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


package holiday
a holiday whose transport, accommodation, itinerary etc. is organised by a travel company (US and UK less frequently: package tour). Cf holiday
a Pakistani person; often loosely applied to anyone from South Asia, or of perceived South Asian origin. Now considered racist.
Paki shop
a newsagents run by a person of Pakistani or other South Asian origin. No longer considered an acceptable term. Not to be confused with "packie", used in some areas of the US such as New England, short for "package store", meaning "liquor store".
panda car
(informal) police car. Small police car used for transport, as opposed to a patrol or area car (analogous to US: black-and-white) Derives from a period in the 1970s when UK police cars resembled those of their US counterparts, only with blue replacing black.
paper round
(the job of making) a regular series of newspaper deliveries (US: paper route)
a common and widely available drug for the treatment of headaches, fever and other minor aches and pains (US: acetaminophen, Tylenol)
(informal) park-keeper
(informal) cold, usually used in reference to the weather
pasty, Cornish pasty
hard pastry case filled with meat and vegetables served as a main course, particularly in Cornwall and in the north of England
usually in the phrase "to go pear-shaped", meaning to go drastically or dramatically wrong (possibly from the idea of a ball deflating). cf tits-up
pelican crossing
pedestrian crossing with traffic lights operated by pedestrians (formed by analogy with "panda crossing" etc. Could also be from Pedestrian Light-Controlled;)
people mover or people carrier
a minivan or other passenger van
fastidious, precise or over-precise (US: persnickety)
Perspex *
Trade name for Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), a transparent thermoplastic sometimes called "acrylic glass" (US: Plexiglass; earlier form dated in the US)
refined mixture of hydrocarbons, used esp. to fuel motor vehicles (short for petroleum spirit, or from French essence de p├ętrole) (US: gasoline, gas). Also variously known as motor spirit (old-fashioned), motor gasoline, mogas, aviation gasoline and avgas (the last two being a slightly heavier type designed for light aircraft)
petrol-head, petrolhead
someone with a strong interest in cars (especially high performance cars) and motor racing (US: gearhead or motorhead).
phone box
payphone, public phone. See also "telephone kiosk" (infra) (US: phone booth)
a pejorative slang term, used originally to refer to Irish Travellers. Now refers to anyone whose lifestyle is characterised by itinerancy, theft, illicit land occupancy with destruction of amenities, and disregard for authority, without reference to ethnic or national origin.
pillar box
box in the street for receiving outgoing mail, in Britain traditionally in the form of a free-standing red pillar; also called postbox or, less commonly, letter box (US: mailbox)
See also Pillar box (film): an aspect ratio named for a supposed resemblance to the dimensions of the slot found on a pillar box.
pillar-box red
the traditional bright red colour of a British pillar box (US: fire engine red or candy apple red)
(slang, very mildly derogatory) foolish person, used esp. in northern England but also common elsewhere. Derived from the Northern English term pillicock, a dialect term for penis, although the connection is rarely made in general use.
pinch *
to steal.
(vulgar) someone who regularly gets heavily drunk (cf. BrE meaning of pissed).
pissing it down
(slang, mildly vulgar) raining very hard (sometimes "pissing down" is used in the US, as in "It's pissing down out there.") Also "pissing it down the drain" or "pissing it away" * meaning to waste something.
plait *
braid, as in hair
(derogatory) person of lower class *, from plebs; similar to townie. Also commonly used to mean idiot.
(US and UK: guitar pick)
a type of shoe with a canvas upper and rubber sole, formerly the typical gym shoe used in schools (US: sneaker or Tennis shoe)
policeman - from PC Plod in Enid Blyton's Noddy books.
a disparaging term for cheap wine, especially cheap red wine, is now widely known in the UK and also to a lesser extent in the USA. Derives from French vin blanc and came into English use on the western front in World War I.
(very mildly derogatory) fool *. Used esp. in the south-east of England, although not unknown elsewhere. Derived from a slang term for penis, and sometimes used in this fashion, e.g. "Are you pulling my plonker?" (to express disbelief) (US var: "Are you yanking my chain?")
(n.) mechanical crossover on a railway, (US: switch), hence the term "points failure" is a very common cause of delays on railroads and the London Underground.
(n.) (slang) someone with overly affected airs and graces; an effeminate posturing man; a pimp. Originates from Maltese slang. (related US: poncey)
(v.) (slang) to act like a pimp; to cadge, to borrow with little or no intention of returning, often openly so ("Can I ponce a ciggie off you, mate?")
ponce about/around
(v.) (slang) to act like a fop, to wander about aimlessly without achieving anything
ponce off
(v.) (slang) to mooch, to hit up, to leave in a pompous manner
(n.) (slang) a strong unpleasant smell; (v.) to give off a strong unpleasant smell; (adj.) pongy
pop, fizzy pop
(chiefly in the north) sparkling lemonade or any soft drink - the 'pop' was originally the glass stopper in the bottle
poof, poofter
(derogatory) a male homosexual (US equivalent: fag, faggot)
pouffe, poof, poove
A small drum-shaped soft furnishing used as a foot rest (related US: hassock, Ottoman)
slang for a lie or lying, from rhyming slang "pork pies" = "lies"
postage and packing, P&P
charge for said services (US: shipping and handling, S&H; the word postage is, however, used in both dialects)
postal order
a money order designed to be sent through the post, issued by the UK Post Office (US: money order, or postal money order if the context is ambiguous)
postbox, post box
box in the street for receiving outgoing mail (US: mailbox; drop box); see also letter box, pillar box
alphanumeric code used to identify an address, part of a UK-wide scheme. (US equivalent: ZIP Code)
poste restante
service whereby mail is retained at a post office for collection by the recipient (from French) (US: general delivery)
(informal) postman
(slang) something that is unsatisfactory or in generally bad condition.
pram, perambulator
wheeled conveyance for babies (US: baby-carriage)
prat *
(slang) an incompetent or ineffectual person, a fool, an idiot
a conditioning exercise in which one lies prone and then pushes oneself up by the arms (outside Britain: push-up)
glue stick, from the trademark of a common brand.
proper *
Real or very much something. "He's a proper hero" (US: "He's a real hero")
provisional licence, provisional driving licence
a licence for a learner driver, who has not yet passed a driving test (US: learner's permit)
short for public house (US: bar)
the landlord of a public house.
(informal) short for "pudding", which may mean dessert or occasionally a savoury item such as Yorkshire pudding or black pudding; a fool (informal term usually used good-naturedly between family members). pulling his pud, means male masturbation.
legitimate, the real thing, of good quality (usually Southeastern England term, recently more widely popularised by Jamie Oliver, but dating back to the 19th century). From Hindi-Urdu .
a fistfight
(n.) A flat tire on a vehicle, as in "I had a puncture on my bicycle".
small basket for fruit, usually strawberries
(informal) bicycle (pre-dates modern safety bicycle q.v. velocipede)
forward-facing baby carriage (US: stroller)

Read more about this topic:  List Of British Words Not Widely Used In The United States