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!

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.

    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.


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