Words known in the UK but not in the US, and vice versa

Our vocabulary test keeps on doing well (over 600K tests completed now). Below is a list of 20 words known in the UK but not in the US, and a list of 20 words known in the US but not in the UK. By known we mean selected by more than 85% of the participants from that country with English as their native language. As you can see, for each word there is a difference of more than 50% between both countries.

Better known in the UK (between brackets, percent known in the US and percent known in the UK)

  • tippex (7, 91)
  • biro (17, 99)
  • tombola (17, 97)
  • chipolata (16, 93)
  • dodgem (17, 94)
  • korma (20, 97)
  • yob (22, 97)
  • judder (19, 94)
  • naff (19, 94)
  • kerbside (23, 98)
  • plaice (16, 91)
  • escalope (17, 91)
  • chiropody (20, 93)
  • perspex (22, 94)
  • brolly (24, 96)
  • abseil (15, 87)
  • bodge (18, 89)
  • invigilator (22, 92)
  • gunge (19, 89)
  • gormless (26, 96)

Better known in the US (between brackets, percent known in the US and percent known in the UK)

  • garbanzo (91, 16)
  • manicotti (90, 15)
  • kabob (98, 29)
  • kwanza (91, 24)
  • crawdad (86, 20)
  • sandlot (97, 32)
  • hibachi (89, 27)
  • provolone (97, 36)
  • staph (86, 25)
  • boondocks (96, 37)
  • goober (96, 37)
  • cilantro (99, 40)
  • arugula (88, 29)
  • charbroil (97, 39)
  • tamale (92, 35)
  • coonskin (88, 31)
  • flub (89, 31)
  • sassafras (92, 35)
  • acetaminophen (92, 36)
  • rutabaga (85, 30)

You can still help us to get more refined data by taking part in our vocabulary test. For instance, we have not enough data yet to say anything about differences with Canada, Australia, or any other country with English as an official language.

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