It\’s come to my attention that I\’m starting to pick up a few British phases. So, for the sake of my readers in the States, I\’m including this ever-expanding glossary. It\’s not supposed to be funny, or comprehensive; I\’m only going to include words I\’ve used in my writings so I don\’t have to continually explain myself.
A&E: Hospital Emergency Room, as in Accident and Emergency (not the Arts & Entertainment Channel).
Angus Mac Og: The Irish Celtic god of youth and love who dry-gulched me on the road to Lisdoonvarna, the little shit.
Anorak: Literally, a parka-type coat with a hood. Due to their popularity among TrainSpotters, the term has come to mean a geek or nerd or anyone with an obsessive interest in a narrow field.
Archers, The: Popular radio soap opera.
ASBO: ( Pronounced AS’ bo.) Acronym for Anti-Social Behavior Order, a law designed to assists those who, previously, could aspire to be no more than obnoxious, by enabling them to become full-fledged criminals. Regarded as insulting to real criminals who spent years learning their craft only to find their fraternity infiltrated by fifteen-year olds who played their iPods too loudly.
ASDA: Wal Mart\’s name in the UK, but it\’s still Wal-Mart. It started life as the Associated Dairies in 1965, shortened its name to ASDA and in 1999 became a wholly owned subsidiary of Wal-Mart and now specializes in scarring the British landscape and destroying the British way of life.
Bank Holiday: A holiday involving a day off from work.
Berk: Cockney rhyming slang. Shortened form of Berkley Hunt; you figure it out.
Bird: A female. Generally young and pretty.
Black Pudding: Referred to as Blood Pudding by Americans, it is just what it sounds like: a mixture of dried blood, grains and what-have-you in a sausage casing. Very tasty.
BNP: The British National Party. Neo-Nazis masquerading as a political party.
Bodge: To fix something shoddily or in an unprofessional manner.
Bog: Public toilette, and not a nice one
Bog Standard: Basic.
Boondoggle: See Clusterfuck.
Car Park: Parking lot.
Cashpoint: ATM. Also Hole-in-the-Wall.
Charlie Horse: A leg cramp.
Cinema: The movies
Clusterfuck: See SNAFU
Coronation Street: Popular television soap opera.
Cracker: A Christmas party favour that looks like a toilet paper roll wrapped as a Christmas gift. The idea is for two people to pull it apart by playing tug-o-war with it. When it opens, it \’cracks\’ like a party popper. Inside is a naff trinket, a truly awful joke you are encouraged to read and a ridiculous paper hat that, judging from the parties I have attended, you are legally required to wear.
DIY: Do-It-Yourself, the national mania surrounding fixing your house up. Usually results in a bodge.
Dodgy: Shady, suspect or shoddy, as in a dodgy deal, a dodgy car or a dodgy knee (as in trick knee).
Dog\’s Bollocks: Excellent. The apex.
Dog\’s Dinner: A mess or a bad situation.
Double Glazed: Double paned windows.
English Flag: Also the flag of St. George. Official flag of England.
Estate Car: A station wagon.
Fish Fingers: Fish sticks.
Fluff®: A spreadable marshmallow substance.
Fluffernutter®: A sandwich made with Fluff® and peanut butter.
Fortnight: Two weeks.
Gan awa: Scottish for \”Go away!\”
Glasgow Kiss: A head butt.
Guarda: What they call the police in Ireland.
Half-[whatever time]: On the half hour. Three thirty is \’half three\’ and so on.
Heroette: I just made that word up because I couldn\’t figure out how to spell heroine.
Hogmanay: New Year\’s; traditionally Scottish but now used in much of the UK.
Hoover: (verb) To vacuum.
JAP: Abbreviation for Jewish American Princess, a term used to describe the daughters of upper middle class Long Island (pronounced Lawn-guy-land) residents.
Jimmy Hat: Diminutive of \’See you Jimmy!\’ Hat
John Hancock: Your signature.
John O\’Groats: Traditionally the most northerly point in Britain (discounting the off-shore islands). It attracts tourists on the scale of Land\’s End but is, oddly enough, 2.35 miles south of Dunnet Head, the actual most northerly point on the British mainland.
Jumper: A sweater.
Knickerbocker Glory: Basically, an Ice Cream Sundae.
Lands End: The most westerly point on the British mainland. Located on the tip of the Cornwall peninsula.
Loo: Toilet. Also the bog.
NB: Literally Nota Bene. Means \’Note\’.
OAP: Old Age Pensioner. A retired person.
Offie: Where the Brits buy their booze. Short for Off-License, it\’s a store licensed to sell alcohol. In the US they are called Package Stores or Liquor Stores.
Over the Top: Going overboard, as in, \”coming to the party dressed in a tux and tails might be a bit over the top.\”
Pants: Underwear. Also used as a mild derogatory slang word similar to \’Crap,\’ as in, \”That new album by Oasis is pants!\”
Pasty (pah\’ stee): A traditional Cornish dish consisting of a meal (chicken, potatoes, meat, cheese, sausage, whatever) baked into a pastry you can hold in your hand and eat on the go. Not to be confused with the stripper accoutrement of the same name.
Penultimate: Second to the last. Brits like this word for some reason, probably for the same reason they like to say words like \’fortnight\’.
Pitch: Playing field
Pull: To pick up women. Also, Pulled, pulling birds (women).
Queue: A line. Brits don\’t \’stand in line,\’ they \’queue up.\’
Rabbiting: Talking. From the Cockney rhyming slang Rabbit and Pork. (Yes, to a Cockney, Pork rhymes with Talk.)
Rollie: Hand-rolled cigarette.
Sent to Coventry: To be systematically shunned by a group of people; effectively to be rendered invisible.
Six Pack: Rock-hard abs.
Skittles: Nine-pin bowling. Often played in pubs.
Smart Car: One picture is worth 1000 words
SNAFU: See Boondoggle
Sod\’s Law: Often described as the British equivalent of Murphy\’s Law, it is actually, subtly different. Murphy\’s Law is an actual design theory that states, \”If there\’s more than one possible outcome of a job or task, and one of those outcomes will result in disaster or an undesirable consequence, then somebody will do it that way.\” Sod\’s Law leans more toward the inevitability of rain if you wash your car or organize a picnic.
Spinnaker Tower: Originally called the Millennium Tower, the project began in 1995 to be finished by year 2000. Construction did not begin, however, until 2001, which is why it was renamed the Spinnaker Tower. The project was eventually completed 6 years behind schedule and massively over-budget.
Stone: British unit of weight equalling 14 pounds.
SUV: Suburban Utility Vehicle. Large, gas-guzzling, jeep-type vehicle. Mostly driven in a belligerent, erratic manner by people who believe the larger vehicle always has the right of way and that four-wheel drive makes you invincible.
Swot: (also Swat) v : to cram (for exams). n : an assiduous student, US syn. nerd.
Take the Piss: To make good natured fun of. Also called Taking the Michael or Taking the Mickey out of someone.
Til: The checkout counter in a store.
Toddy, Hot: A beverage made of honey, lemon, whiskey and, optionally, tea; its purpose is to sooth colds and sore throats and allow grandma to get pissed without appearing to be an alcoholic.
Totty: A good looking woman. To get some (as in \’a bit of totty\’). Can also, in these PC times, refer to males.
Trainspotting: Literally, spotting trans. Honest, people stand around all day on railway platforms in their anoraks, with sandwiches and flasks of tea, writing down the registration numbers of every train that goes by. Sometimes they take photos and record the sound of the engines. Don\’t try to understand it, it\’s a uniquely British phenomenon.
Wellies: Wellington Boots
Union Jack: Flag of the British Empire. More properly, Union Flag. The term Union Jack is traditionally used only for flags flying from British ships.
Yob: pl. yobbos; Derivation of Yob, meaning a young delinquent. Yob is backslang for Boy.
Zimmer Frame: A mobility device. A walker.