G-clamp: n C-clamp. I’d say they look more like ‘G’s. If you’ve no idea what any of this means, don’t worry your pretty little head about it.
gaffe: n home. Rather a London-centric word: Why don’t we go back to my gaffe and skin up? The shorter word “gaff” (to make a foolish error) is the same in both U.K. and U.S. English.
gaffer: 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.
gaffer tape: n duct tape. Sort of. The heavy, slightly meshed sticky tape used to silence potential murder victims and to reliably and effectively attach small animals to tables. Unlike duct tape, gaffer tape is designed not to melt onto things, and is used extensively in the theatre and film industry. Probably derived from the fact that the Gaffer is the chief electrician on a film set.
garden: n back yard. Americans use the word “garden” to refer to areas where fairly specific things are grown – flowers or vegetables, for example. Brits use the word to refer to the area behind their house which contains some grass, a long-since abandoned attempt at a rockery and a broken plastic tricycle.
gardening leave: n a period of time, paid for by your previous employer, during which you are contractually obliged not to start any other job. Popularised by the banking industry, this is time you are intended to spend looking after your garden and forgetting intellectual property of your prior employer. Should be called “skiing leave” or “coke and hookers leave” in my personal opinion.
gazump: n accept a higher offer in a property deal at the very last minute: The day we were supposed to sign the papers we were gazumped! Your mother spat at them, which made me feel slightly better about it.
gear lever: n the “stick” of a stick-shift car. This applies to cars with manual transmission - automatic cars in the U.K. are reserved for pensioners, the severely disabled and Americans.
gearbox: n transmission. The box of gears that sits between the engine and the prop shaft of a car.
geezer: 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.
Geordie: n person from Newcastle, or thereabouts.
get off: v make out: I just noticed Ian’s ex getting off with his brother! This must not be confused with the U.S. term “to get someone off,” which means, well, rather a lot more.
get your end away: v have sex: I think our dog’s been getting his end away with that St. Bernard down the street.
giddy: n dizzy or vertiginous. In the U.S. this means silliness and/or giggling - the British definition is more of a medical condition. The British driving license application form asks the applicant whether they are “subject to excessive giddiness.”
git: n a tricky one to define. But, of course, that’s what I’m getting paid the big bucks for. What it doesn’t mean is what The Waltons meant when they said it (“git outta here, John-Boy”). Git is technically an insult but has a twinge of jealousy to it. You’d call someone a git if they’d won the Readers’ Digest Prize Draw, outsmarted you in a battle of wits or been named in Bill Gates’ last will and testament because of a spelling mistake. Like “sod,” it has a friendly tone to it. It may be derived from Arabic, or it may be a contraction of the word “illegitimate.” Or neither.
give over: interj give up: When are you going to stop watching telly and get your homework done? / Jesus mum, give over!
give way: interj yield. This phrase on a road sign means that, at the junction you’re approaching, other traffic has the right of way. The signs themselves are white upward-pointing triangles with a red line around them. Americans have similar signs but the arrow is downward-pointing, and they have “Yield” written on them instead. Americans used to have yellow ones, but this turns out to be a whole separate topic that I don’t want to get into.
glass: v the act of breaking a glass and shoving the lower half of it into someone’s face, thereby causing some degree of distress. A popular way for pikeys to settle arguments.
go down a storm: adj go down great; go down like a bomb: Julie went down a storm with the customers we spoke to today – I reckon we’ll see an order this afternoon as long as the demo model doesn’t catch fire again.
gob: 1 n mouth. Almost always used in the context “shut your gob.” 2 v spit: The pikey fucker just gobbed down my shirt! It’s possible the word is derived from Gaelic, where it means a bird’s beak, or from the English navy, where it was used widely to refer to the toilet.
gobshite: n Scottish 1 bullshit. Intended to refer to the metaphorical shite that is coming out of your gob: Jimmy said he was in the Olympic ski team but to be honest I think it’s all gobshite. 2 the person who is emitting said matter: I wouldn’t believe anything Anne says, she’s a wee gobshite.
gobsmacked: adj surprised; taken aback: I was completely gobsmacked... I didn’t even know she was pregnant.
gobstopper: n jawbreaker. Very hard sweets intended to break the jaw of the consumer, or at least cause severe injury.
golf buggy: n golf cart. The device intended to remove the only useful part of golf (some exercise) from the sport.
good on ya: interj well done: You finally ditched him? Good on ya!
googly: n a cricket ball bowled such that it bounces unpredictably when it lands.
Gordon Bennett: interj Christ. By this I don’t mean that Britain is under the grip of a strange new religion where Jesus Christ has been replaced by a man called Gordon Bennett, who came to earth in the guise of a used car salesman to save humanity from eternal damnation. No, I mean more that this is a general-purpose expletive, used in a similar context to “Christ!” or “Bollocks!”: Your brother Tommy’s won the lottery! / Gordon Bennett! Its source lies in the mid-19th century with James Gordon Bennett, son of the founder of the New York Herald and Associated Press (who was also called Gordon Bennett, in case you thought this was going to be simple). Born with cash to spare, Gordon Jr. became legendary for high-roller stunts and fits of notoriety including urinating in his in-laws’ fireplace, and burning money in public. His name entered the lexicon as a term of exclamation for anything a bit over the top.
gormless: adj slightly lacking in the common sense department; a bit daft. The word (as “gaumless”) also exists in Scots-derived American English with the same meaning but is not in common use.
grammar: n textbook. A very antiquated term – would be met with blank stares by most schoolchildren these days. Can’t think of anything witty to add. If you’re sitting there working on a “grammar / grandma” joke, please don’t. Whatever it was, my father has probably already used it.
grass: 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).
green fingers: n green thumbs. A characteristic of a person particularly good at looking after plants. Difficult to imagine how these two different terms arose, but there you go.
grizzle: n Scottish grumble or moan. Much like “whinging.” Often used to refer to grumpy babies: Oh, just ignore him he’s been grizzling all morning.
grope: n fondle (in a sexual fashion): As soon as the lights went out, Bob groped her and she kicked him in the nuts. I knew he’d do something like that eventually but I don’t think any of us expected him to do it at a funeral.
grotty: adj gross; disgusting. Your mother might use it to describe your room, or your girlfriend might use it to describe your whole flat. Or maybe you’re cleaner than I am.
gubbins: n apparatus; stuff that does stuff: You put a coin in this end, and then out of here comes a model of the Eiffel Tower. I'm not really sure how the gubbins works...
guff: 1 v fart. Presumably some sort of derivation of “chuff” or vice versa. Not to be confused with “gaff.” 2 n verbiage: I asked him what happened, but he just gave me a load of guff.
Guinea: n old unit of currency in the U.K. Worth “one pound and one shilling,” a Guinea coin was minted from 1731 until 1813. The somewhat curious value is due to the fact that it was created largely to cater for auction-houses, where for each pound the seller receives for his goods, the auctioneer takes a shilling (5%). The buyer, therefore, pays a Guinea.
gutted: adj deeply disappointed. You might use it to describe your state of health after your football team were beaten eight-nil and you dropped your car keys in a pond.
guv’nor: 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.
gyp: n irritating pain: I don’t think I’ll make it out tonight; my ankle is giving me gyp. Interestingly, in the U.S. “gypping” is cheating.