Welcome to EUROCENTRES blog

11 Foods that Have Different Names in the UK and the US

Image representing students learning about the strangest-sounding English foodie phrases

As you probably know, Yanks say tomAYto, Brits say tomAHto… but it isn’t just pronunciation that can be different between the two countries. In fact, when it comes to food, people from the UK and US sometimes use completely different words!

Here are ten common foods that have totally different names on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.

  1. Jam (UK) / Jelly (US)

In the UK, Jam is something made of preserved fruit and sugar that you spread on your toast for breakfast. In America, this is called Jelly.

  1. Jelly (UK) / Jello (US)

… To make things even more confusing, Brits also use the word “jelly”, but it means something completely different! In the UK, Jelly is the wobbly dessert that you eat with ice cream when you’re a kid. Americans children eat it too, but they call it “Jello”.

  1. Biscuit (UK) / Cookie (US)

In the US, cookies are flat, round snacks made of sweet dough. In the UK, these are generally called biscuits, although people do call the bigger, softer kind cookies, too. However, in the UK, people LOVE biscuits (especially with tea) and there are hundreds of different varieties that aren’t called cookies, too.

  1. Scone (UK) / Biscuit (US)

American do have things called biscuits too, but they are something completely different. These are the crumbly cakes that British people call scones, which you eat with butter, jam, sometimes clotted cream and always a cup of tea.

  1. Swede (UK) / Rutabaga (US)

This vegetable is also sometimes called yellow turnip, but in US it’s generally called rutabaga and in most of the UK it’s called swede. However, in Scotland, they’re called “neeps”, as in “neeps and tatties” (swede and potato, to an English person). Are you confused yet?

  1. Aubergine (UK) / Eggplant (US)

This is a shiny purple vegetable with a green stalk. The word aubergine, used in the UK, comes from French. The word eggplant, which Americans use, was popular in different parts of Europe because they were more used to seeing small, round, white versions that looked a bit like goose eggs.

  1. Courgette (UK) / Zucchini (US)

Courgette is actually the French word for this slim green vegetable, while zucchini is the Italian. But the first is used in the US, and the second in the US.

  1. Rocket (UK) / Arugula (US)

This a peppery green leaf that you often get in salads. Once again, “arugula” is taken from Italian and is popular in the US, while “rocket” is simply an English version of the French word “roquette”.

  1. Crisps (UK) / Chips (US)

Americans and Brits fight over this one all the time! In the UK, the thin round slices of fried potato that come in packets are called crisps, while in the US these are called chips.

  1. Chips (UK) / French Fries (US)

Meanwhile, Brits call fat strips of potato that are (usually) deep fried and eaten with plenty of salt and vinegar “chips”. In the US these are “French Fries”, or often just “fries”. In the UK, if you say French Fries, you’re talking specifically about the skinny versions you get in fast food places like McDonald’s.

  1. Coriander (UK) / Cilantro (US)

This comes both as a dry spice form and a fresh green herb and is especially popular in Indian cooking. However, the American name “cilantro” only refers to the fresh herb.

What other words have you come across that are different in the UK and the US? Let us know in the comments section below!