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British English for the Novice Q - R

British English for the Novice Q - R

Date: Oct 03 2007

Topic: British English

Author: rhyme_reason


QUEEN ANNE'S DEAD phrase. 1. Duh! 2. The response to someone who says very obvious. One might hear that "it rains a lot in England", to which you reply "QUEEN ANNE IS DEAD".

QUEER AS A CLOCKWORK ORANGE phrase. 1. Very strange, as in, "He's QUEER AS A CLOCKWORK ORANGE". Another similar phrase is "QUEER AS A TWO POUND NOTE" which should sound familiar to the American phrase "Queer as a three dollar bill".

QUEUE v. 1. To stand in line. 
n. 1. A line, as in, "a QUEUE of people waiting for ...(everything)".

QUID n. 1. One POUND.

QUIDS IN phrase. 1. To have it made, as in, "If this works out, we're QUIDS IN".

QUITE adv. 1. QUITE may be used in much the same manner as an American would expect. However, the English also use QUITE to mean utterly, absolutely, or completely. When an American says "It's quite dark," he means that it is almost, but not completely, dark. For this purpose, an Englishman would say "It's RATHER dark, isn't it?" (pronounced "izzen tit"). If it were QUITE dark, an American would say "It's pitch black,".

QUITE PLEASED phrase. 1. In some circles this could mean "rather mediocre". A Brit might not be particularly pleased with you if you announce you are QUITE PLEASED with something.

RANDY adj. 1. Horny. RANDY is never used as a short form of RANDOLF in the U.K. RANDY ANDY is a reference to Prince Andrew. (Speculation about why he got this name is high treason and subject to the otherwise disused punishment of hanging, drawing, and quartering).

RASHER n. 1. Slice, as in, a RASHER of bacon.

REAL ALE n. 1. In recent years there has been an effort to resurrect the more traditional ales of earlier periods. These are known as REAL ALES and resemble BITTER in taste and color. They are, however, rather much stronger in taste and alcoholic content. There is a club called the CAMPAIGN FOR REAL ALE (CAMRA) whose supposed purpose is to encourage the making of REAL ALE by traditional methods. It would appear this is done largely by consuming as much REAL ALE as is possible.

RED INDIAN n. 1. American Indian. INDIAN would be understood by the British to mean one from India.

REDUNDANT adj. 1. To be out of work, as in, "As sales of our new 3.5 liter economy car have not met expectations, we at GM--Ford--British-Leyland (select your favorite) are forced to make 250 workers REDUNDANT".

REEL n. 1. Spool, as in, a cotton REEL. 2. A type of music. On sailing ships the procedure to raise the anchor required a great deal of effort and time. The anchor was raised by many men walking in a circle pushing wooden bars inserted in a large spool (resembling the spokes of a wheel). Because this took so long, someone would often sit on this spool (REEL) and play his fiddle, sing and generally entertain the men.

REGIMENTAL TIE n. 1. Not just any striped tie, but a tie which one wears as a result of having belonged to an Army regiment.

REGISTRAR n. 1. A senior doctor in a hospital. The "chief" of a hospital section (e.g. Chief of Cardiology).

REST ROOM n. 1. Not what you think, but rather a room for resting. A REST ROOM is commonly provided at large tourist locations for the bus drivers to rest in. You can imagine the image I came up with when I read in a brochure that "REST ROOMS with television" were provided.

RETURN adj. 1. Round trip. A RETURN ticket to Bagley-cum-Wapshot-in-the-Vale is a round-trip ticket to go there, and then come back. Sometimes a "cheap day RETURN" is available which may often be less expensive than a one-way ticket.

REVERSE CHARGE n. 1. Collect call. To make a collect call, dial the operator and tell her you wish to REVERSE the CHARGES.

REVISE v. 1. Not to change something, but to review it. To recapitulate. As in, to ask a speaker to "REVISE on a particular point".

RHUBARB n. 1. Nonsense or noise spoken by a person. The origin of this term comes from the stage. People in crowd scenes who are to make "crowd noises" might say, "RHUBARB, RHUBARB, RHUBARB...". This is exactly the background sound one hears in the houses of Parliament. Whether the other MPs agree or disagree with the speaker of the moment, one hears a rumble which sounds remarkably like "RHUBARB, RHUBARB, RHUBARB ...". I'm told the reason for such Parliamentary grunting is because the MPs are not allowed to clap or boo.

RIGHT adj. 1. Left, as in, "The British drive on the RIGHT side of the road. Everyone else (except the Japanese and some others) is wrong".

RING UP v. 1. To telephone, as in, "I'll RING you UP when I've earned enough to pay for the call".

RISING MAIN n. 1. The cold water supply into a house.

ROCK n. 1. A type of candy in the form of a rod, usually pink on the outside and white inside. Traditionally this is bought at the seaside. A "stick of ROCK" is not rock candy.

ROLLIE POLLIE n. 1. School child term for somersault.

ROLLMOPS n. 1. Pickled or soused herring.

ROTA n. 1. A list drawn up to determine the rotating order something will happen. A morning ladies group might have a ROTA of whose house will be used for which meeting.

ROTTER (raaahhhter) n. 1. A PUBLIC SCHOOL derogatory term for someone who lets the side down or plays dirty.

ROUNDABOUT n. 1. Traffic circle. A British version of billiards played with automobiles. This is an attempt by the British to avoid the dilemma Americans have when four cars come simultaneously to a four-way stop. The British solve this by allowing everyone to continue into the intersection without stopping. 2. Carousel.

RUBBER n. 1. Eraser.

RUG n. 1. Car blanket.

RUGBY n. 1. Short form for RUGBY FOOTBALL. This is a football-like game played without the footballer's padding and equipment. This is a favorite game of Ireland, Scotland and Wales (and many others) whose national teams are closely followed. When Ireland won the triple crown of RUGBY in 1982, one PUB alone in Ireland served up 30,000 PINTS OF STOUT in the ensuing victory celebration.

Note there is an important distinction between RUGBY UNION which is an international amateur sport and RUGBY LEAGUE which is a kind of legal rioting (professional sport). Note also that RUGBY is not the national sport of EIRE -- they play HURLING which is a cross between hockey and Death Race 2000.

RUGGER n. 1. An upper class term for RUGBY UNION (See RUGBY).

RUGGER BUGGER n. 1. Someone obsessed with RUGBY. A RUGBY freak.

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