22 June 2012

British-isms That Breed Confusion and Hilarity

Since I’ve moved here, I’ve come across more than my fair share of words and phrases that cause a great number of misunderstandings between myself, my British friends and even strangers on the streets. These are a few of my personal faves:

‘Pants’ means undies over here. What we call ‘pants’, they call ‘trousers’.

“It’s too cold for her not to be wearing pants today”.
“How can you tell?”
“Just look at her. She’s not wearing any pants”.

Whenever I enter a store and someone asks ‘Are you alright?’, I never know how to respond. Not sure if this is local to Nottingham or it is a UK-wide phrase, but I can’t tell if it means “Can I help you?” or “How are you doing?”. Either way, my default answer of “yes” probably does not help the situation.

A fanny is a lady’s ‘crawl space’ (if you catch my drift), rather than her behind. So, if your loved one ever asks you to put it in her fanny, you’d better clarify; a misunderstanding is likely to result in at least six sessions of couples counseling.

When a British person is drunk, they are pissed. When Canadians are pissed, we’re angry:

“Ugh, I’m so pissed right now?”
“How much have you had to drink?”
A purse is a wallet. What we call a purse is a handbag. So, if you’re searching on or require assistance in a clothing store, it’s best to know the difference. Most of the people I know get all facetious about it, and hand me precisely whichever one they know I’m not asking for. Thanks, guys. Clutches are also purses, rather than handbags. Go figure.

Finally, cookie is one that I don’t really understand, but my boyfriend loves to get all up in my business about it. Cookies only apply to things like Oreos and chocolate chip cookies – the sweet things you dip in milk. They are a type of biscuit, which applies to the saltier, kind-of crumbly items you normally ingest while drinking tea. Biscuits are not the fluffy, buttery pieces of delight that you get with a meal from KFC or Popeyes like they are in Canada. Brits call them scones, but they still aren’t even close.

Also – flapjacks are these. Not these. WTF, right? 

More posts to enjoy:

Tea Time: Drinking My Body Weight in Steeped Leaves

Tales of a PubFly: My First Impression of English Pub Culture



1 comment:

  1. Also - flapjacks are flapjacks, not pancakes? Crazy Canadians and your ambiguity. =) Sincerely, all up in your business.