The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Friday, May 16, 2014

American slang for British Readers

Recently, in an article I can no longer find, there was yet another amusing piece in which an American was given a set of British slang terms and asked to guess what they meant. Although anyone who has seen any television since the 1970s would understand them, the author pretended not to and wrote crude and hipsterishly ironic mis-translations. This sort of off-hand journalism tends to obscure the very real differences between English and whatever it is we speak over here.  Consequently, here are some American words and phrases that may be useful for those traveling here from the mother country.

  • Mother country: way, way out in the boondocks, as in "Man, we're in one mother of a country now".
  • Boondocks: New Jersey.
  • Truck: (noun) a lorry; a large self-propelled wheeled vehicle used in the US to break up pavement. (verb) a silly walk.
  • Pickup truck:  a unit of measure equal to four sedans or nine buggers. Also a kind of motor vehicle owned by 99% of the US population.
  • Pickup basketball: a game played with an inflated ball, a parking lot, and pickup trucks.
  • Professional basketball: the last refuge of the scoundrel.
  • Bugger: a two-wheeled cart, intended to be drawn behind a bicycle.
  • Bugger off: a warning to a bicycle rider that his bugger has come loose.
  • Bugger you: An invitation to a ride in a bugger.
  • Sod off: As above, a warning to a landscape artisan that he has lost a quantity of grass and topsoil off the back of his truck.
  • Canada (US spelling: Canadia): A large North American country, characterized by snow and low self-esteem.
  • Ballocks: (noun) a) a neutered bull; b) an American actress. (verb) you don't want to know.
  • Bite me (US spelling: byte): a request for additional digital storage.
  • English: (noun) An Indo-European-derived language spoken in several underdeveloped nations. (adj) What the Queen is, as in "Don't you know the Queen's English?" "So's the King!"(1)
  • Castors up: broken, out of service; a reference to large devices such as tape drives, mainframes, and hybrid automobiles; such devices frequently have small, steerable wheels on the bottom. "My Prius went castors up."
  • Ford: (verb) to cross a stream or river by wading; (noun) a crack-smoking Mayor of a large city.
  • Minton: a common name for a pet; "Bad Minton! No biscuit!"

(1) The author is aware that there have been periods of British history during which there was a Queen but no King; further, he is aware of times in which the Queen was English and the King wasn't, viz., William of Orange, the Hanoverians, Lars the Norwegian, Joe the plumber, etc.  Byte me.

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