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Last update:
  21-Jan-2004
1996-2004
  Mike Todd

G I A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Where it's not obvious: BE = British English, AE=American English and ext-link indicatorindicates an external link

Half and Half
  Single cream (well, almost, but not quite)
In BrE there really is no direct equivalent. Half and half is literally half milk and half cream, whereas single cream is simply cream with very little fat in it, and which will not whip well.
Half-dollar
  50 cents
While it's fairly obvious where it comes from, BE once used the phrase to mean 2s/6d (equivalent to 12.5p). It was first used at a time when the dollar was fixed at about $4=1 (see the History of the Dollar Exchange Rate). So, a dollar was worth five-shillings (=25p), and a half dollar was worth 2s/6d. The half dollar coin used to be all silver, then was changed to a fifth silver and, in 1970 it has been cupro-nickel. It's a coin that is not seen a great deal
Half note (music)
  Minim
The Americans have been eminently practical in their use of terms for the lengths of musical notes. They treat the semibreve as a whole note, and then the shorter notes are given their relative values - so a minim is a half note, a crotchet is a quarter note, a quaver is an eighth note and so on. Although sixty-fourth note sounds less romantic than hemidemisemiquaver, it is rather more practical.
Hamburger
  The archetypcal American food (along with the hot dog, of course). The name applies to the complete sandwich of beef patty and bun. But there's no ham in a hamburger - the name comes from Hamburg, in Germany. Immigrants from Hamburg made the sandwich, although at one time it was known as a liberty sandwich.
Hash Browns
  These are shredded, sometimes diced, potatoes, which are then fried in a frying pan or skillet. The British idea of hash browns is often a compressed patty of shredded potato which has been fried, however, the Americans serve them "loose". Usually they're served only-just brown and, if you want them crisp, you'll have to ask for them to very well cooked - and even then, they'll probably still be a little under-done.
Haze (to)
  Bully, harass (strictly)
The word is usually applied to an initiation rite based on bullying or some other form of harassment. At one time, hazing sometimes involved some very dangerous activities - initiates into fraternities, or even just in high school, would be pushed into performing some particular dangerous stunt. This sort of hazing was responsible for a number of deaths, and is now specifically illegal in some states.
Heavy cream
  Double cream
Heinie
  Buttocks (slang)
The word comes derives from hinder, meaning "at the rear" or "behind".
Hero or Hero Sandwich
  An alternative name for a submarine sandwich (qv)
Hickey
  Lovebite
Although strictly a hickie is any temporary red mark on the skin, it is most usually applied to the red marks caused by a love bite, and is something that American teenagers are always on the lookout for on their school mates!
Hoagie
  A long bread roll, filled with cold meats, salad, cheese and so on. They're also known as Submarines, subs, grinders, heroes, torpedoes and po'boys (poor boys).
Holiday
  When an American refers to holiday he is more likely to be talking about designated public holidays. Americans go on vacation and not on holiday. Most Americans get very little holiday time off compared with British employees - most get only one or two weeks a year, some may not get any at all in their first year! As time goes on, the entitlement will usually increase by a day or two a year. The average is a total of 20 days annual leave after 20 years of service, and long service, or a senior managerial post, may attract an additional week. However, there are a number of additional days off arising from public holidays - but these can vary from state to state, and there is no such thing as a "national bank holiday". For more on this, see America's Public Holidays in the Encyclopedia.
Hollowware (also holloware)
  Tableware (approx)
What you put on the table is divided into flatware and hollowware. The holloware is basically everything that has depth and volume, such as cups, bowls, vases, wine glasses and so on.
Homecoming
  There is no UK equivalent. This is basically a school reunion, usually held in the autumn, and where special events are laid on by the school. Among these events there will almost certainly be a special Homecoming game where the school football team is playing, and during which a Homecoming Queen will play a big part. The Homecoming Queen (and her King) is a popular senior student, who will oversee the homecoming events, including the Homecoming Parade at half-time in the Homecoming Footbal Game. Many traditions (both national and local) surround these events, and it is all taken very, very seriously.
Homely
  plain or unattractive
Although it isn't always meant in this sense, it is easy to be misunderstood when using the word in the BE sense of cosy or friendly. The word homey (also homy) means much the same thing in both AE and BE, and may be a better choice.
Hood (car)
  Bonnet
To the Americans, a bonnet is normally that which you wear on your head.
Hoosier
  A native or resident of Indiana, known as the Hoosier State
Hooters
  Breasts
Not particularly pleasant slang for a woman's breasts. Also the name of a particular food chain in the US, where waitresses have particularly outstanding attributes.
Hot dog
  The archetypal American food (perhaps second to the hamburger) started off as ordinary frankfurters and wieners (so-called because they were sausages that originated in Frankfurt and Vienna). They were then nick-named "daschund sausages", because they looked like the dog. They actually got their nickname from a sketch by Tad Dorgan, where he drew a real daschund in a bun.
HOV
  High Occupancy Vehicle
Seen on road signs in some cities, where a lane may be designated as an HOV lane. These lanes can only be used by vehicles with a minimum of two people in them, and is used to encourage car pooling and so reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Occasionally you'll also see signs giving details of how to contact a central co-ordination point for those who want to share their car.
Hush puppy
  Deep-fried cornmeal cake
Mainly a southern food, these are made from a cornmeal dough, shaped into a small ball and deep fried. They get their name from the fact that they were often fed to dogs to keep them quiet. A Hush Puppy is also a lightweight suede shoe, known in both the US and UK
Hutch
  Dresser
A hutch is basically a chestlike cabinet used for storage, usually with raised legs, doors or drawers, and open shelves above. In AE a dresser is used to describe a sideboard or chest of drawers.

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