interj thank you. Often regarded as a little slovenly. May be derived from the Scandinavian “tak,” meaning much the same thing.
v put forward for discussion: I’d like to table this for the end of the meeting. To Americans, “table” means to put aside. Somehow these got separated, much like “momentarily.”
n traffic jam; back-up: Don’t bother going via the M25, there’s a ten mile tailback.
n 1 take-out food: I think we’re just going to get take-away. 2 take-out restaurant. A hot food retailer (personally I think in this instance “restaurant” is a little too strong) which only sells things that you can take home and eat or stagger down the street drunkenly stuffing in your mouth and distributing down your shirt. Blimey, that tastes good. Damnit, I’ve left my credit card in the pub again. Where are my keys?
interj making fun of; laughing at. Essentially a more polite version of “taking the piss.” Your grandmother would be much more likely to use this variant.
n make fun of: Andy fell down the stairs on the way into the pub last night, and everyone spent the entire night taking the piss out of him. This is the most common term in British English to describe making fun of someone. Contrary to what one might assume, it doesn’t involve a complex system of tubes or a bicycle pump.
n public address system. The odd name derives rather simply from the fact that a company called Tannoy were among the more prominent early developers of such a device.
n blacktop. The stuff that covers roads. Perhaps you’d like to hear some road-making history? Hmm? Or perhaps not. Perhaps you’re sitting in bed naked, waiting for your husband to finish in the shower. Perhaps you’re on a train in a strange foreign country, hoping that this stupid book was going to be much more of a tour guide than it turned out to be. Perhaps you’re having a shit. Well, bucko, whatever you’re doing you’re stuck now, and so you’re going to hear a little bit of road-making history. A long time ago, a Scotsman named John Loudon Macadam invented a way of surfacing roads with gravel, this coating being known as “Macadam” – a term also used in the U.S. “What happens when the road aged?,” I hear you say. Well, I’m so glad you asked. Unfortunately as the road aged the gravel tended to grind to dust and so it was coated with a layer of tar – this being “Tar-Macadam,” which was concatenated to tarmac. Somewhere in the mists of time the Americans ended up using this only to describe airport runways, but the Brits still use it to describe the road surface.
n 1 party-girl, he says, to put it delicately. A girl easier to party on than other girls. Much the same as a “slapper,” but slightly less extreme and a little more unisexual. Tarts spend hours perfecting make-up, hair and clothes before going out and waiting at the side of the dance floor to be pulled. At the end of the evening, there’s a tendency for the tarts to slide towards slapperdom, just to make sure all that lip gloss doesn’t go to waste. The word may or may not be derived from “sweetheart.” 2 small cake with a filling – perhaps jam or fruit. So, when in Alice Through the Looking Glass, the rhyme goes “the knave of hearts, he stole the tarts,” he wasn’t leaping off with his arms full of easy young ladies. 3 sour (universal).
n, adj plaid. The stripes-and-checkers pattern that Scotsmen use for their kilts but is also used for all sorts of things from throw rugs to tacky seat covers.
n Northern England potato. Not exactly sure how America ended up calling the greasy French-fry derivatives “tater tots.”
n evening meal. At the risk of sounding terrible, it’s just a little “working class.” Maybe that doesn’t sound all that terrible. There are lots of more terrible things I could say. Ask my parole officer.
n thief: When I got to the car park I realised some tea leaf had nicked my hub caps! Cockney rhyming slang – unlikely most other Cockney rhyming slang terms, you cannot use simply “tea” to refer to a thief.
n coffee-break. A break away from work, ostensibly to have a cup of tea, but perhaps also to have coffee or a sly fag.
n dish-towel; dish-cloth. The thing you use to dry the dishes if you don’t have a dishwasher. It’s my belief that dishwashers are the most important invention of the twentieth century. Perhaps it’ll be your belief too, now.
n TV. The term “TV” is well used and understood in the U.K., but telly is more common.
n regular television; cable. Any television that doesn’t come from a satellite. Until recently there was no cable TV in the U.K., so any terrestrial television was beamed over radio waves and received by an aerial. The distinction is a bit hazy these days as the Brits are now fortunate enough to have cable TV. Nowadays, terrestrial television generally refers to the five channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five) which are transmitted via radio.