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visits member for 1 year, 10 months
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Nov
23
comment Why do people pronounce “f***ing” like “f***en”?
@tchrist Never ever ever in any accent? What about this
Nov
19
comment Why “hoist” in “Hoist with one's own petard”?
I too thought a petard was a kind of flag, but can find nothing online that agrees with this. But, confusingly, the part of a flag which is nearest the flagpole is called the 'hoist'.
Nov
19
comment How toffee-nosed is “toffee-nosed”?
I wonder though if the expression should be/was originally spelled 'toffy-nosed' ie an adjective deriving from 'toff', as I can't think of any connection with the confection 'toffee'.
Nov
19
comment How toffee-nosed is “toffee-nosed”?
@WS2 I have to disagree that it's dated, both toff and toffee-nosed are still heard, as illustrated in Hugo's answer (and I'm under 60). The Conservative party are regularly disparagingly referred to as a 'bunch of toffs', and there's a new TV serial 'Life is Toff' (punning on 'tough').
Nov
12
comment where does the expression “not to worry” come from?
Isn't it just a shortened form of a common construction? eg 'She said not to wait for her, she'd follow on later' or 'He said not to drive the car until he'd fixed the brakes'.
Nov
10
comment Idiom meaning 'a shambles' sounds like /pass potch/?
There's also 'to make a pig's ear' of something.
Nov
10
comment Is it pejorative to use “old girl” to refer to a woman?
Malcolm Muggeridge is typical of the kind of old school, upper class Englishman who said 'old boy'. There's a quote from him "It's divine light, old boy" discussed here by Christopher Hitchens.
Nov
10
comment Is it pejorative to use “old girl” to refer to a woman?
As @WS2 mentions, it was very common to use 'old boy' and 'old girl' in the same way you might now hear 'mate' or 'dude' (Hello old boy, haven't seen you for ages, how are you?). This would be middle and upper class BrEng and is now considered old fashioned. You would hear it often in many English films from the 1930s/40s/50s. I think boy/girl could be equally patronising depending on context - or equally affectionate.
Nov
9
comment Is there English proverb or saying equivalent to Chinese / Japanese common proverb 李下に冠を正さず- Don’t touch (redress) your coronet under the plum tree?
It was a year ago, September / a day I well remember / I was walking up and down / in drunken pride / when my knees began to flutter / and I fell down in the gutter / and a pig came by and lay down by my side / As I lay there in the gutter / thinking thoughts I could not utter / I thought I heard a passing lady say, / "You can tell a man who boozes / by the company he chooses..." / And with that, the pig got up and walked away.
Nov
9
comment Is it pejorative to use “old girl” to refer to a woman?
It could be patronising or affectionate, it all depends on who's saying it to whom. It make me think of cajoling cattle/horses and pets (come on old girl) - so make of that what you will, in terms of addressing older women!
Nov
8
comment What is a gerund? A noun or a verb? 'His smoking upset me’
@Araucaria Ah well, depends whose actual usage you're talking about! That is how I would say it, and I think the grammar backs it up, but I'm very happy to accept that language changes and with several million speakers worldwide it might be done differently elsewhere. The whole point of language is communication: if someone says something 'wrong' but is still understood, that's fine by me. But I think differentiating between 'him' and 'his' does prevent some confusion here. :)
Nov
6
comment Word for a “Male Mistress”
I like mastress. If a mistress is what comes(!) between a mister and his mattress, surely it works the other way too!
Nov
5
comment What do 'en.' and 'more'n' mean in this passage?
@Kris No, because that wouldn't make sense.
Nov
4
comment What do 'en.' and 'more'n' mean in this passage?
@Kris Afraid I haven't got any references, my comment is based solely novels I've read, a vague familiarity with other attempts to write dialects, and Ockham's razor (what else could 'en' reasonably mean?). As to which particular dialect, I've no idea. Presumably I'd find out if I read the rest of the book, but how accurate is HG Wells's transcription? Maybe it's just a mish-mash of what he thought was a 'country' accent.
Nov
4
comment What do 'en.' and 'more'n' mean in this passage?
The first is a dialect form of 'them' and the second is a shortened form of 'more than'.
Nov
2
comment What does it mean to say, “It's only who knows when I will respond”
Hi guest3, this phrase does not really make sense, if it's an idiom then it's not one I've heard before. My guess is that she means "I've been so busy lately Heaven only knows when I will respond." - meaning, she has been so busy that she really cannot say when she will have time to respond. But that's only a guess, it's hard to say without more information. Is it possible you misheard or there was an error in the original?
Nov
1
comment Card with 10 tickets. What is it called?
@200_success That might sound more sensible given its size, but I've never heard it called that. I think it's connected to 'bookmaking' in the betting sense.
Oct
31
comment What is a gerund? A noun or a verb? 'His smoking upset me’
@TheBeeferFan I agree that both words can be used, but they are not interchangeable, they mean different things as I tried to explain in my answer. How can a genitive be used in the same way as an accusative? 'This is his coat.' 'This is him coat'. It doesn't work. So you can say 'Him constantly smoking upset me' (accusative/adverb/verb) but this would have to be 'His constant smoking upset me' (genitive/adjective/gerund noun).
Oct
31
comment Card with 10 tickets. What is it called?
I think 'book' would be nearest. A set of 10 raffle tickets is called a book.
Oct
31
comment Gender-neutral Forms
@ryan Anyway, I said 'subliminally', so how would you be aware of whether it does or not?