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Learn Brit-Speak
May 7, 2005 4:47 AM   Subscribe

Learn Brit-Speak British Airways wants to help Americans understand "Brit-Speak". Of course you've always wanted to know what pants, snog, squiz and lurgy mean, but as a marketing strategy? annoying flash interface, but all 72 items inside
posted by quiet (81 comments total)

 
ACE: excellent. As in: "That party last night was ACE."
AFTERS: dessert. As in: "If you make dinner I'll bring the AFTERS."
AGGRO: aggravated. As in: "I don't need this AGGRO, I'm going to London!"
BANGERS: any kind of sausage. As in: "Let's have BANGERS 'n mash for lunch."
BARMY: crazy. As in: "This tiny office is making me BARMY."
BEER MAT: a coaster. As in: "Let's start a collection of BEER MATS from London pubs."
BELL: a telephone call. As in: "Give me a BELL in the morning."
BILL: the word for check. As in: "I'll cover the BILL at the pub tonight."
BIN: the word for trashcan. As in: "I accidentally tossed some cash into the BIN."
BLIMEY: an expression of surprise. As in: "BLIMEY, how time flies. Let's catch up."
BLOWER: the telephone. As in: "Get on the BLOWER and call your mum."
BOOT: the trunk of your car. As in: "Put your bags in the BOOT."
BRILL: short for brilliant. As in: "Doesn't a London holiday sound BRILL?"
BROLLY: umbrella. As in: "The weather looks a bit iffy. Hope you have a BROLLY."
BUTTY: a sandwich.
CHAT UP: to hit on someone. As in: "Did you CHAT UP that bloke last night?"
CHEERS: how you say "thanks" and "goodbye." As in: "CHEERS mate. See you next Tuesday."
CHIN-WAG: to talk. As in: "Fancy some coffee and a bit of a CHIN-WAG?"
CRACKING: a good time. As in: "We had a CRACKING time in London."
CRISPS: the word for potato chips. As in: "May I have a bag of CRISPS with that?"
CUPPA 'CHA: a cup of tea. As in: "Fancy a CUPPA 'CHA?"
DODDLE: easy, a cinch. As in: "Booking tickets on ba.com is a DODDLE."
DOSH: cash. As in: Pick up some DOSH and meet us at the pub."
DUSTBIN: a garbage can. As in: "Throw it in the DUSTBIN when you're through with it."
ENGAGED: a busy phone signal. As in: "I rang her but the line was ENGAGED."
FAFF: indecisive. As in: "We would have been on time if she wasn't such a FAFFER."
FANCY: "Would you like?" As in: "FANCY a snog?"
FIT: attractive. As in: "That bird's looking rather FIT, think I'll say hello."
FLAP: a commotion. As in: "He was in a right FLAP when he discovered he missed the train."
FRINGE: the word for bangs. As in: "You'll find some swanky places to cut your FRINGE in Soho."
HOLE IN THE WALL: an ATM. As in: I need to stop at the HOLE IN THE WALL for some DOSH."
HOLS: the word for vacation. As in: "Hope we get good weather on our HOLS."
HOO HA: a commotion. As in: "See that HOO HA in the office today?"
JOLLY: "very". As in: "A London holiday is a JOLLY good idea."
KIP: a short nap. As in: "I'll need a KIP before we go out tonight."
KNACKERED: tired. As in: "Work has me completely KNACKERED."
KNEES-UP: a lively party. As in: "Come over for a right KNEES-UP tonight!"
LAUGHING GEAR: your mouth. As in: (Handing someone a drink) "Wrap your LAUGHING GEAR around this mate."
LIFT: an elevator. As in: "Let's take the LIFT to the roof."
LOADS: a lot. As in: "I like LOADS of tomato sauce with my chips."
LOLLY: money. As in: "I left my LOLLY in the office, can you spot me for lunch?"
LOO: the bathroom. As in: "Can you tell me where the LOO is please?"
LURGY: a general illness, usually minor. As in: "Can't make it to your party, I've got the LURGY."
MATE: your friend. As in: "Seen any of our good MATES lately?"
MINCE: ground meat. As in: "You can choose between beef and turkey MINCE."
MINGER: an unattractive person. As in: "My blind date was a right MINGER."
MITTS: definition = "In London, they're your hands. As in: "Hey, keep your MITTS off my pint!"
NAFF: tacky. As in: "Your style is NAFF, we're hitting London for a makeover."
ON ABOUT: "talking about." As in: "You're always ON ABOUT work. What about a London holiday?"
PANTS: trash (descriptive). As in: "That band last night was total PANTS."
PAVEMENT: the sidewalk. As in: "In London, be courteous. Don't block the PAVEMENT."
PECKISH: hungry. As in: "Feeling PECKISH? Let's have a bite later."
PUKKA: amazing. As in: "That was a PUKKA evening. Let's do it again."
QUID: a British pound (money). As in: "Can you lend me a QUID for a coffee?"
READIES: cash. As in: "Get your READIES out. It's your shout."
RUBBISH: garbage. As in: "Put your RUBBISH in the bin."
SARNIE: a sandwich. As in: "Would you like chips with your SARNIE?"
SCORCHER: a very hot day. As in: "Blimey, it's a SCORCHER today."
SERVIETTE: a napkin. As in: (At the dinner table) "There should be a SERVIETTE to your left."
SHOUT: an offer to buy someone a drink. As in: "OK lads, whose SHOUT?"
SMASHING: great. As in: "The festival was absolutely SMASHING."
SNOG: to kiss. As in: 'SNOG me and I'll SNOG you back.'
SORTED: taken care of. As in: "He won the lottery. Now he's SORTED."
SQUIZ: a brief glance. As in: "Take a SQUIZ at that crazy bloke."
STROP: to be sulky or crabby. As in: "She was rather STROPPY after being fired."
TOP: brilliant. As in: "He's a TOP man, everyone loves him."
TICKETY-BOO: going well. As in: "Is everything TICKETY BOO with you?"
TAKE AWAY: take-out (food). As in: "Don't worry about dinner, I'll bring home a TAKE AWAY."
TELLY: television. As in: "Work all day, TELLY all night? Time for a London holiday."
TINKLE: a telephone call. As in: "Don't forget to give mum a TINKLE on Mother's Day."
TUBE: the underground train. (Think: Subway) As in: "In London if there are no taxis you can take the TUBE."
WELLIES: rubber rain boots. As in: "Let's play in the rain and stomp around in our WELLIES."
posted by quiet at 4:49 AM on May 7, 2005


The jolly old hoo ha
raised in the blue
was naff and not pukka
all's not tickety-boo

A cracking chinwag
thought to be sorted
but the posting of rubbish
will likely be sorted

fancy a knees-up
but hold onto your lolly
a squiz at the telly
will save you from folly
posted by peacay at 5:14 AM on May 7, 2005


My favorite is 'bonk' which in the states means to 'hit the wall, run out of energy/glycogen' while cycling or running. On the other side of the pond it means to have intercourse. This always causes much hilarity on international bike lists. "You bonked on the bike? On the bike?"

I also like "Bob's your uncle" which means "piece of cake" or it's easy.
posted by fixedgear at 5:21 AM on May 7, 2005


More at the BBC America dictionary. These lists, however, generally fail to make demographic distinctions. In the above set, some are in general mainstream usage (eg pavement, lift, dustbin). But many others would be viewed as dialect slang: some are old-fashioned, some very London, some 'Yoof'.
posted by raygirvan at 5:23 AM on May 7, 2005


My favorite is 'bonk' which in the states means to 'hit the wall, run out of energy/glycogen' while cycling or running

Mebbeso in the cycling world. But in general, "bonk" means "hit" or "strike" in the US. As in, "I bonked him on the noggin with a rock."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:34 AM on May 7, 2005


When I was heading to take pictures of the British Consulate on Thursday, I noticed that one of these ads (the one for "engaged") on a phone booth a whopping half block from the building.

I found the coincidence to be jolly naff.
posted by Remy at 5:45 AM on May 7, 2005


"Brill", "bonk" and "hols" aren't used by anyone you wouldn't want to punch in the face. Seriously -- you won't hear anyone use these any more unless they're taking the mickey out of public school (which are actually private, confusingly) sterotrypes.
posted by nthdegx at 5:50 AM on May 7, 2005


cobblers
posted by psmealey at 6:12 AM on May 7, 2005


Americans don't say "ace"? How weird.
posted by dabitch at 6:31 AM on May 7, 2005


Thanks for the write up man!!
posted by wheelieman at 6:34 AM on May 7, 2005


I saw a billboard the other day that said "Car Park" is the Brit way of saying "Parking Lot" (it was right; my Brit dad always says "Car Park"). I didn't see it on the list, but I think it might've been one of those British Airways dealies...
posted by May Kasahara at 6:47 AM on May 7, 2005


What, no mention of "gobsmacked"? I dunno if it's a Londonism... but I've heard it a few times on BBC America - means shocked, as in clapping one's hand over one's mouth (gob) in amazement.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:52 AM on May 7, 2005


Perhaps one of the UK-ites could contribute a learned and erudite definition of the phrase, "taking the piss."

Signed,

Urologically confused
posted by enrevanche at 6:57 AM on May 7, 2005


what dabitch said.

woooo, look at enrevanche and his hard-to-type username which means on the other hand, wooooo. And his use of 'urologically' coo I'm sure I could never use such a big word. I bet allll the girls love him and his lexical ways

That's taking the piss.

The other use of it is when someone is going beyond accepted boundaries.

From something as small as using too many par breaks.

Right the way up to shagging your ex.

"he did what? He's taking the piss, mate"
posted by bonaldi at 7:05 AM on May 7, 2005


taking the piss This is the most common term we have in British English to describe making fun of someone, e.g. "Andy fell down the stairs on the way into the pub last night, and everyone spent the entire night taking the piss out of him". Contrary to what one might assume, it doesn't involve a complex system of tubes or a bicycle pump.
posted by kaemaril at 7:07 AM on May 7, 2005


hahahaha kaemaril spent so long looking that up he was slipped by me. the mong.

you'll note that unlike snarks, taking the piss doesn't have to be particularly funny or well thought out to count. It helps, but hey.
posted by bonaldi at 7:09 AM on May 7, 2005


Heh. Bonaldi, you old devil, you. Truly, I stand astonished by the sparkling wit and remarkable insight of your last post.
(That's another example)
posted by kaemaril at 7:16 AM on May 7, 2005


yer maw.
posted by bonaldi at 7:17 AM on May 7, 2005


Anyone who doesn't already know this is right daft!
posted by clevershark at 7:19 AM on May 7, 2005


Extension:

"Are you taking the piss?" doesn't merely mean "are you poking fun at me?" but can be used to express extreme dissatisfaction with a situation when one clearly is not poking fun.

e.g. "nthdegx, i'm cancelling your MeFi account"

"Are you f***ing taking the piss?"
posted by nthdegx at 7:23 AM on May 7, 2005


It's weird how a bunch of these aren't particularly anything you'd need translated (we Yanks say "ace," "loads," "peckish" and "mitts" too).
And then it's fun to see how many of these have been introduced to my circle of friends by a pal who did an internship in London, and came back an anglophile. Describing things as "pants," "tits" and "naff." (Though I always thought of "naff" as more inconsequential...)
posted by klangklangston at 7:24 AM on May 7, 2005


Note that while taking the piss *is* poking fun at someone, it generally implies pretty severe ridicule. Sarcasm is used commonly in taking the piss out of someone.
posted by nthdegx at 7:25 AM on May 7, 2005


Hoovering -- vacuuming
posted by nthdegx at 7:28 AM on May 7, 2005


I used to hang out almost entirely with Englishmen while I was in the NYC area, and they use "taking the piss" quite indiscriminately -- not just for "pretty severe ridicule". Then again they were mostly from London, where the expression may have "gone mainstream" and lost some of its bite.
posted by clevershark at 7:30 AM on May 7, 2005


Okay, by "severe ridicule" I mean stronger than one mild wise-crack. In kaemaril's example above, you would assume the taking the piss involved at least half hour's ridicule and probably went on more or less all night. Different contexts might suggest less.

Another:

Pulling -- scoring with a member of your preferred sex. It might mean kissing, but the general implication is taking home for sex.

Going out on the pull -- going out for the evening with the goal of achieving the above.
posted by nthdegx at 7:36 AM on May 7, 2005


Hmmm.. that's not what I thought "flap" or "hoo ha" meant in UK. I thought both were slang for beef curtains.
posted by gfrobe at 7:45 AM on May 7, 2005


Phrases for being very drunk (off the top of my head) -- mixing these up can result in hilarity:

Pissed. Blitzed. Fucked. Wazzed. Wankered. Mullered. Wrecked. Shit faced (or just faced). Rat arsed (or ratted). Sozzled (on the decline). Steaming. Bladdered. Hammered. Legless. Smashed. Plastered. Sloshed. Tanked.

A guy at work deliberately mixes up "shit faced" and "rat arsed" to "rat faced" and "shit arsed". "Let's go and get shit arsed" never fails to make me crack up.

A good evening often begins with the phrase "Let's get (insert any of the above)!"

Any more?
posted by nthdegx at 7:45 AM on May 7, 2005


Don't even start me on vaginas.

On preview, gfrobe... too late!
posted by nthdegx at 7:46 AM on May 7, 2005


quiet, thanks for allowing us to bypass that horrible, un-separately-linkable, un-copy-paste-able Flash thing. I'm curious how you did it.

You did miss at least one (or perhaps they're adding to the list):

GUV: In London it's a friendly term meaning sir (used like "Chief"). As in: "Hello there GUV, everything all right?"
posted by Turtle at 7:47 AM on May 7, 2005


How about "saloon" instead of "sedan", for cars? That's one I'd never heard before and bewildered me.
posted by smackfu at 7:47 AM on May 7, 2005


Loaded. Lit. Schnockered. Upholestered. Toasted. Bombed. Shitty. Stiff.
posted by jonmc at 7:47 AM on May 7, 2005


Anyone got a fag?
posted by dabitch at 7:50 AM on May 7, 2005


I'm going to create the Brit version of Tada List. It'll be the dog's bollocks
posted by TheDonF at 7:51 AM on May 7, 2005


GUV: In London it's a friendly term meaning sir (used like "Chief"). As in: "Hello there GUV, everything all right?"

Equally you might hear guv'nah, guv being a shortening of governor.

It'll be the dog's bollocks

Indeed! "Bollocks" = bad, "the dog's bollocks" = good.

"The dog's bollocks" may also appear as "the mutt's nuts", or, equally, "the bollocks" or "the nuts".
posted by nthdegx at 7:56 AM on May 7, 2005


Bonnet = Hood

Bonnet Leaper = hood ornament = jaguar statue on the bonnet

dickey = trunk

gas = petrol

guv'ner also used for referring to one's own father

there, that's my ha'pennyworth
posted by infini at 8:43 AM on May 7, 2005


Please can we have more American tourists walking around and referring to keeping things in fanny packs?

love,

The British People
posted by longbaugh at 8:55 AM on May 7, 2005


Yes, "fanny" is a good example of how the UK and the US are separated by a common language...
posted by clevershark at 9:15 AM on May 7, 2005


Fancy a bit of shag?
posted by clevershark at 9:22 AM on May 7, 2005


Yes, "fanny" is a good example of how the UK and the US are separated by a common language...

The US use of fanny always cracks me up. In New Zealand we use as they do in the UK. I was on a ferry in Milford Sound(lovely tourist spot in Sth Island) and an American woman who had apparently just sat in a puddle of water stood up and shouted 'oh, my fanny is so wet'. The whole boat turned and looked at her, jaws colletively to the floor and I thought, this woman really digs the scenery.
posted by isthisthingon at 9:55 AM on May 7, 2005


Codswallop. My Brit roommate used to say that and it never failed to crack me up. Means utter bullshit.

Shitfaced is a universal term, I do believe. ;-)
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:56 AM on May 7, 2005


For my part, I'd like some kind of run-down on the US use of "according to me" (which I used to think of as a typical EFL error) and the double (demodalized?) 'would', as in 'it wouldn't do that when I would drive it'
posted by TimothyMason at 10:07 AM on May 7, 2005


Wotcha Cock....equals How are you doing mate....as opposed to "observe your genitals"...if you have ever lived in Nottingham. This often followed by: 'Ave yer mashed? - have you eaten / had tea yet? Where tea is a snack or break or even a meal.
posted by adamvasco at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2005


Fixedgear: bit of pedantry for you... "Bob's your uncle" doesn't mean "it's easy". It means "there you are, it's done, sorted".

Example:

"Hey, how do I find out what British slang words mean?"

"Piece of piss, mate. Just go to Ask Metafilter and Bob's your uncle."

Also, I'd stress the second meaning of "Taking the piss", which is used when someone is "trying something on", trying to get away with something sneaky or underhand. This is also referred to as "taking the piss".

"So he told me it'd be 500 quid to fix the boiler."

"He's fuckin' takin' the piss, mate."
posted by Decani at 10:25 AM on May 7, 2005


Turtle, would you believe that I decompiled the flash, found the text, passed it through some perl and cleaned up with some vi regular expressions?
posted by quiet at 10:27 AM on May 7, 2005


And in the same arena as the fanny pack... as a Brit in America, I never cease to be amused by the fact that men here often wear suspenders...
posted by Decani at 10:28 AM on May 7, 2005


infini, where were you that people were calling the boot of a car a 'dickey'? Having lived mostly in Scotland and SW England I've never heard it.
posted by Lebannen at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2005


as a marketing strategy?

C'mon, it's a no-brainer. How many of us know "dirty" words in Spanish, Russian, Italian, etc? How many of us know much more than the dirty words?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:52 AM on May 7, 2005


I feel as bad for Brits who say "hoo-ha" in the US as I do for Americans who use the term "fanny in the UK to mean "arse."

Hoo-ha. I can't see it without giggling.

Also : I have a good friend whose mother had to start going by her middle name when she lived in Britain. Why's that you ask? Her first name is Randy. She couldn't introduce herself as "Hi, I'm Randy" without people laughing.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:55 AM on May 7, 2005


Timothy - "according to me" means "from my viewpoint, the following is true". I can't offer you much help with the use of "would," though, I'm unsure what your confusion is. A friend of mine studied abroad for a year in Edinburgh, loved it and started calling her apartment her flat, and eventually moved back to Scotland to get her master's there. She even ended up marrying a Scot who was taller and skinnier than she is (quite a feat).
posted by kavasa at 10:56 AM on May 7, 2005


I'm enjoying the first (hysterical!) episode of "Shameless" on the BBC America just now and this list has already come in handy.

As regards the use of "taking the piss" in anger, I think it's just like me as a yank snarling "Are you kidding me?!" to, say, someone who's just told me they've dented my car. It still refers to friendly joking-about, but is being used litotically or in meiosis.

Hey, can anyone explain "fuck [or "sod"] this for a game of soldiers" to me?
posted by nicwolff at 11:14 AM on May 7, 2005


nicwolff: "Sod this for a game of soldiers" = "Fuck it, I've had enough of this. I'm fed up. I'm quitting."
posted by Decani at 11:33 AM on May 7, 2005


As an English friend is fond of saying:
"Two countries separated by a common language".

posted by blueberry at 12:02 PM on May 7, 2005


oops, just reread the thread and realised that the word I didn't recognise was in fact American, and had merely been translated into another Americanism. Yes, hi, muppetry central here.
posted by Lebannen at 12:43 PM on May 7, 2005


I remember being in a movie theatre (aka a cinema) in England when a trailer came on for the upcoming attraction, a movie about a killer whale and the boy who sought its liberation ... when the tile flashed on at the end of the trailer: "FREE WILLY" it brought the house down.

Also, where I lived, "taking the piss" was used interchangeably with "taking the mickey", and had the undertone of bringing someone down to size or deflating them -- cutting off the tall poppies.
posted by Rumple at 12:59 PM on May 7, 2005


I always thought "takin' the piss out of him," was roughly equivalent to "busting balls," in the playful sense.
posted by jonmc at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2005


BILL: the word for check. As in: "I'll cover the BILL at the pub tonight."

A bit dodgy, that one. Number one, you don't 'cover' a bill: you pay it. Number two, tabs are rare indeed at pubs: you pay up front for your drinks, so there aren't usually bills to pay. (Paying for everything is bad pub etiquette too.)

The strange thing about this selection is its mixed-up register: old-fashioned Woosterish slang and Sloaney terms that went out with Thatcher ('ace','brill', 'naff') alongside DelBoy-meets-Jamie-Oliver mockney. To use another Briticism, it's all over the shop.

TINKLE: a telephone call. As in: "Don't forget to give mum a TINKLE on Mother's Day."

Just don't say 'I'm going outside for a tinkle' if you need to call someone on your mobile.
posted by holgate at 1:46 PM on May 7, 2005


"dickey" is the word I picked up in the British School in Kuala Lumpur in the early seventies. Perhaps it's colonial?
posted by infini at 1:52 PM on May 7, 2005


Some 1930's cars had a "dickey seat" at the back. I'd guess this is the derivation.

The bit of US English that really puzzles me is "signing off on". What's wrong with just plain "signing"?
posted by emf at 3:13 PM on May 7, 2005


I'd just like to point out, because I've seen it in one or two American novel with supposedly English characters, that in England we don't call people "assholes"... we call them "arseholes".

I think the latter is much better :)

Another good one is "spunk" as in "I like you kid, you've got spunk" ... heheheheh. Always goes down well in the UK :)
posted by kaemaril at 4:12 PM on May 7, 2005


Bonnet Leaper = hood ornament = jaguar statue on the bonnet, dickey = trunk, gas = petrol, guv'ner also used for referring to one's own father

Right. You really are taking the piss, aren't you!

Good call on the other meaning of taking the piss for getting away with something underhand, Decani. I hear this at work from people all the time for people arriving late, leaving early, claiming too many expenses etc etc. All "piss taking" apparently.

Re: pub etiquette. An American visitor, after finishing his pint with a group of friends (all standing) was holding the empty pint glass palm around its girth rather than fingers spread around the mouth of the glass. This might sound like a minor thing in writing, but it's actually a very menacing sight in a British pub -- you never see anyone hold a glass this way without malicious intent.
posted by nthdegx at 4:18 PM on May 7, 2005


>>Anyone got a fag?

>>posted by dabitch at 7:50 AM PST on May 7


Watch how you ask for it. You might be mistaken for a cottager....

posted by login at 5:22 PM on May 7, 2005


Rumple, "taking the mickey" is short for "taking the micturition" which is naturally a polite way of saying "taking the piss"
posted by quiet at 5:27 PM on May 7, 2005


Grapefruitmoon - that reminds me of the reaction I got when describing a baseball game I'd seen to some friends in the UK. The (local) Astros had just acquired superstar pitcher Randy Johnson for the stretch run, and I was trying to convey what an imposing presence he was on the mound.

They actually didn't believe I wasn't making up some strange sort of dirty joke. Heh.
posted by John Smallberries at 5:54 PM on May 7, 2005


An American visitor . . . was holding the empty pint glass palm around its girth rather than fingers spread around the mouth of the glass. This might sound like a minor thing in writing, but it's actually a very menacing sight in a British pub -- you never see anyone hold a glass this way without malicious intent.

Wait. I am confused. You mean he was holding it like you hold a glass to drink out of it? And you do not hold it this way if it is empty but rather in a way that facilitates dropping it? And not doing so is menacing?

I'll definitely keep that in mind next time I visit the UK, but I will say a fair number, if not most, Americans will hold their glasses that way. Can you explain why this is odd or is it a "just is"?
posted by dame at 6:11 PM on May 7, 2005


Oh, and holgate, that link is totally fascinating. Thanks.
posted by dame at 6:16 PM on May 7, 2005


dame, there's a quaint British tradition called glassing whereby you apply said glass to a fellow drinker with high velocity and extreme prejudice...

There are more than 5,000 "glassing" injuries a year

And if anyone things that holgate's pub etiquette link is a joke, it's not. As a non-native, I've been regularly surprised at just how accurate it is.
posted by quiet at 6:23 PM on May 7, 2005


I think my favourite encounter with "randy" was a friend's American father, named Randy Guy (surname not included). He'd lived a few years in Scotland, so I'm assuming he knew full well what his name meant without this Aussie pointing out what it was all about.
posted by chronic sublime at 6:37 PM on May 7, 2005


Yeah, quiet, I knew that. But still, that holding a glass in the most obvious way is instantly linked to such strikes me as odd. I mean, you hold scissors the same way to carry them safely as you do to stab someone (together, with hand around, point facing down). Yet you don't assume someone holding scissors that way is going to stab you.

But it's just odd. Not a sign of the end times or anything, so I'll try to remember. Though I hope the pubs they like the broken glasses.
posted by dame at 7:06 PM on May 7, 2005


thaanks quiet, I didn't know that.
posted by Rumple at 12:20 AM on May 8, 2005


Wait. I am confused. You mean he was holding it like you hold a glass to drink out of it? And you do not hold it this way if it is empty but rather in a way that facilitates dropping it? And not doing so is menacing?

I'll definitely keep that in mind next time I visit the UK, but I will say a fair number, if not most, Americans will hold their glasses that way. Can you explain why this is odd or is it a "just is"?


I've omitted one crucial detail, I'm afraid. Yes -- his hand was positioned in the normal way were the glass to have drink in it, but with drink in it you have to hold the drink up, with your arm bent. He had it at arm's length, sideways. Clearly it's more comfortable to hold an empty glass at arm's length -- and I think it would probably look peculiar holding it up as if it still had drink in it -- but held this way it really looks as if you're going to swing it in someone's face.
posted by nthdegx at 3:07 AM on May 8, 2005


And if anyone things that holgate's pub etiquette link is a joke, it's not. As a non-native, I've been regularly surprised at just how accurate it is.

Indeed -- as a pub-going native I found it fascinating reading, seeing many of the unwritten, even unstated rules effectively formalised in writing really brought home how bizarre it might possibly all seem to outsiders. I think it missed out the fine art of obtaining a chair in a busy pub, though. There's at least 5,000 words to write on that issue alone.
posted by nthdegx at 3:11 AM on May 8, 2005


I should point out, though, that I've spent an awful lot of time in pubs in the last seven years, and I have never seen a fight inside one, let alone a glassing... I'd hate to give the wrong impression.
posted by nthdegx at 3:12 AM on May 8, 2005


Correct technique for holding the classic British pint glass

Correct technique for holding British "girly half" glass. (Note little fingers)

Incorrect technique for holding British pint glass.

Excessive zeal method. I'm a big fan of this one.

They cannot possibly be British.
posted by Decani at 6:05 AM on May 8, 2005


Anyone got a fag?

So, idiot Englishman here walks up to a stranger in a Oregon bar and asks "mate, can I bum a fag off you?"

Hilarity ensures.
posted by dmt at 7:49 AM on May 8, 2005


The problem with trying to translate slang is that it's always wrapped up in a whole sociological context that imbues it with shades of meaning, connotation, and implication that cannot be accurately or meaningfully conveyed in a five-word definition and a made-up example.

F'r'instance: snog is not a synonym for "kiss", it's a lot more than that. For example, tell people you snogged Mom on Mother's Day and you'll get some very odd looks. Snogging is probably closest in meaning to the now-archaic American term necking ie "The act or practice of amorously kissing and caressing"

Fancy is another one; yes, when the object of the verb is not a person (eg in the case fancy a snog? - a phrase which I doubt has ever left the lips of someone over 13 who wasn't already drunk), it means "would you like?" but when the object is a person, it takes on a amorous/sexual connotation (eg I reckon she fancies you!) that's loaded with shades of meaning.

Specifically, if you fancy someone, it could just be physical, but it also connotes a degree of intrigue or fascination with the person, a budding romance even. This sense is amplified in the construct fanciable which implies a potential fancy - perhaps if you got to know the person a little, for example.

I think the lesson here, and with all such lists of slang, is only to use them to figure out what others are saying, and not to try using them in a conversation until you've actually heard other people using them in context.
posted by kcds at 8:06 AM on May 8, 2005


Clarifying the point made above about US me wearing suspenders:
What a Yank would think of as suspenders are "braces" to a Brit.
What a Brit would think of as suspenders are "garters" to an American.

One of the ones that tripped me up when I first arrived in Britain as a fresh-faced exchange student was "horny," which is American for "oversexed/desperate" and British for "attractive (usually of a male.)" The American meaning is gaining ground here now, which is even more confusing.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:54 AM on May 8, 2005


Well, nthdgx, the solution to this problem is clearly to keep one's glass full at all times. Or to sit.
posted by dame at 9:59 AM on May 8, 2005


Well, nthdgx, the solution to this problem is clearly to keep one's glass full at all times

The solution to many many many of life's problems, I think.
posted by nthdegx at 10:10 AM on May 8, 2005


I remeber getting strange looks from some USians in England when I would suggest we all go out and get "pissed". Me meaning we should drink to excess, them understanding it as "lets get very angry".
There is a difference between "pissed" and "pissed off", at least where I come from.
posted by Merlin at 4:51 PM on May 8, 2005


I'm late to the party, but I just have to add these two:

Flid - retard or idiot. Comes from the drug "Thalidomide" which caused deformities in the fetuses of women taking it.

Stoned - Can mean drunk or high on drugs, whereas in the US it only means high.
posted by Devils Slide at 7:32 PM on May 8, 2005


Devils- Stoned used to mean "drunk" here too, hence the great Johnny Cash song (written by Kris Kristopherson) "Sunday Morning Coming Down" where he sings "Lord, I'm wishin' I was stoned."
"Pulling" means the same thing here, though with the connotation of singling out a girl from a group. You're "pulling" her from her friends.
Shit-faced definitely means the same thing here.
posted by klangklangston at 7:59 AM on May 9, 2005


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