Wednesday, August 31, 2011

British Word of the Day

I'm going to continue this series I began on the Facebook page a couple of weeks ago on the blog. That way there will be no crickets chirping here as I finish up my summer break. If you don't already know, my girl bud extraordinaire and I will be visiting London for a few days soon, so I thought I'd better study up on the lingo. It's been pretty entertaining so far on FB since helpful Brits weigh in and tell me I've got it all wrong. LOL. Hey, I'm just drawing from all the BBC TV and Terry Pratchett books I read. Here we go:

British Word of the Day: Nappy. "Of course as soon as I'd zipped Nigel into his snowsuit I realised he had a dirty nappy. Brilliant."

(This usage of the normally cheerful 'brilliant' comes wrapped in heavy sarcasm.)
(Note the British spelling of realized.)
(We say diaper.)
(I like parenthetical notes.)


  1. That sounds like a wonderful idea, Larissa. London is a fabulous place - I used to live there when I was young.

    I love how you have decided to look into the British language. ;)) My all time favourite language and accent.

    Have an absolute marvellous trip. :))

  2. Ulla, I'm so excited I could burst. I know, most Americans think a British accent is the highest form a spoken language can take so we are with you on that one.

  3. Famously America and Britain were described as "two countries separated by the same language. Here are a few visitor-useful words to help you in your transition to British English...
    Car park - parking lot
    Boot - Trunk (as in car)
    Chips - Fries
    Crisps - Chips
    Cupboard - Closet (Irish-english - Press)
    Flat - Apartment
    Jam - Jelly
    Lift - Elevator
    Pavement - Sidewalk
    Roundabout - Traffic circle

    Enjoy your trip!
    And if you have a day to spare, don't miss Hamptoncourt Palace.

  4. :-) to continue from where KP left off:

    traffic light = robot
    stroller = push chair / pram


  5. Oh . . . and garage is pronounced gar-ij. Learned that one when I was teaching English in London many years back.

  6. don't forget pants vs underwear!! Don't make the mistake that my brother and I did!!

  7. seriously a traffic light is called a robot? what in the world? thanks for British lexicon y'all, I am certainly thankful I won't be caught wearing my pants in public.

  8. I'll be honest, I've never heard of traffic lights being called robots...and no, please don't show your pants (knickers!) in public! I had no idea a roundabout was called a traffic circle!

  9. P.S. We also call a stroller a buggy as well as a pushchair - prams are what we call the carrycot plus wheel base combo (i.e. baby mainly lies down in a pram, and sits/ reclines in a buggy/pushchair)! Not sure I've made that any clearer - sorry!

  10. Well, I'm glad someone else is flummoxed by the robot thing, and a Brit too! And I may be American AND southern, but I just call it a roundabout too. But we don't have many of those where I live. Roundabouts are a curiosity for sure. They just completed one in my town and it made the local news.

  11. Archie - perfectly clear, but CARRYCOT? that's a new one. We say infant seat or infant carrier.

  12. I love the idea of the roundabout making the news - we have thousands of the things here! We also have lots (and I mean lots) of sleeping policemen (speed bumps)!
    Hmmm...I wonder if an infant seat is a car seat - for small babies you can unclip them from the car and carry them/clip them to a wheel base and use them as a pram (for short trips to shops, etc.) and you can also fasten them in a special trolley (cart?) at certain supermarkets.
    A carrycot is something a baby lies flat in, can be clipped to a wheel base and is also sometimes used as a crib during the day - like a fabric moses basket with a hood, cover and sturdy handles! I think I've just made it worse!

  13. Oh, I gotcha now. Ok. I'm all clear on it. We don't generally use a carrycot here. We just clip the infant car seat out of the car then clip it into the stroller base. It usually comes with a hood to keep the sun off, and fits inside our grocery carts and also special stands available at restaurants. American babies spend a LOT of time in their infant carriers.

  14. So grateful to the Brits for being the guardians of the English language. I love how they stretch words like for emphasis, like "years" would be "yeeeaaars" as in "We haven't seen him in yeeeeaaaars".

  15. A jumper is a sweater and not any type of a dress. Also coffee cake has coffee in it in Britain. (these are two that cause confusion when I use them in the US).
    You need to know also that 'fortnight' is not an archaic word in Britain/Ireland it is in very common usage.


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