Alex's Top 10 Americanisms

I've lived in Britain since I was three and aside from the fact that the US of A recognises me as a citizen of their country (long story! OK, it's not that long, I was born there while my British dad worked in New York, and my British mum lived out there with him and my British older sister...) I'm as British as watching Doctor Who on the BBC with a cuppa while it's raining out. My other half, however, is a fully-fledged American. And since being with her, I've realised - to my horror! - that I've picked up some Americanisms. To be honest, my horror re this mostly stems from how pretentious it makes me sound. I'm sure everyone thinks it's an affectation. And so partly out of clearing up that I'm not smoking Camels, drinking whiskey and soda and generally wanting to be Americano, and partly for the sheer hell of it, I decided to make a list of ten Americanisms I've picked up since being with my American girl.


1) "Taking out the trash" instead of "taking out the bins" or "taking out the rubbish".
This is one of my personal favourite Americanisms. Mainly just because, how much nicer a phrase is "taking out the trash"?? At least compared to the British alternatives! Trash sounds so neat in comparison to "bins" or "rubbish". It almost sounds like a polite way of putting it. Like "loo" instead of "toilet". "Trash" just makes everything sound neater and less graphic.

2) "Ghetto" instead of "tacky", "trashy" or basically anything else which means "a bit shit".
This is a word I have to make a really conscious effort not to say once I get back to England after being in California, because if I'm honest, I personally think by British standards it sounds a bit offensive. But people in California use this word all the time. Everything that's slightly crap is "ghetto". The whole time I was there I was merrily bandying it about and I'm sure sounding slightly silly because of my accent into the bargain.

3) "Lunch meat" instead of "sliced meat".
I certainly never hear this from English people other than... um... me. But it was so common to use this phrase to mean those sliced bits of meat you can put in your sandwich in America that in Taylor's shared student house which had labels for food groups stuck in the fridge, one of the shelves was dedicated to "Lunch Meat". I don't think it's even particularly a thing here... It's certainly not considered a standard food group.

4) "Mimosa" instead of "Bucks Fizz".
One of my favourite things about California is its unanimous belief that cocktails are a brunch necessity. What's more, when they have said cocktails, they have mimosas, aka, Prosecco and orange juice. This is a breakfast drink on the other side of the pond too. However, over here it's extremely posh and rare and we call it Bucks Fizz. We certainly do not advertise it outside brunch places like they do in America. I prefer calling this concoction a mimosa. It sounds so much prettier! My family don't approve of this alternate name, however, and we will have conversations where we're both stubbornly calling it different things.

5) "Pants" instead of "trousers".
So I definitely don't use this one regularly. I mostly just use it when I'm talking to Taylor. But even that is a big change for me. I used to think this was the most ridiculous word for trousers and one I could never ever get down with. While I still unquestionably don't use it in my day to day life, it's now a surprisingly big contributor to my word repertoire. I stole an item from Taylor's wardrobe which I don't even know how to describe without using the word "pants". They're "yoga pants". My other explanation for what they are would be "stretchy sweatpants with a bit of a flare": sounds much too nineties for my liking.

6) "School" instead of "university".
This is my least favourite Americanism. If there was an Americanism to rival "pants" in the list of Americanisms I Thought I Would Never Ever Say, it's "school" to mean "university". I find it so weird. It's like, it's not school! You've left school! But I'm ashamed to admit that I've started using it. When people say "school", I wonder if they potentially mean "university" and if that's not a sign of something entering your vocab officially, I don't know what is.

7) "Class" instead of "lectures" or "seminars".
On the subject of uni (or "school"), people call their lectures "class" in America! Which I have to admit, I really like. And use a lot. But I also know it gives the impression that I'm trying to sound like I'm in 10 Things I Hate About You. Which I have to admit is one of the reasons why I like it.

8) "Gas" instead of "petrol".
It's worrying how many of my blog posts include the phrase "makes me feel like I'm in a road movie". Clearly I have a weird obsession with being in a road movie. But they're cool. So I'm not too ashamed of that. And I'm afraid one of the reasons why I like to say gas is because, yes, you guessed it, it makes me feel like I'm in a road movie. I like saying "gas station" too, and "fill the tank", and generally pretending that I'm Dean Moriarty.

9) "Robe" instead of "dressing gown".
I mostly use this one when talking to Taylor because I genuinely feel odd if I call it a "dressing gown" when she always calls it a "robe". Maybe it has something to do with "dressing gown" being like three times as long as "robe", so it just feels needlessly glorified. Though to be honest, they're kind of both as silly, hyperbolic words as the other.

10) "Chips" instead of "crisps".
I've adopted this old chestnut of American/British miscommunication. The worst part about me using the word "chips" is that I use it to mean French fries too. So basically it's just become a big messy confusing situation as far as chips go. Never good.


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