There's more to understanding the English language a la Great Britain than simply learning new words, pronunciation or spelling. Sometimes learning additional meanings of words is required. And I'm here to help with that!
Here are 5 expressions that have additional/different meanings in Britain:
1. barking - Dogs in Britain bark just as they do in America (though the "r" is soft, here they "bahk"...but I digress.) The important thing to note is that "barking" can also be used as an adjective meaning crazy.
Example: "Have you met the next door neighbor? What a whack job, that girl is absolutely barking!"
2. sick - This one often slips me up, even now. If I'm feeling under the weather or like I'm coming down with a cold and I mutter, "I feel sick", most Brits lean back and out of the way. And it's not because they're afraid of germs, it's because they're afraid of the projectile vomit I have just alluded to. Yes indeed, here "sick" can be both the verb or noun meaning vomit.
Example: Maybe he ate something bad yesterday because he was sick at least 3 times during the night.
3. close - This one is on the list because it's been used a lot lately with the strange, summer weather we're having (threatening thunder storms and spurts of rain). "Close" essentially means humid. And since the British love nothing more than chatting about the weather, it's come up in conversation several times lately!
Example: (The following can be said at any stage to strike up conversation with total strangers or as filler when awkwardly chatting with acquaintances) "It's rather close today, isn't it? It feels as if it should rain."
4. wind up - One of my favorite British traits is their unique ability to laugh at each other and themselves. So there are several expressions that mean to get a rise out of someone and "wind up" is one of them. It can be used both playfully and seriously.
Example: "The way he's always criticizing America without ever having been there really winds me up!"
5. pudding - Ask any American to do word association with "pudding" and the following words will always come up though perhaps not in this order: "Jell-O...Bill Cosby...tapioca...gross...who likes that crap?" But none of those reactions would work here. Because in Britain, pudding simply means...dessert.
Example: (Written on the Specials menu at a pub): "Puddings: Apple Crumble, Spotted Dick (heehee), Banoffee Pie (oh god, that is so good), Profiteroles, Sorbet."
Question for you, dear reader: what are some other examples of words/expressions that have additional meanings?