Last week I was talking to my boss. We were discussing a meeting he’d been in where another (yes, there are a few of us down South) Brit had been in attendance.
My boss was fascinated that the man in the meeting had used the word lorrie. Now, I, being of English blood and guts, knew exactly what was meant by the word. Lorrie = a big truck
My boss found this most entertaining, and he began to point out a few words that I say from time to time that are quintessentially British. Well, pretty soon the entire office was in on it, as they were calling out words and phrases that I didn’t even realize I used.
Here are a few that seemed to get a laugh out of them:
“Petrol.” When I need “gas,” I go get petrol.?That’s what it is, so that’s what it’s called. If I get gas in?England, then some type of stomach remedy is in order, so it is and always will be petrol to me.
“Cash Point:”?When?I need money, I go to the Cash Point. ATM??Seriously??Why some technological term for something so simple? It’s a point where I get cash, hence cash point!
“Not worth two-bob:” According to some in the office I use this quite a bit. This stems from an old cockney rhyming slang phrase called two-bob bit. Two bob was a little amount of money, that really didn’t add up to anything at all. Now in Cockney rhyming slang, the trick is in the rhyme. Two-Bob Bit??Ain’t worth a ..! I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks, shall?I?
“Christmas crackered:” The other day I said the following, “I am completely Christmas crackered!”?I just want you to take some time out to imagine the looks this little diddy received. To me, it makes perfect sense. Now, think back to the trick of the rhyme. Christmas crackered = knackered. Knackered is what we Brits say for tired. So Christmas crackered = tired. See, it’s simple!
Let’s try some more, shall we?
If I call you, “Me ol’China,” you should be pleased!?China Plate = Mate. Mate = Friend.
If I say, “The garbage needs to be taken out because it’s Lincoln,”?then trust me, it needs to be taken out!?Abraham Lincoln = Stinkin. (Just a rhyme people, nothing personal).
If I say that I really need to do something to my “barnet,” then all?I’m really saying is I need to fix my hair. Barnet Fair = Hair.
Isn’t this fun when we get going?
I’m not sure how all this rhyming slang started. I’ve been told by some that it was a way to speak without the “hoppers” knowing what was being said. Space Hoppers = Coppers.
Page 2 of 2 - Others have said to me that it was a way to feel unique, and keep those you didn’t want in the know out of the know.
Regardless of the reasons behind this strange little way we English choose to speak at times, I have to say I’m ever so proud of it.
I like that it stops people in their tracks a bit when I say something ever so British.?I like that it sets me apart from the rest. I like that it is perceived as old fashioned and traditional in some way. It reminds me to take all that is good of my heritage with me, each and every day.
Now with that being said, I’m off. I’ll be down the Rub-a-dub, having myself a Pig’s Ear and some Jockey’s.
I’ll leave you to figure that one out!
Charlotte Guedry is Editor of the Gonzales Weekly Citizen. She can be reached by emailing email@example.com. You can read more of her stories by following her on Twitter by going to @WeeklyCitizen.