Hot answers tagged

43

There are several things happening here, I think. First of all, a superlative does not always have to literally refer to a singularity. Superlatives are commonly used as amplified comparatives. This can, as @Oddthinking remarks, be seen as hyperbolic use of the superlative: We had the best time last weekend! That doesn't mean we necessarily had a ...


36

Aubergine is the British word (originally, I think, from French, but there's no percentage in guessing exactly how), and many British cooks literally would not know what eggplant is. In North America, as others have said, it's the other way about. Interestingly, there is another vegetable with the same identity problem; what the British call courgettes and ...


32

Date as a synonym of "anus" is Australian slang. The definitions I've found are a bit vague in terms of what specific anatomical feature it refers to (some say "anus," some say "buttocks"), but other people responding to this post have provided evidence that this vagueness may just be due to some dictionary-writers misunderstanding the meaning. (For example, ...


14

I'm in the U.S., and I've never heard of the Washing-Up Fairy. Still, using a fairy to explain an unexplained yet serendipitous discovery is not unheard of. When I Googled "a fairy came and cleaned", I found: my mother would call me the next day, “Oh! a Fairy came and cleaned the house” [in a Yahoo! answer] “Let's pretend a fairy came and cleaned ...


13

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins was 111 years old and he called it "eleventy-one". “Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday: I am eleventy-one today!” So if the speaker is serious, it would make sense to infer eleventy-seven means 117. But since this is not a normal way of speaking about the number 117, and because people don't ...


13

Just so you know, modern British English doesn't sound much like English would have sounded like when Australia or the US/Canada was colonized. In fact, many Southeastern US accents are closer to British English from the 16-1700s than British English is today. The accent from Tangier Island, Virginia (video) is about as close to British English from the ...


12

The Australian National Dictionary has an entry for "date" meaning anus and vagina. http://australiannationaldictionary.com.au/index.php The link does not work well. You have to fill in "date" in the search field. 1919 W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 18 Date, a word signifying contempt.] 1961 M. Calthorpe Dyehouse 214 “In your bloody date! What do ...


11

It's either a real number 110, It is also known as "eleventy", a term made famous by linguist and author J. R. R. Tolkien (Bilbo Baggins celebrates his eleventy-first birthday at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings) and derived from the Old English hund endleofantig. When the word eleventy is used, it may indicate the exact number (110) Therefore ...


11

In the U.S. the phrase for cleaning the dishes after a meal is to wash the dishes (generically, to wash dishes). The action nominalization is dishwashing (with or without hyphen or space) in either case. One can say wash up instead of wash the dishes, in context, but wash up in the U.S. is just one more phrasal verb and does not have the specific ...


11

While I'd agree that Andrew Leach's answer yokel is a good word for this, perhaps you could also (for British English) consider bumpkin:- An awkward, unsophisticated person; a yokel.


11

The maps you see with south at the top are generally considered novelties, and are not seriously considered. The worldwide convention for maps is to orient north at the top. I have never heard the expression "down north" when referring to the northern hemisphere. A Google Ngram search shows that sometimes people say "down north" when living in an area where ...


11

Cactused: (from Your.dictionary) (Australia, slang) Broken; ruined; no longer working, more recently especially related to a technical system. My computer is cactused! Cactus: (from Wikipedia) a malfunctioning piece of equipment was "cactus" (originally 1940s RAAF slang, and briefly revived in the 1980s). The story appears to come ...


11

It sounds like the phrase you're looking for is "kicked out on the street", which typically implies homelessness or unemployment.


10

A hen party or hen night specifically refers (in the UK) to what is called a "bachelorette party" in the US - there will be drinking, possibly a stripper, certainly some raucous laughter and dirty jokes. I wouldn't expect it to mean any random party featuring lots of women, nor any of the specialized women-only parties like a baby shower or wedding shower. ...


10

Being an American, I can safely say that both are used quite often to mean the same thing: angry or irritated. "I was so pissed when he spilled coffee on my new sweater" or "it really pisses me off when she talks down to me" would be understood in America as the speaker being angry. As far as I know, we never use pissed or pissed off to mean intoxicated. ...


10

The Australian spelling of labour is just like the BrE one. The reason why labour is spelled labor in Australian Labor Party is an important historical one: Australian Labor Party: The ALP adopted the formal name "Australian Labour Party" in 1908, but changed the spelling to "Labor" in 1912. While it is standard practice in Australian English ...


9

The most common form that I hear in spoken Australian English from the options you've provided is the same as Minnow's answer: “I'm a hundred and sixty-nine centimetres tall.” A little less common, but perfectly idiomatic is: “I'm one metre sixty-nine.” However, the most common form that I hear in conversational (Australian) English is none of the ...


9

Best friend is defined by WordNet as: the one friend who is closest to you Longman defines "best friend" like this: best friend: the friend that you know and like better than anyone else Strictly speaking, these definitions imply you can only have one true best friend. That said, I do agree with others that it's possible to talk about several ...


9

This is an example of a common tendency towards perverse sense of humor in Australian slang. Several sources attest to this. “In Australian society, Australian men will often give ironic nicknames. For example, a man with red hair will be given the nickname ‘Blue’ or ‘Bluey’.”¹ “1978 R.H. Conquest, Dusty Distances: ‘I found out later that he was a native ...


8

The nickname Bluey originated in the 1890s and was used as a nickname throughout World War One to refer to red-haired soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force, especially from New South Wales. During the Second World War, nearly every redhead was nicknamed Bluey, and it spread to civilian life. The name is ironic, and it seems red-haired men didn't mind ...


8

Likewise, in (colloquial) Australian English, bogan can be considered roughly equivalent: The term bogan (/ˈboʊɡən/) is Australian and New Zealand slang, usually pejorative or self-deprecating, for an individual who is recognised to be from an unsophisticated background or someone whose speech, clothing, attitude and behaviour exemplifies a lack of ...


8

I have not heard of this fairy. It does not exist in Norway where I live. Although a quite similar creature do exist, and is called "dishwasher":


8

In Canada, I've often heard the phrase "dish-washing fairy". For example, if you visit your parent's place for dinner and your Mom says "Gee it would be really nice if a dish-washing fairy appeared and helped out in the kitchen (hint hint)". After reading the other answers, it seems like the exact name of this "fairy" varies a bit, but the concept seems ...


8

While I have seen it on Aussie job sites, I don't believe that the use of this phrase is endemic to the Antipodes. Flexible work ethic (normally used in the singular and rarely in the plural) is basically used to indicate that you should be ready to be a "team player" when it comes to working hours, sick leave, etc. If it's busy, you might have to work long ...


8

Australian English is quite like British-English. Around WW2, it was very similar, including terms like "pounds, shillings, tea(as in dinner), etc." still in common use. However, during the late 20th century, there is a rise of American English, being now used predominantly in movies, tv shows, etc. Due to this influence of American English, Australian ...


8

From Urban Dictionary: An imaginary number to be used when you have lost count of something and you need to verbally state a quantity.


7

In New Zealand, that distinction still exists quite strongly. But, like you, I have heard a few people use "pissed" to mean annoyed, but the vast majority of the time, I have only heard it in the sense of being intoxicated. I wouldn't worry too much about it though. There are so many words in English that mean "drunk" that it wouldn't cause too much to be ...


7

Yep. In my own experience, casual use of this sense of Caucasian is just as prevalent in the UK and Australia as in the US. Searching for it in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Mail confirms this with plenty of home-grown examples. On the other hand, at least some British publications make an effort to use it more precisely: e.g. searching in the ...


7

I'm in a similar boat to you. I don't know that it's really possible to pin down a regional accent. The consensus appears to be that there are three types of accent, broad (that's your country, 'ocker' or Strine), cultivated (like Peter Costello or Geoffrey Rush), and general (that'll be your town accent). You're more likely to pick up on someone's region ...



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