1 n someone who’s a little bit too knowledgeable about one subject. Generally a subject like seventeenth-century flower pots or steam trains, rather than athletic sexual positions or gun-fighting. Americans (and also Brits, as our languages merge ever closer) would call such a person a “geek.” It may originate with the fans of Radio Caroline, a U.K. offshore pirate radio station, whose fans had to don anoraks in order to visit the station. Alternatively, it may come from the most popular item of clothing worn by train-spotters. 2 n waterproof jacket (universal).
n tube top. A rather eighties item of clothing designed to make an otherwise attractive woman look like a malformed sausage.
1 n item that fits down the front of a bloke’s underwear and protects the crown jewels. Americans know it as a “cup,” although I suppose in the U.S. such an item is less likely to be protecting the crown jewels and perhaps instead protects “the Bill of Rights” or some such. 2 female genitalia (universal).
1 n suspenders. Beware of the cross-definition — in the U.K., “suspenders” are something else entirely (you’ll just have to look it up like a man). 2 metal devices used to straighten one’s teeth (universal).
n abbr cardigan. A common abbreviation, at least for anyone who still wears cardigans.
n clothing; vestments. You might hear: OK, OK, I’ll be out in two minutes once I’ve got my nightclubbing clobber on. It’s possible this definition is of Scottish origin. Brits do also use “clobber” to mean hitting something.
adj as befitting someone who is very much the country squire — well-spoken, well-dressed and rather upper-class. Despite once having been a compliment, the recent unpopularity of the upper classes in the U.K. has made this a mild insult.
n bathrobe; the outfit that you wear if you’re an attractive young lady coming out of the bath to answer the door in a coffee advertisement. Or if you’re Hugh Heffner. Ah, the great contradictions of modern life.
n lint. More than simply lint, fluff stretches to cover any unexpected bits of hair/fur/fabric, appearing anywhere from the corner of your living room to your posterior.
n pajamas. So called because the pajama was invented by a man named Jim, and the original experimental variants were made solely from strawberry jam.
n sweater. What Americans call a “jumper” (a set of overalls with a skirt instead of trousers), Brits would call a “pinafore.”
n wind breaker; poncho. A light waterproof jacket, usually one that zips up into an unfeasibly small self-contained package. The word derives from the French “cagoule” (meaning much the same thing), which in turn comes from the Latin “cuculla,” meaning “hood.” In the U.S. technical theatre industry a “kagoul” is a black hood worn by magicians’ stagehands to render them invisible-ish. I once thought about writing a whole book dedicated to the word “kagoul,” but then decided against it.
n pants (U.S. pants); trousers. May come from India, where “kachs” are loose-fitting trousers with a low crotch.
n women’s underpants. In old-fashioned English and American English, “knickers” (an abbreviation of the Dutch-derived word “knickerbockers”) are knee-length trousers most often seen nowadays on golfers.
n run. In the sense of a “ladder in your tights” being the British equivalent of a “run in your pantyhose.” In all other circumstances, this word means exactly the same in the U.K. as it does in the U.S.
n 1 (abbr. of “Macintosh”) light waterproof jacket which can usually be squashed up into an impressively small size for packing away. Possibly derived from the name of the gentleman who worked out how to infuse rubber and cloth. Americans call the same sort of thing a “slicker.” 2 buddy: Are you alright Mac? The two meanings appear together in the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band’s song “Big Shot,” which features the lines: On the way home a punk stopped me: “You got a light, mac?” / I said “No, but I’ve got a dark brown overcoat.”