English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What does ’er mean in the following phrase?

Ear-bending disapproval from ’er indoors.

share|improve this question

closed as too localized by Roaring Fish, MετάEd, J.R., Hugo, JSBձոգչ Nov 16 '12 at 14:50

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Might the close-voter be so kind as to provide the link that satisfies the general reference criterion in this case? I can’t seem to find it myself. – tchrist Nov 16 '12 at 4:36
Used to represent 'her', 'er' is sometimes used after a consonant sound eg. I'd give 'er one (crude). It's slang, not good written English. – Pete855217 Nov 16 '12 at 5:35
Why people like this question closed? Why?! – qazwsx Nov 16 '12 at 6:34
@Problemania: The question could be improved if you simply explained where you got this from – please do that as a matter of practice. (Generally speaking, without that knowledge, it could be slang, it could be a typo, it could be something else.) As for the close votes, sometimes I'll vote to close after what turns out to be a basic question gets satisfactorily answered, as is the case here with mgb's answer and the ensuing discussion. You don't get penalized for closure – it's not the same as a downvote. – J.R. Nov 16 '12 at 11:09
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Her in a cockney (or at least London) accent. The apostrophe shows a letter (in this case h) isn't voiced

Specifically ’er indoors was the feared but never-seen wife of the main character in the British 80s comedy/drama Minder set in London. It's since become a much more common phrase — at least in BE.

share|improve this answer
I agree it's her but it doesn't even need to be British. Just ask Larry the Cable Guy. – Jim Nov 16 '12 at 4:00
NB: Ask ’er whether her ears hurt != Ask ’er whether ’er ears ’urt. The h in her is routinely dropped in unstressed/nonemphatic positions. This happens in all speakers and accent. The first is normal; the second is h-dropping. – tchrist Nov 16 '12 at 4:33
@tchrist - "'er indoors" was the never-seen wife in a UK 80s TV comedy set in London (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minder_(TV_series)). It's a common London phrase – mgb Nov 16 '12 at 5:36
@mgb and what does "`er indoors" mean as a common London phrase? "a (never-seen but feared) wife"? – qazwsx Nov 16 '12 at 6:37
@Problemania: Evidently, "’er indoors" is a slang pseudonym for the man's wife – much like "the old lady" might be – because a character on a British sitcom used the expression to refer to his overbearing wife, even though the wife was never shown on the programme. Now, the expression is catching on in everyday speech. So, your original statement can be "translated" to: "Loud vocal disapproval from the Missus." – J.R. Nov 16 '12 at 11:58

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.