This tag is for questions related to English as spoken in Great Britain, and sometimes Ireland.

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0
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1answer
45 views

Is it right to say that “they have their utopia starting when they see a plate of food and water” [closed]

I have to do a presentation about a third world country next week and I started writing down what I am going to say and I am stuck in the introduction! I am speaking Greek and this phrase make sense ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Difference between “take a taxi” and “get a taxi”

Which of the following is correct? If both are correct, do they have different meanings or usage? Take a taxi/bus/train OR Get a taxi/bus/train
3
votes
1answer
55 views

At X's expense and of X's timber

The following string appears in Jenks, E. "The prerogative writs in English law" Yale Law Journal 32:6 (1923): ...the accused in the meanwhile [was] to be kept in one of the new gaols ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Is the idiom 'keeping well' recognized only in British English?

I've seen the idiom 'keeping well' being used to mean 'in good health' in some contexts where British English is expected. But Americans seem surprised by it. Is that idiom uncommon in American ...
3
votes
1answer
266 views

Where does the word “totty” come from?

There's been a nice bit of totty on TV over the holiday period; that is attractive women. girls or women collectively regarded as sexually desirable: But what is the etymology of the word? It's ...
3
votes
4answers
657 views

How accepted is ‘f***ing’ in informal conversation?

I live in Brazil and speak English as a foreign language. For the past twenty years I've heard people use the adjective fucking more often than ever before in the US: in real life, in movies and on ...
0
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3answers
266 views

Good synonyms for “waste of time”? [closed]

Can't think of any off the top of my head, and the thesaurus comes up with bland results.
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Is “despatch” the British spelling for “dispatch” or is it an archaic spelling (or both)?

In John Ormsby's 1885 translation of Don Quixote, the word "despatch" is used. Is that the corresponding British spelling for "dispatch" or is it simply an archaic spelling (in both the American and ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are promiscuous women known as “slappers”?

Women who aren't interested in much more than sex are referred to as "slappers" in British English. British informal, derogatory a promiscuous or vulgar woman. Why is this? I can't find any ...
9
votes
4answers
876 views

How did “ropey” come to mean “of poor quality”?

Rope is typically long, strong and fibrous. So how did us Brits come to use "ropey" to describe something of poor quality? British informal of poor quality:     a portrait ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does “going to kip” mean “going to sleep”?

"Night, folks; I'm off to kip." noun 1British a sleep or nap:       I might have a little kip [mass noun] :       he was trying ...
8
votes
3answers
411 views

Whence does “sprog” come?

The British informal word for a child. I couldn't get any work done because the sprogs were running riot. ODO has the following: 1940s (originally services' slang): perhaps from obsolete ...
3
votes
1answer
150 views

Use of “ahoy” before “hello”

The word hello seems to have become popular with the coming of the telephone. Did our ancestors greet each other with ahoy before that?
9
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2answers
575 views

Where does the word “sh**” come from?

Once upon a time in America, particularly during the 1970s, if you asked an American whether they ‘fancied a shag’, they might well have thought of this: And therefore declined the offer for fear ...
3
votes
3answers
574 views

What does the word 'knocked' mean in the old song "Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'?

What does the word 'knocked' mean in the old song Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road'? I really want to know because "knocked" in the song, doesn't make sense to me.
0
votes
2answers
2k views

A/an hypothesis? [duplicate]

Is it a or an hypothesis? I am not a native speaker (and not very language talented) so I would appreciate any explanation/rules.
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Where does the word “minge” come from?

The slang term minge in the sense of quim dates from the beginning of the 20th century. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline has any idea where it came from. Here are two of the OED’s citations: ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Where did the word “quim” come from?

Both the OED and Etymonline offer no clue as to origin of the slang term quim, meaning minge. The OED’s earliest citations are from the 18th, which isn’t quite as old as Adam, but has certainly been ...
9
votes
2answers
914 views

Where does the word “snogging” come from?

Where does the word snogging come from, in the sense of canoodling? I’m looking for it etymology, not for its connotation or phonoaesthetic properties, as the answer of the other question provides. ...
0
votes
2answers
847 views

Which are the most common Latin words/phrases used in spoken English? [closed]

Please, specify American/British Engilsh! I think these below are very common but I have no idea if they are commonly used in spoken English. ad hoc per se a priori de facto ergo et cetera vice ...
1
vote
3answers
748 views

Can you begin a sentence with an emotion?

Is it incorrect to begin a sentence with an emotion? For example: "Afraid and alone, he no longer wished to continue on." I'm translating some work from a foreign language into English, but I ...
4
votes
2answers
204 views

Is “raises question marks over” a correct and common phrase?

Is a sentence like Dynamic method invocation raises question marks over the way existing instances should be handled. correct in a technical paper (computer science)? (I think it is in the ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

Can a dash be used in this instance?

I would like to confirm the use of a dash in this sentence: My name is Mat, I am a Bristol based designer in the UK - I forge digital art, illustrations & websites Is this the proper use ...
1
vote
3answers
464 views

How to write a date range (e.g., 6 May to 8 June) in a way that is concise and unambiguous?

In general, I try to write dates as one of: 2014-01-03 3 Jan 2013 3 January 2013 avoiding slashes altogether so as to avoid any ambiguity with American date formats. That said, I've never found a ...
1
vote
3answers
130 views

I need a word encompassing the meaning of free from something

Suppose I have a work to accomplish today, but I am not in the mood to finish it. I need the word to comprehend all these ideas. The sentence to be put in would be like "Request to free me from the ...
1
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3answers
1k views

Pronunciation of “banal” in British English?

How is "banal" properly pronounced in British English? I know three ways to pronunciate banal but I don't know how to write them here.
0
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3answers
431 views

Use of as good and as well

Are these two sentences correct? This is as good as ... This works as well as ... Edit: This one is as good as the other one. This one works as well as the other one.
0
votes
2answers
325 views

Grammatical error in following sentence

I am an IT Professional with over 12 years experience in Website Development, IT Management, IT Support and project management. I have the following strap line on my resume A dynamic, creatively ...
2
votes
2answers
580 views

Are commas considered superfluous in legal documents?

I'm in the process of purchasing a house and reading through the contract, I can't find a single instance of the comma. (As if legalese wasn't hard enough to read already!) This includes the ...
0
votes
1answer
276 views

How can I explain a word used in a previous sentence?

I am defining a "thing" with an adjective. Example: X is a small y. Then I want to give a clean and simple explanation for the adjective small --because it can mean several things and I want to ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Etymology of “nick” in, in the nick of time?

We have the nick meaning prison, as in "he served time in the nick", then we have the verb to nick, meaning to steal; but if the police catch you red-handed, then "you've been nicked". And if you led ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Participle of “center/centre” in UK English — “centring”? Seriously?

As an American, I was never shocked to see the word "center" spelled as "centre." It didn't bother me at all. Honestly. But then I saw the participle of it spelled as "centring" as opposed to ...
0
votes
1answer
357 views

To whom does “British” refer?

I've seen from sources claim that the word "British" can be used to refer to different things. Some say Great Britian, some the UK, and some even the UK including her overseas territories. Which of ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

An abundance of knees

Terry Pratchett is particularly fond of knees. More than once, he has used an expression describing an abundance of knees, or an excess of knees, or suddenly growign extra knees, to describe his ...
1
vote
1answer
101 views

Meaning of “Would you value the ethics of consequence over means?” [closed]

I've been reading a book for a while and I've stumbled on the following sentence, which I didn't quite understand: Would you value the ethics of consequence over means? The context is the ...
0
votes
1answer
157 views

Different ways of saying Aluminium [closed]

this is a very short question but me and a couple of friends have been discussing this for a little. Does anyone know why Americans and British people especially insists on saying "Aloominum" and ...
2
votes
4answers
16k views

What should be the proper reply for thanks?

I like a girl which is in same division as I am. Recently she was suffering from malaria and when I came to know this I sent a "Get well soon!" message. We have hardly exchanged any words in labs and ...
-1
votes
1answer
778 views

Is there a rule for how to pronounce words such as “dance”, “prance”, “castle”?

Is there a grammatical rule for the pronunciation of words such as dance, castle and prance? I believe the British English pronunciation is "ah", while in American English it is a short "a" sound.
1
vote
3answers
70 views

How would you group the terms “Single” and “Pair”?

I am working on a website at the moment and I am trying to perfect the User Experience. The products on the store are either sold on their own, or as pairs. What I want is a word or phrase to put in ...
0
votes
2answers
713 views

Latin abbreviation to use in English to replace “as such” [closed]

I was wondering if I can use "et al." in order to say "as such" after a list of elements in a sentence given as example. If not: What can be the correct Latin abbreviation to use to replace "as ...
1
vote
3answers
756 views

What does “no longer cease to exist” means?

I understand what "cease to exist" means, but "something" no longer cease to exist doesn't make sense to me. English is not my first language(obviosly).
3
votes
2answers
169 views

“Now that x, y,” vs. “Now x, y” (“Now” in dependent clauses): British vs. American English

I have noticed that British English speakers tend not to use that after now in certain dependent clauses where American English speakers will almost certainly use it. BE version of two examples: ...
2
votes
1answer
302 views

How do you eat your eggs?

When I was in America I was offered eggs for breakfast as either 'up', 'down', 'easy' or 'dropped'. None of them are in use in Britain, where we have our eggs, fried, scrambled, boiled, or poached. ...
1
vote
2answers
896 views

Difference between “about” and “Around”

What is the difference between "about" and "around" in following example ? I'll see you around 6 O'clock. I'll see you about 6 O'clock. Now, I usually the first one, but I heard the second one on ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the difference between “lad” and “mate” in British English? [closed]

Can "lad" only be used to address a male, while "mate" both male and female?
4
votes
1answer
7k views

Plural for “photo”?

What's the proper plural for "photo" - "photos", "photoes", or it is generally desired to rephrase the whole thing and stick with "photographs", "images", "shots", "pictures", etc? As for usage ...
1
vote
1answer
179 views

em-dash and comma, which comes first

I am confused about the preferred way to combine an em-dash insertion with a comma occurring in the outer sentence. Until now, I had preferred to write: The erosion responsible for residuals is ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Where did the phrase “Give it some wellie” originate?

I've heard this a few times, and I would presume that it comes from Wellingtons, with the meaning of put some boot to it. Is there an origin for this phrase?
4
votes
3answers
611 views

What is the origin of gully and googly in cricket?

The OED supplies no clue to the origin of either gully or googly. It does not in fact mention etymology of the cricket sense of gully, which has led me to infer that it is from the ordinary meaning of ...
4
votes
2answers
804 views

What is the origin of 'cash'?

What is the etymology of 'cash'? According to the OED when it is used in 'cash-box' it descends from the French 'casse', and presumably Italian 'cassa'. However the word meaning 'loose change' is from ...