Here’s the eleventh installment from “The Best of British.” I’ve heard maybe a handful of these terms my entire life. No wonder my friends across the pond chuckle at me; we essentially speak the same the same language but geography has played a big part in the diversity there is between the two counties. Enjoy!
language is NSFW
- Sod all – If you are a waiter in America and you serve a family of Brits, the tip is likely to be sod all or as you would call it – nothing. Because we don’t know about tipping.
Sod’s law – This is another name for Murphy’s law – whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
Sorted – When you have fixed a problem and someone asks how it is going you might say “sorted”. It’s also popular these days to say “get it sorted” when you are telling someone to get on with the job.
Speciality – This is another one where you chaps drop your “I”. when I first sawspecialty written down in the US I thought it was a mistake. But no! We love our I’s!
Spend a penny – To spend a penny is to go to the bathroom. It is a very old fashioned expression that still exists today. It comes from the fact that in ladies loos you used to operate the door by inserting an old penny.
Splash out – If you splash out on something – it means you throw your senses out the window, get out your credit card and spend far too much money. You might splash out on a new car or even on a good meal.
Squidgy – A chocolate cream cake would be squidgey. It means to be soft and, well, squidgey!
Squiffy – This means you are feeling a little drunk. Some people also use it to mean that something has gone wrong.
Starkers – Avoid being seen starkers when visiting England. It means stark naked.
Stiffy – Yet another word for erection.
Stonker – This means something is huge. Looking at the burger you might say “blimeywhat a stonker”. It is also used to refer to an erection! Clearly English modesty is a myth!
Stonking – This weird word means huge. You might say “what a stonking great burger” if you were in an American burger joint.
Strop – If someone is sulking or being particularly miserable you would say they are being stroppy or that they have a strop on. I heard an old man on the train tell his wife to stop being a stroppy cow.
Stuff – A recent headline in the New Statesman read “stuff the millennium”. Using stuff in this context is a polite way of saying “f*** the millennium”. Who cares! Stuff it! You can also say “stuff him” or “stuff her” meaning they can sod off.
Suss – If you heard someone saying they had you sussed they would mean that they had you figured out! If you were going to suss out something it would mean the same thing.
Sweet fanny adams – This means nothing or sod all. It is a substitute for “sweet f*** all”. It is also shortened further to “sweet F A”.
Swotting – Swotting means to study hard, the same as cram does. Before exams we used to swot, not that it made any difference to some of us. If you swotted all the time, you would be called a swot – which is not a term of endearment!
Ta – We said “ta” as kids in Liverpool for years before we even knew it was short forthanks.
Table – We use this word in exactly the opposite way. To us a motion is tabled when it is brought to the table, or suggested for consideration. You table a motion when it is left for a later date.
Taking the biscuit – If something really takes the biscuit, it means it out-doeseverything else and cannot be bettered. Some places in America they said takes the cake.
Taking the mickey – See taking the piss. Variations include “taking the mick” and “taking the Michael”.
Taking the piss – One of the things Americans find hardest about the Brits is our sense of humour. It is obviously different and is mainly based on irony, sarcasm and an in-built desire to “take the piss”. This has nothing to do with urine, but simply meansmaking fun of someone.
Talent – Talent is the same as totty. Checking out the talent means looking for the sexy young girls (or boys I suppose).
Tara – Pronounced “churar”, this is another word for cheerio or goodbye. Cilla Black, ascouse TV presenter has probably done most to promote the use of this word as she says it all the time on her programmes.