The MGA With An Attitude
British English vs. American English -- CF-090
Two great cultures separated by a common language

This article is written primarily for the MG enthusiasts living on the west side of the big pond (Atlantic Ocean). When you first open the Operation Manual (Drivers Handbook), or the Workshop Manual (Repair Instructions Book), or the Service Parts List (Repair Parts Catalog) for an MG, you may be confounded by lots of odd words you haven't encountered before. You need to learn that a boot does not go on your foot, a bonnet does not go on your head, and a buffer does not polish your shoes. For easier translation of the British language to American language you should become familiar with the following British words. I suspect from time to time some of our British friends will correct me or suggest additions to the list.

Aerial = antenna (radio)
Alloy = aluminum (or alloy of multiple light metals)
Aluminium = aluminum
Aerial = Antenna
Backlight = rear window
Baulk Ring = synchronizer ring (brake ring)
Bevel Pinion = input pinion gear (rear axle) mates with Crown Wheel
Bezel = trim ring
Big End = crankshaft end of connecting rod
Blanking Plate = cover
Bonnet = engine cover (am. hood)
Boot = trunk or luggage compartment at rear
Brace = wrench, as in "wheel brace"
Breaker Plate = mounting plate for ignition points
Buffer = rubber bumper (snubber)
Bush = bushing, usually tubular, may be metal, plastic, rubber
Change Speed Fork = shift fork, selector fork
Circlip = snap ring
Concours = a competition among car owners on the appearance of their cars;
a car show based on detail of originality;
abbreviated from "Concours d'Elegance" (fr.)
Condenser = capacitor (sometimes Suppressor)
Control Box = voltage regulator (charging system)
Core Plug = core plug, Welch plug (definitely not freeze plug)
Corner light = front parking lamp (clarification of sidelight)
Cotter = shaft key
Cotters = engine valve locks
Crank Pin = connecting rod journal on the crankshaft
Crown Wheel = final drive ring gear (rear axle)
Damper = shock absorber
Dash Pot = motion damper (carburetor)
Demister = defroster
Differential Gear = sun gear
Differential Pinion = planet gear
Dip = dim (drop the headlights to low beam)
Distance Piece = spacer (washer or tube)
Dog = catch pin, ratchet pawl
Dog Nut = crank nut for hand cranking (front of crankshaft, starting dog)
Dowel = dowel (alignment pin)
Drag Link = tie rod (steering)
Draught Excluder = convoluted rubber boot (pedals, gear shift)
Dynamo = generator
Earth = electrical ground
Eschustion = decorative faceplate (like ring around the radio blanking plate)
Excluder = separates two environments (pedal ex., draft ex., bellows, gaiter)
Far Side = away from the curb (right side of a RHD car)
Fascia = dash panel
Fender = bumper, front or rear
Finisher = trim piece
First Motion Shaft = transmission input shaft
Flash = momentarily raise headlights to high beam
Flasher = turn signal
Flasher Unit = turn signal interrupter device
Fully Laden = fully loaded
Gaiter = convoluted rubber seal (steering rack)
Gaiter = leather or rubber seal cover (shift lever)
Gear Lever = shift lever
Gearbox = transmission
Grille = grill
Grommet = trim ring or seal ring, might be rubber or metal
(sealing ring, finishing washer)
Grub screw = setscrew (may be Allen screw)
Guard = short for "Mud Guard", Wing or fender
Gudgeon = wrist pin in piston
Halfshaft = rear axle driven shaft one side
Hood = convertible top (over your head)
Hooter = horn
Impulse Extractor = slide hammer
Joint = gasket (commonly paper)
Joint Washer = seal washer (copper or fiber)
Kerb Side = side of car next to curb (left side of RHD car)
King Pin = kingpin (front suspension and steering)
Knuckle = front wheel bearing spindle, Swivel Axle
Layshaft = transmission counter-shaft (Second Motion Shaft)
Light = window (backlight or sidelight, not necessarily glass)
Liner = thin bushing (camshaft bearing), cylinder sleeve
Locktab = bend-up locking plate
Methylated spirit = denatured alcohol
Mixture Control = idle mixture screw
Motif = emblem ("MG")
Motorway = freeway, turnpike, expressway
Mud Guard = fender (see Wing)
Near Side = nearest the curb (left side of a RHD car)
Number Plate = license plate
Number Tag = small ID plate for engine, body, heater assembly
Off Side = away from curb (right side of RHD car)
Olive = compression ring for tubing nut
Operation Manual = driver's handbook
Overrider = bumper guard
Paraffin = kerosene or mineral spirits (not wax)
Petcock = drain valve
Petrol = gasoline
Pinking = pinging or pre-ignition noise
Plinth = mounting base (tail lights)
Pot Metal = Various alloys of Zinc and Aluminum (and additional metals).
(Most often looks like aluminum. Carburetor bodies for instance.)
Power Unit = engine (or engine and gearbox assembly)
Prise = pry or force apart
Propellor Shaft = drive shaft (propshaft for short)
Push = push button switch (horn push)
Quarter-light = fly window, bug window, vent window
(small articulated side window just aft of windscreen)
Restrictor = orifice to slow fluid flow
Reverse (v) = back up
Reverse Lamp = backup light
Rocker = rocker arm (engine)
Rocker cover = valve cover
Runner = fan, squirrel cage blower type
Saloon = sedan
Scraper Ring = oil control ring
Screen = window glass (windscreen, sidescreen)
Screenwasher = windshield washer
Screenwiper = windshield wiper
Second Motion Shaft = transmission layshaft or laygear
Service Parts List = repair parts catalog
Set Screw = threaded fastener to secure something
(could be a hex head bolt or pointed screw)
Side Curtain = side window that is removeable (usually not glass)
Sidelamp = parking light assembly (more commonly front than rear)
Sidelight = side window
Silencer = muffler
Silentbloc = rubber bushing with metal inner and/or outer sleeve(s)
Registered trademark and company name: Silentbloc UK Ltd.
Sill panel = Rocker panel (beneath doors)
Small End (or little end) = piston end of connectiong rod (holds Gudgeon Pin)
Snubber = lump of rubber to stop motion, wiggle or vibration (bonnet, doors, suspension)
Snug = (noun) alignment pin or key
Spanner = wrench
Spider = inner part of universal joint
Split Pin = cotter pin (American)
Staunchion = standing bracket (for lamps or windscreen)
Starting Handle = engine hand crank
Strainer = filter screen
Strangler = choke (fuel enrichment)
Stub Axle = swivel axle, bearing spindle, Knuckle
Suction = vacuum (absence of pressure)
Sump = oil pan
Suppressor = resistor (as in ignition spark radio frequency noise cancellation)
Suppressor = capacitor (when uses for radio frequency noise cancellation)
Swarf = Metal chips or debris
Switch-off = shut off the engine
Swivel Axle = frind wheel bearing spindle, Knuckle
Swivel Pin = threaded version of a king pin
Swivel Link = threaded version of kingpin trunnion
Tab washer = tang or lock (see locktab)
Tappet = valve lifter running against cam lobe
Third Motion Shaft = transmission output shaft (before overdrive unit)
Thrust Bearing = throw-out bearing (for clutch release)
Tonneau = top of car body fore and aft of cockpit
Tonneau Cover = fabric cover over cockpit (sometimes a metal half cover)
Top Gear = high geart
Torch = portable lamp or flash light, Trouble Light
Track-rod = steering cross link (not for rack and pinion)
Transmission = thr whole drive line
Tyre = tire
Undo = loosen or remove (wire wheel knockoff nuts)
(the word is often accompanied by an arrow indicating direction)
Valve Collet = split lock (valve spring retainer)
Vice = vise
Welch Plug = (brand name) specifically a domed metal disc that will expand when
flattened. Used as core plug (engine block and other places) or grease plug
Wheel nut = Lug nut
White Metal = soft bearing material (such as lead alloy on crankshaft bearings)
Windscreen = Windshield
Wing = fender (see "Mud Guard")
Wing = sometimes door, like "Gull Wing door", although this is more of a
proper name refering to a special kind of door)
Workshop Manual = service manual, repair guide
Zerk Fitting = (brand name) grease fitting (invented by Oscar Zerk 1929)

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