Hello, SErs! Harmony here 🙂
While working with an American editor the self-same week that my last post on Wicked Words went live, an amusing situation (word-wise) arose. It had to do with our uncommon common language between UK and US English. We think we’re saying the same thing, when in fact …
The first word that got lost in translation was HOMELY. Here’s what Google has to say:
Apparently, my American readers would have taken that descriptive to mean ugly and plain while my English Readers would have understood it as cosy, comfortable, and something nice, lols!
A common word with the same meaning on both sides of ‘the pond’ is HOMEY … it gets across the meaning I wanted and seems a far safer one to use. So, now I need to get out of the homely habit and into the homey one!
While HOMELY took me by surprise, the next one, I knew about but had a brain block initially, and it gave us both a chuckle …
A plain, simple word, right?
In the UK …
And … in the US …
So, when editing my short story for an American anthology, I had to swap out RUBBER for ERASER to avoid any misunderstandings!
Some American words are creeping into the UK such as ELEVATOR and TRASH and even FLASHLIGHT, and RUBBER does sometimes get used interchangeably; however, I’m not sure the reverse is true, as a TORCH still means something completely different between continents, as does BOOT (versus TRUNK). And FANNY in American means the opposite of its UK counterpart. It’s the difference between front and back!
I would love to see what words you’ve come across that read the same, are spelled the same, but mean something completely different 🙂