(sometimes chunner) to mutter, to grumble, to talk continuously; "What's he chuntering on about?"
(informal) a big mistake, blunder, bad joke or faux pas ('to drop a clanger') (US: lay an egg)
clapped out
(informal) worn out (said of an object)
horse fly
thin plastic film for wrapping food (US: plastic wrap, Saran wrap)
clock-watching * (plural clock-watchings)
continually looking at the time to see how much longer one has to work or study.
a government made up of two or more political parties (US: fusion administration)
shoe repairers * ; (slang) a weaker version of bollocks, meaning 'nonsense' (often "a load of old cobblers"), from rhyming slang 'cobbler's awls' = balls
cock-up, cockup *
(mildly vulgar) error, mistake. In traditional archery, describes cock feather misalignment prior to firing, resulting in a poor shot.
codswallop *, codd's wallop
(becoming old-fashioned) similar to bollocks but less rude, "You're talking codswallop". After Hiram Codd, the inventor of the Codd bottle, which was commonly used in the late 19th Century for fizzy drinks (Codd's wallop). (US: You're talking trash)
communication cord
near obsolete term for the emergency brake on a train. Is nowadays simply an alarm handle connected to a PA system which alerts the driver.
(French) master of ceremonies, MC
compulsory purchase
the power of the governmental authority to take private property for public use (similar to US: eminent domain)
music school (US usually conservatory)
cool box
box for keeping food and liquids cool (US and UK also: cooler)
cop off with
(slang) to successfully engage the company of a potential sexual partner, to "pull"; to copulate (have sexual intercourse) with.
coriander *
when referring to the leaves, often called "cilantro" in the US
Cor Blimey
see Gor Blimey
coster, costermonger
a seller of fruit and veg
cotton bud
wad of cotton wool fixed to a small stick, used for cleaning (US: cotton swab, Q-Tip)
cotton wool
Spun cotton, used for cleaning wounds or make-up (US: Absorbent cotton, cotton ball)
council house/flat, also council housing or estate
public housing. (US: projects)
counterfoil *
stub of a cheque, ticket etc. (US: stub)
(French) the plant Cucurbita pepo (US: zucchini, from the Italian).
cowl *
a wind deflector fitted to a chimney top.
crack on(-to)
whereas "crack on" may be used in a generalised sense as " get on with " (often, a task), to "crack on to " indicates one was, or planned to, engage in flirtation, to varying degrees
exclamation of surprise (once a euphemism for Christ's keys or perhaps Christ Kill Me. Popularized in the US by late Australian herpetologist Steve Irwin)
very thinly sliced fried potatoes, often flavoured, eaten cold as a snack (US: potato chips)
a musical note with a duration of one count in a time signature of 4/4 (common time) (US: quarter note; see Note value)
cuddly toy
soft toy (sometimes used in the US; also stuffed animal, plush toy). Occurs as the title of the Monkee's song "Cuddly Toy".
tea (never coffee or other beverage)
current account
personal bank account used for everyday transactions (US: checking account)

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