jabs: n inoculations: I’m off to the Amazon for a week – got to get my jabs this morning!
jacket potato: n baked potato. A potato baked in its skin and usually filled with something. The term “baked potato” is equally well understood in the U.K.
jacksie: n ass: If you bring that thing into one of these meetings again I’m going to shove it up your jacksie! From Cockney rhyming slang “Jack and Danny” / “fanny”.
jam: n jelly. Sort of. What Americans call “jelly” (fruit preserve without fruity-bits in it), Brits still call jam. What Americans call “jello,” Brits call “jelly.” Oh yes, and what Americans call “jam” is still also called jam in the U.K. I think that’s the jams pretty much covered.
jam-sandwich: n police car. Also “jam butty.” So called because they are white, with a red stripe down the middle, and therefore are almost indistinguishable from a twelve-foot metal jam sandwich.
jammy: adj lucky. Often seen in the phrase “you jammy git,” uttered graciously on some sort of defeat.
jelly: n Jell-o. Gelatinous sweet desert. The Jell-o brand doesn’t exist in the U.K. British jelly is not like American “jelly” – Brits don’t distinguish between fruit preserves with or without fruit in them – they’re all “jam”.
jiffy: n moment; very short period of time: I’ll be there in a jiffy! The phrase comes from a time before Jiffy was a popular brand of condom.
jim-jams: n pajamas. So called because the pajama was invented by a man named Jim, and the original experimental variants were made solely from strawberry jam.
Jock: n Scottish person. Similar to the use of “Paddy” to mean an Irish person. The people that Americans call “Jocks”, Brits would call “rugger buggers”.
Joe Bloggs: n John Doe; Joe Public. The man in the street. It’s perhaps a little curious that neither Bloggs nor Doe are very common names anywhere.
John Thomas: n penis. The term derives from the name given to the appendage of the leading man in D.H. Lawrence’s novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The book was made famous by the obscenity trial it landed Penguin Books in during the 1950s. Someone once told me that in America one could buy “John Thomas relish” to put on your lunch. This turned out to be nonsense, but is somehow still amusing. Perhaps I’ll invent it.
joint: n large side of meat, like a Sunday roast. The Brits, like the Americans, also use the word to refer to cannabis spliffs, which means that these days you’d be unlikely to get away with referring to your “Sunday joint” without someone giggling.
jolly: adv 1 very: We had a jolly good time at the zoo. 2 adj happy: He seemed remarkably jolly about the whole business.
jumble sale: n garage sale; yard sale. The wonderful event where people get together in order to sell the revolting tacky rubbish they’ve accumulated over the years.
jump leads: n jumper cables. The pair of heavy wires which you use to connect the battery of your working car to the battery of your dead car, or to a person from whom you wish to extract information.
jumper: n sweater. What Americans call a “jumper” (a set of overalls with a skirt instead of trousers), Brits would call a “pinafore.”