33 Briticisms I Don’t Use Anymore
My vocabulary has changed over the seven years I’ve lived in the US. I sound more or less the same — at least to my own ears — but, one word or phrase at a time, I also sound less and less like my old self. Trends in language change, of course, so some of these may have passed out of my daily use even if I’d stayed in the UK — perhaps I’d already stopped saying “basically” and “random” every five minutes, for example, or exclaiming “come on, people” out of frustration on, say, the Tube escalators. But there’s no doubt that my changing vocabulary also has to do with the fact that I live somewhere where a lot of my previously common idioms are not known or understood. Sometimes people laugh at me when I use them, and sometimes people look at me blankly, so I’ve deliberately removed them from my conversation, but with other phrases, it’s been more of a gradual thing. Language is contagious, and if people around me don’t use certain phrases, then eventually neither do I.
This used to be my favourite exclamation — somewhere between “oh dear” and “damn it!”. Also can be used as an adjective — it is totally pants that you have to work this weekend. I was trying to remember what I used to say instead of “that sucks” — turns out, it’s this.
= smart ass, but with more alliteration and less unnecessary reference to body parts.
I miss this word so much. (Not just the word, but that’s another story…) see also: random snog
Swings and roundabouts
Never realised how much I said this until I moved here. I explained it means six of one and half a dozen of the other, and this didn’t seem to help. Nearest I can get is “you win some, you lose some”.
I’m just going to pop to the loo
I’ve been running to the bathroom instead of popping to the loo for years now.
I’m sad and upset by something, as if I’d been punched in the gut.
“Well”, used adverbially
As in, that’s well wicked. (Then again, it’s not 1993 anymore, so…)
As in, that bloke is well fit! (=super hot)
Recently discovered that Americans get confused if you say this instead of “bite”.
This is SUCH a great word, and there’s no equivalent, and I often need it so badly. I’m sad about this one.
As in, let’s go and scope out the local talent, i.e. see if there are any fit blokes.
British alternative to y’all or you guys
Mucking about/faffing around
Doing stuff but not really getting anything done; playing around
Regular, standard issue, basic (though not in that trendy way you young folk are using “basic”, whatever that is)
Chat up/chat up line
Pick up/pick up line
I didn’t even noticed I’d stopped saying this instead of pharmacist or CVS.
= pants, a bit rubbish. Often cheesy.
Put the kettle on
Set the water to boil in these new fangled electric kettles we’ve had for a few decades… (Note: they switch themselves off by themselves when they reach boiling point and it’s important for the tea not to switch them off before this!)
Dessert, as in what you have after your main meal. What are we having for afters?
Someone who works really hard at school and is quite possibly a bit of a teacher’s pet.
Not to be confused with “oy”, and it probably would be, so I just go with “hey” instead.
Apparently without the word “past” this is incomprehensible…
It’s a fun word to say, isn’t it? It’s short for Wellington boots, ie rain boots.
On the dole
I’m reclaiming this one. American good job = British well done. British good job = “it’s just as well that…” — eg it’s a good job we chatted up those fit blokes because we got a well good snog out of them.
Absolutely crazy, bonkers
Clothes. As in, get your kit off! Don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, put your kit on!
Accident and Emergency, aka Casualty, aka the ER.
I got laughed at so much for this one that I think really hard now before I say swimsuit.
I have no dosh. No money.
Chuffed means really delighted and pleased and sometimes a bit proud. As in, I’m well chuffed you lot like this list so much.
Originally published at https://li.st.