Non-British words of the day

Today I had my administrative staff in stitches (again, after the “pants with pockets” debacle of a while back). I ran up to their office to get some thumbtacks to post some posters on a cork-board. I asked for thumbtacks, and got a blank look. “Thumbtacks?” I said again. I pointed at the board hanging above the desk with colorful pushpins. Laughter. Apparently there is no such word as “thumbtacks” in Brit-speak, and it was thought that I was celebrating the new VAT reduction by requesting a tax on their thumbs.

Earlier by about two hours, I had a young Scottish student in my office asking why there was no “tick mark” in Microsoft Office’s clip art. I thought for a second, and realized, well, Microsoft is an American company, and thus would have them down as “check” marks. Sure enough, a search on “check” brought up what was needed. Imagine my surprise on arriving home tonight to find that Brit’ Gal had posted “Tick” as her British word of the day!

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6 responses to “Non-British words of the day

  1. Did they point you in the direction of drawing pins for thumbtacks?

    Oh, the old check/tick confusion. Not helped by bank checks, which in Britain are cheques.

    When my son had been on an outdoors summer camp, he came home and told me that I was to do a tick check on him. It was a pity they hadn’t sent home a note about it, with a box to check, if I found any ticks. Then I could have ticked the box, once I’d done the check.

  2. I missed the ‘pants with pockets’ post. When DS got his first ‘big boy’ (Y-front) underwear he was quite delighted because “They got pocketses” Hmm – not really . . .

  3. Iota–yes although three times I asked, “WHAT pins?” I could not decipher “drawing” since it made (and still makes) no sense to me! Good one re: the tick check, love it.

    Almost American–brilliant, maybe a pair of y-fronts would be great for lecturing!

  4. pacificyorkshirebird

    Hehe – I got laughed at by the use of the word “pants” too! It is amazing how much the meaning of things change with the use of just a few words. I love your blog and your blog name! you might like ours too. http://shesnotfromyorkshire.com/about/

    We like to laugh about the silly differences we experience while living in Britain. And it is always great to find another of us in the UK!

  5. > I could not decipher “drawing” since it made (and still makes) no sense to me!

    Perhaps it will, now: drawing pins were originally designed to pin a drawing to a drawing board.

  6. I late and playing catch up and I see others have beat me to the “drawing pins” thing… but my co-workers were in wet-your-pants hysterics when I turned up with colored markers after being sent to WHSmith’s for the aforementioned drawing pins.

    bastards.

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