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Articles Tagged 'Baffling British Words'

Boats in Penzance harbor, Cornwall (Photo: Milangonda/AP Images)

20 Cornish Slang Terms That Require Translation

Cornwall is a place in which the English language is subject to a number of warping influences. That’s partly to do with the lasting twist of the Cornish language. Once thought to have died out, it has been the subject of a fierce revival in recent years, bringing fresh perspective to local slang terms that […]

The guitarist from Lubbertwort (Pic: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images)

10 Old English Insults That Should be Band Names

Musicians, particularly those of a hipster disposition, we have an invaluable service to offer as you gather together into your various groups and ensembles. Rather than pinching the stage names of other performers and making your own, based on bad puns—like Joanna Gruesome, Ringo Deathstarr, Dananananaykroyd and Ryan Adams*—why not trawl through some of the […]

They are, they are, they are the mods (Pic: Terry Fincher/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

1960s Mod Slang We Should Use Today

In 1983, the venerable British pop magazine Smash Hits (sadly no longer with us) published a feature called “The Things People Said,” in which Tom Hibbert pulled together a lexicon of youth slang, across the rocking ’50s, the groovy ’60s, the hippy ’70s and the heavy metal ’80s. For a young fan of pop culture […]

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow (Pic: Disney)

5 Words the British Got From India

English is a mongrel tongue. It’s a language that betrays influences from every modern language you could care to name and several that no one speaks any more. The British picked up these words as they set out to invade and conquer the world, sending them back home with the exotic spices, jewels, fruits and […]

Ripper Street

10 Victorian Swears from the Real ‘Ripper Street’

Ripper Street returns to BBC AMERICA this Wednesday (April 29) at 10/9c for a third season. There are new cast members—including Sherlock’s Louise Brealey—new stories and all manner of unpleasant goings-on in the grottiest parts of Victorian London. So, to get you in the mood (and possibly upset your stomach) here’s a brief working definition […]

The Houses of Parliament

5 Archaic Insults That Are Banned from Parliamentary Debates

Recently, the Independent published a brief list of the words that the current speaker of the House of Commons has banned from the debate floor. These include the kind of direct insults one might expect—idiot, rat, swine—if witnessing people were trying to pick a fight without swearing. Not that there’s an outright ban on swearing itself, […]


10 American Words You’ll Never Hear a British Person Say

This list is rife with bewilderment and confusion, as a British mind attempts to make sense of terms, names and phrases that simply do not happen on the European side of the Atlantic. Bachelorette If you’re about to get married, and you want to throw a party to commemorate the passing of your single-ness, that’s […]

The Welsh Flag

25 Welsh Sayings To Live By

What it is, right… To judge by popular culture alone—Gavin & Stacey, I am looking at you—the Welsh are presented as a largely cheery nation, fond of the rugby and the ale, with a few linguistic peculiarities that are all charm and whimsy, like “Whose boots are those shoes?” “Now in a minute” and “What […]

A French biscuit made by a British biscuit company

Why are ‘Biscuits’ Different in Britain?

When considering the differing terminology for common things between Britain and the U.S., it’s often a case of finding out who called their thing the thing they call it first, and declaring them the winner. So, just to remove the element of suspense, when it comes to biscuits, the Brits win. That’s all you need […]

A big full stop

Punctuation Day: Why Do Brits Call a Period a Full Stop?

Should you feel the need, today (September 24) is the perfect day to get out there and correct all of those silly grammatical errors you see everywhere you go. There’s the grocer that puts an apostrophe in with his potatoes, the Facebook snark who uses speech-marks for emphasis so it looks like they’re unsure about […]

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