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

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14
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2answers
1k views

When did people start “boinking”?

Is "boinking" an onomatopoeic and/or a blend word? I would have said so, I believe the word boink refers to the sound of the mattress springs squeaking under the weight of a couple making love. A ...
1
vote
2answers
59 views

Please help me explain the grammatical error

I don't think the following sentence is correct: "Your English is terrible regardless of where you derive.", but my elementary school English lessons have worn thin over the years. The closest I can ...
0
votes
0answers
13 views

Referral Campaigns or Your Referral Schemes

I have a referral program which comprises of 50% UK users and 50% US users. Taking into account location, what would be the most appropriate title to use... Your Referral Campaigns Or Your ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are Leicester & co pronounced as they are?

What is the origin of the pronunciation of words like Leicester, Gloucester, Worcestershire? Presumably, the pronunciation predates the spelling but what is the history here? What language do the ...
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 ...
7
votes
6answers
19k views

'Expired' or 'Passed away'?

When someone dies, do we say they expired or passed away? Does the word expired give any more respect when used? Or less respect than passed away?
7
votes
8answers
2k views

Why does “go spare” mean “get angry”?

I don't know whether the phrase "go spare" is used in the US, but it is very common in the UK. e.g. You're an hour late. Mum's going spare upstairs! I would like to know where the phrase comes ...
-4
votes
1answer
31 views

What does “Thanks! Sounds like XYZ forgetting that he’s changed teams to me” mean? [on hold]

XYZ has been transfered to other team.After seeing his behaviour(I gave him hints), my boss sent me. "Thanks! Sounds like XYZ forgetting that he’s changed teams to me". What does it mean?
4
votes
3answers
292 views

Did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle coin the proverb “A change is as good as a rest”?

The proverb a change is as good as a rest is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as: A change of work or occupation can be as restorative or refreshing as a period of relaxation Cambridge ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I explain “The man on the Clapham omnibus” to the man on the Clapham omnibus?

I have found that I had to explain what "the man on the Clapham omnibus" means to someone. I had taken it for granted that the phase was in standard usage, as my parents used it when I was a child. ...
-1
votes
0answers
9 views

What is the best word for the wish to learning something? e.g. Learnwish -but doesn`t exist, right? [migrated]

if you could answer me your favorite word for a "wish to learn something" then I would be really glad. Thank you very much, best Felix
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“Parametrise” or “parameterise” a curve?

In British English, which one is correct? Does one parameterise a curve or parametrise it?
67
votes
28answers
8k views

Is there an American English equivalent of the British idiom “carrying coals to Newcastle”?

I'm an American living in the Netherlands who is learning Dutch. There's an idiom in Dutch that describes performing a needless/futile activity, "water naar de zee dragen," which literally translates ...
10
votes
6answers
533 views

Why is the English devil “old”?

Looking up the etymology of the Devil's nickname, Old Nick, I came across this article in OUPblog written by Anatoly Liberman For some reason, devils, at least in English, are often called old: ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

Can one answer “Have you got…?” with “Yes, I've got.”?

As an American in Europe I often get questions about the British "have got" which is hard for me to answer since I have little feeling for what is correct. E.g. someone today asked me: If someone ...
10
votes
4answers
9k views

“Haven't you?” or “don't you?”

What is the right question tag (in British English) when we use the verb have? I have interviewed a few native speakers and none of them could explain why sometimes they prefer "haven't/hasn't" and ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

How to introduce yourself? [migrated]

I am using British English. While addressing a gathering or talking to a new person, how do you introduce yourself? Is it "I am Phani" or "This is Phani"?
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does the pejorative meaning of “shower” come from?

shower British informal a group of people perceived as incompetent or worthless I think this term is becoming obsolete. It's certainly not something I've heard in the street recently. The ...
10
votes
7answers
12k views

Is there a different understanding of “rubber” in British and American English?

I was well aware of the different meanings of rubber, not least because there are the same definitions in my mother-tongue. However, while reading a text about differences between British and American ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

BrEng: “pull your finger out”, “cock up” and “stuff it” What do they mean?

In the British sitcom, The Thin Blue Line, Detective Grim makes three intelligently crafted sentences, which are given below. What do they mean? It's my arse on the line, so you better pull your ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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
1k views

Usage of “fanny” as verb

I am not a native English speaker, hence please bear with me. I understand that fanny means mess around and waste time. Can someone suggest how I might make a sentence which uses fanny, as an ...
0
votes
2answers
34 views

To sightsee …or ..to go sightseeing?

How common is it, nowadays, to say that one 'sightsees', rather than 'goes sightseeing'?
2
votes
3answers
132 views

There's a good fellow [Phrase]

I would like to learn more about the meaning of the phrase: There's a good fellow. All that I know is that it is used for praising or encouraging a child or an animal. Is it right?
27
votes
6answers
2k views

How did “stuck-up” get to mean “snob”?

I was inclined to believe that the expression "stuck-up", meaning staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior, had its origins with somebody's nose stuck (up) in the air and yet, ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

Help with email to customer: negative balance [closed]

can someone help me with this please. Need to write an email to customer who forgot to paid and so his/her balance became negative. It is related to prepaid service... Thank you. Dear ...
2
votes
0answers
35 views

May you pass me - Will you pass me [duplicate]

My Grandchildren say "May you pass the salt" etc. They say their teachers say this is ok. To me it sounds very clumsy and I had never heard it used except by them. They have grown in Wiltshire while ...
3
votes
2answers
64 views

Meaning of Science Block (British English)

In the British radio comedy show, Cabin Pressure, the following exchange of dialogue occurs: Martin: Your doctor? What doctor do you know? Simon: Good old Doc Smiley, of course. Martin: ...
21
votes
7answers
662 views

Eww! Has it crossed the pond yet?

I hear eww (sometimes spelt as ew) fairly regularly on American sitcoms, usually uttered by a scatterbrained beautiful blonde girl when she sees or hears something disgusting. I don't recall it ever ...
-2
votes
1answer
93 views

How would a king have phrased “I need to use the bathroom”? [closed]

With literary or historical references, what phrase would an English-speaking monarch have used to indicate to either their attendants or to their court that they were in need of using the toilet ...
10
votes
3answers
199 views

Why is the surname Gray more common than the surname Grey in the UK?

An EL&U question from 2010 asks Which is the correct spelling: "grey" or "gray"? The answers very sensibly point out the split between the UK and former British commonwealth ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

Dropping the '-ly' in adverbs used in a negative response to a question

Two British gangsters riding in London traffic. One says: 'Have you seen him?' Other says: 'Not recent. One says: 'do you still go there?' Other says: 'Not regular.' Is this a colloquialism, idiom or ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Can someone please explain the need of quotes in the following text?

I saw this as a slogan in an episode of Drop the Dead Donkey and just wanted to know why were quotes needed on the word synergise: Let nowness "synergise" with excellence. I think it makes sense ...
9
votes
2answers
544 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

How do I use “as of now” correctly?

Just to clarify, I am not a native English speaker. I occasionally hear from other non-native English speakers the use of the phrase: "As of now" with the meaning of Currently. Initially I did not ...
2
votes
3answers
154 views

Why does “smashing” mean “very good”?

Smashing is a BrE slang which means "very good" or "impressive". Most folks might know this already, due to its use as a catch phrase by various BrE characters in media. However, from the usual ...
0
votes
3answers
89 views

Etymology of “shagged [out]” (BrE exhausted, knackered)

I was intrigued by this comment to an earlier ELU post... [shagged out] Meaning 'very tired', presumably originating from having lots of sex but used generally to mean tired for whatever reason ...
3
votes
1answer
236 views

“Definite ninety-nine” - UK English meaning

I've been browsing through older lyrics of Judas Priest songs, namely Rocka Rolla, which has the following lines in a verse: Barroom fighter Ten pint a nighter Definite ninety-nine ...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

British usage: add verb forms of “do” after a conditional

Is it standard British usage to add forms of the verb "Do" after a conditional like "Would"? e.g., If I could, I would do"?
1
vote
1answer
73 views

What is the difference between Anglia and England?

What is the difference between Anglia and England? When it's used. Some examples of modern usages: probably coincident, but Anglia in Polish language is England, there are regions called East ...
0
votes
2answers
84 views

“Named for” vs. “named after”

As a Brit, I'm used to the phrase named after being used to say how something got its name. For example, in Wikipedia's List of eponymous roads in London, we read that Addison Road is named after the ...
19
votes
6answers
1k views

Do Brits understand rhyming slang or are they sometimes puzzled by it too?

Most people know that rhyming slang is a colorful addition to British English, where someone says something that is not the intended word but rhymes with it. For example, He was brown bread. ...
0
votes
2answers
45 views

differences between 'ourselves' and 'one another'

Please, what is the usage of these two? When should we use ourselves and when not to use it? Thanks. "Eg, ... That we should benefit from ourselves." Is this correct??
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Omission of 'for' with various quantified time intervals: influence of verb

I came across these two examples, given to illustrate 'a case' where the inclusion of the preposition for is considered optional in the paper "Acquisition of Preposition Deletion by Non-native ...
4
votes
2answers
798 views

“22 Acacia Avenue” British idiom

What is the meaning of this British idiom? I was watching BBC's Top Gear and the presenters were cracking jokes about people who live in the 22 of the avenues. And that the people who live there like ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

Present Perfect, American English and “since”

I'm wondering: I was always taught at school that when using "since", you always have to use Present Perfect (BrE), e.g. Since when have you played chess? But is Since when did you play ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

Is there a systematic difference between /a:/ in BrE and /æ:/ in AmE?

so another question I have is that whether it is systematic (a regular pattern) between /a:/ in BrE and /æ:/ in AmE or not. There are words that a pronounced differently like dance or rather. I have ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

How to phrase “analysis into a company”

I want to say : Analysis conducted at a insurance company showed that... or Analysis into a insurance company showed that... What is the best way to phrase this?
1
vote
0answers
52 views

British English vs American English [closed]

As an English learner it always make me confuse to know that a specific word / phrase use in which English language countries ? Is there any way that I can check a word or phrase to know that it uses ...
0
votes
2answers
54 views

If subscription is a contract to receive something, what is a contract to send something called?

I'm using the word subscription with the following meaning: subscription: an arrangement to receive something, typically a publication, regularly by paying in advance. (Definition taken from ...