Blake Snow

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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.
  • Hobnobbing. Aka “brown-nosing,” though I understand it may be used “to party with friends.”
  • Barney. That’s British for “fight” or “argument.” Yeah, that sounds confrontational…
  • Choong. I’ll stick with “babe” or “hottie,” thank you very much.
  • Petrol. Leave it the British to make “gas” sound so much more sophisticated (short for petroleum).
  • Pissing it down. Leave it to the British to turn “raining cats and dogs” into a crude expression.
  • Quid. Yeah, that sounds way cooler than “bucks, bones, or smackers.”
  • Trainers. Sorry Britons, this is a lame name for “tennashoes.”
  • Nob. This word sounds more like an idiot to me than a yuppy, which is what it means.
  • Wanker. A derogatory term used to describe a jerk. I understand the British use the hand equivalent in lieu of the bird when driving aggressively. Classy!
  • Randy. I’ve always thought calling intense affection “horny” to be unfair, even from a religious perspective. The British equivalent is much less damning, and funny to boot.
  • Bugger off. To leave someone alone; go away; get lost (may be offensive). Have you ever heard a Briton say “bugger off?” It’s soooo condescending!
  • Manky. I should use this more often when I get “sick.” Plus it’s just fun to say.

NOTE: Some of these words may be passé, but I wouldn’t know because I don’t live in England. Do share your favorites.