This is dedicated to two of my blogging heroes: Audra on http://unfetteredbs.com/, who first alerted me to a linguistic problem; and Cindy over on http://cindyknoke.com/, who challenged me to give some clarification.
Here’s the problem and the challenge. Problem. I use words that do not appear in any American lexicon. Challenge. Provide a list of Englishisms (or English as I prefer to call it) for Americans. This has proved to be more difficult than it appears at first glance. I simply don’t know what words I may use that will cause confusion and uncertainty across the pond, because to be honest I often make people this side go ‘What the f***?’ I don’t do it deliberately to confuse or obfuscate or mislead. I just love juggling with English, having fun. Playing, grabbing words that suit me because they’re the right words for what I need to express.
I’ve thought long and hard about this, because I need to apprise you of words I’m likely to use on my blog, as opposed to those I simply find fascinating.
I’m not likely to blog the word judyscuffer, for example, though it is a word I like a lot and may use on visits back home. It’s of Liverpool (or Scouse) origin, and it means a policewoman. In Scouse, a judy is a woman (much like as in London and the southeast a doris is a generic term for a woman, wife, or girlfriend), and a scuffer is a member of the constabulary. Hence judyscuffer. It’s a rather nice portmanteau word.
Confusingly the term doris can also mean wages. It’s rhyming slang, Doris Day=pay.
Any road up, here are some terms I may use. To avoid any sleepless nights, you’ll find the correct definitions at the end of the quiz, plus some explanation where I know it. Oh, and I need to warn you that at least two of the words have multiple usages depending on context. More than two, I’ve since found during compilation.
Just to put your minds at rest, I haven’t cheated. It would be very easy indeed to pull the wool over your eyes and make things up. It was tempting, but I haven’t cheated. So please return the favour. No cheating.
- An illicit drinking den
- A small boat used as a lighter for barges on a canal
- A narrow alleyway between two terraces of houses
- A villain or major criminal
- A woman of easy virtue
- Transitive verb (usually combined with ‘off’) slag off, to insult, denigrate, or criticise
- To declaim at great length and with great inaccuracy on a subject about which you have no knowledge whatsoever (Note. This may remind you of someone not a million miles away.)
- To extemporise and use a combination of dissemblance and outright lies to extricate yourself from a difficult situation
- To rob
- A home made lunchtime foodstuff eaten by stevedores. Similar in concept to a Cornish pasty
- A gobbet of phlegm glistening on a pavement, and possessed of remarkable anti-friction properties
- A pickled egg
- A worthless foreign coin that just happens to work in a fruit machine
- A spectacularly hideous limited edition decorated plate or other piece of tat
- An extended drinking session
- A very attractive young woman
- A bizarre and frankly unlikely sexual practice allegedly popular in Tyne and Wear
- A forger
- To say something inadvertently, a variation of blurt
- A group of women who are on the pull
- Intransitive verb meaning to vomit
- A cigarette, especially a rollie
- A police informant or prison sneak
- Intransitive verb meaning to investigate
- Intransitive verb meaning to lose the power of speech when an attractive member of the opposite sex walks past
- An idiot, a dolt
- A snag or tangle in a rope, hosepipe, Christmas lights, etc. Also to erk is to tangle up or make a mess of things
And the answers are:
The correct answer is number 3;a narrow passageway between terraces. It’s rarely applied to the passage between industrial buildings, and never to the passage between perimeter walls or fences of such places, though it might be used in residential areas. Confusing, or what?
!, 2, and 3 are correct You could construct a sentence where a slag’s sluttish slag gives him a right slagging off.
1, 2, and 3 are correct. In sense 1 you simply talk arrant and totally obvious nonsense. In sense 2 you may for example blag your way into a nightclub or backstage party. In sense 3 it’s usually applied to a commercial or financial enterprise such as a bank, building society, post office, or warehouse. Something substantial though. Definitely not a corner shop. You just knock over one of those.
A disgusting phrase for a disgusting gobbet of phlegm, usually glistening on a pavement in the sunshine and possessing remarkable anti-friction properties
Number 3, the extended drinking session. Named after the Badminton Horse Trials in the UK, which are a three-day event. If a partner goes away for the weekend, the one remaining at home embarks on a weekend-long bender, from Friday to Sunday. In Lancashire this is sometimes called a deather
Definition 1 is, alas, correct; steaming is synonymous with ‘hot.’ Definition 2 is, strange as it may seem, very close, but it is incomplete; that would be a Cleveland steamer. Definition 3 is a total fabrication
Number 2. A hen party is a good example of a blart. A group of young men might say, on a night out, ‘Let’s go down the Aphrodite. There’s blart coming out of the walls down there.’
All three are correct. The third sense, to investigate, is usually in a combined form, to snout about or around
Number 2, an idiot or dolt. Royal Navy slang.
£500. The origins of this are obscure. Etym dub as they say in posh dictionaries
There, that wasn’t hard was it? Even if I did sneak in a few terms such as ‘tat,’ ‘on the pull,’ and ‘rollie.’