A Conversation for English Slang

Unexplained Phrases

Post 21

Pushkin Wilder

I've never actually used bugshit, but I have heard that it's very good for the complexion if applied correctly.


Unexplained Phrases

Post 22

Pushkin Wilder

I've never actually used bugshit, but I have heard that it's very good for the complexion if applied correctly.


Unexplained Phrases

Post 23

Pushkin Wilder

Why won't this stuff work for me?


Well done ...

Post 24

Raven Nidiot

It is very satisfying to see someone explain that particular phrase (the brass monkey's gubbins) including it's true origin. Not many people know it and most assume it's a sexual connotation.

Poor people.


Unexplained Phrases

Post 25

Big Ben

My grandmother used the phrase when I was a kid - only then it was "it's looking brighter over Wills mothers" We were from the S.East.

She used to also often say "there's enough blue sky over there to make a sailor a pair of tousers" (pronounced trousies).


Unexplained Phrases

Post 26

Cheerful Dragon

According to the OED, 'palaver' (the correct spelling) comes from the Portuguese 'palavra' meaning word. Originally 'palaver' was a prolonged conversation or discussion. It's meaning has been corrupted over the years, just like almost everything else.


Unexplained Phrases

Post 27

Cheerful Dragon

I once knew a Welshman who claimed that if you applied cow dung to your face regularly in your adolescent years, you would never have to shave. I guess that the reasoning is that the bristles get too scared of what you are doing to come out!

I don't know any one who was brave enough to try this and it sounds like bullshit to me.


Unexplained Phrases

Post 28

Leafy

"Bob's your uncle" in Australia anyway refers I think to a former Prime Minister.
Bob (Sir Robert) Menzies reigned in the 40's + 50's and was referred to rudely as Uncle Bob.
Bob's your Uncle meant "It's OK" or "It will be all right" although I'm not sure why.
I don't know if the phrase originated here or not.


Unexplained Phrases

Post 29

Leafy

I understand this to have come from "The Brass" as in the Upper Ranks in the Services.
Presumably they got this from the "brass" that they wore on their uniforms to indicate their ranks, the more brass, the higher the rank!


Unexplained Phrases

Post 30

Leafy

"Enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers" indicated that the weather was going to be fine!


Unexplained Phrases

Post 31

Cheerful Dragon

Sounds similar. My in-laws are from Warwickshire / West Midlands, though.


Unexplained Phrases

Post 32

james the cat

The phrase 'Freeze the balls off a brass monkey' is naval, I think. a monkey was a thing (square tray(?)) which stopped the cannon balls rolling around the deck and generally causing an inconvenience. I would have thought that 'freeze the balls to a brass monkey' would have been more suitable


Unexplained Phrases

Post 33

james the cat

Additionally, the phrase 'Cock-up' is not rude at all (unless you call being shot rude). It's all to do with early guns (flint-lock?) where you had 2 moving parts to make it fire. prime the weapon in the wrong order and it all goes horribly wrong. the cock ends up up instead of down.... hence a cock up. Someone with more experience of these things could probably explain it better.

Guns are designed differently so its easier to shoot people


Unexplained Phrases

Post 34

Big Ben

Bobs your Uncle..............even more confusing when expanded to Bobs your uncle fannys your aunt!?


Unexplained Phrases

Post 35

Wood Nymph

I always took bold as brass as referring to the brightness of polished brass and the way it stands out amongst duller things.


Further Unexplained Phrases

Post 36

Wood Nymph

I have been wrestling with this one (and its variation) for years: 'taking the piss' and conversely, 'take the piss out of (someone else).' Does this simply mean accepting abuse/being abusive? The contexts in which I've heard it have seemed to carry other nuances, making it confusing. For the record, I haven't seen anyone mention '(dead) chuffed' either. From the Brits I've seen use it, it means 'really happy,' but it seems to resemble the French word for heat, which is used in a phrase to mean angry. Could there be an evolutionary connection?


Further Unexplained Phrases

Post 37

Paul the Brake

When we say take the piss and taking the piss here in the UK we are not necessarily being abusive, it is just a way of expressing the fact that we are making fun of someone or something they have just said more often than not the person who is being ridiculed will say something like "are you taking the piss" it's like saying are you having a laugh at my expense,


Further Unexplained Phrases

Post 38

mics

'Taking the Piss' descibes the act of mocking someone, or taking excessive advantage of an offer of assistance.

E.g. 1

Someone turns up at work at 9:30 AM, 30 minutes late. You greet them with a cheerfull 'Good Afternoon'


E.g. 2
'Offer' Anytime you are in Guildford, England you are welcome to visit....
'Taking the piss' Moving in for 6 months, not paying any board.




Further Unexplained Phrases

Post 39

Paul the Brake

I don't know anything about the french meaning of Dead Chuffed but in England we say it when we are delighted by something we have done, or something someone has done that you think was worthwhile.

It is an expanation of feeling good about something.

Eg. I was dead chuffed that John phoned me last night Cause I haven't spoken to him for ages.


Unexplained Phrases

Post 40

Philosophette

Here's a question that has bugged me for countless years, and no one i know or have ever met has been able to answer it for me.

Who Is Murphy?
And why would he make up such an anoying Law?
And WHY would he be so stupid as to name it after himself? (Murphy's Law). I mean, now everyone hates him, because we all know it's all Muphy's fault, but who is Murphy!?!?


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