Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bad Meaning Good

Isn't it funny how in the States, when something's pretty good or fairly decent, they say it's not half bad.

"I'm no chef, but that pizza I made wasn't half bad."

Here in the UK, when something's good, really good, we say it's  not half good.

"That pizza I  just ate wasn't half good!"

 "Was it really?"

"Not half!"

 If someone cannot be bothered to do something in the UK, it is now common to say I can't be arsed.

If a Brit doesn't care about something, they say I couldn't care less. In the States, they say I could care less,  which means precisely the opposite. Weird.

In both areas, saying, "I don't mind" often means, "I'm not annoyed" (for example, by someone's smoking), while "I don't care" often means, "The matter is trivial or boring". However, in answering a question like "Tea or coffee?", if either alternative is equally acceptable, an American may answer, "I don't care", while a British person may answer, "I don't mind". Either sounds odd to the other.

In the States, A&E  is the name of a television network (Arts & Entertainment). In the UK, A&E  is the common term for Accident & Emergency,  the casualty (emergency room) department of a hospital.

The common term in the UK for the elasticated over-the shoulder devices worn by men for the purpose of holding up their trousers is braces.  Americans call them suspenders. Which is confusing to us Brits, because what we call suspenders, you call a  garter belt.  So for someone to describe Larry King to a Brit and tell them he wears suspenders is a bit disturbing.

And then of course there are chips. Chips  in the UK are fries, chips in the US are potato crisps. Except corn chips, which are just corn chips. And Sun Chips, which are Sun Bites  in Britain.

These are the thoughts that infest my dreams.

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