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.