If you didn’t already know it- I’ll drop a bombshell…I’m Canadian 🇨🇦. There, I said it and we can all bask in the wonder of how great that is. And yes, it is great. Moving along! I have lived in the UK for 5+ years and counting (ignoring the 6 years I moved back to Montreal in between) and despite the years I’ve clocked under my belt, there are still some VERY random sayings that boggle my mind or left me scratching my head. So! Join us on this light-hearted and humorous post and you’ll thank me for the education.
Before I begin this vital lesson, let me lay some ground rules, I in no way am making fun of my Brits, I am merely sharing some of the head scratching and embarrassing things that happened to me, in order for you to avoid making the same mistakes. For example, when you walk past someone, stranger or otherwise and they say, “Hey, you alright?”, in no way are they inquiring about real details of your life. It is merely something that follows their greeting. I have stumbled a number of times with this and have stopped to legitimately have a conversation only to be left in the streets alone. 👏
Falling asleep on a sixpence: falling asleep very easily/quickly, aka Neveah🤣
Ex: That child can fall asleep on a sixpence.
A gate: Meaning “it was like”, similar to how North Americans say the word “like” often in a story or when giving a description- this is one of the alternatives.
Ex: She told me she loved me and I was agate, how can you when we don’t know each other?
Skint: Another word for broke or poor, not having a lot of money.
Ex: “I can’t go to the concert, because I’m so skint.”
Love: Let me tell you! I was very taken aback when I was first called this, because well he was a stranger and I thought that was very forward- lol. I have now come to realise that it’s merely a kind way to say “sweetie”, it’s more like “you’re a love”, but the beginning was dropped.
Ex: “you all right, love?” or “hiya love, can I get a cup of tea, please?”
Chuff(ed): Proud, most commonly used- It can also be used as a verb to replace a swear word, so much emphasis is spent on how you deliver the word.
Ex: I am well chuffed with myself for catching the last bus.
Ex: What the chuff is he doing? Who the chuff does she think she is?
Fresh: can be used in various ways to mean, flirty, drunk or even someone who gives you an attitude
Also, there are some words in Canada/US which have completely different meanings on this side of the pond, do attempt to learn a few because if not- it’ll be extremely embarrassing. One of the 1st jobs, I had in the UK was working in a department-like store, because of my experience in my last job in the YUL, I worked in menswear. One day I was helping this gentleman who was looking for braces, I had no idea what he meant, because to me braces go on your teeth. After gesturing what he meant, I declared suspenders! FML, his face was beyond stunned. I helped him and then spoke to a co-worker with my confusion over why he’d be offended, only to find out that suspenders in the UK are what women wear to hold their knee-highs up (visualize lingerie). #cringe Let’s just say that mistake wasn’t made again.
TA: Thank you
People legit say this ALL the time and it still confuses me, because it sounds so incomplete.
Ex: “I made you a cup of tea.” “Oh Ta very much.”
Cheers: Yes, it’s a greeting when you clink your glasses together, but it is more commonly used (from what I’m experienced) as a way to say thank you and/or bye.
Ex: “I’ve made you a cup of tea.” “Oh cheers, that’s kind of you.”
Titchy: Something very small, in other words tiny. Imagine my surprise, especially as the word tit means something different to me.
Ex: I got to cuddle the baby, he’s only titchy.
Dither (ing): Wasting time/messing about, someone who is unsure and attempting to think of what to do.
Ex: “She was dithering about what dress to choose for the meeting”.
Moorish: Makes you want to have more
Ex: the meal was so lovely, it was moorish.
Nippy: Cold (in the context of temperature), but can also mean quick when referring to doing something quickly
Ex: “Boy, it’s nippy out there” or “I’m just going to nip to the store for something”.
Sound: Another way to say “that’s great” or “great”, typically this is used among the younger population, I have yet to hear someone older than 45 say this.
Ex: “I booked us the tickets for the show”, “Oh nice one, that’s sound”.
You’re a star: This is used as a thank you, but when you’re truly appreciative of the effort someone has put in for you. Another way of saying, you’re amazing.
Bless: People say this a lot for various reasons, where in North America we would say “aww”, over here they say bless. A child will do something cute or has achieved something and the general reaction will be “aww bless him/her”
Trust me when I say there are many, many more, these were just some of the ones that stuck out at me while collating this blog post or the ones that I had a story attached, because trust me, it’s very much regional. I am lucky enough to live near the Yorkshire/Lancashire border (Barnoldswick was actually part of Yorkshire back in the day…controversial subject) because of this, I have the luxury to have twice as many “local sayings” and trust me, drive 15 mins down the road and it all changes! LOL.
Were there any words or sayings you were surprised about? Or do you have any embarrassing stories from a different culture or country? Let us know, we’d love to know that we weren’t alone in our mortification.