Monday, July 25, 2011

Twenty British Terms I Wish American English Would Adopt

Via Wikipedia’s list of British words not widely used in the United States, via Dina
  1. agony aunt (an advice columnist who responds to readers’ problems, such as Dear Abby)
  2. argy-bargy (a fight that may be more or less serious than an argle-bargle)
  3. Belisha beacon (the orange flashing light mounted at either end of a pedestrian crossing, or zebra crossing, if we’re being all British — also if there’s not a British porn star performing under this name, the across-the-pond porn community is not as on-the-ball as I would like)
  4. bumf (useless paperwork, from the expression bum fodder, meaning “toilet paper”)
  5. chutney ferret (a homosexual, for rather obscene reasons)
  6. courgette (what we Americans call by the far less elegant name zucchini)
  7. dodgems (bumper cars, renamed to be even more literal)
  8. fish fingers (fishsticks a la the cat’s pajamas, the snake’s hips, etc.)
  9. fruit spleggins (fruit jelly, although I can’t decide whether it sounds more sexual or fantastical)
  10. gormless (lacking intelligence, with a vacant expression)
  11. kappa-slappa (in chav culture, a promiscuous woman)
  12. nutty gum (peanut butter, although I think our term makes more sense and that this term should instead be applied to nut-flavored chewing gum)
  13. plonk (cheap wine, especially red wine)
  14. quango (meaning “a semi-public advisory or administrative body funded by the taxpayer the members of which are appointed by the government,” an acronym formed from quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations, though of course it should be applied to something way more interesting)
  15. quiff (the hairstyle and not the more obscene thing it sounds like it might mean)
  16. rodger (as a verb, “to engage in a sexual act”)
  17. reverse charge call (what we call a collect call, but let’s make refer to a special sort of call you can make where the phone company has to pay you)
  18. salad-dodger (an overweight person)
  19. “suck it and see” (an AMAZING turn of phrase meaning “to undertake a course of actions without knowing its full consequences)
  20. verucca (what we call plantar wart, made to sound as pretty as it possibly could)

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