We’re obviously into discussing words and phrases, because this week we’re highlighting three favourite/favourite words from our host country:-
Cor Blimey! Three words or phrases I’ve picked up from my host country? Gordon Bennet, that’s a tall order, innit, and bugger if I can come up with anything. I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes and, so far, I’ve got sweet FA.
Yeah, to be honest, limiting it to three is the hard part. The British language is so full of brilliant words and phrases that it’s difficult to not pick them up. When I visit the States these days, people have a hard time figuring out what I’m on about.
So for my three:
Penultimate: I love this one because no one knows what it means. In America, we just say “next to the last” or, more likely, don’t mention it at all. I mean, if it isn’t the ultimate, it simply doesn’t matter.
Fortnight is a good one, too. People know immediately what it means, but when you say something like, “We’ll be holidaying there for a fortnight,” they think you’re talking like a Jane Austin novel.
Bollocks, however, is my favorite. It’s such a handy pejorative – “bollocks!” – or can be used to describe a telling-off (“Clive toddled home from the Dog and Bacon at half three last night and she-indoors* gave him a proper bollocking, poor sod.”)
Really, how can you not like these words?
*She-Indoors = wife
(I thought it was “her indoors”, or “’er indoors”, but never mind.)
If this were a competition, Mike’s “bollocks” would win hands down, so to speak. There just isn’t really a word anywhere on the planet, I venture, that has quite the impact. However, there are a few Americanisms that I have grown fond of over the years.
“Snooze, you lose” – used in our house on a daily basis and covers everything from me asking what the kids want for Christmas, (I usually give them ten seconds to list their “wants”), to justification for nicking the last piece of pizza.
“Copasetic” – I have never actually plucked up the courage to say this. It would be like an American saying “bollocks” – somehow fake-sounding and just plain wrong. However, it’s another one of those words that can cover a lot of bases (ooh, there’s another American phrase), and it means “perfectly satisfactory”. Doesn’t it have a much more scientific sound though? I think it should mean something to do with the left frontal lobe. Or something. (See why I’ve never used it.)
“Behoove” – I’m not so much fond of this word as amazed by it. Yes, it means the same as “behove” but talk about sounding stupid. The word is used a little more in the States than I remember it in the UK, especially in the southern states. The first time I heard someone saying “It would behove you to…” I honestly thought it was a joke. Be-what? Talk about taking a perfectly good British (Middle English, actually) word and spoiling it like that.
Got something you want us to address? E-mail your suggestion to:
MHMail55-MT AT Yahoo.com
or just pop it into the comment box.