Help With Britspeak

(Site manager's note: This page will feature queries, quips and information about Amis's colloquialisms. Additions are always welcome. Two basic Internet reference sources:

bullet The Dictionary of British Cultural References.
bullet For an extensive Internet Slang Dictionary, try A Dictionary of Slang* Sample entry:


shag Verb. 1. To fornicate. Less coarse than 'fuck'. 1800's.
2. To wear out, to break. E.g."You'll shag it up if you keep hitting it with that hammer."
Noun. An act of fornication.
shagged Adj. Worn out, 'knackered'. Also followed by up or out.


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From: Tiger Woods
Category: Category 1
Date: 1/7/99
Time: 11:42:24 AM
Remote Name:

    Help. Mayday. SOS. I'm lost in Britglish. Some of Martin's Britishisms are perfectly incomprehensible to us yanky-wanks. What the hell is a Wimpy Bar? Is that some sorta non-alcoholic Mormon pub or something? Is that where people go to get "spunk-drunk"? What condition are you in when you're "mandied"? Who is Mandy and why is she doing all these terrible things to people? Is Mandy in cahoots with "shandy"? What does "squelchy" mean? What's a "snog"? Can I snog with a "slag"? What's a "fizzy kiss" and how much will it cost me? Will it cost me extra to "go biggies"? (Or maybe "that's as may be"?) Where can I buy a "bottle of blue-black Quink"? And if I drink enough of that, will it "bob my uncle"? When you pop upstairs for a "quick tup in the sitting-room", is that number-one or number-two or is it yanky-wank time again? If I go "pip pip" will you "knock me up in the morning"? Is it really true that Ian Paisley "putts from the rough"?

    Why is the sky blue? What is the meaning of life? What shall we do with all this useless beauty? What is the sound of one clam humping? If Sam Snead falls down dead-drunk in the middle of a sand trap and there's no one around to hear him, does he still make a sound? If Lee Trevino vomits on the ball, does that count as a stroke? Where do people go when they croak? And if God is good, then how do you explain Calvin Klein?

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From: Charles Highway
Category: Category 1
Date: 1/8/99
Time: 9:01:11 AM
Remote Name:

    My, my... Tiger Woods is such a rangy, big-cocked type of name, I'd have thought you'd be a little more clued up in the cot department. You should be spending more time in the bunk and less in the bunker. Still, if what Rachel tells me about DeForest's performance in Sackville is anything to go by, the Yanks' sexual vocabulary is matched only by the paucity of their physical repertoire. 'Humping', indeed. OK, here are the sexy bits...

    A Wimpy Bar is a 1960's English burger joint selling puce knickerbocker glories and beef 'patties' consisting of the eyebrows and arseholes of our finest beef cattle. (OK, not very sexy, but good for nurturing existential angst in the absence of any cafe society in Bayswater.)

    Spunk drunk. Tricky one. The unfortunate recipient of an unexpectedly profuse burst of, ahem, 'jizz'. Someone who is spunk drunk may be squelchy- predictably, it's an onomatapoeia.

    Mandied, as our friend has said, means fucked up on Mandrax- a barbiturate or amphetamine, I forget which is which.

    Hand Shandy - one off the wrist.

    You can snog with a slag, that is, introduce your tongue into the mouth of a woman of low morals. Since snogging usually means just kissing, you can probably go further and 'tup' her, too. 'Tupping' is the term for when a wether makes a ewe his special friend.

    Now we go into the smallest room in the house, if we weren't there already. Going biggies is having a number two, that is, excreting solids. A number one is, well, you can guess.

    Bob's your uncle means sort of 'hey presto' or 'voila'.

    Pip pip means goodbye.

    To knock up is to impregnate.

    Ian Paisley, from what I could tell from the last pro-am tournament when he was partnering Paul Azinger against Cardinal Basil Hume and Ian 'Woosie' Woosnam the little Welsh wizard, will only putt from the rough when he is faced with a four or five footer and a downhill lie. Otherwise he'll run a seven iron along the ground as his pitching stinks.

    Your other questions are far too difficult, even for a precocious little prat like me. Please let me know if there's any other light I can shed.

    Pip pip, old radish.


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From: L.A.
Category: Category 1
Date: 1/8/99
Time: 12:41:50 PM
Remote Name:

    Sheesh! What an education! I had no idea how much was getting by me. (I'm serious) What about this then... that part in The Information, where the tension is beginning to build for the big finish. Steve Cousins in enjoying porno from his barcolounger---only he isn't really enjoying it---bad memories coming---attempts to cry are unsuccessful; and as he decides to relieve the pain another way, he says to himself:

    "'They're doing me all over the gaff,' he said, just to delay it a moment or two. 'They're doing me all over the gaff,' he said, just to buy a little time." (amis, pg. 361 in my copy)

    What's "doing me all over the gaff" mean? (I thought it was like what I've been feeling lately, with all this shape shifting shit going on here; like being made to feel as if you're losing your mind, being knocked off balance, etc.---but after reading the Highway Dictionary, I wanna make sure I haven't missed some essential sexual meaning)

    Speaking of gross misinterpretations...I recently met a lovely couple from the UK and we all engaged in lively conversation until it came round to a holiday-related discussion and I managed to completely show my ass with, "so what's the deal with Guy Fawkes Day? Whey would you celebrate someone trying to blow up Parliament?" The female could not stop laughing and the male could not have displayed more controlled contempt as he explained "We celebrate that the attempt was unsuccessful, not that they TRIED." He left out the part about "you imbecile", but I caught his meaning. ---Lisa

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From: Linda
Category: Category 1
Date: 1/10/99
Time: 3:26:30 AM
Remote Name:

    A snog is a pash, a furious kissing session. A slag is a scrubber or slut. Blue black Quink fills fountain pens. Bob's your uncle means a happy conclusion has been reached. Everything is a-ok.

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*From A Dictionary of Slang:

A monster online dictionary of the rich colourful language we call slang... all from a British perspective, with new slang added every month. If you are unable to immediately find the term you are looking for, try the slang search. A short essay giving an outline of the parameters of this site and brief information on slang can be accessed on the introduction page.

Please take the time to read this introduction before submitting any slang for inclusion in this dictionary. Should you wish to do further research I have presented a selection of good source material... books, which can be found on the bibliography page.

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