Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Queen's English

The following is a list of British colloquialisms and their American equivalents. It's a fun list I gathered from Pomegranate Knowledge Cards. Try to use them in daily speech -- it might be fun!

Argy-Bargy: noun. A dispute, wrangle, fight, or argument.
British usage: "There's a bit of an argy-bargy."
U.S. translation: "What a ruckus!"

Barney: noun. A noisy quarrel, a scuffle or slight fight, an argument, a rowdy party, or a crowd of people.
British usage: "There's a right barney going on."
U.S. translation: "There's a rumble brewing."

Beetle Crushers: noun. Large boots or shoes, or large, flat, heavy feet
British usage: "Don't come around here in your great beetle crushers stamping on everything.
U.S. translation: "Don't come around here in your big clodhoppers stomping on everything."

Belt Up: verb (intransitive). To be quiet
British usage: "Oh for pity's sake, do belt up!"
U.S. translation: "Can it! Give it a rest! Put a lid on it!"

Berk: noun. A fool, an incompetent or very stupid person
British usage: "I feel like a right berk!"
U.S. translation: "I feel like a dufus!"

Bounder: noun. One whose manners and behavior are socially unacceptable; a despicable person
British usage: "What an absolute bounder!"
U.S. translation: "What a total jerk!"

Brassed Off: adjective. Uninspired, low in spirits, flat, "fed up"
British usage: "I'm feeling really brassed off."
U.S. translation: "I'm feeling really blah; it's a real drag."

Clobber: noun. Clothes or belongings, especially new or high quality clothes
British usage: "Get your clobber on."
U.S. translation: "Put on your best duds (or threads)."

Codswallop: noun. Utter nonsense; drivel
British usage: "What a load of codswallop."
U.S. translation: "What a load of guff, bunk, hooey, baloney, etc."

Diamond Geezer: noun. An excellent fellow, a sterling chap, a good man
British usage: "He's a diamond geezer."
U.S. translation: "He's a primo guy, number one in my book."

Elevenses: noun. A break for coffee or light refreshments at 11:00 a.m.
British usage: "Isn't it time for elevenses?"
U.S. translation: "Isn't it time for a coffe break (or brunch)?"

Kecks: noun. Trousers
British usage: "Keep your kecks on!"
U.S. translation: "Don't have a cow!"

Knackered: adjective. Worn out, debilitated, exhausted
British usage: "I'm totally knackered."
U.S. translation: "I'm plum tuckered out, pooped, bushed, wiped out, etc."

Last Knockings: noun. Nearly dead, on one's way out, about to die, "one foot in the grave"
British usage: "He's on his last knockings."
U.S. translation: "He's over the hill."

Like the Clappers: adverb. Very fast or very hard
British usage: "They went like the clappers."
U.S. translation: "They went lickety-split."

Lugholes: noun. Ears
British usage: "Pin back your lugholes."
U.S. translation: "Get a load of this."

Natter: noun. Chat, aimless talk
British usage: "Fancy a natter?"
U.S. translation: "Want to shoot the breeze?"

On Your Bike!: phrase. A term of derision or annoyance, used in the sense of "go away," "off with you," "take action," or "hurry up"
British usage: "On your bike, Nigel!"
U.S. translation: "Shove off! Scram! Skedaddle! etc."

Peckish: adjective. Hungry
British usage: "I say, I'm feeling a trifle peckish, how about you?"
U.S. translation: "I've got a case of the munchies."

Rozzer: noun. Policeman
British usage: "Look out! Here come the rozzers."
U.S. translation: "Look out! Here come the cops."

Sprog: noun. Child or baby
British usage: "Is she having a sprog?"
U.S. translation: "Is she pregnant?"

Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire: phrase. A phrase meaning "go upstairs to bed"
British usage: "Off with you, now. Up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire."
U.S. translation: "Time to hit the hay (or hit the sack)."

Wazzock: noun. Idiot, foolish person
British usage: "You great wazzock!"
U.S. translation: "You big dipstick, putz, dork, etc."

Wonky: adjective. Unstable, wobbly, crooked, off-center, out of kilter, not very well put together
British usage: "It's all gone wonky," or "I've just spilt my drink 'cos the table's all wonky."
U.S. translation: "It's all cockeyed, catawampus, out of whack, etc."

Yob: noun. Thug, hooligan, lout, especially referring to a violent youth
British usage: "They're nothing but a gang of yobs."
U.S. translation: "They ain't nuthin' but a bunch of hoods, punks, roughnecks, etc."


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