English is a funny language
Confusing differences
Thongs vs. Flip flops
G-string
Pants vs. Trousers
Australians call trousers daks
Fanny
An entirely different meaning!
Root
Barrack
Fit
Fit = Hot
Knock-up
To wake-up
Nurse the baby
Mind the baby
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Weird differences in English vocabulary everyone should know
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English is a funny language

English is a funny language with a wide variety of vocabulary. English speakers from different countries often use the same words but with meanings that are totally different.

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Confusing differences

Australians, North Americans, and the British can get quite confused when having a conversation if they aren't aware of the differences in the vocabulary, never mind those who speak English as a second language! Join us as we look at some of the funniest and most confusing differences in English vocabulary in these three countries.

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Thongs vs. Flip flops

In the United States, Canada, and Britain, if you talk about your thongs, people will find it pretty strange. However, in Australia, 'thongs' are what Americans and Brits call flip-flops, sandals without a heel strap.

Image by: Peggychoucair from Pixabay

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G-string

So if Australians call flip-flops thongs, what the heck do they call thong underwear? Well, a G-string, of course!

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Pants vs. Trousers

The word pants can lead to some confusing situations when Brits and North Americans are talking. In Britain, pants are underwear, whereas in the United States, Canada, and for most Australians, pants are trousers.

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Australians call trousers daks

So if a Canadian were to say to a British colleague, "Do you want to see my new pants?" his or her colleague might be pretty surprised!
Interestingly, Australians also sometimes call trousers "daks" just to make things a little more confusing!

Photo: mark-adriane/unsplash

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Fanny

The word 'fanny' also has very different meanings in Canada and the United States compared to Australia and Britain. Many Americans have been embarrassed while asking an Aussie or Brit while traveling if anyone has seen their fanny pack!

Photo: ronan-furuta/unsplash

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An entirely different meaning!

In North America, the word 'fanny' is used as a cute way of referring to one's bottom or buttocks. However, in the U.K and Australia, the word 'fanny' has an entirely different meaning. Aussies and Brits use the word fanny to refer to female genitalia!

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Root

"Root, root, root for the home team!" These are the lyrics from a famous American baseball song, which probably has many Australians in stitches. In the United States to "root for" something/someone means that you are cheering them on, hoping that they win. North Americans and Brits aslo often use the word 'root' to mean they are looking for something, "Stop rooting around in my room!", for example.

Photo: jimmy-conover/Unsplash

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Barrack

Whereas in Australia, the word 'root' has a VERY different meaning: to have sexual intercourse! So what should someone say in Australia if they want to say they are cheering on a team? 'Barrack' is the most common word used in Australia. However, in England the word 'barrack' is more commonly used to mean to jeer or scoff at something. Very confusing indeed!

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Fit

'Fit' is another funny word, that seems so simple but has two very distinct meanings depending on which country you use it in! In Canada and the United States if you say someone is 'fit', you mean that they take care of themselves and are in good physical shape, health wise.

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Fit = Hot

However, in the United Kingdom, the word 'fit' means that you think someone is hot or good looking! Things could definitely get confusing with this difference of meaning, people thinking that someone is hitting on them when they aren't can be quite awkward!

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Knock-up

'Knock-up' can have up to three different meanings! In North America, 'knock-up' means to get somebody pregnant. "I knocked my girlfriend up, now I am going to be a dad."

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To wake-up

In Australia however it means to wake someone up! "Dad, please knock me up in the morning, I don't want to be late!" Yikes! That can lead to some very awkward situations when Aussies and North Americans interact! Finally, in the UK 'knock up' refers to a warm-up session before a game in a racket sport like tennis. "Let's knock up before the match!"

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Nurse the baby

If you are planning on going to Australia to be an au-pair, make sure to take note of this one! In Canada and the United States, if one says, "I am going to nurse the baby," it is understood that the woman is going to breastfeed the baby.

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Mind the baby

However in Australia that is not the case! The term 'nurse the baby' in Australia means to care for, or mind a baby, hold them for a moment! So if an Australian mother asks you to 'nurse the baby', don't worry, she doesn't expect you to breastfeed her child!

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