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Proof Americans and Brits speak a different language

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  • Early industrial processes usually worked by water power, like a water mill, hence woollen mill, cotton mill, silk mill, paper mill.
  • RussRuss Deckhand, Styx
    The usage that caught me out when I was in the US is "wash up". Which in British English is to do the dishes and US English seems to mean "visit the bathroom".
  • Russ wrote: »
    The usage that caught me out when I was in the US is "wash up". Which in British English is to do the dishes and US English seems to mean "visit the bathroom".
    Depends on exactly what is meant by “visit the bathroom.” In US usage, at least in my experience, “wash up” means to wash one’s hands, and face if needed, before a meal.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Whichever usage is in mind a Brit’s offer to help you wash up would cause some startlement I think.
  • No, I think we'd understand that perfectly well. The "up" is just an intensifier (as it is in "finish up"), so it basically means "wash"--and we'd know by context what you meant.

    "Wash up" in the context of the loo/bathroom/restroom/whatever is a euphemism (or not). You may indeed be planning to wash, or you may have other activities in mind for that space. Nobody wants to know...
  • I've never heard "wash up" as a euphemism for a visit to the potty. Somehow the word "kybo" in my childhood came to mean an outhouse (little closet sized shack with either a pit under the toilet, or a catch tank, or a chemical or biological toilet. May be derived from something in southeast Asia given where I learned it. Biffy is another one for potty. One goes potty in the kybo or the biffy, and you can also go potty in the potty. We found loo as a term for a potty quite amusing when young, considering the song "Skip to My Lou". I actually know quite a few songs about pottying yourself.
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    "Kybo" meant pit toilet when I was in Boy Scouts in the early 1970s
  • I've never heard "wash up" as a euphemism for a visit to the potty.
    Nor I. In my experience, “wash up” has usually been used in the context of a summons to the table: “Supper’s about ready, go wash up!”

    mousethief wrote: »
    "Kybo" meant pit toilet when I was in Boy Scouts in the early 1970s
    I don’t think I’ve ever heard “kybo.” We always called the pit toilet a latrine.

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited October 2019
    Russ wrote: »
    The usage that caught me out ".

    That one caught me (not out). Never heard it this side of the pond.

    A 50's euphemism women used when going to the bathroom was "I am going to powder my nose." Yes, they may use the bathroom, but before they left the restroom, they would check their make up.

    Oh, and about the term "Kybo" Here is the Lore of the Kybo.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    If I were told to wash up before eating I'd assume my host had OCD and a rather dictatorial attitude to their guests, not to mention a willingness to eat luke-warm food.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    No discussion of 'loo' is complete without a reminiscence of the former Edinburgh custom of firing the contents of your chamber pot out the window of your tenement with a merry shout of 'Gardy loo!' To which the response, if you were passing beneath, was 'Haud yer hond!'

    Fav word for house of easement (there's a usage I would like to see return) is the Scots 'cludgie'.
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Russ wrote: »
    The usage that caught me out ".

    That one caught me (not out). Never heard it this side of the pond.

    A 50's euphemism women used when going to the bathroom was "I am going to powder my nose." Yes, they may use the bathroom, but before they left the restroom, they would check their make up.

    Oh, and about the term "Kybo" Here is the Lore of the Kybo.

    Clearly whoever did that web page has not yet earned his HTML Merit Badge.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    Well, IME, people here in the US normally wouldn't tell a guest to go wash up. They might tell/show where you (gen.) *could* wash up.

    A parental-type might tell a child to wash up, particularly if they've been playing in dirt. Someone who is going to prepare food might be reminded.
  • BoogieBoogie Heaven Host
    We ‘do the washing up’ - ie wash the dishes. 🙂
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Oh, and about the term "Kybo" Here is the Lore of the Kybo.
    Interesting. (And as @mousethief said, in need of an html good turn.)

    Maybe “Kybo” is a regional term? I started in Cub Scouts, went through Eagle and have been an adult Scouter on the unit and district/council level, and this thread is the first time I’ve ever heard “Kybo.”


  • Russ wrote: »
    The usage that caught me out when I was in the US is "wash up". Which in British English is to do the dishes and US English seems to mean "visit the bathroom".
    And 'Murricans get very confused when you show them to a bathroom and it doesn't have a water closet.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited October 2019
    And 'Murricans get very confused when you show them to a bathroom and it doesn't have a water closet.

    and I suppose when someone asks for the smallest room, you take them to the pantry?
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    edited October 2019
    "I gotta shit. Where would you like me to do that?" (for those smartarse Brits who claim to hate euphemism and feign not to know the American usage of "bathroom")
  • And 'Murricans get very confused when you show them to a bathroom and it doesn't have a water closet.

    and I suppose when someone asks for the smallest room, you take them to the pantry?

    And they think a restroom is where one goes to rest?
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    When you really gotta go, yeah, having a good dump/piss can make you feel much more restful. Absolutely.
  • Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    And they think a restroom is where one goes to rest?

    I don't know how old I was when I discovered that "restroom" was an American word for the room with a toilet in. I'm pretty sure that I used to think that a "restroom" was something like the waiting room at a railway station, where one could indeed rest between legs of a journey. Although given the state of some waiting rooms, ...
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host, Glory
    "Caught me out" is a familiar phrase to me - Midwestern American, with Southern roots.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    "I gotta shit. Where would you like me to do that?" (for those smartarse Brits who claim to hate euphemism and feign not to know the American usage of "bathroom")
    See a man about a dog. Less politely but more than your's, hang a rat.
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    I have never said "hang a rat" nor ever heard anyone say it, nor read it until just now. Certainly not mine.

    (no apostrophe in yours)
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    edited October 2019
    But that opens a new and interesting topic:

    Euphemisms for going to the toilet

    Already mentioned was powder my nose. We also spend a dime, and see a man about a horse. Guy I knew in Chicago used to say "wring a kidney."
  • Putting a deposit on some porcelain; going the way of all flesh.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    Visit the little girls'/boys' room.
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    Putting a deposit on some porcelain; going the way of all flesh.

    That's a new one on me! I always thought "go the way of all flesh" meant to die.
  • It does--but smart-ass English majors, well...
  • 'Smart-arse Brits?' Feigning not to know what 'Murricans mean by 'bathroom'.

    Of course we know what you mean by 'bathroom'. It's just that we don't give a ....

    ;)

    No, seriously, if an American visitor asked for 'the bathroom' they would almost invariably be directed to somewhere with the requisite fittings and appliances for whatever ablutions they required. I have heard - and I think there're instances cited on this thread - of US visitors directed to bathrooms without a lavvy / bog / loo / WC / (other epithet of choice - but I suspect:

    a) That happened some years ago.

    b) The hosts were unfamiliar with US movies and TV shows.

    c) They lived in a rural backwater.

    d) They were kiddies, they were naive or lacking in common sense or empathy.

    I doubt if they'd do it for reasons of smart-arsery or to cause discomfort to visitors.

    Lavatorial customs can be confusing across borders. In a French 'chambre d'hote' recently I was surprised to see a shower ('douche') attachment suspended from a wall-bracket and fixed to the toilet cistern from whence it derived its water supply. A notice in French on the wall proclaimed that it was intended for guests to wash their private parts. 'Essayez Moi!' it cried.

    Reader, I did not ...

  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    An alternative to a bidet?
  • Yes, come to think of it, I didn't notice a bidet there. Perhaps this was an ingenious alternative to be deployed when sitting on the john / bog / loo / ...

    I've never used a bidet. But then, I've never done a dump in a shower either as the French are rumoured to do. One man's fish is another man's poisson.
  • Backing up a bit ... I must admit I was gratified to read that it is customary to thank bus drivers and so on in Watford and other points south - I'd always assumed that within the UK such things were only practiced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the English Midlands and the North. I was under the impression that such pleasantries and courtesies ran out the closer you got to That London.

    Mind you, some Londoners might consider Watford to be suspiciously far north ...

    In fairness, I've found Londoners to generally be polite and friendly away from their home turf or if you actually make the effort to engage them, particularly out in the suburbs. That said, they can be rude, abrupt and discourteous as indeed Parisians and New Yorkers are said to be.

    I knew a bloke from The Potteries (Stoke on Trent for non-British posters) who worked in London for a while. He found himself regularly sitting near to the same chap during his morning bus trip into work. One morning he engaged the fella in conversation only to be curtly dismissed with, 'Do I fahrking know you?'

    Grrrrrrr ...
  • In the West Country they can be friendly, unless you are clearly a 'grockle' or an 'emmott' - but there you have to watch that they aren't trying to lure you out the back and ask you to step inside an intriguing and ingenious Wicker Man ...
  • Yes, come to think of it, I didn't notice a bidet there. Perhaps this was an ingenious alternative to be deployed when sitting on the john / bog / loo / ...

    I've never used a bidet. But then, I've never done a dump in a shower either as the French are rumoured to do. One man's fish is another man's poisson.
    This may be intended as humour. You'd realize it's not appropriate if you substituted "French" for a specific other group, say gay people.
  • And 'Murricans get very confused when you show them to a bathroom and it doesn't have a water closet.

    and I suppose when someone asks for the smallest room, you take them to the pantry?
    No - to the smallest room, which happens to be the boot room.

  • In fairness, I've found Londoners to generally be polite and friendly away from their home turf or if you actually make the effort to engage them, particularly out in the suburbs. That said, they can be rude, abrupt and discourteous as indeed Parisians and New Yorkers are said to be.

    I knew a bloke from The Potteries (Stoke on Trent for non-British posters) who worked in London for a while. He found himself regularly sitting near to the same chap during his morning bus trip into work. One morning he engaged the fella in conversation only to be curtly dismissed with, 'Do I fahrking know you?'

    Grrrrrrr ...

    Unfortunately, the New York Times allows limited view unless you subscribe. But every Sunday they publish "Metropolitan Diaries," a short collection of vignettes about life in the Big Apple. Most of them are stories about the kindness of strangers, often on public transportation. Many are humorous; others cause my eyes to leak a bit.
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  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    I've never used a bidet. But then, I've never done a dump in a shower either as the French are rumoured to do.

    I've never proclaimed my specific ignorance of hygiene and then proceeded to take a xenophobic shit on a discussion, but maybe Heaven is just edgier than Hell these days.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    But that opens a new and interesting topic:

    Euphemisms for going to the toilet

    Already mentioned was powder my nose. We also spend a dime, and see a man about a horse. Guy I knew in Chicago used to say "wring a kidney."

    We spend a penny and see a man about a dog...
  • TrudyTrudy Heaven Host
    edited October 2019
    All right, folks. I'm not sure why it is that language threads seem to require more policing than anything else in Heaven, but here goes:

    Once again, this thread is for discussion of variations in regional/national usage of language, and should NOT descend into personal attacks, bad-tempered sniping, or sweeping generalizations about nationalities or ethnic groups. Several people have danced much too close to the line on this one, so this is a general warning.

    Now, for two specific warnings: @mousethief , you have frequently pushed the boundaries of this discussion away from the Heavenly and towards the Hellish, or at least unnecessarily personal and peevish. Please rein it in.

    @Gamma Gamaliel , I am not sure what to say about you stating, as though it is common knowledge, that French people routinely defecate in the shower, but that is an entirely inappropriate statement to make about an entire nation of people, and has no place in Heaven.

    Cease and desist.

    Trudy, Heavenly Host
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    One man's fish is another man's poisson.

    My favourite car is an Avions Voisin.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Trudy, apologies if I transgressed. I read Gamma's post on the previous page and clicked reply etc. Then found yours when my post appeared.
  • A difference that I saw mentioned recently on another discussion forum is the American (and I think Canadian* as well) habit of omitting 'street' (or 'avenue' or whatever) in street names.

    It's said that this has led to transatlantic visitors asking for directions to Edgware Road in central London being sent on long Underground journeys to the distant suburb of Edgware, and those wanting Oxford Circus (even more central) being directed to Paddington which is the main line railway station for trains to the city of Oxford.

    *In Montreal it means you can address letters without making it obvious which language you're using by choosing 'X street' or 'rue X'.
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    One doesn't dare omit "street" or "avenue" from the name of Seattle streets (or avenues) because in large parts of the city (and surrounding county) they are numbered, and there could be the same number standing for a street and an avenue, and they could be miles apart. Although it may be even trickier right around where they intersect.
  • Here in Queens in New York City with numbered streets there could be a street, road, and avenue, directly next to each other, or not. Very confusing.
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    Also in the burbs you can have a 4th avenue and a 4th court adjacent. And in Pierce County (which I currently call home) we have these weird things called Avenue Courts and Street Courts -- which indicate a stub or cul-de-sac.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    mousethief wrote: »
    One doesn't dare omit "street" or "avenue" from the name of Seattle streets (or avenues) ...
    It wouldn't work in the part of Belfast where we used to live either: our house was in Orangefield Road, but there's also an Orangefield Grove, Parade, Avenue, Drive, Lane and Gardens, and they probably all have the same postcode ...

    I'm another Brit who finds the expression "two times", meaning "twice" a bit peculiar - I'd not come across it until I moved to Canada.
  • mousethiefmousethief Deckhand, Styx
    It would totally ruin that Doors song if it were "Love me twice, I'm going away."
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    San Francisco, ditto: numbered streets AND avenues. Plus fun things like the city of South San Francisco, which is NOT the southern part of SF.

    Oh, and we don't have a 1st Ave. It's Arguello Blvd.
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