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[b]I Said / His Lordship Said... Anglo-American Expressions[/b]


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BRIT: Be Mother (i.e, brew and serve the afternoon tea)*

AMER: Give the kids their after-school snack.

 

...* I've read that the tradition of 4 o'clock teatime is no longer the tradition it once was. But, in it's day, it was the mother's job in most famlies. If another person -- servant, older sibling, etc, performed that chore, it was often called "being Mother." Such writers as Saki and Evelyn Waugh have used the term that way. And somewhere in the works of someone like Graham Greene, John Le Carre` Adam Hall or somebody like that, there is a scene with a room full of grown men, serious spymasters engaged in deadly work. They take a tea break, and one of them is designated to "be mother." I wish I could trace that one down again.

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BRIT: Dustman*

AMER: Trash man, Garbage man, Refuse collector

 

*...Job title of Alfred Doolittle in *My Fair Lady*

I think this thread has already listed "dustbin / trashcan", but I never thought of this one until TCM aired *My Fair Lady* last week.

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BRIT - a cuppa

AMER - a cup of tea.

 

This one was used on the air a couple of days ago, and I realized I'd been hearing it for years. Seems to be a lower & middle class expression. I never once had any impression that it referred to coffee.

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BRIT: Governor

AMER: Boss, chief, honcho etc.

 

This one came to attention in the recent airing of *The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner.* Brit useage takes the title of a government chief executive (of a state, provence, colony, etc) and, as slang, applies it to the headman of a smaller concern.-- Both as an identification and as a term of address. A schoolmaster, a business executive, etc. In *Runner*, the prisoners of the juvinile prison applied it to the Warden.

 

BRIT: Borstal

AMER: Juvinile Detention.

 

Edited by: flashback42 on Sep 16, 2011 1:10 PM

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BRIT: Lumber -- burden. A thing or a situation that causes unwanted stress or work. As a verb, to load a burden onto another.

AMER: Hassle, stress, onus.

 

The British musical *Stop the World: I Want to Get Off* has a song in the score entitled "Lumbered!". It repeats the word over and over, and spells it out at times. It's all in a context of the character "Littlechap" lamenting that he's gotten his girlfriend pregnent and he'll have to get married.

 

 

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BRIT: Red Indian *

AMER: Indian, Amerindians, Native American, etc etc.

 

...* Used to distinguish the Bering Strait arrivals on the American Continents from the citizens of India. When Columbus sailed west to get to the East, he expected to find the India that had been found by Europians who traveled there over land. On this reasoning the people found there were referred to as "Indians" and the term stuck. -- "They're 'Indians' because some white guy got lost." John Turturro as Herbie Stempel in *Quiz Show*.

 

.

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Bum:

 

American -- homeless man; drunk; hobo

UK: rear end, butt

 

I know quite a few other Britishisms that would get me kicked right off this board!

 

Here's a good lyric from the song "Zip" from Rodgers and Hart's Pal Joey:

 

"English people don't say clerk they say clark;

Anybody who says clark is a jark."

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BRIT: Fancy Man -- Literally, the man a woman "fancys" or likes. Often used in a cougar-gigolo relationship. Sometimes describes a married woman's other relationship.
AMER: Sweetheart, Boyfriend

BRIT: Argy-Bargy (rhyming slang) *
AMER: Argument or uproar.

*...I picked that one up from Andy Capp and his mate Chalky.
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BRIT: Return

AMER: Round trip.

 

"Return to Oxford, please." (said to a railway ticket agent in London)

Verbatum from Gary Oldman in the 2011 remake of *Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy*

 

AMER would be, "A round-trip ticket to Oxford, please."

 

Edited by: flashback42 on Mar 22, 2012 5:47 AM

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BRIT: Breeze blocks (bricks made from ashes of coal, coke, etc, held together by cement, and used in building walls not meant to bear weight.)

 

 

AMER: Cinder block

 

 

..."a dirty thing of breeze blocks and strands of barbed wire... East and West of the Wall lay the unrestored parts of Berlin..."

 

 

From John Le Carre's description of the Berlin Wall in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold.

 

 

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BRIT: Agony Aunt *

Amer: Advice Columnist (of the Lonelyhearts / Dear Abby / Ann Landers variety)

 

*... From an offhand remark by Denholm Elliott in John Le Carre`s *A Murder of Quality* (1990, Thames TV / A&E)

 

*...Hear it with the Brit pronounciation of "Aunt"; it does give a giggle.

 

Edited by: flashback42 on Jul 19, 2012 2:50 AM

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BRIT: Redbrick College.

AMER: No comparable American expression; the nearest similar idea is -- not from the Big Three (Yale, Harvard, Princeton).

 

The UK reference to building material is not literal. A campus may use marble and granite from the finest quarries, but if the institution is not Oxford or Cambridge -- it's redbrick. Less socially powerful, certainly involving a less prestigious Degree.

 

Edited by: flashback42 on Aug 15, 2012 1:29 AM

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BRIT: "I think I'll visit your facilities, first. I think I had a dodgy egg. I shall join you presently." *

AMER: "I need to hit the john. I ate something that disagreed with me. I'll be right back."

 

*...Verbatim from Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes on CBS TV's *Elementary*, aired 12/29/2012.

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