Saturday, 28 January 2012

Guest Post: English Lingo by Stephanie Abbott

Guest Post Compiled by Stephanie Abbott- For Orangeberry Book Tours

England and America are two countries separated by the same language.  – George Bernard Shaw.

Here’s a fun little glossary for those who might find English usage “across the Pond” amusing:
  • Fag: a cigarette.  Respectable usage: “I just need five minutes to suck on a fag.”
  • Cider: a mild-to-moderate alcoholic drink currently more popular than beer in some parts of England, especially with underage girls.
  • Pouf: a soft place to sit, e.g., an ottoman.  Also, a male homosexual.
  • Slag: an unattractive and or dirty woman of ill repute.
  • Wank: how a male pleasures himself.  Common insult: “You wanker!”
  • Sacked: Fired. 
  • Footballer: a professional soccer player and (usually) national hero.
  • Football Hooligan: someone who uses his or her support of a sports team to bully, insult, or physically threaten those who support other teams.
  • Panda cars: black and white police cars.
  • Rent boy: male prostitute.
  • Page Three Girl: A beautiful topless female featured in a British newspaper as a sort of daily confection, like horoscopes or the crossword puzzle.
  • Dog-end: a cigarette butt.
  • Row: argument, loud quarrel.
  • Mate: friend.
  • Detached house: a house unattached to any other, with a surrounding yard.  In some parts of urban England, most homes are “flats” – one-level apartments – or “row houses,” each dwelling literally attached to the next.  For some people, the ultimate middle-class status symbol is a house that doesn’t touch either neighbor’s.
  • The Tube: London’s underground subway system.
  • Tosser: person who masturbates.  More commonly, a despicable person.
  • “Gagging for it”: desperate for sex.
  • Bugger off: go away
  • Flannel: a washcloth
  • Ginger hair: red.
  • Gastro-pub: a bar that serves food.
  • NHS: National Health Service, universal healthcare in Britain.
  • A.A.C.D.: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, because “American” denotes a white smile and cash up front.
  • Top-Drawer: the best.
  • Take the Mickey: to make someone feel like a fool.
  • Open University: education open to all adults seeking career training or self-improvement.
  • Ward sister: head nurse.
  • Top yourself: commit suicide.
  • Pudding: any dessert.
  • “In the club”: pregnant.
  • Scarper: run away.  Also known as “doing a runner.”
  • Screw: prison guard.
  • Winging: whining, complaining.
  • Pensioner: senior citizen, also called an Old Age Pensioner, or O.A.P.
  • “Put you in the picture”: fill you in.
  • Petrol: gasoline.
  • Braces: suspenders.
  • Dustman: garbage collector.
  • Boxing Day: traditionally December 26th, the day when service people – post carriers, dustmen, etc – are presented with a gift of money.
  • “Early days yet”: too soon to tell.
  • Lady Day: March 25th, Mary’s Feast of the Anunciation.
  • Doolally: insane.

I think the above sample proves we have a way to go before we comprehend our English cousins.  For more about the similarities and difference between our language, please check out three of my favorite reference books: British English A to Zed, 3rd Edition, by Norman W. Schur; Watching the English by Kate Fox; and The Anglo Files by Sarah Lyall.

About the author - Stephanie Abbott is the face behind the popular pseudonym, S.A. Reid. Well-known for her “real and likeable characters”, she also writes paranormal fiction (a new series titled Past Lives is currently being penned), fantasy, and sci-fi. Additionally, she also pens cozy mysteries as Emma Jameson.


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