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  Mike Todd


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

Rain check

Since the 1880s. if you attended a baseball game that was rained off, you'd be given a rain check which would allow you free admission to a future game. It then got applied to vouchers given to customers when a stores special-offer goods have run out. It is now commonly used in the expression "take a rain check", which means to decline an invitation for the moment, but with the understanding that you'll take it up at a later date

 Boy's name
As a boy's name this is almost unknown in the UK, since the word means sexually eager, or in US terms, horny.
 Estate agent
It is a formal title, and should only be applied to those who are members of the National Association of Realtors.
 The name comes from the sunburned necks of white labourers. It has been applied to any poor, white, country yokels since the 1830s. Over the years, the word started to imply that someone was backward, a bit of a lout, a racist or with fixed uncompromising views
Red-tag sale
 A bit like a car boot sale, but at home and in the garage
When Americans want to clear out their homes, they will frequently hold a garage sale - which in New England may be called a red-tag sale.
While the British would hire a car, the Americans rent one. Basically, the Americans rent things, but hire people.
Rest area
 Lay-by (approx)
When you turn in to an American rest area off a highway, you'll see just how "approx" it is. American rest areas are usually large, with parking for many cars. Many have toilets, outdoor tables and chairs, and even barbecue grills ... some have telephones and vending machines. There are also the much larger rest areas, much more like the British motorway service stations, where there will be restaurants (usually fast-food style), shops and a petrol station. Some rest areas, with only toilets and tables, will have a security guard on site ... these staffed rest areas are generally very safe - but it is important to be cautious about unstaffed rest areas, particularly after dark. Also, be aware that some rest areas are placed between the two carriageways, which means that you will have to enter from and leave onto the fast lane.
Rest room
 Braces (dental)
Ring BE
 Call or phone AE
Americans never ring someone up. They call them.
Road kill
 Dead animals on the road
Romaine lettuce
 Cos lettuce
Root beer
 This soft drink was originally an adaptation of a herbal tea, made in a New Jersey Inn. It was first marketed as Hires Herb Tea, after Charles Hires, a Philadelphia druggist. It became known as root beer when it was promoted at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial celebrations.The "root" in root beer is usually sassafras root, possibly with dandelion root, juniper berries, hops and wintergreen. Some British visitors find the taste of root beer most unpleasant, probably because the wintergreen is quite strong and reminds them of ointments, such as Germolene - indeed, I've heard root beer described as fizzy Germolene.
Ross, Betsy
 Legend has it that Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, made up the first Stars and Stripes flag for George Washington. However, the story is almost certainly untrue, having been made up by her grandson in the 19th century.
Just one of a number of names for roundabout. However, they are very rare in the US. They either use traffic lights or 4-way or 3-way junctions where all traffic must come to a dead stop, and then priority goes to the first to have arrived.
Round trip ticket
 Return ticket
The thing you clean the blackboard with, or rub-out pencil marks, (a rubber in BE) is an eraser, and shouting "does anyone have a rubber" in classmight turn a few heads!
 Loose carpet
In this sense, rug is known on both sides of the Atlantic. However, BE uses rug also to mean a light blanket, as you might sit on at a picnic, or cover yourself in a car (as in car rug) - in this sense, AE uses throw.
Rug rats
 Small children
This is the turnip, rather than the nationality