Tag Archives: UK

English Slang Words

I’m worn out today – so I decided to take the easy option and bang out a few slang words, for all you anglophiles to enjoy (and learn). At the very least, you’ll understand more of the British films and TV shows you love so much. They are in no special order, I’m afraid.

knackered = tired

fumin’ = angry

bollocked out = told off

skint = broke (no money)

pissed = drunk

made up = happy (content with)

tippin’ it down = raining hard

porkies = lies

fag = cigarette

minging = ugly, or dirty (rhymes with “singing”)

played a blinder = played well (sport)

nicked = stolen (or arrested)

pinched = stolen (or arrested)

skiving = avoiding school, or work (rhymes with “driving”)

swinging the lead = pretending to be ill (“lead” as in the metal)

bloke = guy

muntered = very drugged up, or drunk

wankered = very drunk

daft = stupid

bangin’ tune = good song (Northern slang)

10 Things I Think I Know About Canadians and Canada

As you all know, I am England’s biggest expert on Americans and America. I am. So isn’t it strange that I’m virtually clueless about Canada? This, to me, would indicate that Canadians need to try harder with promoting their country. In order to demonstrate to them how much harder they need to try, I am going to list ten things I know about Canadians and Canada, off the top of my head. I won’t Google, I won’t cheat in any way… Let’s go:

1) Canadians sell chocolate at the airport. I know this because we stopped at a Canadian airport once (for an hour) on the way to America - and I bought some chocolate.

2) Canadians have guns. But unlike Americans they never shoot anyone.

3) Canadians never lock their doors. I think I’m getting these ideas from Michael Moore.

4) Canadians like Ice Hockey. So do I! But here in the UK, that makes me a freak.

5) Alanis Morissette is Canadian. She probably thinks that is somehow “ironic”.

6) It snows in Canada. But that’s OK, because Canadians are prepared for snow. I feel guilty because this list is making Canadians sound a bit boring. I’m sure they are just “differently interesting” really.

7) Canadians usually have a moose head on the wall. See? Not boring.

8) Canadians say “aboot”. But other than that they just sound like Americans with the volume turned down.

9) Canadians eat “poutine”. I have no idea what it is though. I’m not going to Google it, I’ve come this far without cheating. Most national dishes are famous for more than just the name! Why don’t I know what this is?

10) Canadians want to be British (yay!) or French (boo!). Basically they’re happy to be seen as anything other than American. Or Canadian.

And that’s just aboot all I know aboot Canada and Canadians. Oh wait, I know Mounties “always get their man”. Whatever.

CANADIANS: I’ve met some of you and I love you but MAKE YOUR DAMN MARK! Don’t let America leave you to play the part that New Zealand plays, to the mouthy Australians. Don’t be the same as Belgium is, compared to France. Let’s take the “O” out of “O Canada” and replace it with a “Hell YEAH!”.

Americans: This Is A Tramp

I was looking for images for this post, in which I will describe the differences between an American “tramp” and a British one, when I came across this British newspaper headline. 

Church Minister Shames Congregation By Dressing As Tramp 

The article ends with this - 

Chuchgoer John Sproston was one of the first to arrive at the service to see the “tramp” on the doorstep. 

He said: “We were all aghast when he took off his wig because he was very convincing.” 

If you are an American and you just read that PLEASE DON’T PANIC! The Minister was NOT dressed as a lady of loose virtue, because whatever you may think, that is NOT what “TRAMP” means: 

THIS IS NOT A TRAMP

He was merely disguised as a long-term HOMELESS PERSON. That’s what the word “TRAMP” means and you can’t argue with that, because - 

a) A newspaper agrees with me 

b) A representative of GOD agrees with me 

And here he is, being a TRAMP (the Vicar, not God): 

THIS IS A TRAMP (VICAR)

Life is funny isn’t it? When I set out to make a post about “tramps”, I didn’t think I’d end up posting a photo of a vicar and a photo of me.

Americans: This Is A Fanny

So far, I have made two posts dedicated to teaching Americans the REAL meaning of words they don’t use properly. The response has been promising, although (like most people) Americans are a little stubborn about admitting when they are WRONG. Still, I shall continue to battle bravely on.  

As some of you will have seen, I managed to explain what “Jumper” meant and what “Vest” meant, in a very straightforward manner. Great stuff. However, explaining the REAL meaning of the word “FANNY” is going to be a little more of a challenge. Americans will now be grinning at the prospect of me having to discuss something as embarrassing as a “rear end”… Believe me, my Yankee friends, you (as you would say) ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.  

THIS IS NOT A FANNY

 This first picture is of a BOTTOM. A bottom is not, and never has been, a FANNY. Right now, I suggest those of you who are of a delicate disposition, should brace yourselves. If you are standing up, sit down.  

THIS IS A FANNY

I’m sorry about that… But it was necessary to post a second picture, in order to show you the REAL meaning of the word FANNY. As you can see (if you can bear to look again) FANNY  is the word for a lady’s sex-parts.  

I don’t know when (or IF) you will ever use the word “fanny” again - but if you do, you now know that you will be speaking of something a lot ruder than a BOTTOM. Normally I’d ask you to say the word “FANNY!” aloud (at this point) and stare at the second picture, in order to fix the proper meaning of FANNY in your mind… But I don’t think any of us want to dwell on this any longer than is absolutely necessary. And “fanny packs”? I’m not even going to go there. 

 Second picture: (The famous Sheela na gig at Kilpeck, England Image credit: Wikipedia | Rights/License: GNU FDL)

Americans: This Is A Jumper

We all know there are lots of words that Americans get wrong: They call crisps “chips” for instance, they call a lift an “elevator”… That’s all pretty well-known, Brits have got used to it and tried to make allowances for such mistakes. However, some words that Americans get wrong are more obscure and frankly just CONFUSING. As far as I’m concerned, Americans need to be re-educated about these words and taught to use them properly.

What if I wrote a blog entry about Brandon and said, “Bran was going out, so he put on his favourite jumper”? Americans would go “WTF?” and imagine my son wearing THIS:

THIS IS NOT A JUMPER.

They would, of course, be WRONG. Despite his admittedly camp demeanor, Brandon hasn’t been out in a DRESS yet. Not even a PINAFORE DRESS, like the one above.

So what would he be wearing then, if I said “jumper”? He would be wearing THIS:

THIS IS A JUMPER

Which is NOT a dress, it is a JUMPER.

Look at it, learn the name, FORGET the dress. Repeat after me “THIS IS A JUMPER”. Congratulations! You are now speaking English!

For Americans: 40 Random Facts About The UK

1) People in the UK drink tea with milk.

2) When British people say “biscuits”, they are talking about what Americans call “cookies”.

3) Most British people under the age of 25 wouldn’t  recognise Benny Hill, if they were shown a picture.

4) London is not the only city in the UK.

5) “Pea-Soupers” and other forms of heavy London smog, were ended by the Clean Air Act of 1956.

6) Jack the Rippper is now presumed to be dead.

7) Princess Diana is definitely dead.

8) British people come in a wide range of ethnicities.

9) “Hogwarts” is not a real school.

10) If you ask for a packet of “rubbers” in the UK, you will get a packet of “erasers”.

11) Not everybody in the UK has met the Queen.

12) Beer is served at room temperature, in British “pubs”.

13) “Are You Being Served?” hasn’t been shown on British TV (apart from as a novelty) since 1985.

14) Cats, in the UK, are normally allowed outside.

15) Jesus is not as popular in the UK as He is in the USA.

16) It is impossible for an American to successfully imitate the Cockney accent.

17) Levi jeans are popular in the UK and are available in many shops.

18) British policemen are also known as “Bobbies”, “Coppers”, “Dibbles”, “The Sweeney” and (among criminals) “The Filth”.

19) “Pissed” in the UK means “drunk”.

20) Illegitimacy is more popular in the UK than it is in the USA.

21) Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel were both born in England. Johnny Depp wasn’t.

22) Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character.

23) Most Brits are bemused by the idea of “flossing”.

24) The British national dish is called “Curry”.

25) Despite rumours to the contrary, British people measure their journeys in Miles.

26) Some buildings in the UK were erected more than 200 years ago.

27) Most women in the UK would regard being called a “bitch” as a compliment.

28) British people correctly insert the letter U into many words.

29) Being softly spoken is regarded as “normal” in Britain.

30) The word “Soccer” is regarded with suspicion by Brits, who prefer to use the proper name for Football.

31) British people love to queue and businesses happily respond to that, by not providing enough check-outs, or Customer Service desks. Or Ladies toilets.

32) Brits use the word “Toilets” as if it wasn’t offensive – even though they could say “Rest Rooms”, or “Bathrooms”.

33) Tony Blair is no longer the British Prime Minister.

34) “Tipping” is a very unpopular concept in the UK and should be done rarely and begrudgingly, at no more than 10%.

35) The Underground is a complex railway system, running through tunnels, under London. Remember to mind the gap.

36) Brits tend to regard “Doctor Who” as being aimed at children.

37) Big Ben is not the name of the giant clock in London but the name of the bell inside it.

38) In the UK, “chips” are chunky batons of potato fried in oil – not thin slices of cooked potato (we call those “crisps”).

39) Buckingham Palace is much bigger in your head than it is in Real Life.

40) Kindly people in the UK will always give you directions but only if you learn to pronounce place names properly.

Things So Vile That I Like Them #1 – Oreos

It was as a child that I first noticed the existence of Oreos. They were one of those seemingly exotic things they had in America but we didn’t have in the UK (along with fire hydrants, garbage disposal units, and teeth). As I grew up I saw Oreos mentioned over and over again, in cartoons, on Sesame Street, in films… Oreos were obviously huge  in America but we couldn’t get them here and therefore we couldn’t try them. It was very frustrating, not least because Americans didn’t deserve to get exciting biscuits – for a start they called them “cookies”, which is just wrong.

Think how pleased I was then, in recent years, to find that Oreos were on sale here AT LAST!  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7376123.stm . Oh happy day! I opened my first packet of Oreos with shaking hands and a thrill of anticipation – they looked SO nice. I tasted one… It was actually kind of vile. And by “kind of” I mean it WAS vile. But for some inexplicable reason I still wanted more. I was hooked.

Oreos (as if you didn’t know) taste like somebody has force-fed dark chocolate to a giant rabbit, collected the resulting poos, flattened them into disks and dried them to a brittle hardness. Then they’ve taken the disks, sandwiched them together in pairs, with sweet white creme, and sprinkled the entire batch with salt. I suppose that makes them sound a bit off-putting but they are actually strangely moreish. They most certainly qualify as things so vile that I like them.

Americans dip Oreos in milk, I hear. If you are American – I don’t know how long you’ve been doing that but you are making a huge mistake. Dip them in tea. Milky tea.

Grand Theft Election

Yesterday, I decided to leave my computer and go blinking into the sunlight, to vote in The Election. First though, I needed to Google the location of my Polling Station - I haven’t voted since living here, so I had no idea where it was. I entered the name of the road into Google and glanced at the first link, which was a news story in the South Manchester Reporter, called  Nun Is Victim Of Carjacking. Bloody hell, I felt like I was off to vote in a neighbourhood in “Grand Theft Auto”.

As it was, my voting went off very smoothly. I was lucky though, it seems. Other people across the country (even in nearby Fallowfield) were queueing for an hour or more to vote - some later ones being turned away because it was 10pm (which was the cut-off point for voting)! In some areas people were unable to vote, because their Polling Stations had run out of Ballot Papers… What a mess.

Now, after all the debating and the drama, we have been left with a Hung Parliament. Ugh. Let us see what unfolds. Sadly, I think the Liberal Democrats are set to side with the Conservatives, which means Labour have lost. Sort of. Brilliant political commentary there, by me.

Guide For Americans Visiting The UK

Blogmella’s Survival Guide For Americans Visiting The UK.

1) Start every complaint with the words “I’m really sorry”. This isn’t America, no one gives a SH*T if you are happy with the service or not. Our employees don’t have group hugs, pep talks, brainwashing sessions or sticker-charts to encourage them to be nice to the customers. On the plus side, very few of them expect much in the way of tips. If something goes wrong, like your dinner is cold or your toilet doesn’t flush… You need to say something like, “I’m really sorry but I think my dinner might be a bit too cold to eat”, or “I’m really sorry, I might not be pushing the handle properly, because I’m American and we have different toilets there, but the toilet in my room doesn’t seem to flush”. That way you might get some help. Trying to be “assertive”, shouting about your “rights” or demanding “service” will get you sneered at and your food spat in. BTW, this doesn’t just apply to Americans, this applies to EVERYONE, even Brits. This isn’t prejudice, it’s the way we DO things.

2) Look very carefully before you cross the road on foot. Drivers here do not slow down a bit and wave at you to cross (like they did for me in Seattle and Florida)…They speed up and sometimes even SWERVE here, in order to hit you. No driver in London will cut you ANY slack at all. Even if you have a walking-stick. Also, you’ll be confused because we drive on the CORRECT side of the road.

3) To be polite to OUR standards, try to say “Thank you” at least six times during any purchase.
The shop-keeper says “Can I help you?”
You hand him the item you wish to purchase and say “Thank you”.
He asks if you are paying cash, “Oh, yes, thank you”.
He hands you your change and you say “Thank you”.
He asks if you want the item in a bag, you say “Yes, thank you”.
He hands you the bagged item and you say “Thank you”.
You start to leave and he says “Bye!” ………To which you reply, “Bye! Thank you!”.

4) When you order, or ask for anything, say “Please” I was stunned in America that people ask for things and don’t say “Please” every time. It will help you to glean what little service you CAN get in London if you at least TRY to ask politely. I know some areas in America say “Please” more than others, because I’ve written about this before, but I’m telling the people who don’t, OK?

5) Don’t make a fuss. If a British person saw an elephant walking along the path towards them they would say “Oh look, an elephant…There must be a circus near here, or something.” Americans would go, “OH. MY. GOD. LOOK! LOOK! AN ELEPHANT!!! ISN’T HE ADORABLE?! GET MY CAMERA!! IS IT REAL?! AREN’T THEY FROM AFRICA?! DO THEY HAVE THOSE HERE?! MAYBE IT’S WILD…THEY HAVE HEDGEHOGS!!! etc. etc.” That’s really annoying to the British.

6) Don’t tell everybody you meet what you think of them within the first 10 minutes. British people don’t want to know how they are perceived, even if it is good news. Americans have a habit of saying “Oh my, you’re funny!”, or “You two make an ADORABLE couple!” or “Hey, you know what? You’re really clever!”, which makes us SQUIRM. Keep it to yourself, until you’ve known us for ages and until we are at least a bit DRUNK.

7) Practice drinking warm beer and eating small portions of food. You know it makes sense. And practice paying twice as much for it. I’d love to change the whole of the UK for you but it might be easier for you to lower your standards and then halve the result. That will be what you’re served.

8) Learn to say AND more often. “Go AND get”, “Go AND buy”, “Go AND eat”…I LOVE the American accent but leaving out all the ANDS is just annoying.

9) Turn the volume down. On your voice.

10) Feel the love. Brits are sarcastic, dry and often insult people, just to show them how much they like them. Before you get all offended, try grinning first and see if the British person laughs with you. They probably will. If not, feel free to create a scene, it’s not like you’ll get shot or anything (we don’t have guns).