Mac: n 1 (abbr. of “Macintosh”) light waterproof jacket which can usually be squashed up into an impressively small size for packing away. Possibly derived from the name of the gentleman who worked out how to infuse rubber and cloth. Americans call the same sort of thing a “slicker.” 2 buddy: Are you alright Mac? The two meanings appear together in the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band’s song “Big Shot,” which features the lines: On the way home a punk stopped me: “You got a light, mac?” / I said “No, but I’ve got a dark brown overcoat.”
mad: adj crazy. Brits do not use the term “mad” to refer to people who are pissed off. Describing something as mad (a party, or a weekend away or something) generally means it was riotous fun.
manky: adj gross; disgusting. The word is derived from the French “manqué,” the past participle of “manquer” (to fail).
manual gearbox: n stick-shift transmission. The way God intended cars to be driven.
Marmite: n a sandwich spread based upon yeast extract. Similar to “Bovril,” which is made from beef extract. Australians have a very similar spread called “Vegemite,” which is a little less sharp in taste.
marrow: n squash. The vegetable.
mate: n good friend; buddy. It’s in very common use in the U.K. and doesn’t have any implication that you might want to mate with the person in question. It is derived from “shipmate.”
maths: n mathematics. How the Brits ended up with maths and the Americans ended up with “math,” I’ve no idea.
mean: adj cheap; tight; stingy with money. Brits do not use the word to mean “nasty.” So when a Brit talks about his auntie Enid being “mean,” he’s more likely to mean mean mean what a useful word this is that she’s sitting on a million pounds under her mattress rather than she tweaks his ears every time he goes to visit.
mental: adj insane; crazy: It was kind of romantic to start with, but as soon as I turned on the electric toothbrush he went mental.
mews: n a short, narrow (often cobbled) street. The word traditionally meant a stable that had been converted into a house, but is now only used to refer to the sort of street they would have been on. Mews houses in central London tend to afford some peace and quiet, and are therefore highly sought after and breathtakingly expensive.
miffed: adj pissed off: She was pretty quiet all evening and then got a bit miffed as soon as I suggested we pay half each. She started crying, saying she’d never wanted to go to a strip bar in the first place and asking for her purse back.
milometer: n odometer. The thing that tells you how far you’ve gone in the car. A fairly antiquated term.
mince: n ground beef.
mince pie: n a sweet pie, traditionally served at Christmas, containing suet and mixed fruit. Not mincemeat. Step away from the mincemeat. No mincemeat to see here. Traditionally they did contain mincemeat, as the easiest way to preserve meat was to mince it and then mix it with various fruits. Actually, that probably isn’t the easiest way at all. The easiest way is probably to bury it in salt. Anyway - the animals having been slaughtered prior to the onset of winter, the mince pies were enjoyed at Christmas because the “preserved” meat was by then pretty much ready to walk out the door by itself. But it was okay, because everyone was kinda drunk.
mind: v watch out for: Mind the gap; Mind your head whilst going down the stairs.
minge: 1 n lady’s front bottom. The etymology may be Romany. 2 n Pubic hair.
minger: adj. pron. “ming-er” someone breathtakingly unattractive: She looked okay when we were in the bar, but when I woke up the next morning it turned out she was a complete minger. On fire and put out with a shovel, that sort of thing.
mobile phone: n cell phone. Can’t think of anything witty. Tough shit. Move onto the next word. Get on with your life.
moggie: n alley-cat. Implies a cat marginally more streetwise than your average “kitty.” A cat which has graduated from the university of life, if you will.
moggy: n cat. Implies a cat marginally more streetwise than your average “kitty.” A cat which has graduated from the university of life, if you will.
Mole grip: n 1 one of those fiendishly complicated wrench-type devices which can have its tension adjusted by means of a screw on the handle end. Americans know them better as “vise grips,” but it’s probably safe to say that if you don’t know what I’m talking about on either score then you are not going to live life at a great deficit. 2 popular sexual position. This is a joke.
molly-coddled: adj overly looked-after. Spoiled in a sort of possessive way: He seemed very nice to start with but I think he’s been rather molly-coddled by his mother.
momentarily: adj for a moment. Not to be confused with the U.S. definition, “in a moment.” I was alerted to this by a Brit who heard a station announcement in Chicago that his train would be “stopping momentarily at platform 6” and was unsure as to whether he was supposed to take a running leap to get into it before it left.
moose: n unattractive woman. Most often heard in post-drinking assessments: Yeah, was a great night - we all got completely pissed and Bob ended up snogging a complete moose!
moreish: adj provoking of further consumption. I once wrote that you’d never find this word in a dictionary, but I had to change when someone pointed out to me that it was in the OED. I hate you all. It means something (usually food) which leads you to want more - Jaffa Cakes, Jelly Babies or dry roasted peanuts would be some good personal examples. It’s rather light-hearted; you wouldn’t go around describing heroin as moreish, whether it is or not.
motor: n automobile. Derived from the time when all cars were known as “motor-cars.”
motorway: n freeway.
mug: n gullible person: He’s such a mug, he just took the entire story and believed every word of it!
multi-storey car park: n commercial car parking garage with, well, many floors. Americans call the same building a “parking ramp,” “parking structure” or “parking deck,” depending upon where they are in the country.
mum: n mom. Brits do also use the word in the American sense of “quiet” (as in “keep mum about that”) though maybe not as much in everyday speech as Americans. They’d probably say “schtum” instead.
munter: n deeply unattractive woman. Pretty much equivalent to “dog” or “pig.”
muppet: n dimwit: You’ve left the handbrake off, you muppet.