n applaud. In the U.K., to “give someone a clap” means to applaud them. Analogous to U.S. English’s “give someone a hand.” Not to be confused with giving someone “the clap,” which means the same thing on both sides of the Atlantic.
n person from the East End of London. Strictly speaking, someone “born within the sound of the bells of Bow Church.” A more modern definition might be “born within the sound of a racist beating,” “born in the back of a stolen Mercedes” or perhaps “born within the range of a Glock semi-automatic.” Cockneys have a distinctive accent, which other Brits are all convinced that they can mimic after a few pints.
n co-worker. In here because Brits do not use the term “co-worker.” Of no relevance at all is the fact that Brits also do not refer to the hosts of television news programmes as “anchors,” which caused my British boss some confusion when he became convinced that the CNN presenter had handed over to her “co-wanker.”
n policeman. May come from the copper buttons policemen originally wore on their uniforms; may also be derived from the Latin “capere,” which means “to capture.” In turn, the American word “cop” may be derived from copper, although may equally easily be an abbreviation for “Constable on Patrol” or “Constable of the Police.” There. I don’t think I committed to anything.
n dishonest and incompetent tradesman: I’m not surprised it exploded, it was installed by a bunch of cowboys!
adj not in possession of, well, “the full shilling.” Daft can range from the absent-minded: You’ve forgotten to put petrol in it, daft woman! to the criminally insane: Well, once we let him out of the car boot he went completely daft!
n lowly servant; gopher. Your dogsbody would be the person who polished your shoes, emptied your bins and cleaned your loo. That is, if you were lucky enough to have someone like that. The term may originate from a dried pea-based foodstuff used in the Royal Navy, which sailors called “dog’s body”. Perhaps the first person to be called a dogsbody closely resembled a dried pea.
v sit about not doing much. You might describe one of your less-productive colleagues as a dosser, because he (or she, I suppose — laziness is not quite confined to males) sits around dossing all the time instead of working.
adj surname which consists of two hyphenated names, such as “Rhys-Jones” or “Fox-Kelton.”
n garbage man, trash collector. I presume “dustwoman” is also appropriate in these heady days of sexual equality.
n “best student” of a class year. Fairly old-fashioned, this is now only used in private schools. I’m told that Americans have “valedictorians” instead, which somehow sounds much grander.
n real estate agent, realtor — the person who carefully listens to all your whims and fancies about the sort of home you’d like, and then takes you to see one that doesn’t fulfil any of those criteria but they’re having trouble selling.
n police force. Slightly-less-than-complimentary. I ought to mention at this juncture that just because words are in this fine tome doesn’t mean to say that I use them regularly.
n bloke in charge. Originally the foreman of a construction site, but can be used universally. In the film industry, the gaffer is the set’s chief electrician, in charge of pretty much anything with wires attached to it. This may or may not be relevant.
n dude. While Americans use geezer too, it implies someone much older and with much less street-cred than the British version: Is that yours? / Sort of, I just bought it off some geezer in the pub. / Was it always that colour? / I think it might be dead.
1 n snitch; informer. 2 v inform. Normally used in the context of criminals grassing on each other to the police, but I certainly remember being grassed up at school for going to McDonalds instead of Modern Studies. If I could remember who it was who squealed, I’d name and shame him but right at this very minute I can’t recall. 3 marijuana (universal).
n London the boss. While I’ve no doubt this derives from the word “governor,” I can guarantee that you’ll never hear the missing letters being pronounced or even written.