Blake Snow

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Tagged American

What does “American” mean? Hampton Sides has a pretty good answer

Below is excerpted from Americana by Hampton Sides, which I recently enjoyed reading. 

A few years ago, I was passing through Marrakech on my way to the Sahara for a magazine assignment. One afternoon, outside La Mamounia Hotel, I was accosted, as all tourists inevitably are, by a “guide.” He was an intense young Berber with penetrating eyes and a brisk stride, one of those canny creatures of the bazaar. He wore a slick black suit.

“Hello, American?” he said, instantly sizing me up.

”No, no American,” I replied and walked on as fast as I could. Not that I’m embarrassed by my nationality, but I’d been told the guides assume all Americans are loaded. Besides, I didn’t want a guide that day, and this guy really seemed like an operator.

He looked puzzled. “American, yes? You need guide for the souk. We buy rugs now.”

I shook my head vigorously and picked up my step, but he persisted. “British. German, yes? Canadian?” I could almost hear his brain racing.

“I am Finnish,” I said. Someone had told me this always throws the guides. Continue reading…

The most intriguing British words according to an American

img2.jpgI saw Me and My Girl last night — a play that takes place in 1920s England. The performance was entertaining (a bit stale at times), but I really enjoyed the English… which got me thinking of the funniest British words. They are:

  • Bollocks. Figurative meaning: nonsense. Technical meaning: testicles. Codswallop is a less-descriptive substitute.
  • Trousers. These are what Americans call “pants.” We understand the former term, but you’d get ridiculed for using it.
  • Blimey. Is there a cooler way to say “wow” or “holy crap?” I think not.
  • Salad-dodger. Quite possibly the funniest word I’ve ever heard for a fat, obese, or overweight person. Continue reading…