Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • Firenze wrote: »
    Cue friends explaining to interested child a used condom on the floor of the paternal bedroom as 'a carpet jellyfish'.

    "raincoat"

    I'm not fetching THAT coat before going!
  • Firenze wrote: »
    Cue friends explaining to interested child a used condom on the floor of the paternal bedroom as 'a carpet jellyfish'.

    "raincoat"

    I'm not fetching THAT coat before going!

    You're supposed to fetch it before...

    I'll get me *cough* coat.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    Cue friends explaining to interested child a used condom on the floor of the paternal bedroom as 'a carpet jellyfish'.

    "raincoat"

    I'm not fetching THAT coat before going!

    You're supposed to fetch it before...

    I'll get me *cough* coat.

    Why are you coughing? This is only getting worse!
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    A morning smile, which probably isn't a different use in different parts of the English-speaking world, but did make me smile.

    Scene: small children playing a game involving pretending to be jellyfish.

    Small boy child: "Yay! All my tentacles have dropped!"

    That reminds me of an incident with my dear mother many years ago, when we were watching the horse racing on TV and the commentator was describing the horses, e.g. this one is a mare, this one is a gelding, etc.

    Mother (who wasn't usually interested in horses at all) asked me what a gelding was, and I explained.

    She said: "So they just cut the tentacles off?"
  • In 'The Dustbin of History' thread, @Croesos quoted from https://www.salon.com/2011/07/31/lee_papers_lafantasie/
    Lee’s granddaughter, Mary Custis Lee deButts, lived in Upperville, a tony little village in Virginia horse country, not far from the nation’s capital

    It's 'tony' that interests me. Is this just a typo for 'tiny' (Wikipedia describes Upperville as 'a small unincorporated town' and doesn't give a population figure for it)? Or is it the right word, suggesting that Upperville is in possession of tone (Wikipedia also notes that 'Upperville has been designated as the Upperville Historic District and is a Virginia Historic Landmark that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places' and is home to a lot of 'prominent Thoroughbred horse breeding farms and country estates', which sounds pretty upmarket and grand to me)?

    If the second, then 'tony' is a new word to me in the UK. If the first, then apologies for getting overexcited about a typing mistake.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I seem to recall a Woody Guthrie song with a line about 'tony [someplace] girls'. Also most word games I've played accept it.
  • "Tony" means high-class, fashionable, stylish
  • Not here it doesn’t.

    According to my late granny :
    “ refined”

    Apart from the last time I heard it used in Oz (?1980) I reckon it has dropped out of ( Antipodean) usage
  • Sojourner wrote: »
    Not here it doesn’t.

    According to my late granny :
    “ refined”

    Apart from the last time I heard it used in Oz (?1980) I reckon it has dropped out of ( Antipodean) usage
    The usage I’ve heard in the American South is a mix of what @mousethief said and what @Sojourner said—refined, high-class, aristocratic or socially exclusive.

  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Don't know it. If I saw it I would have been guessing it was supposed to be "tiny", or I'd be wondering if a village could be stony!
  • Interesting, I obviously read more American fiction than some of the other non-Americans here, because I knew the word tony and what it meant from books, but my daughter didn't. (That confuses me a bit because I thought she'd read the books I suspected I'd learnt it from).
  • Sojourner wrote: »
    Not here it doesn’t.

    Aaaaaand that's why this thread exists.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Sojourner wrote: »
    Not here it doesn’t.

    According to my late granny :
    “ refined”

    Apart from the last time I heard it used in Oz (?1980) I reckon it has dropped out of ( Antipodean) usage
    The usage I’ve heard in the American South is a mix of what @mousethief said and what @Sojourner said—refined, high-class, aristocratic or socially exclusive.

    With a soupçon of "snobby".
  • So 'tony' is perhaps related to the idea of 'setting the tone'?
  • I always interpreted tony as meaning having more tone, as in being more upmarket in whatever way.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited September 14
    Interesting, I obviously read more American fiction than some of the other non-Americans here, because I knew the word tony and what it meant from books, but my daughter didn't. (That confuses me a bit because I thought she'd read the books I suspected I'd learnt it from).

    I knew "tony", and didn't think I knew it from an American context. I certainly haven't noticed its use in my real life in the US, and I know that I knew it as a teen living in the UK. But I have absolutely no idea where I got it from - it's certainly plausible that it was fiction written by an American.

    (And my understanding is the same as @Curiosity killed's - "tony" = having tone. Somewhat similar to classy.)
  • I've heard "swish" for the same concept as "tony", meaning rich, fancy, fashionable.
  • I always interpreted tony as meaning having more tone, as in being more upmarket in whatever way.
    I’m used to “tony,” but I don’t think I’ve ever heard “having tone.”
  • I've heard "swish" for the same concept as "tony", meaning rich, fancy, fashionable.

    I think "swish" carries more of a sense of luxury or fancy, and is more likely to be applied to an individual object (Jenny lived in a swish apartment / your new electronic gizmo is rather swish), whereas "tony" carries more of a sense of class, and is more likely to be applied to an area. But we may be sliding fag papers here.
  • 'My baby don't care for high tone places ...' as Nina Simone sang?

    I've not heard 'tony' before. I clearly haven't read enough US fiction.

    Thanks for alerting me to it.

    This thread can be informative.
  • I've not heard 'tony' before. I clearly haven't read enough US fiction.
    Reading this thread has reminded me that, when I first encountered the word, I figured out what it meant from context, but didn't make the connection with "tone". So I ended up thinking that it was a fancy place where people called Tony might live...
  • As I’ve thought about it, I think my first exposure to “tony” as an adjective may have come about through commercials for Toni home perms, with an explanation, likely from an older sibling, of the intended connotation of “Toni.”

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I've heard "swish" for the same concept as "tony", meaning rich, fancy, fashionable.

    Swish was used here, but I can't recall the last time I heard or saw it. Could be 30 years now, and even then it was old-fashioned and more likely to be used in a small country town.
  • Never heard "swish" up here in the PNW
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Not a word I'd tend to use but it doesn't come across as archaic or affected.
  • It's in my vocabulary, something nice to say when someone is showing off a new dress or decor.
  • Like Gee D, haven’t heard in 30 years or more…
  • Certainly still in use in this part of regional NSW.
  • Not Wilcannia, surely?
  • Are we talking about the Nike swish?
  • I thought it was the Nike swoosh? TBH I've always associated "swish" with unpleasant terms for gay men.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 23
    It is the Nike swoosh.

    Swish to me is the sound or motion of something moving through the air, or of a basketball going through the basket without touching the rim.

  • Swish is the sound that satin skirts make when the wearer walks.
  • And expensive curtains - it's the name of an curtain track here. Not sure if they used "it's very swish" as part of their advertising, but the meaning of being smart was already there. And probably came from onomatopoeia.
  • Reminds me of The Swish of the Curtain by Pamela Brown (1941), a favourite children's bookof that era, recently back in print.
  • Dramatised on Children's Hour, with music, which sometimes resurfaces as an earworm.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    edited September 27
    A new question. I can't remember whether the linguistic difference that underlies it has been aired on this thread. I rather think it has, but can't find it. So perhaps it hasn't. But this is really about the questions at the end. What has prompted this was a conversation elsewhere on the internet.

    A US usage that's odd to others and jars a bit is 'compensation' as a euphemism for wages. Everywhere else, as far as I know, 'compensate' and 'compensation' are about being recompensed, usually in money, for some loss or detriment one has suffered. It's also used of weights etc., what might be necessary to bring something back into balance or to make up for a distortion.

    The reason why using 'compensate' for 'pay wages/salary' jars is that in the more usual sense of compensation, your wages aren't reimbursing you for some detriment, as though your employer is recompensing you for the inconvenience of doing your job. The wages are the reason why you're working, the essential other half of the deal. So using 'compensation' in this way is diminishing the envelope of meaning for the word's normal use.

    So, my question is this. In US English, what word do you now normally use for 'compensation' for its basic meaning of what you might be paid to make up for some loss or detriment or a cost you have incurred?

    There are two supplementaries. First, if you are in the US, do you misunderstand the rest of us when we use 'compensate' and 'compensation' in that sense? Second, does anywhere else use 'compensation' as a euphemism for wages?


    Before anyone asks, in UK English, the only difference between wages and salary is that wages tend to be when you're paid weekly and salary when you're paid an annual amount divided into twelve monthly instalments.

  • Enoch wrote: »
    A US usage that's odd to others and jars a bit is 'compensation' as a euphemism for wages.

    It's not. Compensation refers to the whole package - not just salary, but benefits as well. In the US, where medical and dental insurance are often provided by your employer, and are very variable, a different benefit package can make a big difference to someone's total compensation.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    It's not. Compensation refers to the whole package - not just salary, but benefits as well. In the US, where medical and dental insurance are often provided by your employer, and are very variable, a different benefit package can make a big difference to someone's total compensation.
    Ah. Those are 'benefits' here. They're classed as wages/salary and are subject to income tax. They don't fit within what 'compensation' means here.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I've never heard of compensation being used here as an alternative to wages or salary. Remuneration has always been an alternative and has become more common in recent years.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    So, my question is this. In US English, what word do you now normally use for 'compensation' for its basic meaning of what you might be paid to make up for some loss or detriment or a cost you have incurred?
    Compensation. We use the word in both senses, the common underlying meaning being to make someone whole, whether for loss or cost incurred or for work/time spent doing work for another.

    There are two supplementaries. First, if you are in the US, do you misunderstand the rest of us when we use 'compensate' and 'compensation' in that sense?
    Not at all.

    Before anyone asks, in UK English, the only difference between wages and salary is that wages tend to be when you're paid weekly and salary when you're paid an annual amount divided into twelve monthly instalments.
    In the US, the difference is that wages are an hourly rate, and what a person is paid will depend on how many hours they’ve worked. Salary is fixed rate not tied to hours worked.

    Enoch wrote: »
    It's not. Compensation refers to the whole package - not just salary, but benefits as well. In the US, where medical and dental insurance are often provided by your employer, and are very variable, a different benefit package can make a big difference to someone's total compensation.
    Ah. Those are 'benefits' here. They're classed as wages/salary and are subject to income tax. They don't fit within what 'compensation' means here.
    In and of themselves, they’re “benefits” here too. As @Leorning Cniht said, “compensation” would tend to be used for the whole package—salary/wages + benefits. Retirement or pension benefits may be called “deferred compensation.”

    Meanwhile, in my experience, “remuneration” is a word that only lawyers and maybe HR types would use here.

  • "Remuneration" also smacks of money--that is, money only, at least when I hear it--so would not do as a single word covering all the stuff your employment provides you with, some of which is taxable, and some of which is not. We don't really have a good word other than "compensation," though I agree it looks weird. But we understand and use both senses of the word just fine.

    As for the wages vs. salary thing, I don't think in the U.S. there's a clear-cut difference between hourly vs. annual. My own salary, for instance, is clearly just that (I don't get paid more if I work overtime), yet for most intents and purposes it is calculated as an hourly wage (which happens to add up over the year to the full salary amount). I'm pretty sure this has to do with calculating other stuff such as vacation days earned, which may vary depending on seniority and years with the organization. It may be tied up to taxes, too, in some way. I know that every time I have to help somebody fill out financial aid papers (of any sort), they want the family incomes in either an hourly, weekly, biweekly or monthly form. So writing, say, $45,000 a year is out. (Probably because then they have to do math...)
  • As for the wages vs. salary thing, I don't think in the U.S. there's a clear-cut difference between hourly vs. annual.

    My salary has a nominal hourly value, which my employer uses for its internal accounting when dealing with sick pay and vacations, but it's based on a nominal 2000-or-so hour working year.

    In no sense is it actually an hourly wage. I'm an exempt employee, so my employer is not required to pay me hourly, pay overtime, or any of those things. Hourly, non-exempt employees must be paid for every hour worked, must be paid overtime, and so on. Hourly workers cannot just volunteer to stay an extra half hour for free to finish something up - they must be paid for that time.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 27
    As for the wages vs. salary thing, I don't think in the U.S. there's a clear-cut difference between hourly vs. annual.
    From a legal (Fair Labor Standards Act) standpoint, there is a clear-cut difference between salary and wages, but it’s not a distinction between whether the pay is calculated on on hourly vs annual basis per se; it’s a difference between whether the pay is earned and payable on an hourly basis for hours actually worked, or whether it’s payable on a periodic basis regardless of hours actually worked.

    An employee paid on a salaried basis is entitled to a set amount of pay for every pay period (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or annually). That can be reduced to an hourly rate of pay if necessary for some purposes, though doing so may involve assumptions of a 40-hour work week that might or might not reflect reality, as @Leorning Cniht notes. If I’m a salaried employee, I know now what my pay for the month of October will be—or at least the minimum of what it will be, as some salaried employees are entitled to overtime pay or to comp time if they work more than 40 hours in one week. And I know that I am entitled to that pay even if I take vacation or sick leave (assuming I have either) for the whole month and so do not work at all. At the same time, I won’t be paid more than the salary I’m entitled to even if I work 60-hour weeks all month (assuming I’m exempt from overtime requirements).

    An employee paid on a wage basis is entitled to a set amount of pay, such as minimum wage, for every hour actually worked. If I am a wage-earning employee, I cannot say now what my pay for any future pay period will be; that can only be determined after the relevant pay period is over, as I will only be paid for hours I actually worked. And again as Leorning Cniht notes, I must be paid (or when appropriate given comp time) for every hour worked.

    Of course, non-technical, colloquial usage may be less precise.

  • Obviously I was unclear. I meant that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody in speech reserves the terms "wages" for hourly jobs and "salary" for annual. Well, salary gets reserved. But "wages" seems to be used across the board, for all earnings.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 27
    Obviously I was unclear. I meant that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody in speech reserves the terms "wages" for hourly jobs and "salary" for annual. Well, salary gets reserved. But "wages" seems to be used across the board, for all earnings.
    My experience is actually the other way around. “Salary” is sometimes used across the board, while “wages” isn't used too often at all, except when talking about the minimum wage, or the wages of sin. A regional difference perhaps?

  • I rather think "wages" gets used for technical shit, like filling out IRS papers, financial aid apps, and so on and so forth. Salary is more in speech--though really, most peeps I know just say "What do they pay?"
  • Yep, or “What is the pay?”

  • Salary is more in speech--though really, most peeps I know just say "What do they pay?"

    Or "paycheck"...

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Or in Canada "paycheque".
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