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


wives and girlfriends, common in headlines referring to the spouse of a footballer.
wage packet
weekly employee payment (usually in cash) (US: paycheck)
(informal) buffoon, fool; milder form of idiot.
wanker *
(offensive) literally, a masturbator (although use in this context is uncommon); more likely to be used as a general insult or term of abuse
toilet (short for Water Closet). (US: bathroom, US old-fashioned washroom). See also loo.
washing up
dish washing, "the dishes": "it's your turn to do the washing up"; hence washing up liquid: dish washing detergent (US: dish soap, dishwashing liquid)
an idiot. popularised by the 1981 song "Capstick Comes Home" by Tony Capstick
Extremely, very. "He's well rich" (US: "He's very rich")
Wellington boots, wellies
waterproof rubber boots, named after the Duke of Wellington.
(informal) effort (e.g.: "Give it some welly" to mean "put a bit of effort into an attempt to do something" US: elbow grease (also UK), oomph); also the singular of "wellies", for Wellington boots (US: gumboots, rubber boots)
(slang) condom; stems from "Wellington boots" which are also known as "rubbers".
What ho!
(interj.) Hello! (warmly)
whilst *
while (US and UK); 'whilst' is in common use in Yorkshire (UK) where 'while' is used colloquially to mean 'until'; (archaic in US)
(informal) complain, whine, especially repeated complaining about minor things (e.g. "Stop whingeing" meaning "stop complaining"); a different word from whine, originated in Scottish and Northern English in the 12th century. Hence whinger (derogatory), someone who complains a lot.
white coffee
coffee with milk or cream.
white pudding
oat and fat sausage often eaten at breakfast, common in Ireland and Scotland
(informal) to continue to talk trivially about a subject long after the audience's interest has gone (assuming there was any interest in the first place). "He wittered on."
wide boy
see spiv, above
(US: windshield)
wing mirrors
the external mirrors on a vehicle – though no longer normally attached to the 'wings' (US: fenders) but to the doors (US: sideview mirrors, side mirrors)
(slang) childish term for a penis (US: winkie)
wobbler, wobbly (to have or to throw)
(informal) tantrum
(slang) when cost of repair of a damaged asset (usually a car) is not feasible or exceeds its insurance value (US:total loss, totalled) Is also used formally in the context of accounting.
(offensive, term of abuse) member of an ethnic minority. The word can refer to a wide variety of non-Europeans, including Arabs, sub-Saharans (and those of sub-Saharan descent), Iranians, and Turks.

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