v dismiss; fire: Well, I pretty much knew I was getting sacked as soon as they walked in and saw me on the photocopier. Comes from a time when you were given a sack into which to put the contents of your desk. In the U.S., the term “given the sack” is used sporadically, but not the word sack alone as a verb.
n A mixture of mayonnaise and vinegar often put on salads. Perhaps unsurprisingly.
n sedan. The cars that, well, aren’t estates or sports cars. The kind your dad and the dentist have. They are called saloons in the U.K. because they usually have wooden swing doors, spittoons and people tend to burst into them waving a gun and saying something about the car not being big enough for two of us. Them. Us. I see why people hate learning English.
adj similar: We looked at ten flats that afternoon but they were all just a bit samey.
n abbrev sandwich. A little bit slang-ish – you won’t find a “lightly toasted roast beef sarnie served on a fresh bed of rocket” in your average poncy restaurant.
n Scottish English person. Gaelic, ultimately derived from Latin “Saxones”, meaning “floppy haired twat with silly accent”.
n non-dessert food. Food such as potatoes, bread and meat are savouries. Things like ice cream and meringues are “sweets,” which is defined elsewhere in this fine work. Probably further on, as it’s supposed to be in alphabetical order.
v run away. Usually from the scene of some sort of unpleasant incident in which you were a part: I saw some kids out the window writing all over my car in spray paint but by the time I got there they’d scarpered. It may be derived from the Cockney rhyming slang “Scappa Flow” / “go.” Scappa Flow is a large natural harbour on an island north of Scotland where the British naval fleet was kept during World War One. All this extra information provided free of charge.
adj pron. “shtoom” silent. Only really used in the phrase “keep schtum,” meaning “keep your mouth shut” in the U.K. It is derived from the German adjective “stumm,” meaning being either unable or unwilling to speak.
n pron. “sk-awn,” not “sk-own” biscuit. Sort of. A quintessentially British foodstuff, scones are somewhere between a cake and a subsistence food. The British word is creeping into the U.S. via coffee shops. Can a word creep?
a contraction of the word “Scottish,” this is now only used in the context of foodstuffs (and even then really just Scotch eggs), and whisky – Brits refer to anything else as being “Scottish.” So those from Scotland aren’t Scotch people; they are Scottish people. If they were Scotch people, they would be made primarily from whisky. Oh, wait…
n a somewhat peculiar delicacy – a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and coated in breadcrumbs. My mother used to put them in my packed lunch every day for school.
n someone from Liverpool. Perhaps more accurately someone with a Liverpool accent. The word comes from “lobscouse,” which was a dish sailors ate, much like Irish Stew – sailors were known as “lobscousers” and the port of Liverpool ended up tagged with the same word. Further back still, the original word may have come from Norway, where today “Lapp Skews” are stewed strips of reindeer meat. Or perhaps it comes from Bangladesh, where “Lump Scouts” is a rare dish made from boy-scouts and served at Christmas. Or from a parallel universe, almost identical to ours, where scousers are people from Birmingham.
n, v, adj junk. While Americans have junkyards and put junk on junk-heaps, Brits have scrapyards and scrap-heaps, upon which they put scrap.
n scum. Someone generally about as low in one’s esteem as a person could be. It may be an abbreviation of “scrotum” which, now I think about it, could perhaps be the derivation of “scum.” I have a small pain in my sc’um, m’lord.
adj delicious. I believe that this is a childish amalgamation of “yummy” and “scrumptious”: This jelly and ice-cream is scrummy!
n strong alcoholic cider. While traditionally the word refers to home-brewed cider (scrumping being the stealing of apples), it has more recently become associated with a high-alcohol brand named Scrumpy Jack. Don’t go near the stuff. I drank some at university one evening and all sorts of bad things happened.
v obstruct; stymie: We were planning on having a party but then my folks arrived home early and scuppered that. The term derives from seafaring, where the scupper is a drain designed to allow water to flow overboard from the deck. To be scuppered is to be hit by a wave large enough to knock you into this drain. Of course, it could also derive from the more obvious seafaring source where scuppering something is sinking it, but hey. I make a lot of these up on the spot.