n zucchini. I wonder if there’s anything behind the fact that these words both look like they ought to be sports cars. I’m sure someone’s written a thesis on it somewhere.
n potato chips, or any of the corn-based equivalents. It’s worth bearing in mind that crisps in the U.K. cover a wide variety of flavours from Worcester Sauce to steak, and are not restricted to tasting anything like a potato. In fact, producing something that tastes anything like a potato is probably a sacking offence in the crisp factory. This particular confusion has caused me no end of troubles in the U.S. — I’ve never been so disappointed with a “bag of chips” in my life.
n 1 small teacake made of pancake batter, but with raising agents added to make holes. 2 loose woman. Coming from rhyming slang for “strumpet” (a woman adulterer), crumpet refers to women in a similar (although a little more old-fashioned) way to “totty.” Suffice to say that if you were out looking for some crumpet of an evening, you wouldn’t be intending sleeping alone. In fact, you may not be intending to sleep at all. Despite it meaning, primarily, a small teacake, it would be difficult to mention such a teacake in the U.K. without someone at the table collapsing in fits of giggles.
n sort of yellowy-looking dessert sauce made from egg yolks and milk. It does sound a little disgusting, but you’ll have to believe me that it’s not. Brits pour it on top of things like apple crumble and sponge cakes.
n silverware. Knives and forks and stuff. Brits therefore do not have the curious American concept of “plastic silverware.”
n round biscuit that one generally dunks in one’s tea. Whether it aids the digestion or not, who can tell?
n Northern English mid-day meal. This is a bit of a generalisation — the words dinner, “tea,” “lunch” and “supper” seem to be assigned to meals spattered randomly around the day in both American and English regional dialects.
v holding two drinks at once. The double-entendre is not entirely lost on the Brits and so it’s best not used in overly polite company.
n drunk driving. The art of driving a car whilst intoxicated: Sarah’s stuck at home right now, she got done for drink driving last week. Why the Brits chose a phrase that doesn’t make linguistic sense, I am not entirely sure.
n mid-morning snack. Rather old-fashioned; clearly derived somehow from eleven o’clock.
n appetizer. Only in America does this not mean “appetizer.” Why, in America, a word that clearly means “enter” or “start” means “main course” is beyond me. Perhaps it’s because American appetizers are about the size of everyone else’s main courses.
1 n particular variety of meatball. 2 n bundle of sticks. 3 n grumpy old woman (uncommon). 4 n cigarette (uncommon). 5 n prostitute (uncommon). Brits do not use it as a derisive term for a homosexual man. In reality, the American definition is well known (if not really used) U.K.-wide, so most of the jokes involving the various other meanings have already been made. They all stem from the original Norse word “fagg,” meaning a bundled-together collection of matter. Do prostitutes come in bundles, I wonder.
n meal (almost always breakfast) consisting of mostly fried stuff (sausage, eggs, bacon and the like). Ideal for those seeking heart disease.
n jawbreaker. Very hard sweets intended to break the jaw of the consumer, or at least cause severe injury.
n small Scottish mammal, known better for the unpleasant-tasting dish it is often made into. There has been a lot of concern in Scotland lately that over-farming may endanger the remaining population – if you want to help, please voice your concerns to The World-Wide Fund for Nature. Make it clear that you’re an American, and that you were made aware of the poor creature’s plight by this fine piece of work.
n evening meal; dinner. Derives from the fact that the meal was typically eaten at the dinner table (the “high table”) rather than the tea table. This usage has become something antiquated recently and the term “high tea” has morphed to refer to the expensive afternoon teas one can buy at posh hotels in the U.K.