Social Question

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

What British words or expressions do you enjoy and wish you could use in North America?

Asked by SadieMartinPaul (8822 points ) January 16th, 2013

I adore “cheek” and “cheeky.”

“I couldn’t resist taking a piece of cake. I hope you won’t mind my cheek.”

“Please explain, again, why you’re so annoyed, but this time with a little less cheek.”

“That cheeky girl drank the last cup of coffee and didn’t make a fresh pot.”

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

71 Answers

Pachy's avatar

I love “wanker,” though I know it’s a word you should use judiciously. Really descriptive.

I also like “oy,” as in “hey!”

And many others.

Shippy's avatar

Muppet, prat, twat

Jeruba's avatar

Wish you could use? Why can’t you?

bookish1's avatar

I use “bloody” rather a lot to keep myself from saying “fucking,” haha. I’m not sure if it is still a very vulgar word, but my understanding is that it used to be. People used to write it like this in books: “b——-.”

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Jeruba. Because many (most?) people wouldn’t understand. If I were to say, “Sorry for my cheek,” I’d get blank stares and looks of confusion.

marinelife's avatar

I am simply shattered.

zenvelo's avatar

@marinelife I had to look that up in a British Dictionary, that’s all new for me.

“Sod it” is an expression I should use more. I already use “bugger off”.

Blackberry's avatar

I like the word bollocks and the phrase “fuck all”.

glacial's avatar

You should all move to Canada. I hear all of these in use occasionally (if not commonly). There wouldn’t be a concern that no one would understand what you were saying.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@glacial Or they could move here to Hawai`i. I know it’s a stretch, but the Hawai`ian people and monarchy considered themselves close to the English. Some words are used here that I don’t hear on the mainland. Two are rubbish instead of trash and reverse in place of backing up.

But then, Hawai`ian terms are used a lot instead of English, so that may be misleading. It’s just as common to hear someone say opala for trash as it is to hear rubbish.

dxs's avatar

Featherstonhaugh (pronounced “fanshaw”). It’s a name, not really an expression, just fun to say because the pronunciation makes no sense at all.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@glacial Is it true that, on a certain day around the holidays, everyone leaves beer and booze for the garbagemen? (Or, perhaps the opala-men?)

glacial's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin Umm, nope, I’ve never heard of that. Santa, yes. Garbagemen, no.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I already use wanker, bloody, and “Bugger me!” It would be fun to use cheeky and bollocks, and have people understand.

Bellatrix's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin it was once a practice to leave beer or something for the ‘bin men’. My parents always left something out for the bin men each Christmas. It used to happen in Australia too. Especially here, those men used to have to run from one house to the next, heave the bin on their shoulder and then empty into the truck. Now it’s all automated. A lot of footy players used to be bin men because the hours suited their training sessions and it kept them incredibly fit. The alcoholic gift was a way of saying thank you, usually at Christmas, to show how much we valued their work.

All the phrases mentioned here seem so normal to me as a Brit who lives in Australia. You would be understood by Australians if you used any of these terms. I can’t think of phrases that might be different to US jellies because they all seem very usual to me.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@glacial I swear I’m not making this up! I read about it, a few years ago, in some newspaper or magazine article. Maybe the tradition developed in just one area, and people elsewhere aren’t familiar. But, there’s a morning, sometime before or near Christmas, when everyone leaves a case of beer or bottle of alcohol for the garbagemen. A separate truck follows the garbage truck to collect the gifts. According to the article, there’s quite a haul each year; the residents are very generous.

glacial's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin In Canada? Well, it’s a big country, so anything is possible… do you recall which province?

cutiepi92's avatar

it’s not a term I want to use, I just think it’s weird they call cigarettes fags. I heard it on a show and was so confused

I like wanker, but with no British accent it just sounds stupid

Kardamom's avatar

I’d like to officially retire the word dude, and start using bloke instead.

I like it when they say, “He’s called Alistair” rather than “His name is Alistair.”

Loo sounds so much cuter than men’s room.

Pub sounds like a comfortable meeting place for family and friends. Bar sounds like a place where sad drunks go.

The term, “Don’t get your panties in a wad” sounds so crass compared to, “Don’t get your knickers in a bunch.”

But just about anything sounds better when said with a British accent. Just imagine Alan Rickman saying, “Would you like fries with that?”

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@glacial I’m such an idiot! I was talking about Hawaii, and I’d meant to respond to Hawaii Jake. Maybe your moniker of “Glacial” could have given me a clue that you’re not living in Hawaii?!?!

So, I’m referring to a Hawaiian, not a Canadian, tradition. Not that Canadians aren’t lovely, generous people; they most certainly are.

glacial's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin Haha! Oh dear, I should have guessed! Perhaps @Hawaii_Jake can enlighten us.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@kardamon Don’t you mean, “Would you like chips with that?” :-)

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Let’s switch from “elevator” to “lift.” Why use four syllables when just one will do so nicely?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin Haha! I honestly have never heard of that tradition here in in Hawai`i.

Bellatrix's avatar

@PaulSadieMartin I explained the British and Australian tradition up there. It certainly happened where I am from and where I live now.

Removes cloak of invisibility.

Yeahright's avatar

I love I’m knackered and on the telly.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Apparently, it’s an Oahu tradition:

From a blog: “We left them full cases of beer, next to the rubbish, at Christmas. Driving down your street on the last trash day before Christmas, the place looked like a beer warehouse!”

From a message board: “When I lived on Oahu it was strongly advised to leave at least a six-pack for the garbage collectors at Christmas. ”

JLeslie's avatar

I do use some of them.

I love how the Brits use the word brilliant.

And, I prefer zed to zee. Zee is often heard as see, as in the letter C instead of Z. I have a z in my name.

@Kardamom I grew up with loo as a synonym for bathroom here in the states. What I think of that we don’t use is WC.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

“Luv ya Ducks”

bookish1's avatar

Give us a fag or I’ll go spare.

chyna's avatar

I like “nattering”. I’m not sure this is a british word though.
As in “what are you nattering on about?”
I also like knickers as in “don’t get your knickers bunched up”.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@chyna Oh, I forgot about that one! “Don’t get your knickers in a twist!”

zenvelo's avatar

@dxs Have you been to Chomondeley? (Pronounced “Chumley”)

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t dare tell people that I feel fagged.

I like “mate” the way my British acquaintances use it when writing to me. But I’d feel like a poser using it back to them.

Symbeline's avatar

I like the expression ’‘bloody hell’’. Nothing stops me from using this. Back when I lived in Manitoba where everyone speaks English, I did say it for a long time. I don’t anymore, cuz over here is all French and shit. Enfer sanglante!

ucme's avatar

Hee hee, all these are everyday words to me & it’s interesting to see how many are recognised in eeh-merry-ka.
Up here in the north east of england town, the word cheek can be replaced by brass neck as in, “He’s got the brass neck to ask me for a lend of twenty quid.”

zenvelo's avatar

@ucme Have you ever heard the term “glaiky”? ( I may not be spelling it right). My sister in law is from a small town near Durham. She said it described her growing up, as kind of an awkward, sort of clumsy, pre-adolescent girl.

I always thought it was an interesting adjective.

Yeahright's avatar

I love pernickety. I think it sounds great. I also love nick meaning steal. One thing I don’t like though is when they tell your weight in stones. I can never do the math and work my weight out in stones.

Seek's avatar

OK… I grew up reading British authors more than American ones, and watching British shows more than American ones. I’m also a social recluse, and had Irish grandparents. So I tend to use British/Hibernian terms, and end up confused myself when others look at me with that “WTF?” expression.

I think the most recent was when I told someone to “bin it”. How could they not know what that means?

ucme's avatar

@zenvelo Hey, I live just outside Durham, impressive cathedral.
Yeah, it means clumsy but in an extreme way. God only knows how you spell it though.
Here are some more slang words from my neck of the woods…

Bairn: child
Canny: good/great
Howay: come on
Hoy: throw
Jammy: lucky
Kegs: trousers/underpants
Marra: friend
Netty: toilet
Scran: food
Ta-ra: goodbye
Tabs: cigarettes

Kardamom's avatar

@ucme You just made me smile with those words. I saw a lovely documentary a number of years ago called The Story of English. You are Fluther’s one man story of English : )

Symbeline's avatar

@ucme I thought undies was keks and cigarettes were ’‘fags’’. How much do all these differ throughout the UK? Probably a lot, right?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@ucme Oh, fuck. I will never think of a nettie pot the same way again.

ucme's avatar

@Kardamom Well that makes me smile too, happy to oblige :¬)
@Symbeline We have a language all of our own up here, the large majority of the british isles has no fucking clue what we’re on about, never mind foreigners. Slang differs radically depending where you’re from yeah, nowt as queer as folk :¬)
@WillWorkForChocolate Actually, if we’re skint (no money) we’re said to have “not a pot to piss in!” :¬)

zenvelo's avatar

@ucme Thanks for all that! And of course it has to be said in that Tynesider accent that makes my sister-in-law unintelligible to everyone else when she talks to her sister.

ucme's avatar

@zenvelo If she lives close to Durham then it should be a wearside accent, unless she was brought up in newcastle of course.

Seek's avatar

Durham, oi, you’re way the hell up there. Nearly so far as the Wall, no?

ucme's avatar

You must be referring to Hadrian’s Wall & yeah, nearly…just slightly south.

dxs's avatar

@zenvelo No, but I’ve been to Leicester, Mass (pronounced “lester”), and Worcester, Mass (pronounced “wooster”....or more colloquially: “wistah”).

Leanne1986's avatar

@Kardamom I am British and I would say we are more likely to say “don’t get your knickers in a twistrather than bunch!

Kardamom's avatar

^^ Note to self: twist instead of bunch : )

Did anybody happen to catch Adele on the Golden Globe awards? She’s got the cutest speaking voice and she was so sweet and gracious. Her singing voice is soooooooo different from her speaking voice, but I love both of them! Can I assume she’s Cockney, or do I have that all wrong @Leanne1986 and @ucme and @Bellatrix ?

ucme's avatar

@Kardamom She was born in tottenham not in the east end of london, so no, not a cockney.
Some famous folk who were/are, Michael Caine, Marc Bolan, Ray Winstone, Alan Sugar & Charlie Chaplin.

Kardamom's avatar

@ucme Good to know, thanks : )

Do you think Adele has a cute sounding speaking voice? Her voice just made me feel all warm and fuzzy. Where exactly is Tottenham?

Symbeline's avatar

Is there any special British words/slangs for pillow? I think in Scotland they kinda pronounce it ’‘pillay’’?

rojo's avatar

knackered.

Leanne1986's avatar

@Kardamom Adele’s speaking voice amuses me when compared to her singing voice. I like it though, it’s a down to earth, regional accent which I much prefer to a posh “BBC British” general accent!

@Symbeline no, it’s just pillow!

ucme's avatar

@Kardamom Yeah I suppose she does now you mention it, tottenham is in north london as opposed to the east end cockney dwellers.
@Symbeline None that I know of, but when i’m knackered I like to think of my pillows as headgasmic sleepgods.

Seek's avatar

Michael Cain.

I was going to have some remark about how awesome he is, but the name suffices.

Michael Cain.

That’s all.

ucme's avatar

You spelt his name wrong dear, tut, tut :p
Caine is such a cool fucker one of the coolest brit bands wrote a song in his name, he even speaks in it…nice one.

Seek's avatar

Gah. It’s too early. My eyes haven’t turned on yet. I’m typing by feel.

Kardamom's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr I would love to see Michael Caine and Alan Rickman in a movie together : P

The headline would read: Multiple cases of women fainting from spontaneous orgasms in the theaters showing the new movie starring Rickman and Caine.

Seek's avatar

Bwa ha ha! Yesh.

Eargasms. The word is eargasms. And they can feel free to add David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Gods, I need to write this movie.

ucme's avatar

You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!!

Seek's avatar

You wouldn’t hit a man with no trousers on, would you?

ucme's avatar

Look, you’re a big man but you’re out of shape…now sit down & behave yourself!

Kardamom's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Ooooooooh yes, to Benedict Cumberbatch!

fanning myself now

CWOTUS's avatar

I ran across this cartoon this morning just now, and had to rush back to this thread.

Seek's avatar

Forever and ever from this moment on, every firearm is henceforth known as a “rooty tooty point-and-shooty”.

mattbrowne's avatar

All this guinness and he’s so pissed.

rojo's avatar

@CWOTUS “Forcey fun time”?

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther