Alex's 10 Things That Didn't Lose Their English Name

I recently wrote an article in which I detailed the Americanisms I have picked up from Taylor. While some Americanisms have worked their way into my inventory, there are a few which I absolutely one hundred and fifty per cent cannot get down with and which I steadfastly refuse to say. Taylor and I end up having disjointed conversations where we both unwaveringly use a different word for the same thing. For your reading pleasure, I assembled my ten Americanisms that, in the words of Annie from The Parent Trap as her roommates woke up covered in honey and shaving foam, "didn't get me!"

1) "Skillet" to mean "frying pan".
"Skillet"... Um... No? This sounds to me like a fish. Or alternatively some fancy kind of grill. It does not sound like your bog standard frying pan. Tay always calls frying pans "skillets". To me, it honestly sounds so little like a pan that I am still confused every time she says it.

2) "Pumps" to mean "high heels".
I think this is one of the funniest American/English mistranslations... because it's just so weird! Both in America and in England, the word "pumps" is used to mean footwear which you would find in the women's department, but the similarities end there. English people use it to mean those flimsy little shoes which resemble ballet slippers which were incredibly fashionable in my early teen years (showing my age, but this means 2004 - 2008). Americans mean the exact opposite... they mean high heels!! Hearing someone call high heels "pumps", to me, therefore, is like someone sipping their cup of tea and saying, "Ooh, I do like a nice cup of coffee."

3) "Purse" to mean "handbag".
Let's stay on the subject of clothes, shall we? A favourite for everyone. I actually kind of have a soft spot for calling a handbag a "purse", but I can't actually bring myself to do it. It's another calling your coffee a tea, or your glass of wine a beer, situation. A purse, in England, is a wallet. So as much as I actually like this one, it simply doesn't make sense for me to use it. I used it once in front of a friend's mum and she looked at me like I was a loony, when the forgotten "purse" I picked up was my whole bag.

4) "Stroller" to mean "pushchair".
I still call that thing you put your baby in and walk around the streets with a "pushchair", or more often, a "buggy" (so cute!). I can't really get down with "stroller". It sounds to me like a brand of walking boots. I'm never actually sure if my partner knows what a "buggy" is though. Always tricky when I want to tell her that I saw a pair of lesbians out with a buggy. (Yes, I frequently want to tell her this, don't you tell your girlfriend that...?)

5) "Freeway" to mean "motorway".
Love this one. Road movie style. But again, can't get down with it. It's always been a motorway to me and even when I'm in CA, it stays a motorway.

6) "Smoke" to mean "smoking marijuana".
I don't know if this is a California thing, but apparently in California, there's no necessity to specify you mean pot when asking someone if they "smoke". Awkward moment when I told Taylor on our second date that I "smoke with friends". I meant cigarettes. She did not think I meant cigarettes. What I'm confused by though is how you then ask if someone smokes tobacco in California? Apparently, smoking tobacco is much more common in England/Europe/not California, so it's not a big deal. But they totally smoke (cigarettes!!) in The L Word so I'm still confused.

7) "Vest" to mean... I actually don't know...
My partner is always confused by the words I use to mean sleeveless tops. I'm actually not sure what she calls them. I call them "vests", "sleeveless tops" or "tank tops" and she always seems to think I mean a sweater vest...

Note: When she read this, Taylor told me the accepted word for this in the US is a "wifebeater". I am familiar with this phrase but do not use it because, horrid implications.

8) "Cookie" to mean "biscuit."
I do use these words interchangeably actually. It's very specific the type of biscuit I class a "cookie". On the whole it's a "biscuit". I think my girlfriend calls a cracker a "biscuit"...

9) "Band-Aid" to mean "plaster".
The thing that I tearfully rush for when required will always be a plaster. I can translate to band-aid when not in need but when required, that's a plaster, man.

10) "Line" to mean "queue".
It's so weird to me that Americans don't have a proper word for this incredibly important and integral time-honoured English tradition! How could you NOT have a word for a queue?? Like a proper word! Not a filler, don't-really-know-what-to-call-this-load-of-people-waiting-for-something, word! Queue ftw.


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