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In the lyrics of Friends Will Be Friends by Queen:

Another red letter day
So the pound has dropped and the children are creating.

What does the phrase highlighted in bold mean?

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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Queen is a British band, and this usage of the intransitive create is British colloquial for "create a fuss", "make noise", or nearly, as ukayer says, "create havoc". The Compact Oxford Dictionary has this:

2 [no object] British informal make a fuss; complain:
   little kids create because they hate being ignored

The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary has this:

create verb (BE ANGRY) /kriˈeɪt/
[I] UK old-fashioned to show that you are angry
   If she sees you with an ice cream she'll only start creating.

The Collins Pocket English Dictionary has this:

4. (Brit slang) to make an angry fuss,

Dictionary.com (based on Random House dictionary) has this:

verb (used without object)
8. British. to make a fuss.

The Collins English Dictionary — Complete and Unabridged also has this:

6. (intr) Brit slang to make a fuss or uproar

See also this post by lynneguist on Separated By a Common Language, where I first encountred the term. It's used mostly for little children (or those considered little children), rather than adults.

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Creating as in "creating havoc", i.e. helping to make the day even worse.

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May I ask how you know that that's what that means? –  Joshua Karstendick Nov 11 '10 at 14:20
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That's just my interpretation of the lyric. In Britain, you might such a phrase as "the children are creating" with the listener left to interpret the phrase as "creating havoc" based on the context. You'd have to read the entire lyric not just the line in question. –  ukayer Nov 14 '10 at 18:20
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