Sabtu, 02 Juni 2012

British slang phrases

 
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Haggle - To haggle is to argue or negotiate over a price. Most people that wangle stuff are usually quite good at haggling. I just learnt that in the USA you dicker over a price, particularly for used cars!

Hanky panky - Hanky panky - or "slap and tickle" as some older folks call it - would be making out in America.

Hard - After your 20 pints of lager, the curry or the doner, your average 20 year old feels hard. Since his male organ has no chance of working at this stage, hard clearly refers to something else - it means he is ready to fight anything or anybody or to take on any bet. This is the time to make fun of drunken lads by betting them they can't jump off the end of the pier, hang on to the back of a bus etc.

Hard lines - This is another way of saying hard luck or bad luck. Hash - The thing you call a pound sign! Before you ask, yes it is also something you smoke - see wacky backy. Also to make a real hash of something means you really screwed it up.

Have - This one used to wind me up a treat in Texas. When we were in restaurants with friends, they would say to the waiter something like "Can I get a refill". And the waiter would go and get them a refill. No no no - that's completely wrong. It's "Can I HAVE a refill". Not GET! If you say "Can I GET a refill" in the UK, the waiter will give you a funny look and tell you where to go and GET it - yourself!

Healthy - Healthful. I'm not really sure if this is slang or whether the American use of healthful is the real alternative to the English "healthy". We talk about a healthy lifestyle and about healthy food. I never heard anyone say smoking was "unhealthful" in the US but I suppose that must exist too!

Her Majesty's pleasure - When visiting England, try to avoid being detained at Her Majesty's pleasure. This means being put in prison with no release date!

Hiya - Short for hi there, this is a friendly way of saying hello.

Honking - Honking is being sick or throwing up. Presumably this is a problem in New York where there are signs on the streets that say "No Honking".

Horses for courses - This is a common saying that means each to his own. What suits one person might be horrible for someone else. If my Dad was trying to understand why my brother had wanted to get his ear pierced he might say "Oh well, it's horses for courses I suppose"!

How's your father? - This is a very old term for sex which plays on our apparent British sensitivity. Rather than saying the actual "sex" word you could refer to having a bit of How's your Father, instead - nudge, nudge, wink, wink. The sort of old fashioned saying dragged up by Austin Powers.

Hump - If you have got the hump it means you are in a mood. If you are having a hump, it means you are having sex. Care is advised when you try using these words for the first time. It could be embarrassing!

Hunky-dory - My English dictionary tells me that hunky-dory means excellent. We would generally use it to mean that everything is cool and groovy, on plan, no worries and generally going well.

I'm easy - This expression means I don't care or it's all the same to me. Not to be confused with how easy it is to lure the person into bed! Irony/sarcasm - The cornerstones of British humour. This is one of the biggest differences between the nations. The sense of humour simply doesn't translate too well.

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