Reader Tony Mates, from Seattle, writes:
I am surprised that “dicey” is not on your list. Though fairly common in the US nowadays, I do recall having to ask my English mother about it back in the 1980s.
“Fairly common” might understate the case. Let’s go to Google Books Ngram Viewer. It tells a fairly clear story about the word, which the OED defines as “Risky, dangerous; uncertain, unreliable.”
That is, the word apparently originated in Britain, was picked up in the U.S. in the ’70s, started to be used more frequently here in about 1990, and is now so common that Americans (meaning me) had no idea it originated across the pond. In honor of the word, I have created a new category, “Outstripped.”
Green’s Dictionary of Slang classifies the word as “RAF slang” and gives its first citation Nevile Shute’s 1950 novel A Town Like Alice: “He […] made a tight, dicey turn round in the gorge with about a hundred feet to spare.” (Shute was an Englishman with an aeronautics background who moved to Australia late in his life.) The first American quote is from 1961.
Now, to repeat, “dicey” feels like an Americanism. Why else would the New York Times have used it 53 times in the last year alone?