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


(slang) house, home. Also any other place: cheap music hall, theatre, pub, club, shop, hangout
gaffer *
(informal) old man; (informal) boss; football manager (US: soccer coach); Also in US: (professional) chief electrician on a theatrical or film set.
gaffer tape *
strong, woven, cloth adhesive tape, originally sourced from the gaffer on a film set. (US: gaffers tape, gaff tape)
gangway *
a path between the rows of seats in a theatre or elsewhere (US aisle; gangway is a naval command to make a path for an officer)
A prison, mostly historical (US: jail)
system of gears in a vehicle or other machinery (US transmission)
In UK transmission typically refers to drive shafts.
gear-lever / gearstick
handle for changing gears in a vehicle or other machinery (US gearshift)
(informal) information, info (short for "intelligence") (US: intel)
get off with *
to engage in French kissing - does not usually imply sexual intercourse. (US: make out with)
git *
(mildly derogatory) scumbag, idiot, annoying person (originally meaning illegitimate; from archaic form "get", bastard, which is still used to mean "git" in Northern dialects)
(slang), social security benefit payment (US: welfare), is derived from the largely obsolete Girobank payment system that was once used in Britain for benefit and state pension payments.
glandular fever
1. (n.) mouth, e.g. "Shut yer gob"
2. (v.) spit phlegm (US: hock a loogie)
Talkative, particularly when the user of the term does not agree with or approve of what is said.
(vulgar)(insult) slang term for a person who is being mouthy about something or someone
(slang) utterly astonished, open-mouthed
gods (the)
(slang) the highest level of seating in a theatre or auditorium, usually the "Upper Circle", hence the expression "we have a seat up in the gods"
go pear-shaped
see pear-shaped
confused (from a cricketing term for a type of delivery bowled, the googly; predates Google)
(slang), (British) The testicles, from goli Hindi for ball. (US: genitalia)
gor blimey
exclamation of surprise, also cor blimey (originally from "God blind me")
stupid or clumsy
a protest in which workers deliberately work slowly (US: slowdown or work to rule)
grated cheese *
cheese that has been shredded with a 'cheese grater' hand-held kitchen appliance which often has three or four different blade types/widths. (In the US, "grated" cheese tends to be finer than shredded cheese. One would grate a hard cheese such as Parmesan more than a soft cheese such as cheddar or mozzarella.)
disgusting, dirty, poor quality (originally from grotesque, though now rarely used with quite that meaning). In a scene from the 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, George Harrison has to explain the meaning and origin of the word; the impression is given that it was then considered modern slang, known only to trendy youngsters (this is no longer the case). George Harrison would in fact have been familiar with the word as well-established Liverpool slang.
greasy spoon
a cheap diner or cafe, specialising in fried or fast food.
green fingers
talent for growing plants (US: green thumb)
greengrocer *
a retail trader in fruit and vegetables
a greengrocer's profession, premises or produce (US: Produce or Farmer's Market)
group captain
an Air Force officer rank (US: colonel)
Guard's Van
(n.) (also known as a Brake Van or a Driving Van Trailer) the leading or trailing carriage on a train nowadays used for luggage storage (US: Caboose)
gumption *
initiative, common sense, or courage
running shoes, tennis shoes, maybe from "gutta percha" old source of natural rubber
(slang) A contraction of "governor", used to describe a person in a managerial position i.e. "Sorry mate, can't come to the pub, my guv'nors got me working late tonight". Heard mostly in London and the South East of England.

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