Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Or by watching show jumping.
  • Soon after he became PM in 1940 Churchill was spotted giving the (he thought) V-for-Victory sign palm inwards: it had to be explained to him this was not what he thought ....
  • The Vs were very common, but I haven't seen them for ages now. Is this just me, or have they disappeared?
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    The Ancient British version of 'train station' is 'railway station'. As in these immortal lines, composed by a local bard, for the opening of the railway on the Isle of Wight:

    'Ah, hark! I hear a whistle shrill,
    And lo! a puff of steam,
    All over hedge, and under hill.
    What? Am I in a dream?
    Visitors to Shanklin well may stare,
    With awe and admiration,
    When they behold a railway there,
    And even railway station!'
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    My paternal grandfather, a former railway man, used to sit me on his knee and bounce me to the tune of:

    Down by the station, early in the morning,
    See the little puffer trains, all in a row.
    Toot, toot, puff, puff,
    And away they go!
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    The Vs were very common, but I haven't seen them for ages now. Is this just me, or have they disappeared?

    I think they have probably been replaced by a verbal "**** you"!
  • I posted this in the "Tidal Wave" thread in Purgatory:
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
  • Sparrow wrote: »
    The Vs were very common, but I haven't seen them for ages now. Is this just me, or have they disappeared?

    I think they have probably been replaced by a verbal "**** you"!

    Very true. Growing up the V sign was introduced to me as taboo before the middle finger and by 16 they were used equally. I think most British teens would know what you meant by the V but younger kids wouldn’t.

    But it’s also like the term “fag”. When I was at school it meant a ciggie/cigarette & the first time I came across it in any other sense was in an episode of Dawson’s Creek! I was very confused at the time.

    Now no one under 30 at most would call a cig a fag & the US usage is far more prevalent. So if an older Brit calls you a “fag butt” it ain’t homophobic - they are just saying you are rubbish!
  • A colleague from England, who had recently stopped smoking, went into a bar in Yuma, Arizona, and announced that he was dying for a fag. The place went very quiet.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Sparrow wrote: »
    The Vs were very common, but I haven't seen them for ages now. Is this just me, or have they disappeared?

    I think they have probably been replaced by a verbal "**** you"!

    Very true. Growing up the V sign was introduced to me as taboo before the middle finger and by 16 they were used equally. I think most British teens would know what you meant by the V but younger kids wouldn’t.

    But it’s also like the term “fag”. When I was at school it meant a ciggie/cigarette & the first time I came across it in any other sense was in an episode of Dawson’s Creek! I was very confused at the time.

    Now no one under 30 at most would call a cig a fag & the US usage is far more prevalent. So if an older Brit calls you a “fag butt” it ain’t homophobic - they are just saying you are rubbish!

    Really? I'd not noticed. Granted I'm a bit (cough) older than 50 but I thought fag was still the standard slang for cigarette.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Is 'fagged' meaning 'tired' still afloat? In this house we still cherish the term from old newspaper ads for tonics that claimed to cure 'brain fag'. (Wish they were still available).

    'Fag end of...' Think that's still current?
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    The V-sign is not just the two fingers, though. The end of the thumb should be visible between them. That, I think, disposes of the myth that links the sign to a French threat at Agincourt to cut off the bow-string finngers of longbowmen.
  • That's something I haven't come across Eirenist. It sounds like another old insult where the end of the thumb protrudes between the third and fourth fingers. It suggests that the recipient has tiny genitals.

    (And why can I remember unnecessary rubbish like this, when I cant remember why I went upstairs?)
  • And when I was growing up a fag was also a younger boy at school who lost a race so had to run an errand for an older boy.
  • Just never, ever say "fag" in the US, or among Americans online.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Just never, ever say "fag" in the US, or among Americans online.

    It gets worse. Bumming in UK slang can mean begging. Hence

    "Can I bum a fag off you?"
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Just never, ever say "fag" in the US, or among Americans online.

    It gets worse. Bumming in UK slang can mean begging. Hence

    "Can I bum a fag off you?"

    We use "bum" that way in the US, too. I heard it a lot more in the 80s than I do now, but I think it's still relatively current.
  • The only ways I've used "bum" have been "get" (can I get something from you), "bottom" (and then only because I hang out with you all and have picked up British slang), and a homeless person. I've never heard "bum" used for any other meaning, actually.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    The only ways I've used "bum" have been "get" (can I get something from you), "bottom" (and then only because I hang out with you all and have picked up British slang), and a homeless person. I've never heard "bum" used for any other meaning, actually.
    What about in the sense of "depressing"?
    "I'm bummed about x" or, on hearing disappointing news, "Oh, [that's a] bummer"


  • Leaf wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    The only ways I've used "bum" have been "get" (can I get something from you), "bottom" (and then only because I hang out with you all and have picked up British slang), and a homeless person. I've never heard "bum" used for any other meaning, actually.
    What about in the sense of "depressing"?
    "I'm bummed about x" or, on hearing disappointing news, "Oh, [that's a] bummer"

    Good call. The verb there uses "out" as in "I didn't get the scholarship. That really bums me out."
  • I've heard and used it without the "out", actually. Also used "that's a bummer". Probably from the '70s; and probably rooted in drug culture, such as "having a bum [drug] trip".
  • To be clear, you have heard "That bums me"?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    I've heard and used it without the "out", actually. Also used "that's a bummer". Probably from the '70s; and probably rooted in drug culture, such as "having a bum [drug] trip".

    "That's a bummer" well and truly predates the 70s and drug culture; certainly in by mid-50s here.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    To be clear, you have heard "That bums me"?

    Mulling this over, I *think* so.
  • Gee D--
    Gee D wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    I've heard and used it without the "out", actually. Also used "that's a bummer". Probably from the '70s; and probably rooted in drug culture, such as "having a bum [drug] trip".

    "That's a bummer" well and truly predates the 70s and drug culture; certainly in by mid-50s here.

    ...so you're saying we learned it from our betters?
    ;)

  • mousethief wrote: »
    To be clear, you have heard "That bums me"?
    I usually hear it as “that’s a bummer” or “I’m so/really bummed.” I think the “out” got dropped around here a decade or two ago, maybe.

    Then there’s one of my favorite Far Side cartoons.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Gee D--
    Gee D wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    I've heard and used it without the "out", actually. Also used "that's a bummer". Probably from the '70s; and probably rooted in drug culture, such as "having a bum [drug] trip".

    "That's a bummer" well and truly predates the 70s and drug culture; certainly in by mid-50s here.

    ...so you're saying we learned it from our betters?
    ;)

    Not sure quite what you mean, but I was at school in the 50's and early 60's. I can certainly remember it in Prep school days - they were 1952 to 1957.
  • I've heard "I'm bummed" or "That's a bummer" but never "that bums me" without the "out".
  • Gee D--
    Gee D wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Gee D--
    Gee D wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    I've heard and used it without the "out", actually. Also used "that's a bummer". Probably from the '70s; and probably rooted in drug culture, such as "having a bum [drug] trip".

    "That's a bummer" well and truly predates the 70s and drug culture; certainly in by mid-50s here.

    ...so you're saying we learned it from our betters?
    ;)

    Not sure quite what you mean, but I was at school in the 50's and early 60's. I can certainly remember it in Prep school days - they were 1952 to 1957.

    All I meant was that if you and your culture (wherever you were/are) had the term before we did, then obviously you folks were wiser, smarter about trends, more with it, etc.

    Therefore, we late-comers learned it from our "betters".
    ;) :)

  • mousethief wrote: »
    I've heard "I'm bummed" or "That's a bummer" but never "that bums me" without the "out".
    To be fair, I don’t think I hear “That bums me” either. I hear “I’m bummed.” (But I used to hear “I’m bummed out.”)

    There’s also “bum” as in “I have a bum knee,” to mean “loaf” as in “I just bummed around the house,” and as a noun for one who sponges off others—“He’s such a bum.”

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Gee D--
    Gee D wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Gee D--
    Gee D wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    I've heard and used it without the "out", actually. Also used "that's a bummer". Probably from the '70s; and probably rooted in drug culture, such as "having a bum [drug] trip".

    "That's a bummer" well and truly predates the 70s and drug culture; certainly in by mid-50s here.

    ...so you're saying we learned it from our betters?
    ;)

    Not sure quite what you mean, but I was at school in the 50's and early 60's. I can certainly remember it in Prep school days - they were 1952 to 1957.

    All I meant was that if you and your culture (wherever you were/are) had the term before we did, then obviously you folks were wiser, smarter about trends, more with it, etc.

    Therefore, we late-comers learned it from our "betters".
    ;) :)

    Aha, thank you for recognising our status! A problem with the new Ship is that it's impossible to know from the signature or profile just where others are from. I'm in suburban Sydney.
  • A colleague from England, who had recently stopped smoking, went into a bar in Yuma, Arizona, and announced that he was dying for a fag. The place went very quiet.

    I'm reminded of the story told by Mike Harding about the Yorkshireman who found himself in a burger bar or some such place on an Native American reservation in the USA; feeling hungry and missing the curry restaurants of Bradford, he said without thinking, 'I could murder an Indian'.
  • Shubenacadie--

    Did Mike Harding say what happened next???

    Thx.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    churchgeek wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Just never, ever say "fag" in the US, or among Americans online.

    It gets worse. Bumming in UK slang can mean begging. Hence

    "Can I bum a fag off you?"

    We use "bum" that way in the US, too. I heard it a lot more in the 80s than I do now, but I think it's still relatively current.

    I still hear that use, most commonly as a question. Can I bum a cigarette off you? Can I bum a light? Can I bum a pen? It's always something small.
  • Golden Key wrote: »
    Shubenacadie--

    Did Mike Harding say what happened next???

    Thx.

    As far as I can remember (it was a long time ago that I heard the story on the radio), he didn't say in any detail. I think it was probably similar to Stercus Tauri's story:
    The place went very quiet.

  • Shubenacadie--

    Yikes to both!
  • Gill HGill H Shipmate
    i remember that routine. Unlikely to be a true story. He also talked about buying a cake with a cherry on top, which then fell off, so he went back in and told them he had lost his cherry on the road outside...

    Comedian and impressionist Phil Cool used to do a similar routine which mentioned an Australian brand of sticky tape called Durex, with predictable results.
  • Gill H wrote: »
    i remember that routine. Unlikely to be a true story

    I should have said that I was passing the story on without any guarantee of its historical accuracy -- although it wouldn't surprise me if someone somewhere had actually made a similar mistake at some point. (The same applies to the Edgware Road/Edgware and Oxford Circus/Oxford confusion that I mentioned further up the thread).

  • I once knew a young British man who said that he had caused great humor by going into his college dorm lounge in the US and asking loudly if anyone had a rubber.

    (for those who don't know, USA rubber = condom. British rubber = USA pencil eraser)
  • NicoleMR wrote: »
    I once knew a young British man who said that he had caused great humor by going into his college dorm lounge in the US and asking loudly if anyone had a rubber.

    (for those who don't know, USA rubber = condom. British rubber = USA pencil eraser)

    Similarly, an Australian recently arrived in Aberdeen (long ago) asked if anyone in the lab office had any Durex (= Sellotape).
  • True story, Mr Image was looking for a warm neck piece to wear under a shirt, they are called a dickie. He was having trouble finding one in the men's wear department. He approached a sales women and said, " Can you tell me if you handle men's dickies". She laughed he grew red faced.
  • True story, Mr Image was looking for a warm neck piece to wear under a shirt, they are called a dickie. He was having trouble finding one in the men's wear department. He approached a sales women and said, " Can you tell me if you handle men's dickies". She laughed he grew red faced.

    ROFL
  • What is a "dress shirt" in America? Just a shirt with buttons, or something more?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    What is a "dress shirt" in America? Just a shirt with buttons, or something more?

    A "dress shirt" here is one worn with a dinner suit - ie, not just a plain white one.
  • Where is "here"? What you've said is how I, as a Brit, understand the term. However that doesn't seem to fit the references I've seen in American novels.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Where is "here"? What you've said is how I, as a Brit, understand the term. However that doesn't seem to fit the references I've seen in American novels.

    Here is Oz.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited November 20
    What is a "dress shirt" in America? Just a shirt with buttons, or something more?
    The easiest description might be a shirt with which a tie can (appropriately) be worn.

    A tie is not required, though, especially in these days of “business casual.” I’m wearing a white button-down dress shirt right now, but no tie.


  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited November 20
    I'd define a dress shirt as one with a wing collar, fastened with studs, to be worn in the evening with a white tie and tails.
  • I'd define a dress shirt as one with a wing collar, fastened with studs, to be worn in the evening with a white tie and tails.

    That defines a tux. Which no one wears. A dress shirt is button up as indicated which could be worn with a necktie. Some collars are also button down (buttons on the tips). I haven't seen cufflinks for 40 years.

    Dinner suit? Probably that means a business suit. But usually just "suit" which means the jacket and pants match (they are pants, what's under them are underwear, or locally here in Sask "gotch"). A sports jacket is an unmatched colour but the same thing. I have a nice bright lemon yellow one which my wife doesn't like; I think it is cheerful.

    Speaking of gotch (underwear), perhaps it isn't cold enough to wear longjohns in most places? long underwear is another term. The ones not worn under pants are tights, sometimes with shorts worn over them, shudder. Which means, shudder, "ath-leisure wear".
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