You Say Tomato

A reader from North America writes to get some clarification:

WTF is a whinge?

Animal, vegetable, part of a dialect?

Seriously, I hear you and Belle use it, but that
particular word doesn't exist on our side of the

Eh, do you prop a door in a hurry with it,
like if you're making out in your bedroom and your mom
comes home - “Oh shit, she's here, throw the whinge
under the door”?


Huh, I didn’t even realize whinge was a chiefly British word. Josh, it means to complain or protest, especially in an annoying or persistent manner. It’s also synonymous with whine. But I like your definition better.

In the interests of cross-Atlantic understanding, and as a Reference when reading Brit blogs, I've decided to bring you a guide to Commonly Used English Expressions. Well, the ones I could think of at least.

Ass – A butt, only posher. Should be pronounced like the word “car”. Elongate the a sound. Try it: “She’s got a great ass”. This roughly translates as “she has a lovely posh butt”.

Bank Holiday – This is when the Banks close and we’re allowed to go to crammed beaches and get ridiculously sun burnt. Also known as National Holidays in North America.

Bloke – A guy, a man, dude. As in “some bloke was just looking for you, Charlie.”

Bloody – The best word in the English language. An adjective for something that bothers or frustrates someone, as in “I’m bloody well not going into that bloody band recital so you can bloody well piss off, you bloody twat”.

Courgette – A zucchini. Courgette is French, zucchini, Italian.

Crisps – Potato chips. In New Zealand they call them chips too.

Fag – Yes, we actually do use this as slang for a cigarette. I’ve seen many an American look petrified when asked if they’d “like a fag”.

Fortnight – Two weeks. The amount of time it takes for me to track down a replacement passport form.

Fit –Attractive, sexy, cute. As in “The barman’s fit, I think I might flash him some leg.”

Geezer – in the dictionary Geezer is defined as “an old person, especially an eccentric old man” but I would more commonly use it as someone who’s a bit of a wheeler / dealer, a bit dodgy – a wide boy.

Innit – slang for “isn’t it” for when we use our mockney accent (mock cockney accent) which everyone in London seems to now and then. Innit is kind of like the Canadian eh and comes at the end of a sentence – “She’s been gone a long time, innit”.

Knackered – Means tired, as in this cockney rhyming slang: “I’m absolutely cream crackered”.

Mum – What we call our mothers.

Nosh – Food, to eat. “We’re just popping out to get some nosh.”

Nought – Means nothing, as in “There’s nought wrong with gayers”. Comes from a North England dialect.

Off License (or Offy) – Liquor Store. Often populated outside by underage kids asking you to buy fags and cider for them.

Pants – knickers / underwear. This is one of the Brit’s favourite words. They use it as a put down (“The movie was pants”) and if anyone says pants when they should have said trousers, they will point and giggle hysterically. You have been warned.

Post – Mail.

Public School In Great Britain: any of various private schools maintained by the community, wholly or partly under public control, or maintained largely by endowment and not carried on chiefly for profit - like Eton, Harrow, and Winchester. In the United States, a free primary, grammar, or high school maintained by the local government. Clear as mud.

Quid – A buck. “That’ll be six quid, please”.

Shag - Have sex with. I shag, you shag, we all shag. Can also be used as a noun, as in “Did you get a shag last night at the party?”

Skive – To take a day off work without actually being ill. “I didn’t feel like going in yesterday, so I skived instead”.

Snog – a kiss, to make out. “I snogged his face off” or “You’re fit, giss a snog”.

The Tube – Colloquial name for the London Subway. Also known as the Underground or “where I spent two hours of my life yesterday, stuck in a tunnel trying not to vomit in the stifling heat”.

This has been a NEDITW Public Announcement. Thank you and Goodnight.


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