Following on from my recent blog post on word differences between the UK/US, I'd like to talk about some phrases and words that have gotten me into trouble in the past and most likely will again in the future. Considering both countries speak the same language, there are still a LOT of differences in our use of words. Here are a few examples for you.
"Are you having a fag?" or "Don't step on the fag!" I say the latter to my kids when we're out and about in town. I probably shouldn't, because fag over here is a not so complimentary term for a gay man and should my kids use this word at school, they'd be in for a whole world of trouble thanks to their Mummy. I do try not to say it, but I've been saying it for years and it takes a while for new habits to sink in!
"Got a strop on" At home, we routinely use this phrase when somebody is getting a wee bit mad or having a tantrum at something or other. Again, I say this to the kids regularly because kids being kids, they do have rather a lot of strop ons! Over here however, people look at me in horror thinking I'm talking about a sex toy instead of a tantrum. I'm not! Honest!!
"Pissed" Now this word occurred a lot when I was younger, mostly during my RAF days. But when you say it over here, it means you're mad or angry at something or someone. I often wonder if I've scared people away by telling them I'm pissed, when in fact, I just mean I'm a little bit tipsy.
"I'm going to sit on my bum" One of my favorites and I do say this just for fun sometimes. I love seeing people's faces when they think I just told them I'm going to go and sit on top of a down and out.
"Dustbin Men" You know, I don't even know what they call dustbin men over here. Trash guys? Dustbin men sounds way nicer! When I say this phrase, people look at me like I just told them I'd been abducted by aliens.
So, although I do have to explain myself quite a lot, it can also be fun using some of these phrases on purpose. American people can be very politically correct sometimes, so I'll end this by saying I'd better get back in the kitchen where I belong. Just kidding people, just kidding!