Lost in translation: Time Out’s English-to-English dictionary

Posted at 4:30 pm, August 2, 2012 in Fun London, Olympics & Paralympics
Alvin the American

For all our American-speaking visitors, and for everyone who learned English watching reruns of ‘Three’s Company’, Time Out’s resident Canadian Nick Aveling presents a hugely abridged glossary of our shared mother tongue to get you through your trip to the Games.

All right? [awl-rahyt] adverb
The direct equivalent of ‘How’s it going?’. Don’t be seduced by the audible question mark. Sharing your experiences is frowned upon unless you’re a taxi driver.

Arseholed [ahrs-hohld] adjective
Britons have numerous words for ‘drunk’, each connoting a unique strand in their rich tapestry of inebriation. ‘Bladdered’, ‘blotto’ and ‘trolleyed’ are good ones to try out yourself – locals appreciate it if you make the effort.

Fanny [fan-ee] noun
The one over from ‘bum’ (not a tramp). Be careful with this one. You say, ‘Honey, grab me some tissues and sanitiser from the fanny-pack.’ Brits hear, ‘Honey, grab me some tissues and sanitiser from the vagina-pack.’

Football [foot-bawl] noun
Just admit it, you’ve got this one wrong. The key part of the word being ‘foot’.

Innit [inn-it] contraction
A contraction of ‘isn’t it’ used by Londoners the same way Canadians use ‘eh’: as completely gratuitous vocal punctuation, innit.

Jumper [juhm-per] noun
Let’s hope you packed one of these: London summers often require the wearing of a knitted woollen sweatshirt (although it’s rarely so hot that you’ll actually sweat into it).

Pants [pants] noun, pejorative
1) Underwear. What we call ‘pants’ are here called ‘trousers’. Avoid complaining about wet, dirty or soiled pants in public or you might get thrown out of the restaurant. 2) A pejorative: ‘Those trousers are pants.’

Pissed [pist] adjective
We’ll give you one guess what ‘pissed’ means, and the answer’s not ‘angry’. Yep, yet another word for ‘drunk’.

Rubber [ruhb-er] noun
An eraser used liberally by pencil-wielding schoolkids – not a prophylactic. The British education system is more liberal than yours for sure, but not that liberal.

Rubbish [ruhb-ish] noun
Detritus deposited, correctly, in ‘bins’ (trashcans), but also seen festooning the streets of London like it’s a ticker-tape parade.

Sorry [sor-ee] adjective
The most versatile word in Britain. Meanings include: 1) ‘Out of my way, American scum.’ 2) ‘It’s your fault: I couldn’t be farther from sorry.’ 3) ‘Sorry.’

Toilet [toi-lit] noun
Refers not just to the fixture but also the room containing it. Britons are boldly explicit when it comes to having a wee (or a ‘wazz’, or a ‘slash’).

Have we missed any? Tweet us at @TimeOutLondon.

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