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 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.  


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)


41 responses to “Americans: This Is A Fanny

  1. Now that I know the English definition of the word fanny it makes total sense given our definition of English food. This Fanny Cradock thing now completely adds up.

  2. But nobody uses that word. And BTW if it weren’t for Americans, you Brits would actually have to learn a 2nd language instead of billowing out “Do you speak English??” when you go to Europe.
    If it weren’t for us, learning English today would be about as useful as learning Portuguese. =)

    • Apart from the small matter of two hundred years of the British Empire upon which the sun never set ;-)

      • Agreed.

        I wouldn’t want to downplay the importance of Hollywood in spreading American to the rest of the world, but there are (for example) getting on for a billion English-speakers in India, who go around spelling things properly. With ‘U’s in all the right places and everything.

    • People in America don’t say “fanny”? Might that be the case in just the area you live in though? Or is it generally an old-fashioned word?

      Actually, I’m not sure we say “fanny” much here either – most people now call a lady’s rude bits her “minge”.

  3. Brings a totally new meaning to the expression “You bet your Aunt Fanny” XD

  4. Why does E.T. have a fanny? Now I’m totally confused!

  5. Ah, the Sheiea na’ gig

    I thought the first picture was a “bum”.

    I’ve been told by a British friend to “move yer bum” (I was sitting on something she needed to use)

    I expect that there will be future posts on “Randy”, “Fag”, “Pissed” and “Chuffed”.

    The first time someone told me they were chuffed over something I did, I thought I had upset them. I had to google it.

    • Bum and Bum… Another possible post! So many words to choose from! :D

      Oh bless you looking up “chuffed” and being all worried! People say “I’m chuffed to bits!”, which is completely uninterpretable, if you’ve never come across it.

  6. You should do a post on the different kinds of sweets there are over there. My SO has been wondering for the longest time what the name of the candy is that she saw on The Vicar of Dibley. It was chocolate, but it looked almost like a latticework with holes all down the bar. Any idea what this one’s called?

  7. So you’d probably giggle at the name Fanny Farmer, the candy company started in my hometown of Rochester, New York. :)

  8. So if a lady sticks a fag in her fanny pack, that’s okay in England? Because I think it’s against the law here, at least down south. :D

  9. Saaxton, that’s a Curly Wurly. They’re good.

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “fanny,” but I definitely won’t be using it now. Wait…years and years ago, my dad had a fanny pack…that’s funny. =)

  11. I love these English-to-English translations! I never heard that definition of “fanny” before, and I was wondering what you would think about fanny packs.

    • This is from the British version of The Office. The characters are dressed up for a charity event (in case you wondered). At the end he discusses fanny packs.

  12. I was feeling pretty smart cause I knew the “proper” terms for a jumper and a vest, but that fanny thing just threw me for a loop.
    Thanks for setting this American straight!

  13. I remember the first time I heard that that’s what you lot call a fanny. I was soooooooooo embarrassed. :D

    • Slang terms for genitalia do seem to cause the most transatlantic confusion. I remember driving through Michigan with some friends who were most confused when I saw a road sign for Minges Creek and burst out laughing…

      • Seriously? I’ve never heard that word used as a term for female genitalia.

        Yikes, add another word to the slang dictionary for people’s sexual parts…

    • And now I’ve made it worse, with that picture! :D

  14. Yet another example of how we need to call what we speak “American” and what you speak “English”!

    I did a search on and had to laugh – both definitions were given, but of course, the American one is given as the correct definition. :D

  15. What the hell is that statue doing? That cootch could almost be worn as a hat.

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