Temperature in the United States...

How Hot is HOT? How Cold is COLD?

 100°F

 

 38°C  

 

 Very hot! Drink liquids and avoid overexertion

 
 90°F  32°C Hot
 75°F
 24°C

Warm, can wear shorts, warm enough to swim outdoors

in unheated pools.

 65°F  18°C Cool
 50°F
 10°C Chilly, need jacket
 32°F  0°C

Freezing, cold enough to snow, need jacket, gloves and earmuffs.

Minimum temperature for ice to form naturally. 

 23°F  -5°C Bone chilling, difficult to be outside without being bundled up.
   0°F -16°C

Cannot go outside for extended periods (more than 2.5 hours)

if not bundled up. Frostbite

 

 

 

 

American jargon diverges from the rest of the world's -- most notably from British English. If you were taught English using British vocabulary, many familiar words may mean something different in the U.S., requiring you to adopt a new vocabulary to be quickly understood.  Here are some of the most common translations:

In Europe / UK:

Porter

Lift 

Boot (of a car)

Bonnet (of a car)

"The bill, please"
(In restaurants)

Bus (local transport)      

Coach (tour bus)

Plan

Return

Arriving at a hotel

Departing from a hotel

Car Hire 

People Carrier / MPV

Water closet, wc, loo,
toilet

Candy floss

Jumper

Trainers

Car park                       

Ice lolly

Queue

Pushchair, pram or buggy

Nappy 

Camp bed

Cot (for baby)

Paracetamol

Knackered

Petrol 

Braces (for trousers)

Braces (for teeth)

Rubber 

Biscuit

Sweets 

Condom 

Fag

Poof

Bookshop 

Y fronts

Trousers

Knickers

Cinema

Pinafore dress 

Pudding, afters

Throat lozenge 

Sticking plaster, elastoplast 

Cotton buds

Cab rank

Pissed 

Pissed Off

Take the p***/mickey out of   

Bum Bag

Supermarket trolley

Pavement

Tap

Bath

Jelly

Jam

Take Away

Crisps

Chips

Vest

Waistcoat

Small Beer 

Serviette

Crumpet

Stalls (in a theater venue)

Roundabout

Aubergine

Sultanas

Tyre

City centre

The Underground,
Light Rail, Tube, Metro

"By Rail"/"Rail Station"

Mineral water
(still)   

Reception

Mineral water (bubbly)


 

In the U.S.: 

Bell hop, bell boy

Elevator

Trunk

Hood 

"The check, please"
(In restaurants)

Bus

Bus (sometimes 'coach')

Map

Round trip

Checking in

Checking out

Car rental

Minivan

Bathroom, restroom, ladies room,
mens room, "the john,", etc.

Cotton candy

Sweater

Tennis shoes, sneakers 

Parking garage (indoor), parking lot

Popsicle, ice pop

Line

Stroller, baby carriage (= "pram" only)

Diaper, Pampers

Cot 

Crib, cradle 

Acetaminophen, Tylenol

Pooped, zonked, tired, beat

Gasoline, gas

Suspenders 

Braces

Eraser 

Cookie

Candy

Rubber, condom

Cigarette, smokes 

Fag -extremely offensive-don't use

Bookstore

Underwear, tighty-whities

Pants

Panties (women only), underwear

Movie Theater

Jumper 

Dessert

Cough drop

Band-aid

Q-tip, cotton swab

Taxi Stand

Drunk, wasted, hammered

(Same as U.S. translation)

Make fun of

Waist, Hip Pack (sometimes fanny) 

Cart, Buggy (Southern U.S.)

Sidewalk

Faucet

Tub

Jello

Jelly

To Go

Potato Chips

French Fries

Tee Shirt (or t-shirt) 

Vest

Small Change

Napkin

English Muffin (similar)

Orchestra

Traffic Circle ('Rotary' in portions of New England)

Eggplant

Golden Raisins

Tire (same pronunciation)

Downtown

The Subway, Light Rail,
The L, BART (varies by city)

"By Train"/"Train Station"

Bottled water
(Almost all are 'still')

Front Desk

Club soda, seltzer, sparkling water, Pellegrino


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Dates are Expressed in the U.S.

The format in America for dates follow a very different pattern than other parts of the world: November 7th, 2012 would be recorded as 11-7-12   (month, day, year) rather than  7-11-12 (day, month, year.)  The other way around to American ears make them think you are quoting a summer rather than autumn date (they will think of July), so be careful!

Europeans in general should take care to know that the 24 hour clock is very rarely used in the US, and usually only by medical experts, the military, and the post office. Also, clocks usually don't indicate a.m. or p.m, as it is simply a matter of looking around (many rail stations are outdoors.) Rail (train) and bus timetables do not use the 24 hour clock either, but rather list the times of the trains in the order they leave, with the assumption that the ones at the beginning of the list are a.m., and ones at the end of the list are p.m.

 

Regional Dialects

The United States was settled by immigrants from many different countries, and these immigrants tended to congregate in different areas.  Thus, each region of the United States has its own unique dialect, accent, and vocabulary.  Residents of New England and the Southeast have very distinctive accents, which are sometimes incomprehensible even to travelling Americans!  Americans living in the western states tend to have less accented speech, but use different slang than their eastern counterparts. American language changes a lot from year to year, with new words constantly used in everyday speech and in publications.  Check out the American Dialect Society webpage for a list of new words that have been informally inducted into American English each year.  Slang city is another good resource for learning about American slang.

Here are a few examples of different vocabulary used around the country:

Carbonated beverages:  These can be called "soda", "pop" "tonic" or "coke," regardless of the type of carbonated beverage referred to.  Usage varies by geography.  Read more about it here.

A popular sandwich in the U.S. is contructed on a long, baguette-like roll (but usually softer, not crusty). Fillings can be deli-meats, steak and cheese, tuna or chicken salad or veal, chicken or meatballs with sauce and cheese. Depending on where you order it, this sandwich can be called a "sub", a "grinder" (New Englanders say "grind-dah"), a "hero", a "bomb" or a "hoagie". No matter what you call them, they're delicious!

Hawaiian Words 

If you are visiting Hawaii, you can go a long way with knowing  these  Hawaiian words:

    Aloha (ah-LOW-hah) - Hello, goodbye, love
    Mahalo (mah-HAH-low) - Thank you

    Also, restrooms may be marked:

    Kane (KAH-nay) - Man
    Wahine (wah-HEE-nay) - Woman 

    Also, Instead of north, south, east or west,
    directions may be given as:

    Makai (mah-KYE) - Towards the ocean
    Mauka (MOW-kah) - Towards the mountains 

And, of course, English works, too.