As you’ll doubtless have gleaned from the above title, we’ve done a couple of posts in the recent past on differences between British and American idioms – you can find part one here, and last year’s follow-up here.
Now we’re back with part three: yep, another dozen entries in our ongoing guide to quintessentially UK or US sayings and phrases, and their transatlantic equivalents.
In this installment we’re delving a little deeper to bring you a handful of colloquialisms that, at first glance, might seem a little more impenetrable (depending which side of the pond you’re reading from). But rest assured – either way, we’ve got you covered with a local translation you’ll certainly have heard used closer to home!
British English (BrE)
American English (AmE)
Swings and roundabouts
Ups and downs; Win some lose some
Blowing smoke (up one’s ass)
To get the hump
To get steamed/burned up
To get on with (someone)
To get along with
All mouth and no trousers
All hat and no cattle
On needles and pins (NB: not to be confused with ‘having pins and needles’ in UK)
To have a go at
To tear into; To tear a new one
To bang on about
To rant and rave
A damp squib
A bomb; a washout; (literal) a wet firecracker
To call a spade a spade
To talk turkey; to call it as one sees it
To cram; to swot (up)
To hit the books
This list of idioms was created by Ashley Fleming, blogger and creator of a huge resource of financial idioms.