Fraser’s Phrases: The Greatest Hits of the Uxbridge English Dictionary

"Barbecue - a long line of plastic dolls"

As it’s President’s Day, we’re not going to try and cram any of that fancy book learning into your holiday-addled minds, our holiday-addled minds couldn’t take the pressure. So here’s a brief sample of the finest lexicography work to come out of the BBC Radio 4 comedy show I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, namely the Uxbridge English Dictionary.

The premise is simple: pick a word and offer an alterative, punning definition for it, based on the syllables within.

SO, abominable ceases to be an adjective, with a similar meaning to disgusting, and is instead defined as a verb, meaning to initate the countdown timer on an explosive device. A bomb enable. See?

Here are a few more (taken from A-H, just IMAGINE the delights on offer in the rest of the alphabet):

Adultery: What happens after puberty.

Allocate: Greeting for example, to Ms Winslet.

Alternative: To modify a member of the indigenous population.

Boycott: A small bed for a male child.

Bratwurst: The very naughtiest of children.

Britanny: A bit like Britain.

Brouhaha: A hilarious drink.

Buckingham: A rodeo pig.

Busking: Owner of many buses.

Canopy: Tin of urine.

Capitulate: The mistake BP made in the Gulf of Mexico.

Car Park: How Noah saved the fishes from the great flood.

Castanet: To go fishing.

Depend: Opposite the shallow end.

Dialogue: An awful piece of wood.

Dialysis: To ring your sister.

Dreadlocks: Fear of canal holidays.

Endear: This is where it stops.

Escalator: An Australian word meaning to delay the questioning of a lady.

Example: Much thinner.

Exorbitant: The now retired first insect astronaut.

Extractor fan: One who used to like farm machinery.

Farthing: Something a long way off.

Fauna: A whirlpool bath for young deer.

Feasible: Able to charge for.

Felicity: To knock London over.

Final: The last thing you hammer into a coffin.

Finish: A bit like a Finn

Giblets: Very small gibs.

Gladiator: An unrepentant cannibal.

Goblet: A very small mouth.

Godspeed: It’s raining.

Grandstand: A shelf designed to display a large quantity of money.

Grapple: A cross between a grape and an apple.

Gregorian: Someone unsure of his name.

Hamstring: Underwear for pigs.

Handicap: A very useful hat.

Herbivore: An animal that only eats Volkswagon Beetles.

Hollyhock: The act of pawning Christmas decorations.

And of course you can always make your own up. It’s not hard! Put them here:

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser is a British writer, broadcaster and the the author of the book Stuff Brits Like. He is Anglophenia's resident Brit blogger, having written BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog, the Top of the Pops website, and for NME, the Guardian and elsewhere. Favorite topics include slang, Doctor Who and cramming as much music into Anglophenia as he can manage. He invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
View all posts by Fraser McAlpine.