Archive for the ‘Colloquialisms’ Category

A long time ago in a galaxy not far, far away – okay, it was this one – Star Wars was on TV and somebody wanted to watch it but was going out. So they “taped it.”

To this day, I’m still “taping” things off of the TV myself, even though the recording medium of magnetic tape died shortly after the dinosaurs did.

Even when I got a DVD recorder, I couldn’t bring myself to “record” stuff from the TV. I still “taped” everything. But I did it on TV.

And now we are in the age of digital and satellite TV. We can still record things. We just don’t do it to tape or disc. We record to another medium I’m not clever enough to understand or to explain. But I’m still “taping.”

Whatever new recording mediums come to us, I’ll never record anything.

But I might just “tape” something.


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When it’s a pint of beer.

“Dad’s gone for a jar.”

I don’t ever recall seeing beer in a jar but my dad still goes for a jar.

Sometimes he goes for a pot. Not “some pot” but “a pot”. Two different things entirely.

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When meeting new people at social functions we often need something to “break the ice”, be it a joke or funny anecdote about the host.

But surely, if we break the ice are we not in danger of drowning?

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A Modern Liberty

“Give ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile.” You might say that they will take the liberty.

It’s not uncommon for somebody to describe such liberty-taking as “taking the biscuit.” Why it’s a biscuit we take, and where it’s being taken to, I don’t know. But when we do take the biscuit, don’t we at least leave some crumbs behind?

Where might the expression “taking the biscuit” come from?

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“I’ve just had a right good shit,” a friend who is known for giving unnecessary information said.

So, a good shit was not enough, it was a right good shit. Does that mean a good shit which is correct?  Can a good shit be incorrect for that matter.

“I’m right pleased with my new job.” – Can we be left pleased, or wrong pleased?

“He’s a right bastard, he is” – I’m sorry, but bastards are anything but right; they are most definitely always wrong.  And when we’re discussing bastards here, we’re not talking about illegitimate folks (who are merely unfortunate…unless they happen to be a badass as well), just unpleasant ones, as the new definition dictates.

Anyway, I’m right done with this usage of right.

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When we stop doing something we mostly tend to say that we just stopped or we quit.  Similarly, we might ask someone to quit or stop.

It’s a British quirk, an English one at least, right across the classes to say something different:

“No thanks, I’ve packed the booze in.”

“It’s time you packed in with those cigarettes.”

For some reason we’re obsessed with shoving things inside something else.  And I’m not talking about sex here.

But what is it we’re packing the booze and the cigarettes into?

Furthermore, if you see somebody shouting at somebody you might feel inclined to tell the aggressor to, “Pack it in.”

All this shoving things into other things makes me tired.  Can we just pack it in?

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It’s that part of the local newspaper we’re all drawn to, where we see who we know has had a kid, got wed, or shuffled off this mortal coil.

Over the years, I’ve heard the obituaries called the “Head and Shoulders” page, but births and marriages have always remained births and marriages…until this week.

And I have my colleague to thank for this gem.  She was reading the local rag on Thursday lunchtime (or dinner as we backward northeners say) and she said, “I’ll just check hatches, matches and dispatches then you can have it (the paper, that is).”

“What?” I asked.

“Hatches, matches and dispatches,” she said.  “Hatches – births, matches – weddings…”

“I  get it.  I love it.  I can’t believe I’ve never heard that one before.”

So, what colourful ways do you know of describing any of the aforementioned?

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