British English, Welcome to America!

There has been some “buzz” lately about British English words and expressions coming into American English. These are called “Britishisms.” This trend is easy to understand given two huge British cultural influences on America: Harry Potter (still hugely popular in the USA) and Downton Abbey (a delightful television program that I recommend you start watching immediately if you are not already!). We at Language Success Press welcome the British English expressions into our American vocabulary “with open arms.” Apparently, the British are not so “keen” on having American English vocabulary enter British English.¬†“In the U.K., the use of Americanisms is seen as a sign that culture is going to hell,” said Jesse Sheidlower,¬†¬†American editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary in an interview with the BBC News.

So what are some popular terms that have sailed across the Atlantic to join our American vocabulary recently? Here are a few:

one-off: this means something unique; something that only happens one time and is not repeated. You will hear this a lot in the American workplace these days.

keen on: to like someone or something. Example: I’m not keen on going to New York this weekend (meaning: I don’t really feel like going). Or: Sandy is really keen on her new neighbors.

twee: too sweet or sentimental; excessively cute (apparently comes from a child trying to say “sweet”). Americans would also say “corny” in some cases. Example: The movie, in which two giant teddy bears fell in love, was a little twee for me.