“Silly Brits…”


In honor of the fact that it has been a week since I arrived back in the States, I present to you a small memorial. For the two weeks I was in the UK, I carried a small notebook around with me and jotted down notes and observations as I went. The following is a short list of words that I overheard that I found particularly interesting–and by interesting, I mean silly:

1. Nappie – on the flight to Scotland I saw this word written inside the plane’s lavatory. It means diaper. I don’t understand how they derived the word because there is no “n” in the word diaper at all. However, it is a lot of fun to say. Try saying it out loud three times fast in a British accent…I can’t believe you just did that.

2. Rubbish – Perhaps one of my favorites, it is a word for trash. I always like to imagine a very robust Brit with a monocle saying this while smoking a cigar and reading the daily news. What bothers me about this word is that, contrary to common sense, their trash cans are not labeled as rubbish bins. They are called litter bins. And to that I say, “that’s rubbish!”.

3. Multi-tasking soap – This is what Brits call soap that both moisturizes, cleans, and disinfects. It makes me think that tiny little soap people are busy as work scrubbing my hands, while at the same time cooking dinner and balancing their checkbook.

4. Shoestring vest – I did several double takes when I first read this on a price tag in a clothing store in London. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. How does one make a vest out of shoe laces? Then I realized that the name referenced tank tops. This only confused me more.

5. Jalepinos (without the ˜) – Every morning and evening we would watch BBC news in our flat. And every morning and evening we would see the same Subway commercial featuring one of London’s Olympian athletes. In the ads, each athlete would tell the audience what ingredients were on their “personal best” sandwich. One in particular said that he liked “teriyaki chicken, all the salad, hold the jalepinos”. When he said “jalepinos” he pronounced the “n” like a normal “n” and not a spanish “ñ”. We thought that maybe that was just how that one guy said it, but then we heard it elsewhere in the city and everyone says it wrong.

6. The registered un-waged – I always thought that America was super PC, but the Brits may have us beat with this word. It means the people who are unemployed. They also don’t call people “poor”, they call them “lower class”, which sounds a lot worse in my opinion.

7. ASBOs (pronounced ahs-boz) – An abbreviation for Antisocial Behavior Ordinances, this word was thrown around the newsroom probably every five minutes. Apparently, the Brits have a problem with teenagers running a muck and causing trouble. But, instead of just assuming they were poorly disciplined by parents or had rough childhoods, they have all been labeled as having some form of Antisocial Behavior (which is basically saying that they all have personality disorders) and they have had to implement several ordinances to keep them all in check. For about three days we heard nothing but information about the ASBOs and England’s fattest teenager. Go figure.