Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ever so slowly this goes, one word at a time

Gasoline prices have just hit $3.24 a gallon in our little town today, and I was just sitting here cussing at the Arabs and their goddam oil anyway, and so, obviously, my next thought was of Trish.

Trish has been a part of our little blog family here for several days now, and it occurs to me that I haven't really embarrassed her nearly to the extent that this classy lady deserves. Hence, this post (as my other webhost would say.)

To refresh your memory (actually, to help you halfway understand what the feck I 'm talking about), I now reprint her original introductory comment:


trish said...
Hello Max! Thanks for visiting my blog and for the lovely comment.

My husband's parents are both English, and his stepfather was born to English parents living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Their conversation is peppered with odd little sayings and my husband uses most of them in an ordinary week. Poms would probably find it amusing to hear an Australian man say "bugger this for a game of soldiers" in the same way we find it amusing to hear Americans attempt a "fair dinkum" or "g'day mate." My husband's granny still lives in Yorkshire and she's practically unintelligible to my colonial ears.

There are many differences between The Queen's English and Australian English and I would be happy to add my perspective to this lively discussion.

Cheers, Cobber!
(we don't really say that)

March 11, 2008 4:08 AM


The operative word in this comment, or at least the one I am trying to decipher today, is "Pom." Yes. She called you Poms.

I didn't say anything at first because, well, naturally I thought it was simply another putdown of Americans. I mean, why should Trish be any different than the rest of the planet? But since I am so mentally swift, I, four days later, have decided to look the word up in the dictionary on the outside chance it is really a dictionary-type word. Turns out it is.

The first attempt didn't help much. In it's typical helpful manner, my American dictionary edified me: "Pom. Noun. Short for Pommy."

I don't want to digress here, because this post is going to probably end up being too long as usual, but why can't those stupid academic pricks just give me the definition on the same page instead of making me leaf through more pages? Are they hoping I will spy another word somewhere in between Pom and Pommy that will draw my attention and make me buy something from them? It's almost like these clowns who put their entrecard down at the bottom of their three-mile-long page, which has already taken eleven minutes to load due to all their clever overlays, video snippets, and MP3 files, which, of course, have all opened automatically. Thanks guys. Since I have been on your page so long now, I will surely click on a few of your ads and buy something from one of your affiliates. For sure. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

By the way, since I have already blown my intention for a rare short post (so what the fuck, eh?) let me point out that Google's automatic spellchecker on Blogspot has just informed me that there is no such word as "Pommy." Then why is in the dictionary, dolts? Why don't you spend a few of those GoogleDollars and update your spellchecker program once every couple of decades? Thanks. Poetically, "Blogspot" is not in Google's dictionary either.

If there are a few of you left who are still reading this (leaving out Claire, of course, whose attention span is not nearly long enough to be still mucking around in a post this far down, unless it is about one of her special interests, like making sausages or something like that) let me return to the subject at hand. (Now what was that again? Ah, yes. Embarrassing the classy Trish.)

Returning to Poms, and the teaching of unsuspecting Americans obscure slang they will never in their lives use, I find that "Pommy" is (according to my American Dictionary, at least) an: "Austral/NZ informal offensive slang for a British Person, probably derived from the word pomegranate because it nearly rhymes with immigrant."

Horsepucky. First of all, pomegranate doesn't "nearly" rhyme with immigrant. Not even close. Second of all, and I hate to break it to you Trish, but this is sounding more and more like a smug native Austrailian insult to YOUR ancestors, not the Brits who stayed at home in England/Great Britain/The UK/Whatever. Doncha think?

Yes, there's a moral. Stop using it, because it won't annoy the real Brits, and that is our true objective here. Well, perhaps it would annoy Claire, but, then, she's not reading this far down, right?

Christ. I forgot about Trish's mammoth man. Bet he can get a visa, too. Crikey.


  1. Max- very refreshing commentary.I have learned a new word today, one I'm sure I'll never use even if it is informal offensive slang.Getting through Brit-isms is taxing enough on my reptilian brain, but now throw in those Aussies!Crikey is right.Leprosy,crocodiles and criminals be damned!We have the more dignified colonial Australian English to contend with!

  2. Dear ruusterlady:

    Thank's for stopping by. I hope you're not who I think you are. Busted. I'm in trouble now.

  3. PS-are you missing a space bar on your keyboard? Or are you missing thumbs? If the latter, my apologies.

  4. Maybe 'Poms' is still offensive to some British people - I'm not old enough to remember a time when it was a derogatory term. It's really not in very common usage nowadays. It seemed appropriate to use in the context of your blog - ie, I was trying to add some words you may not have heard of. I could give you some other examples of what we call the British (and they could give you a few of what they call us!) but let's not go there, OK? :-)

    I've never heard the story about the pomegranate. Interesting.

    My husband is an Australian citizen with both Australian and British passports. So yes, he can get a visa. But I think you're safe, way over there. He's just a big ol' bear, he wouldn't hurt a flea.

  5. Hi Trish. Whew, that's a relief!

    I agree, let's not go there. The supposed history of the word was interesting, though, wasn't it? Sometimes I try too hard to be funny and people don't understand. I guess that's why they make emoticons.

    The visa remark, by the way, was related to a much earlier post about an alleged shoe bomber. If you hadn't read that on, then of course this wouldn't make sense to you. Sorry.

    Trish, I am in the process of organizing a list of words and phrases I have gleaned so far. At least the ones I think are probably clean. I'm going to post that list with a formal request, once and for all, for actual translations. Then I am going to keep a real "BritSpeak" dictionary that will have a link to it. That way, we can keep track of what we have been collecting here, as well as add to the list more accurately. When I post that in a few days, I just know you would be a great help with your input on the meanings. If you want to, that is. Thanks again for your comment.

    I really wasn't trying to embarrass you with this post, by the way, even though I said I was. I was only trying to acknowledge you as a valuable part of our little group. No offense was intended. Again, it was an (apparently poor) attempt at humor. : )



Related Posts with Thumbnails