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


to release from work "I've been sacked! The boss just gave me the sack!" (US: fire)
a four door car (US: sedan)
(informal) sarcastic (abbrev.) "Why are you being so sarky?" (US: snarky)
sarnie, sarny, sannie
(informal) sandwich (abbrev.)
sat nav
a person from Liverpool, or the singular scouse to describe anything or anyone from either Liverpool or Merseyside.
screw *
a prison guard
a lower class, (usually young) woman of low morals
cloudy cider, often high in alcoholic content
action of stealing apples from an orchard; also v. to scrump
self-raising flour
self-rising flour
gardening tool for pruning plants (US:garden shears, pruners or clippers)
(/sɪˈkɒndmənt/) the assignment of a person from his or her regular organisation to temporary assignment elsewhere. From v. second (/sɪˈkɒnd/)
from Cellophane, transparent adhesive tape (genericised trademark) (US: Scotch tape)
a musical note with the duration of four counts in a time signature of 4/4 (US: whole note; see Note value)
send to Coventry
ostracize, shun (US: send to Siberia, vote off the island)
(from French) table napkin . Regarded as a non-U word, but widely used by non-U people.
broken beyond repair - can also be used to describe extreme exhaustion
a drink consisting of lager or beer mixed with a soft drink, originally ginger beer but now more usually lemonade, in near equal parts.
shanks's pony
on foot, walking – as in "The car's broken down, so it's shanks's pony I'm afraid". An ancient reference to the King of England Edward I, known as 'Longshanks', the idea being that riding on a pony his legs were so long he was still effectively walking.
(vulgar) variant of shit
in the sense of "retail outlet" (US: store)
sixes and sevens
crazy, muddled (usually in the phrase "at sixes and sevens"). From the London Livery Company order of precedence, in which position 6 is claimed by both the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors and the Worshipful Company of Skinners.
skewed, uneven, not straight
(informal) out of money (US: broke)
industrial rubbish bin (US: dumpster)
(informal) to sneak off, avoid work; to play truant (US: play hookey)
slag *
similar to 'slut', a woman of loose morals and low standards.
slag off *
to badmouth; speak badly of someone, usually behind their back
(informal) bald man
(vulgar) similar to slut but milder.
sleeping partner
a partner in business, often an investor, who is not visibly involved in running the enterprise (US: silent partner)
sleeping policeman
mound built into a road to slow down vehicles (UK also: hump ; US & UK also: speed bump)
(slang) smooth, wet, with no friction or traction to grip something (US: slippery)
(slang) a slow person (US: slowpoke)
underclothing, underwear, particularly underpants
smart dress
formal attire
(slang) idiot; a general term of abuse (for discussion of origin, see smeg (vulgarism)). Popularised by its use in a 1980s BBC sitcom, Red Dwarf.
(slang) a 'French kiss' or to kiss with tongues (US : deep kiss, not necessarily with tongues)
soap dodger
one who is thought to lack personal hygiene
sod off
(vulgar, moderately offensive) go away; get lost
spacker, spacky, spazmo
(vulgar, offensive to many) idiot, general term of abuse: from "Spastic", referring in England almost exclusively (when not used as an insult) to a person suffering from cerebral palsy. (variant forms spaz/spastic, are used in American English) See also Joey.
(US: wrench)
(slang) an idiot, a contemptible person (US: a less pejorative synonym for tool.) "He's as stupid as a bag of spanners." (US var.: "He's dumber than a bag of hammers".)
(informal) very good (old-fashioned, or consciously used as old-fashioned, associated stereotypically with upper-class people) (US: spiffy)
a dealer in black market goods (during World War II). The term wide boy is also often used in the same sense
spliff *
(slang) a hand-rolled cigarette containing a mixture of marijuana and tobacco, also 'a joint.' (Also used in US, j or blunt more widely used)
spot on *
exactly (US: right on)
spotted dick
an English steamed suet pudding containing dried fruit (usually currants) commonly served with custard.
(informal) a non-commissioned soldier (US: grunt)
squadron leader
an Air Force officer rank (US: major)
(informal) soft and soggy (US: squishy)
(informal) intoxicated (popularly but probably erroneously said to be from British Prime Minister (Herbert) Asquith, a noted imbiber). The word can also be synonymous with skew-whiff.
(rare) look, most often used in the form to have a squiz at...
(slang) National Insurance payments (e.g.: I have not paid enough stamps to get my full state pension)
sticky-backed plastic
large sheet of thin, soft, coloured plastic that is sticky on one side; see Blue Peter (US similar: contact paper)
a seller (as a retailer) that stocks merchandise of a particular type, usually a specified brand or model (US: dealer)
stone the crows
exclamation of surprise (US holy cow)
straight away
immediately (sometimes used in the US; also right away)
to move your hand slowly and gently over something e.g. stroke a dog. (US: pet)
(informal) bad mood or temper
stroppy, to have a strop on
(informal) recalcitrant, in a bad mood or temper
An underground walkway normally under a road. Not to be confused with the US for an underground railway.
suck it and see
to undertake a course of action without knowing its full consequences (US: take your chances)
suss *
(informal) to figure out (from suspicion)
suspender belt
a ladies' undergarment to hold up stockings (US: garter belt)
1. v. to study for an exam (US cram)
2. n. (derogatory) aloof and unpopular schoolchild or student who studies to excess
the same term for candy in US
sweet FA
(slang) nothing (from "Sweet Fanny Adams", alternative: "Sweet Fuck All"), "I know sweet FA about cars!" (US: jack shit)
swimming costume
swimsuit or bathing suit; also cozzy for short.

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