H.L. Mencken > The American Language > Chapter 4. American and English Today > 1. The Two Vocabularies
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD · SUBJECT INDEX
H.L. Mencken (1880–1956).  The American Language.  1921.

IV.   American and English Today
 
 
1. The Two Vocabularies
 
By way of preliminary to an examination of the American of today, here is a list of terms in everyday use that differ in American and English:
AmericanEnglish
ash-candust-bin
ash-cartdust-cart
ashmandustman
backyardgarden
baggageluggage
baggage-carluggage-van
ballast (railroad)metal
barbershopbarber’s-shop
bath-robedressing-gown
bath-tubbath
beetbeet-root
bid (noun)tender
bill-boardhoarding
boarderpaying-guest
boardwalk (seaside)promenade
boothigh-boot
brakemanbrakesman
bumper (car)buffer
bureauchest of drawers
calendar (court)cause-list
campaign (political)canvass
can (noun)tin
candysweets
canestick
canned-goodstinned-goods
car (railroad)carriage, van or waggon
checkers (game)draughts
chicken-yardfowl-run
chief-clerkhead-clerk
chief-of-policechief-constable
city-editorchief-reporter
city-ordinanceby-law
clipping (newspaper)cutting
closed-seasonclose-season
coalcoals
coal-oilparaffin
collar-buttonstud
commission-merchantfactor, or commission-agent
commutation-ticketseason-ticket
conductor (of a train)guard
cornmaize, or Indian corn
corner (of a street)crossing
corn-mealIndian meal
counterfeitercoiner
cow-catcherplough
crackerbiscuit
crazy-bonefunny-bone
cross-tiesleeper
crystal (watch)watch-glass
department-storestores
derby (hat)bowler
dime-novelpenny-dreadful
district (political)division
druggistchemist
drug-storechemist’s shop
drummerbagman
dry-goods-storedraper’s-shop
editorial (noun)leader, or leading-article
elevatorlift
elevator-boylift-man
enlisted-manprivate-soldier
excursionisttripper
fernsbracken
filing-cabinetnest-of-drawers
fire-departmentfire-brigade
fish-dealerfishmonger
floor-walkershop-walker
fraternal-orderfriendly-society
freightgoods
freight-agentgoods-manager
freight-cargoods-waggon
freight-elevatorhoist
frog (railway)crossing-plate
garters (men’s)sock-suspenders
gasolinepetrol
grade (railroad)gradient
graincorn
grain-brokercorn-factor
groceriesstores
hardware-dealerironmonger
headlinertopliner
hod-carrierhodman
hog-penpiggery
hood (automobile)bonnet
hospital (private)nursing-home
huckstercoster (monger)
huntingshooting
IndianRed Indian
Indian SummerSt. Martin’s Summer
instalment-businesscredit-trade
instalment-planhire-purchase plan
internal-revenueinland-revenue
janitorcaretaker, or porter
laborernavvy
legal-holidaybank-holiday
letter-boxpillar-box
letter-carrierpostman
locomotive engineerengine-driver
long-distance-calltrunk-call
lumberdeals
lumber-yardtimber-yard
madangry
mantelpiecechimney-piece
MethodistWesleyan
molassestreacle
monkey-wrenchspanner
moving-picture-theatrecinema, or picture-palace
necktietie
news-dealernews-agent
newspaper-manpressman, or journalist
notionssmall-wares
oatmealporridge
officeholderpublic-servant
orchestra (seats in a theatre)stalls
outbuildings (farm)offices
overcoatgreat-coat
packageparcel
parlordrawing-room
parlor-carsaloon-carriage
patrolman (police)constable
pay-daywage-day
peanutmonkey-nut
pen-pointnib
period (punctuation)full-stop
pitcherjug
plant (industrial)works
poorhouseworkhouse
post-paidpost-free
potpiepie
prepaidcarriage-paid
press (printing)machine
program (of a meeting)agenda
public-schoolboard-school
quotation-marksinverted-commas
railroadrailway 1
railroad-manrailway-servant
railsline
rare (of meat)underdone
receipts (in business)takings
Rhine-wineHock
road-bed (railroad)permanent-way
road-repairerroad-mender
roastjoint
roll (of films)spool
roll-calldivision
roostercock
round-trip-ticketreturn-ticket
saleswomanshop-assistant
saloonpublic-house
scarf-pintie-pin
scowlighter
seweragedrains
shirtwaistblouse
shoeboot
shoemakerbootmaker
shoe-shineboot-polish
shoestringbootlace
shoe-treeboot-tree
sickill
sidewalkfootpath, or pavement
silver (collectively)plate
sledsledge
sleighsledge
soft-drinksminerals
smoking-roomsmoke-room
spigot (or faucet)tap
sponge (surgical)tap
stem-winderkeyless-watch
stockholdershareholder
stocksshares
store-fixturesshop-fittings
street-cleanercrossing-sweeper
street-railwaytramway
subwaytube, or underground
suspenders (men’s)braces
sweaterjersey
switch (noun, railway)points
switch (verb, railway)shunt
taxes (municipal)rates
taxpayer (local)ratepayer
tenderloin (of beef)under-cut, or fillet
ten-pinsnine-pins
terminal (railroad)terminus
thumb-tackdrawing-office
ticket-officebooking-office
tinnertinker
tin-roofleads
track (railroad)line
trained-nursehospital-nurse
transom (of door)fanlight
trolley-cartramcar
truck (vehicle)lorry
truck (of a railroad car)bogie
typewriter (operator)typist
typhoid-feverenteric
undershirtvest
vaudeville-theatremusic-hall
vestwaistcoat
warden (of a prison)governor
warehousestores
wash-ragface-cloth
wash-standwash-hand-stand
waste-basketwaste-paper-basket
whippletreesplinter-bar
witness-standwitness-box
 
   1
Note 1.  Railway, of course, is sometimes used in the United States. But all the English dictionaries call railroad an Americanism. [back]

CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD · SUBJECT INDEX
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors