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Last update:
  31-Aug-2000
1996-2004
  Mike Todd

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

"I cannot tell a lie"
  This quote from George Washington was supposedly uttered when his father discovered he had cut down a cherry tree. But it is all a myth, invented by Parson Mason Locke Weems when he wrote the 1806 edition of his book, The Life and Memorable Actions of George Washington.
Iced Tea
  Exactly that - tea that has been iced. It's a very popular drink, especially in hotter parts, and can be very refreshing. Unfortunately, it is often made from instant iced-tea powder, some varieties of which aren't very palatable. In most restaurants, iced-tea is served with unlimited free refills. But be warned! In most areas, especially in the south, if you just ask for tea then you will get iced tea - you'll have to specifically ask for hot tea if that's what you want.
Impeach
  Charge (with a crime)
Strictly speaking, impeach simply means to be charged with a crime. However, it is more usually applied to those in public office. Like the British, the Americans have a means of dealing with those public officials who stray from the straight and narrow. This process is called impeachment, which in the outside world equates to being charged with a crime. Following impeachment comes a trial. While the British process can then lead to imprisonment, the American Constitution permits only that the final sanction is removal from office which is mandatory for "treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors". The US process starts with articles of impeachment being prepared (by the Judiciary Committee), after which the House of Representatives votes whether or not there is a case to answer. If, on a simple majority, the answer is aye, the matter is taken to the Senate where the Vice President (or in the case of impeachment of the President, the Chief Justice) presides over a trial, and a guilty verdict can only be found on a two-thirds vote. Including President Clinton, only 16 impeachments have taken place, and only one other President, Andrew Johnson, faced the Senate trial, although he was acquitted by one vote. For more about impeachment, see The American Constitution in the Encyclopedia.
In back of
  Behind
BE has in front of, and the Americans have simply adapted the pattern to create in back of.
Independence Day (Federal holiday)
  4th July
This has to be America's most well known holiday. It celebrates the Declaration of Independence on 4th July 1776, and has been observed ever since. It is marked by parades, fireworks and a whole lot more.
For more general information, see American Holidays in the Encyclopedia.
"In God We Trust"
  The phrase first appeared on a two-cent piece in 1864, after which it appeared on other coins and bills. It became America's national motto in 1956.
Inside lane
 

Fast lane, offside/outside lane
This is exactly the opposite meaning to the BE meaning! Americans consider the lane nearest to the centre of the road to be the inside lane, whereas the British consider this to be the outside lane. This can be very confusing, especially when talking about overtaking on the "inside" or "outside".

Intern
 

Houseman or Work-experience student (roughly)
In America, there are two types of intern, although they're both basically professionals "under training". A medical graduate will undergo several years of on-the-job training (called residency), and in the first year they are interns. It is roughly equivalent to the British houseman, who is junior to a registrar, who in turn is junior to a consultant. An intern is also a college student who works (usually unpaid) in a business in order to gain experience. Note: this shouldn't be confused with an internist, who is a doctor whose specialism is the internal organs.

Interstate
 

Motorway
Interstates are part of The Interstate and Defense Highway System, and were originally funded by the Defense Department. They are labelled I- followed by a number. East-west are even-numbered, and north-south are odd-numbered (highest numbers are up in the north-west, and the lowest in the south-east). The number is usually single or double digits - such as I-5 and I-10. However, three-digit interstates do exist, and are spurs off the main interstates (the last two digits indicate which one). The first digit indicates the type of spur (even-numbered generally go around a city, whereas odd-numbered spurs go into a city). It is also worth noting that three-digit interstate numbers may not be unique! There are, for instance, three I-295 roads off I-95.

Information (telephone)
  Directory enquiries
Also known in the US as "Directory Assistance". To get a phone number, you need to contact the information number in the area code that the person lives. To do this, for long distance information you dial 1 plus the area code followed by 555-1212. For local numbers, you usually just dial 411.
Ivy League
  A term applied to a group of long-established eastern-US colleges, which have a high scholastic achievement, and high social prestige - namely Harvard, Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell. Although competition between the colleges started in 1870s, by the 1930s the term Ivy League was being used. However the Ivy League did not really exist formally until 1954, when an agreement between the colleges was signed which created a special "athletic conference" for inter-collegiate sports, which now covers 33 different sports.

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