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


(slang) lame, tacky, cheap, low quality (origin uncertain – numerous suggestions include backslang for fan, an old term for a vagina), also gay slang for a straight man (said to mean "Not Available For Fucking")
naff off
(dated slang) shove it, get lost, go away – a much less offensive alternative to "fuck off" (originally obscure Polari slang, made popular by prison sitcom Porridge and famously used by Princess Anne)
nark *
1. (v.) (informal) irritate; also narked, the adjective.
2. (n.) (slang) police informer (US: narc, derived from narcotics agent, but often used in a general sense)
absorbent garment for babies (US: diaper)
National Insurance
compulsory payments made to the Government from earnings to pay for welfare benefits, the National Health Service (see below) and the state pension fund. (US: Health Insurance)
strictly a shop owner or shop that sells newspapers, usu. refers to a small shop, e.g. corner shop, convenience store, newsstand, or similar (US: newsdealer)
someone who reads the news on TV or radio. See news presenter for a description of the different roles of a newscaster, a British newsreader and an American news anchor.
nice one
(slang) a way of thanking someone, or congratulating them. ("nice one for that pint, mate")
1. (v.) to steal
2. (n.) a police station or prison
arrested ("you're nicked") - related to "the nick", above (US: up the river)
(colloquial) 1 pound, maintains singular form when used in a plural context ("it cost me 2 nicker"), rarely used in the singular
an unpleasant smell
Nissen hut
hemicylindrical building of corrugated metal. Named for the designer. (US: Quonset hut, named for the place of US manufacture)
the National Health Service, the state run healthcare system within the United Kingdom
1. head
2. a person of wealth or social standing
(v.) to sabotage, attempt to hinder in some way. E.g. "Danny nobbled my chances at the pub quiz by getting Gary to defect to his team."
1. (slang) paedophile, pimp, child molester, idiot
2. the present time or occasion – now usually encountered only in the compound nonce word, only used in literary circles, meaning an ad hoc word coinage, and the somewhat old-fashioned phrase for the nonce, meaning "for now". See also the Wiktionary definition.
1. food, meal; also "nosh up", a big satisfying meal ("I could do with a good nosh up") Cf US usage, where nosh means "snack" or "to eat" as in the original Yiddish (i.e., "He's noshing on the shrimp cocktail.")
nosy (or nosey) parker
a busybody (similar to US: butt-in, buttinski, nosy)
Good sense; shrewdness: "Hillela had the nous to take up with the General when he was on the up-and-up again" (Nadine Gordimer). Rhymes with "mouse" or "moose".
nothing; not anything. "I've got nowt to do later." Northern English. (see also 'owt' - anything; as in the phrase "you can't get owt for nowt" or "you can't get anything for nothing")
number plate
vehicle registration plate (sometimes used in the US; also license plate or license tag)
(originally Scottish, now more widespread) a stupid person
(informal) a crazy or insane person, often violent; also used as a more light-hearted term of reproach ("Oi nutter!") (occasionally used in the US) (US and UK also: nut, nutcase)

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