Twee huggers

My friend Bruce Beans sent me a fun feature from the folks at Merriam-Webster Online–click on the above photo to link to it. They say, “Although Merriam-Webster is a dictionary of American English, it contains a range of words rarely heard outside Britain. Here are some of our favourites.” (Note the ou spelling of favourite in the text, but the Americanized favorite in the heading.)

I am on record as not totally agreeing with their statement, since I have already featured plonk as having entered the American lexicon. Of the other nine on the list, I can see some that have already established a foothold here, and a couple of others that may do in the future. What do you lot think?

8 thoughts on “Twee huggers

  1. I was about to say that I’ve never heard “chunter” or “pukka” outside North-East and South-East England respectively, and now I see they got zero votes. I wonder if that says anything; if they failed to catch on in the rest of the UK, will they ever make it across the Atlantic? “Knackered” is good though, how can anyone resist knackered? Knackered, whinge and twee kind of sum up the UK for me. I’m very proud.

    I love this blog.

  2. Pukka must have come back with people who had lived in India in the days of the Empire.
    I first heard “whinge” only when I heard Australians talking about “whingeing Poms”. Might it be one of the many imports (or re-imports) from the Australian soaps?

  3. My parents, both born in NJ of American born parents, used whinge regularly to describe a whining child, usually my sister…, so I never considered it a non-American term. I also notice that in the NY area that there has always been commin use of what might be considered British or Irish words and phrases.

  4. I voted for ‘gormless’ in the poll. ‘Arse’ was already made acceptable by The Smiths and because ‘shag’ has been polluting the landscape since Austin Powers. Reading the “Comment is Free” section of the guardian online, I noticed a lot of people referring to the PM Gordon Brown as “Gormless Clown,” which I thought was clever. I’ve still never used the word in a sentence (until now), but I think it stands a better chance than “knackered.”

  5. ‘chunter’ is used regularly in the English Midlands, not just in the North East, certainly in the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Staffordshire anyway.

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