Category Archives: English language

Foolish Questions…


Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Today, I received a copy of a clipping of the poem titled “Human Anatomy” from my dear niece Fiona Devotta Vazirani.

I remember having first read this humoristic poem  in the mid-1990s. Since then it had appeared in many newspapers and clippings – sometimes with long titles such as “Let’s call it, unsolved mysteries of anatomy” and at times without any title at all.

The author was William Rossa Cole.

Here is that poem appearing under the title “Foolish Questions” (adapted) from “Oh, Such Foolishness” (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1978) as found in Kids Pick the Funniest Poems, edited by Bruce Lansky (Meadowbrook Press, 1991).

Foolish Questions
by William Cole

 

Where can a man buy a cap for his knee?
Or a key for the lock of his hair?

And can his eyes be called a school?
I would think there are pupils there!

What jewels are found in the crown of his head,
And who walks on the bridge of his nose?

Can he use, in building the roof of his mouth,
the nails on the ends of his toes?

Can the crook of his elbow be sent to jail?
If it can, well, then, what did it do?

And how does he sharpen his shoulder blades?
I’ll be hanged if I know – do you?

Can he sit in the shade of the palm of his hand,
and beat time with the drum in his ear?

Can the calf of his leg eat the corn on his toe?

There’s somethin’ pretty strange around here!

William Rossa Cole, an American editor, anthologist, columnist, author, and writer of light verse was born on November 20, 1919, to William Harrison Cole and Margaret O’Donovan-Rossa of Staten Island, New York. He was the grandson of the Irish national hero, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.

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William Rossa Cole during WWII (Source: crooklynrai.org)
William Rossa Cole during WWII (Source: crooklynrai.org)

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William Cole served in the infantry in Europe in World War II, rising to sergeant and receiving the Purple Heart. After military service, he entered the publishing industry. He served as publicity director at Alfred A. Knopf, publicity director and editor at Simon & Schuster, and publisher of William Cole Books at Viking Press. He was a columnist for The Saturday Review, a vice president of PEN American Center and a member of the governing board of the Poetry Society of America and the executive board of Poets and Writers.

William Cole wrote children’s books and light verse. His whimsical poetry appeared often in Light Quarterly and was widely anthologized, He was an author, co-author, editor, and co-editor, of about 75 books of which 50 were anthologies. The American Library Association were honoured three of his books:

  1. In 1958, “I Went to the Animal Fair: A Book of Animal Poems” which was on the List of Notable Children’s Books of 1940–1959.
  2. In 1964, “Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls: Poems“.
  3. In 1965, “The Birds and Beasts Were There: Animal Poems” .

His marriage to Peggy Bennett in 1947 and his marriage to Galen Williams in 1967 both ended in divorce.

William Cole died on August 2, 2000, in his Manhattan home, aged 80.

Seamus Heaney, Member of the Royal Irish Academy and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995 memorialized William Cole in a poem.

In Memory of Bill Cole
by Seamus Heaney

As Dante when he entered Purgatory

Was greeted by Casella, and the song

Casella sang sweetened his memory

Of earthly love and music and their long

Afternoons of wine and poetry,

So I, when I heard that William Cole had gone

Among the shades, imagined him and me

Meeting in an earthly paradise

Where we’d never met on earth, in Co. Derry,

On the banks of the Moyola, and his voice

Rising to sing in an Irish tenor brogue

MacCormack might have envied, or James Joyce,

Or Moore in Avoca, by Avonmore and Beg,

River-rhyming, over-brimming, young

At heart again, and younger song by song—

For always Bill belonged in Tir na n-Og.*

*“Tir na n-Og” means “land of youth” in Irish

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“Love me or hate me, both are in my favour, …” Did William Shakespeare Really Say That?


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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'Love me or hate me' - fake Shakespeare quote

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I came across the above posted on Facebook.

Love me or hate me, both are in my favor. 
If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart.
If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.

This quote now circulating on Facebook is another case of attribution of something to William Shakespeare that was not really said by him. I cannot find any official attribution of this quote and it definitely falls victim to the “Shakespeare said so” syndrome.

The fact that this quote uses “you” for the singular subjective and “your” for the possessive is sufficient proof that the bard did not write this because in Shakespearean English these words would be “thou” and “thy.”

Does anyone have an idea where this quote came from?

Maybe this quote is a perverted version of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 90: Then Hate Me When Thou Wilt; If Ever, Now

Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an after-loss:
Ah! do not, when my heart hath ‘scaped this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquered woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purposed overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite,
But in the onset come: so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune’s might;
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compared with loss of thee, will not seem so.

So, don’t be surprised if one of these days someone posts on the social media that the Holy Bible was another work of the Bard of Avon and many would click “Like” and repost the same!

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Anandibai Joshee: First Indian Woman to Qualify as a Doctor in USA in 1886 – Part 1


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Myself  .

By T.V. Antony Raj

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The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, founded in 1850, changed its name to the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMPC) in 1867. It was the first medical institution in the world established to train women in medicine and offer them the M.D., degree.

The Dean's Reception at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, October 10, 1885. (Photo: Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine)
Dean’s Reception at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, October 10, 1885. (Photo: Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine)

In the above photograph taken on October 10, 1885, are three students of the WMPC. This and many other images now reside in the archives of Drexel University, which absorbed the successor to the WMCP, in 2003.

All three women became the first woman from their respective countries to get a degree in western medicine. They are:

(1) Dr.Anandabai Joshee, Seranysore, India.

(2) Dr. Kei Okami, Tokio, Japan.

(3) Dr. Tabat M. Islambooly, Damascus, Syria.

The saree-clad woman with a determined look is Anandibai Joshee from India.

Anandibai Joshi was the first of two Indian women to receive a degree in Western medicine in 1886. The other was Kadambini Ganguly, a Graduate of Bengal Medical College.

Anandibai is also believed to be the first Hindu woman to set foot on American soil. This is her story.

Anandibai Joshi in 1886. (Photo: Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine)
Anandibai Joshi in 1886. (Photo: Legacy Center Archives, Drexel University College of Medicine)

Anandibai was born as Yamuna on March 31, 1865, in Kalyan, in Thane District, Maharashtra, India. Her father, Ganapatrao Joshee, hailed from the orthodox Brahmin family of the Peshwas. The Joshees ran a joint family and for three generations were staying under the same roof. The family was now impoverished. They had some ancestral land and a dilapidated building.

In those days, the tradition among orthodox Brahmins was to get a girl married before she reached puberty. Otherwise, their society considered it a public disgrace to the family.

When Yamuna turned nine and nearing puberty, her parents became desperate. They did not have enough monetary resources to offer a handsome dowry. They were ready to accept any male who would marry the girl after accepting the meagre dowry which they could afford to give.

A postal clerk in Kalyan, 25-year-old Gopalrao Joshee, resided in Thane. He was a widower. Some considered him an eccentric for his romantic obsession of remarriage of widows. He also sought education of women, which was a taboo among the Hindus in India at that time. Some, even said that his first wife Savitri died, unable to bear his bullying her to read and write Marathi.

When someone suggested Gopalrao’s name as a prospective groom, Yamuna’s family immediately showed interest. The only condition laid by Gopalrao was that her parents should permit him to educate the girl. Yamuna’s family accepted his condition and fixed the marriage.

A few days, after agreeing to marry Yamuna, the romantic Gopalrao changed his mind. His idea of marrying a widow still haunted him. He left home without telling anyone with the intention of getting married to a widow in Poona. But when that woman came to know that he was an ordinary postal clerk, she refused to see him. When the dejected groom returned to Kalyan, the muhurta (auspicious moment) had passed. So, the marriage took place at a later date.

After the marriage, Gopalrao changed his wife’s name Yamuna to Anandi. He took care of his child bride almost like a father. During his leisure hours, Gopalrao started teaching Anandi to read and write Marathi. He instilled in her a desire to learn more.

It was common for Brahmins, in those times, to be proficient in Sanskrit. But Gopalrao influenced by Lokhitawadi’s Shat Patre, considered learning English more important. So, to avoid the interference of her parents in her education, Gopalrao got himself transferred to Alibag, Calcutta, Kolhapur, etc.

In due course of time, Anandi metamorphosed into an intellectual girl with an excellent knowledge of English.

Gopalrao was much impressed with the zeal of the Christian missionaries in the field of women’s education. He understood that education for women was the key to the prosperity of a nation. So, he wanted to set an example by giving a higher education to his own wife.

When Anandi was 14, she gave birth to a boy. But the baby died within 10 days due to non-availability of proper medical care. This proved the turning point in Anandi’s life. Encouraged by her husband, she vowed to become a physician.

While stationed in Kolhapur, Gopalrao met an American Christian lady missionary. Due to her influence he gave serious thought to becoming a Christian. He thought of sending his wife to America for higher education with the help of the Christian missionaries.

So, in 1880, Gopalrao sent a letter to Royal Wilder, an American missionary if he could help his wife to study medicine in America. Wilder replied that he would help in his wife’s education if he and his wife agree to convert to Christianity. The condition proposed by Wilder was not acceptable to him and his wife. However, Wilder was gracious enough to Gopalrao’s appeal in Princeton’s Missionary Review.

Mrs. Theodicia Carpenter, a resident of Roselle, New Jersey, United States, happened to read it while waiting to see her dentist. Impressed by Gopalrao’s desire to help his wife study medicine in America, she wrote to him. Anandi wrote back to Mrs. Carpenter, and a friendship sprouted from their correspondence. Anandi’s earnest desire to study medicine in America prompted her to offer accommodation for Anandi in America if she so desired. A physician couple named Thorborn suggested to Anandi to apply to the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.

In Calcutta, Anandi’s health declined. Mrs. Carpenter sent medicines from America.

In 1883, Gopalrao was transferred to Serampore, in Hooghly District, West Bengal. So, Gopalrao decided to send Anandi alone to America to pursue her medical studies, despite her poor health. She was a bit uncertain about travelling alone across the sea, but Gopalrao convinced her to set an example for other women.

Next → Anandibai Joshee: Part 2 

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The British English Slang: Q to Z


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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British English Slang Q to Z

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.Q

Queer as a clockwork orange: Very odd indeed; ostentatiously homosexual.

Queer Street: A difficult or odd situation, e.g. “up Queer Street”.

Queer someone’s pitch: Take the pitch of another street vendor, busker or similar; spoil someone else’s efforts.

Quim: Vagina (possibly a play on the Welsh word for valley, cwm).

R

Rat arsed: Drunk, sloshed; plastered; loaded.

Richard the Third: A piece of excrement (rhyming slang Richard the Third = turd).

Ring: Anal sphincter.

Ringburner: A curry; diarrhoea; painful defecation.

Roger: To copulate; to screw; to have your wicked way with a lady.

Rozzer: Policeman.

Rubber Johnny: Condom.

Rumpy pumpy: A phrase used as a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

S

Savvy (from the French, savoir): Knowledge; understanding.

Scally, scallywag: A hooligan youth.

Scarper: Run away.

Scouser: A person from Liverpool.

Scrote: Term of abuse, from scrotum.

Scrubber: A promiscuous woman (in Britain); a common or working class woman (in Ireland).

Scrummy: A word used to describe some food that was particularly good, and probably sweet and fattening.

Scrump: To steal fruit, especially apples.

See a man about a dog: What a person would say as an excuse for leaving, to hide their real destination, to attend a secret deal or meeting. This phrase is also used to excuse oneself to go to the toilet to shit.

Shag: Sexual intercourse.

Shagged: The past historic of shag; extremely tired, e.g. “shagged out”.

Shambolic: A state of chaos.

Shiner: Black eye.

Shitehawk: Someone of little worth.

Shit-faced: Drunk.

Shirty: Ill-tempered, insolent.

Shufti: To take a look at something. An old Arabic word, picked up by British soldiers during World War II, in North Africa.

Sixes and sevens: In a mess; topsy turvy; somewhat haywire!

Skanky: Dirty, particularly of a marijuana pipe.

Skew-whiff: Crooked.

Skint: Without money.

Skive: a lazy character; a useless person; avoid doing something.

Slag: Worthless or insignificant person; a promiscuous woman; a prostitute.

Slag off: A verbal attack; to criticise or slander; to bad mouth in a nasty manner.

Slap-head: A bald man.

Slap and tickle: making out or heavy petting.

Slapper: An oversexed female; a tart; a tramp; promiscuous woman; prostitute.

Slash: Urinate; urination; pee; piss; piddle; siphon the python; shake the snake; wee; having a jimmy.

Sling one’s hook: Go away.

Sloshed: Drunk; plastered.

Smarmy: A smoothy, who has a way with the ladies.

Snog: French kiss; any prolonged physical intimacy without undressing or sexual contact.

Snookered: Placed in a bad situation.

Sod: Annoying person or thing (derived from sodomite).

Sod off: Piss off; go away.

Spawny: Lucky.

Spend a penny: Use the restroom.

Spunk: Semen; ejaculate; courage; bravery.

Stag Night: Bachelor Party

Starkers: Fully naked.

Steaming: Extremely drunk; extremely angry.

Stonker: A boner.

Strawberry creams: Breasts.

Stuffed: Sexual intercourse, e.g. “get stuffed”; used negatively to mean bothered, e.g. “I can’t be stuffed to do that!”; having a full belly, e.g. “I am completely stuffed, and can’t eat another thing.”

T

Tad: A little bit.

Take the mickey: To tease; to mock.

Take the piss (out of), taking the piss: Messing and screwing around; making fun of; to mock.

Tart: A prostitute; a term of abuse for a woman; used affectionately for a lover; shortened version of sweetheart.

Tickety-Boo: Phrase that means everything is going well.

Todger: Dick.

Toff: A person belonging to the upper class; a posh person.

Ton: A large unspecified amount (18th century); £100 (1940s); 100 MPH (1950s); any unit of 100 (1960s), e.g. a century scored in cricket.

Tosh: total bullshit, nonsense or rubbish.

Tosser: Idiot; a derogatory term for a male masturbator; an affectionate form of address, e.g. “All right you old tosser!”.

Tosspot: Drunkard; habitual drinker.

Tube: The London Underground (19th century. Originally ‘Tuppeny tube’); Penis; a person (Scottish); a general term of contempt (Irish, 1950s).

Twat: Vagina; a term of abuse; to hit hard.

Twig and berries: male genitalia, the penis and balls.

U

Up for it: Willing to have sex.

Up The Duff: Pregnant.

W

Wacky backy: marijuana.

Wag off: Skyve; play truant.

Wank: Masturbation; to masturbate; inferior.

Wanker: Masturbator; Idiot; abusive term for someone the speaker doesn’t like.

Wankered: Very drunk; exhausted.

Wanking spanner: Hand.

Warts and all: Including all negative characteristics.

Wazzock: Stupid.

Whinge: Whine.

Whizz: Urination; to move very fast.

Wicked: Cool!

Willy: Penis (hypocorism).

Willy-waving: Acting in an excessively macho fashion.

Wind up: Tease; irritate; annoy; anger.

Wonky: Not right

Y

Yank: Septic tank.

Z

Zonked: Tired.

 

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The British English Slang: K to P


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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British English Slang K to P

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K

Keep your pecker up: Keep your chin up.

Khazi, karzy, kharsie: A privy; toilet.

Kip: Sleep; nap; bed; lodging; brothel (mainly Irish).

Knackered: Extremely tired; broken; useless.

Knackers: Vulgar name for testicles.

Knees up: A lively party or dance.

Knob: Penis (noun); to have sexual intercourse (verb).

Knob-end: Ttip of penis; an idiot.

Knob Head: Dickhead; an idiot; a stupid; an irritating person.

Knob jockey: Homosexual.

Knock off: To steal it, not to copy it!

Knock up: To wake someone up.

Knockers: Women’s breasts.

Knocking shop: A Brothel.

Know one’s onions: Knowledgeable; to be well acquainted with a subject.

L

Lag: Convict, particularly a long serving one (an old lag).

Lash: Urinate; alcohol.

Lashed: Inebriated.

Laughing gear: Mouth.

Leg it: Run or run for it.

Local: A public house close to one’s home.

Lolly: Money.

Loo: Lavatory.

Lost the plot: Gone crazy; become mentally unstable.

Lurgy: Sick; under the weather.

M

Manky: Dirty; filthy.

Marbles: Wits. As in, to lose one’s marbles.

Mare: A derogatory term for a Woman.

Mark: A suitable victim for a con or swindle.

Mate: Friend; chum.

Matelot: Sailor (derived from the French).

Meat and Two Veg: Euphemism for male genitalia. Also used sometimes to mean something unremarkable or ordinary.

Mental: Crazy; insane.

Mick: A derogatory term for an Irishman.

Miffed: Upset or offended.

Minge: Vagina.

Minger: Someone who smells.

Minted: Wealthy.

Mizzle: Decamp.

Moggy: Cat.

Moke: Donkey.

Monged (out): Severely drunk.

Mooch: Loiter or wander aimlessly; skulk.

Moolah: Money.

Moon: To expose one’s backside.

Moony: Crazy; foolish.

Morish or moreish: Need more!

Muck about: Waste time; interfere with.

Mucker: Mate; pal.

Muck in: Share a duty or workload.

Mufti: An old army term for civilian dress worn by someone who normally wears a military uniform. The word probably derived from the Muslim dress, popularly worn by British officers serving in India during the 19th century. Now commonly used to refer to a non-uniform day in schools.

Mug: Face; a gullible or easily swindled person.

Munta: Ugly person.

Mush: Face or mouth. Example: “shut your mush”.

N

Naff: Inferior or in poor taste.

Nancy boy: looking pathetic.

Nark: In a bad mood; grumpy (an old nark); annoy or irritate; a spy or informant.

Ned: A lout; a drunken brawling fellow; a tough guy. Sometimes equated with the English chav.

News: Looking pathetic; a bit of a Nancy boy.

Nick: Steal; police station or prison; to arrest; health condition, e.g. “to be in good nick”.

Nicked: Stolen; arrested.

Nob: A person of high social standing; head.

Nobble: Disable (particularly a racehorse).

Nod out: To lapse into a drug induced stupor.

Nonce: A prison slang for Sex offender, most commonly a child molester.

Nookie or nooky: Sexual intercourse.

Nose rag: Handkerchief.

Nosh: Food; to eat.

Nosh up: A feast or large, satisfying meal.

Nowt: Nothing.

Numpty: Incompetent or unwise person.

Nut: Head; an eccentric person.

Nutcase: An insane person.

Nuthouse: A lunatic asylum.

Nutmeg: In association football, to pass the ball between an opposing player’s legs.

Nuts or nutty: Crazy or insane.

Nutter: Crazy person; insane person.

O

Odds and sods: Miscellaneous items or articles; bits and pieces. Substitute for ‘odds and ends’.

Oik: A derogatory term for someone of a lower social standing.

Off one’s head or out of one’s head: Mad or delirious.

Off one’s trolley: Mad; out of one’s mind.

Off the hook: Free from obligation or danger.

Off one’s nut: Crazy or foolish.

Off to Bedfordshire: Going to bed.

Old Bill: A policeman or the police collectively.

On the piss: binge drinking to get totally smashed.

On the pull: Looking for sexual intercourse.

One’s head off: Loud or excessively, e.g. “I laughed my head off.”

Owt: Anything.

P

Packet: A large sum of money, e.g. “earn a packet”; a nasty surprise, e.g. “catch a packet”.

Paddy: A fit of temper; a derogatory term for an Irishman.

Paki: A derogatory term for a Pakistani. Sometimes used to loosely describe anyone or anything from the Indian sub- continent.

Paki-bashing: Unprovoked attacks on Pakistanis living in Britain.

Pants: Panties; total crap.

Parky: Cold weather.

Paste: To hit, punch or beat soundly.

Pasting: A sound thrashing or heavy defeat.

Pavement Pizza: A euphemism for puke or vomit.

Peanuts: Cheap.

Pear shaped: Become a disaster.

Peepers: Eyes.

Penny-dreadful: A cheap, sensationalist magazine.

Phiz or phizog: The face (from a 17th-century colloquial shortening of physiognomy).

Pickled: Drunk.

Pie-eyed: Drunk.

Pig’s ear: Cockney slang rhyming with beer; something that has been badly done or has been made a mess of.

Pikey: Pejorative term used, mainly in England to refer to travellers, gypsies or vagrants. Sometimes also used to describe people of lower social class or morals.

Pillock: Stupid or annoying person.

Pinch: Steal; robbery; sail too close to the wind (nautical slang).

Pissed, pissed up: Drunk

Pip pip: An out-dated expression meaning goodbye.

Piss up: A drinking session.

Plastered: Fully drunk.

Plonk: A pejorative word used to describe red wine of poor quality.

Plonker: Something large or substantial; penis.

Porkies: Old Cockney rhyming word for “lies”, derived from “pork pies,” which rhymes with lies.

Potty: A little crazy; looney; one card short of a full deck.

Puff: Fart.

Pukka: Super or smashing.

Pull: Looking for birds.

Punt: To gamble, wager or take a chance; to sell or promote.

Punter: Gambler; a victim in a confidence trick or swindle; a customer, patron or a client of a prostitute.

Pussy: Cat as in “pussy cat”, or in the fairytale, Puss in Boots; female genitalia.

Put a sock in it: Shut up.

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The British English Slang: D to J


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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British English Slang D to J

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D

Daft: Stupid.

Daft cow: A stupid person.

Darbies: Handcuffs.

Debag: To remove another person’s trousers by force.

Dear: Expensive.

Dekko: Look. Derived from Hindi.

Dick: Fellow; penis.

Dicky: Feel sick.

Dip: Pickpocket.

Dishy: Attractive; good looking.

Div: idiot (prison slang)

Do: A party; prosecute.

Do one’s nut: Get angry.

Dobber: Penis.

Doddle: Something simple or easy to do.

Dodgy: Suspicious; something risky, difficult or dangerous.

Dog: A fellow; a rough or unattractive woman.

Dog’s Bollocks: Awesome; extremely good; favorable; great; really fantastic. Sometimes abbreviated to, “it’s the dog’s”.

Dog’s dinner: Make a real mess of something; ugly.

Done up like a kipper: Beaten up; fitted up or framed; caught red-handed by the police.

Donkey’s years: For ages; a very long time. Sometimes abbreviated to, “donkey’s”.

Doofer: An unnamed object.

Dosser: A person who might stay in a dosshouse.

Dosshouse: A cheap boarding house frequented by tramps.

Dressed like a dog’s dinner: Wears clothes inappropriate for the occasion or too formal.

Duck: A term of endearment used in the North of England.

Duff: Useless, junk, trash; broken, not working; pregnant (up the duff).

Duffer: A useless person.

E

Earwig: To eavesdrop.

Eating irons: Cutlery.

End away: To have sex.

F

Fag: Cigarette.

Fag end: The used stub of a cigarette, and by extension the unpleasant and worthless loose end of any situation.

Fanny: Vagina; a woman’s front bits; female external genitalia; a woman’s pudendum.

Fanny Adams: Nothing at all. A euphemism for fuck all. Usually preceded by ‘sweet’ and often abbreviated to F.A., S.F.A. or sweet F.A.

Fanny around: Procrastinate.

Fence: A person who deals in stolen property.

Fiddle sticks: A swear word.

Filch: To steal or pilfer.

Filth (the): The police (derogatory).

Fit: Hot or sexually desirable.

Fit up: A frame up.

Flasher: A person who exposes oneself indecently.

Flick: The cinema; motion picture; film.

Flog: To sell.

Flog a dead horse: Try to find a solution to an unsolvable problem; to continue talking about a long forgotten topic.

Flutter: To place a wager, usually a small one by someone who is not a serious gambler.

Fly: Clever; quick witted.

Fork out: To pay out, usually with some reluctance.

French letter: Condom.

Frig: To masturbate.

Frig around or frig about: To behave aimlessly or foolishly.

Frigging: The act of masturbating; used as an intensifier, e.g. “You frigging idiot”. Considered milder than ‘fucking idiot’.

Frog: A derogatory term for a Frenchman.

Fruity: Frisky.

Fuck all: Nothing at all

Full of beans: To have loads of energy.

Fuzz (the): The police.

G

Gaff: House or flat.

Gaffer: Employer; boss; foreman.

Gagging: Desperate; not nice.

Gallivanting: Fooling around; horseplay.

Gander: To look around. Usually preceded by ‘have a’ or ‘take a’.

Gash: Surplus to requirements, unnecessary; a derogatory term used for female genitalia.

Gassed: Drunk.

Geezer: An old man.

Gen: Information.

Gen up: Do research; get some information.

Git: Incompetent; stupid; annoying; childish person.

Give you a bell: Call you.

Go down: To go to prison.

Go spare: To become angry; frustrated; distressed; enraged.

Gob: Mouth; spittle; to spit.

Gobby: Opinionated.

Gobshite: A stupid or despicable person.

Gobsmacked: Amazed; awed; flabbergasted; dumbfounded; astounded; speechless.

Gogglebox: Television.

Gong: A medal. Usually a military one.

Goolies: The male genitals and in particular the testicles.

Gormless: Clueless.

Grot: Rubbish or dirt.

Grub: Food.

Guff: Ridiculous talk; nonsense; flatulence.

Gutted: Really upset.

H

Half-inch: To steal. Rhyming slang for ‘pinch’.

Hampton: Penis.

Hampton Rock: Rhyming slang for ‘Cock’.

Hampton Wick: Rhyming slang for ‘Prick’.

Handbags: A harmless fight, especially between two women.

Hard cheese: Bad luck.

Helmet: The glans of the penis.

Hen Party: Bachelorette Party

Her Majesty’s Pleasure: Incarcerated; to be put in prison with no release date!

Honk: Vomit.

Hook: To steal.

Hook it: To run away quickly.

Hooky or hookey: Something that is stolen. Loosely used to describe anything illegal.

Hooter: Nose.

Horses for courses: Won’t work for someone else

How is Your Father?”: Euphemism for sexual intercourse or other sexual activity. Read my article “How is your father?

Hump: To carry or heave; have sex.

Hunky-dory: Excellent; cool and groovy; going according to plan; no worries; going well.

I

Idiot box: Television.

Inside: In or into prison.

It’s Monkeys Outside!: It’s very cold outside!

Ivories: Teeth; the keys of a piano; dice.

J

Jacksy or jacksie: The buttocks or anus.

Jack the lad: A young man regarded as a show off and is brash or loud.

Jack up: Inject an illegal drug.

Jag: A drug taking, or sometimes drinking, binge; a period of uncontrolled activity.

Jammy: Lucky; flukey; pleasant; desirable.

Jerry: A chamber pot; a German; a German soldier.

Jessie: An effeminate man; one that is weak or afraid.

Jism or jissom: Semen.

Jock: Word or term of address for a Scot.

Joe Bloggs: An average, typical or unremarkable man.

Joe Soap: An idiot; stooge; scapegoat.

Johnny or Johnny bag: Condom.

John Thomas: Penis.

Josser: A simpleton.

Jump: Sexual intercourse.

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The British English Slang: A to C


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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British English Slang A to C

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A

Absobloodylootely: Yes!

Ace: Awesome.

Aggro: Short for aggravation; trouble.

All mouth and (no) trousers: All talk and no action; a braggart; sexual bravado. (The inclusion or otherwise of “no” in the expression is disputed.)

All piss and wind: Only talk and no action. Originally the19th century phrase was, “all wind and piss”.

All to cock (or all a-cock): Unsatisfactory; mixed up.

Argy-bargy: An argument; confrontation.

Arse: The buttocks; someone who acts in a manner which is incompetent or otherwise disapproved of.

Arse about face: Doing something back to front.

Arse around: Mess around; or waste time.

Arse bandit: A derogatory term homosexual.

Arse over elbow: Head over heels.

Arse over tit: Head over heels; to fall over or take a tumble; embarrassing fall; to topple over. (Another version of arse over elbow, but a bit more graphic!)

Arsehole: The anus (a general derogatory term).

B

Baccy: tobacco, the sort you use to roll your own.

Ball bag: Scrotum.

Balls up: A bungled or messed up situation. (WWI Service slang)

Bang: Having sex.

Bang to rights: Caught in the act.

Bang up: To lock up in prison (prison slang); to inject an illegal drug.

Barmy: Crazy; nsane; a derogatory remark.

Barney: A noisy quarrel or fight

Bee’s Knees: Awesome.

Bellend: The end part of a penis.

Belt up: Shut up.

Bender: A derogatory term for a homosexual; a pub crawl; a heavy drinking session.

Bent: A dishonest or corrupt person; homosexual (mildly derogatory).

Bent as a nine bob note: Extremely dishonest or corrupt. A shilling (bob) note never existed and would therefore have to be counterfeit.

Berk: An idiot; stupid person.

Bespoke: Custom Made.

Best of British: Good luck, short for “best of British luck”.

Biggie: Term a child might use for his poo; an erection.

Bird: Girl; woman; jail time.

Birmingham screwdriver: A hammer.

Bizzie: Policeman (Scouse / Liverpool English).

Bladdered: Drunk.

Blag: A robbery (noun); to rob (verb).

Blague: Talking nonsense.

Blah (or blah blah): Worthless, boring or silly talk.

Blighty (or Old Blighty): Britain; home. Used especially by British troops serving abroad or expatriates.A relic of British India, probably from the Hindi billayati, meaning a foreign land.

Blimey!: An exclamation of shock or surprise similar to “My Goodness!” A corruption of the oath “God Blind Me”.

Blinding: Awesome.

Blinkered: Narrow minded; narrow sighted

Bloke: Any man or sometimes a man in authority such as the boss.

Bloody: Damn. One of the most useful swear words in English!

Blooming, blummin’ (archaic): An alternative or euphemism for the word “bloody”. Used as an intensifier e.g. “blooming marvellous”.

Blow me: It is not a request for services to be performed, but an exclamation of surprise. Short for “Blow me down”. It is something like I am so surprised you could knock me over just by blowing. Similar to “Knock me down with a feather”.

Blow off: Fart.

Blue: Policeman; a Tory.

Bo-Peep: Sleep.

Bob’s your uncle: That’s it! This is a well used phrase is added to the end of sentences like “… and that’s it!”

Bobby: Policeman.

Bod: A male person. Short for body.

Bodge (also botch): To make a mess of or to fix poorly.

Bog: Toilet.

Bog off: Go away (originally RAF slang).

Bog Roll: Toilet paper.

Bogtrotter: A derogatory term for an Irishman particularly an Irish peasant.

Bollocking: A severe telling off.

Bollocks: Balls; vulgar term used for testicles; talking rubbish; total shit; useless; nonsense; having poor quality.

Bomb: Expensive; going really well; really fast; to travel at high speed.

Bonce: Head, crown of the head. Also a large playing marble.

Bonk: To have sex

Booze: An alcoholic drink (noun); to drink alcohol (verb), particularly to excess.

Boozer: Someone who consumes alcohol to excess; a pub or bar.

Boracic: without money.skint.

Bottle: Have no fear; Courage after twenty pints of lager; money collected by buskers or street vendors; to attack someone with a broken bottle.

Bounce: To con someone into believing or doing something; to forcibly eject someone; swagger; impudence or cockiness.

Bouncer: A person employed to eject drunks and troublemakers.

Brass: Money; Cheek, nerve; a prostitute.

Brassed off: Fed up; pissed.

Brill: Brilliant; cool.

Bristols: The female breasts.

Bristol bits: Tits.

Bristol City: Titty..

Broke: Without money. Also ‘stoney broke’, or just ‘stoney’.

Brown bread: Dead.

Brown-tongue: Sycophant; toady or a person who attempts to curry favour with another.

Budge up: Move and make some space.

Buff: Bare skin Example: naked as in ‘in the buff’); having a lean, muscular physique (usually referring to a young man).

Bugger: As a term of abuse for someone or something contemptible, difficult or unpleasant; as an endearment, as in ‘you silly bugger’; as an exclamation of dissatisfaction, annoyance or surprise – Jerk, Fuck, Shit; to mean tired or worn out as in ‘I’m absolutely buggered; to mean frustrate, complicate or ruin completely, as in ‘You’ve buggered that up’.

Bugger about (or bugger around): To fool around or waste time; to create difficulties or complications.

Bugger all: Nothing.

Bugger off!: Go away!; Leave me alone!

Bum: Buttocks, anus or both; a tramp; scrounge.

Bumf: Derogatory reference to official memos or paperwork; toilet roll. Shortened from bum fodder.

Bumsucker: A toady, creep or someone acting in an obsequious manner.

Bung: Throw; bribe.

Bunk: To leave inappropriately as in to ‘bunk off’ school or work; to run away in suspicious circumstances as in to ‘do a bunk’.

C

Cabbage: A stupid person or someone with no mental abilities; cloth trimmed from a customer’s material by a tailor; pilfer or steal.

Carzey: A privy; toilet.

Chap: Male; friend.

Charver or charva: Sexual intercourse; a loose woman; someone with whom it is easy to have sexual intercourse; an easy lay; to mess up, spoil or ruin.

Chat Up: Flirt; try and pick someone.

Chav, chavi or chavvy: Child (from the Romany, chavi. Still used in rural areas).

Chav: white trash; a person who is, or pretends to be of a low social standing and who dresses in a certain style, typically badly or in sports clothing. Often used as a form of derogation.

Cheesed off: Fed up; disgusted; angry.

Chin Wag: Chat.

Chip shop: A carpentry.

Chippy: A carpenter.

Chuff: The buttocks; anus.

Chuffed: Pleased; proud.

Cobblers: talk rubbish; a load of bollocks.

Cock: Penis; nonsense; a friend or fellow.

Cockup or cock-up: Screw up; blunder; mess up; botch..

Codswallop: Talking baloney; nonsense.

Collywobbles: An upset stomach; acute feeling of nervousness.

Conk: The head or the nose; to strike the head or nose.

Cop: A policeman (short for copper).

Cor: An expression of surprise similar to “My Goodness!”

Cor blimey: An exclamation of surprise. It is a corruption of the oath “God Blind Me”.

Corker: An outstanding someone or something.

Cottage: A public lavatory.

Cottaging: Homosexual activity in a public lavatory.

Cracker: Someone or something of notable ability or quality.

Cracking: Stunning; the best.

Crackers: Insane.

Cram: Study hard.

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