Search Results for: Ngram

“Scrounge”

“Scrounge” is the virtual twin of the last word I wrote about, “wangle.” Both mean roughly the same thing, emerged in Britain as World War I slang, and after a few decades got adopted in America. The OED definition for … Continue reading

“Wangle”

To recap: a couple of posts ago, I mentioned a listicle of supposed Britishisms that included eleven words or expressions I would not have though of as such: “the bee’s knees,” “(go on a) bender,” “dim” (as opposed to clever), … Continue reading

“Rubbish” (verb)

The ever-observant Jan Freeman sends along a quote from (Syracuse-born) Daniel Dezner in a Washington Post essay: “When [people associated with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy] try to rubbish everyone else’s expertise, however, they only highlight their own … Continue reading

“Full of Beans”

A couple of posts back, I mentioned a published list of Britishisms that included eleven “words and expressions that have been common in America for as long as I can remember, and which I wouldn’t have necessarily thought of as … Continue reading

“Smarmy,” I

A friend sent me an article published about a year ago on Business Insider called “88 very British phrases that will confuse anybody who didn’t grow up in the UK.” Not surprisingly, the title is patently untrue. While some of … Continue reading

“Go wobbly”

In a commencement address last month, former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial matters, we go wobbly on America.” … Continue reading

“Chattering class/es”

I could have sworn I’ve done a post on this one, but apparently not, so here goes. The OED‘s definition and first three citations: chattering classes  n. (occasionally also in sing. chattering class) freq. derogatory members of the educated metropolitan … Continue reading

“Flummox”

Lynne Murphy’s new book, The Prodigal Tongue, has plenty of blog-fodder, which I’m just starting to make my way through. As with “bestie,” I was surprised when she mentioned “flummox” as a Britishism, but once again, she’s right. For the … Continue reading

“Bits and Bobs”

As noted in the previous post, I was surprised to see Harvard historian Jill Lepore use “bits and bobs” in a New Yorker piece; the phrase seemed just too British to be used by an American. But to paraphrase John … Continue reading

“Put paid” (500th post!)

This is a red-letter post: the 500th one since I started doing Not One-Off Britishisms more than six years ago. The surprising thing is that the NOOBs keep coming. I was alerted to the latest by Andrew Mytelka of the … Continue reading