Within a few months of meeting Stuart I began to learn a new language--or more precisely a different version of my language, American English. It didn't take long for words like 'punters', 'hillmans', or 'quid' to become familiar, or phrases like 'Bob's your uncle' or my son's favorite 'bloody nora', to start appearing in my own vocabulary. And speaking of 'bloody' and to make things clear from the start here, the slang word 'bloody' is not bandied around like Americans imagine it to be. It's a swear word and not normally uttered in polite company. However Stuart and his mates are not polite company, so I hear it a lot.
|Stuart and his 'hillmans' or 'punters'.|
To list just a few:
*Punters ~ People who bet/gamble or customers. Stuart will say 'I had 12 punters on the two o'clock tour.' He also uses the word 'Hillmans' for punters, from the Cockney Rhyming Slang 'Hillman Hunter'. A Hillman Hunter was a car in the 60's and since 'Hunter' rhymes with 'punter', Hillman Hunter or 'Hillmans' became slang for a punter, which is slang for a customer. Confused yet? This one took me a few years to get straight.
*Bob's your uncle. ~ This means everything's going to be OK or go well--"you do this and Bob's your uncle."
*The bee's knee's (or the rude version, 'the dog's bollocks') ~ This means something or someone is great, fabulous, fantastic , for instance "Gerard Butler is the bee's knees".
*Cheerio ~ Stuart says 'cheerio' 'instead of goodbye after a phone conversation. He also does the thing some British people do when they hang up the phone, or 'ring off'. If Stuart says goodbye he'll say it 6 or 7 times, as in "goodbye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye" and fading away into another last "bye".
* A Do ~ A party like the 'Christmas do', or a 'works do', which is a party at work. I still haven't gotten used to adding an 's' onto some words, as in the 'works do', or other words Americans don't normally add an 's' to. The main switch for something is called 'the mains', math is called 'maths', and people up north go to the 'baths'.
*Gutted ~ This is when you're truly disappointed or sad about something, like Stuart is 'gutted' if no one shows up for a tour.
*Knackered ~ Feeling very tired, as in Stuart is 'knackered' after doing five tours.
*Skew-whiff ~ Meaning crooked or off, as in if Stuart hung a shelf it might be a bit 'skew-whiff'.
*Tickety-boo ~ This is if something is going well, up to snuff, or there aren't any problems. We hung some curtains and they were 'tickety boo' but hopefully not 'naff', which means uncool, or stupid, or 'twee' which means too cutesy.
*Sorted ~ To be decided or something put right like, "well that's dinner sorted" or "let's get you sorted with a nice cup of tea". I've discovered that to Brits 'a nice cup of tea' will solve or fix almost anything--"You broke your arm? Well, let's get you a nice cup of tea." (Not really, but almost.)
*Donkey's years ~ This means a long time, as in "it's been donkey's years since I was there." It can also be shortened to 'yonks', like I haven't done that in 'yonks'.
*Lovely-jubbly ~ Means great, excellent, pleased, or having good luck. I just signed for a package at the front door and the delivery man said 'lovely-jubbly' when I had finished. A 'pudding' (any dessert like, "What's for pudding?") can be 'lovely-jubbly' too.
*Oh my giddy aunt! I left my brolly at home and now it's bucketing! means, "Oh my goodness! I left my umbrella at home and it's pouring rain!"
*Chock-a-block ~ When things are crowded, packed, or in traffic jams you would say that it's 'chock-a-block'. It's also shortened to 'chockers', as in "The M25 was chockers this morning."
*Chuffed ~ Happy about something or yourself, like when Stuart is 'chuffed that he had 20 punters on his tour.", or you can be 'chuffed to bits'.
*Swimming costume ~ This is what Americans call a swimsuit and in everyday usage a 'cossie'. Other words are shortened too--pictures into 'piccies', breakfast into 'breakie', brilliant into 'brill' (as in "that just brill!") and television, so don't forget to check what's on 'telly' tonight. Inexplicably Christmas is shortened to 'Crimbo'.
Now when I'm done with something, or finished and going to move on the the next thing, I say 'right' or 'right then', and 'sorted' has started to sneak into my sentences. Like my accent though, which will always be midwest American, I'll probably never use most of these and it will be 'yonks' before my vocabulary is 'chockers' with what makes British English (or 'proper' English as they would say) so unique. And by the way, hopefully when I dropped the eggs this morning none of our 'hillmans' heard me exclaim, "bloody Nora!"