Very British phrases

There are several words and phrases I use on social media without realising that they are culturally or geographically niched. A few that spring to mind are ‘hamfisted’, ‘cheeky’ and ‘trainspotter’.

Below is a selection from this Standard article which is a really good read. Being South African, working for a British company, and with an Irish father I am used to being careful not to use obscure idioms or references that may not cross cultural and geographic borders, but I am always delighted when I hear a phrase with which I am familiar.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

4 thoughts

  1. Murphy’s Law – If it can be done it will be done by some one at some time in the future.

    Example a one way safety critical valve on an aircraft, if it has the same size fittings on both sides, someone will potentially fit it the wrong way around, there by obeying Murphy’s Law.

    By making the valve with different size fittings on either side of the valve so it can only be fitted in line the correct way around it defies Murphy’s Law and is therefore much safer.

  2. Pissed (US)/pissed off (UK) for angry is one of the differences I seem to encounter regularly when I’m reading or editing American stuff. The weird one is the American ‘I could care less’ which means the opposite (I couldn’t care less in UK English).

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