Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Doing my homework

Last night while England slept I did my usual word gleaning and organizing. Here is a word I came across which I had never heard of before. It wasn't in my American dictionary at all, not even under "Brit.": Chunder. And here is what it means, I later found. Revolting. Why do you even have words like that?

And here is a word that I have heard all my life, but have never learned what it means. Now it has been so long, I am ashamed to ask. Maybe one of you will define it for me in a comment so I won't have to ask out loud. It looks like it should mean "four" or maybe "five". Probably not. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with slang for a certain kind of your money. Don't have a clue, though. John Lennon seemed to use it a lot. The word is quid. In the U.S., we only have bucks, fins, sawbucks, double sawbucks, half a C, and C notes. We used to have grands, but no more. Not publicly held, at least.

Here are two words you may be surprised to learn are never used in America. People know what they mean, but they never use them. Almost never, at least. If you ever go to America and really want to be recognized as being British, but you don't want to say the word bloody, then say one of these two words. it will work. They will know right away where you are from: Advert or queue. For the reccord, in the USA these things are ads and lines. Ask Caroline.

I also read some Beatrix Potter last night. A certified wacko, she is. Charming though. Here is a passage I especially liked:

Old Mrs. Rabbit was a widow; she earned her living by knitting rabbit-wool mittens and muffatees (I once bought a pair at a bazaar). She also sold herbs, and rosemary tea, and rabbit-tobacco (which is what we call lavender).


  1. Quid, funny you mention this one, as I use it alot, and it causes much confusion with Americans. It simply means pound. I am not sure where it comes from, but I will try and find out. Its used interchangably, just like dollar and buck.

    If no one else knows it origin, I'll get back to you on it.

    We also call 50p - Dustbin lid.

  2. Oh, and don't knock Miss Potter, she is much loved.

    I will agree with you about queue and line, oh and lift is the other one.

  3. I found this,
    "quid = one pound (£1) or a number of pounds sterling. Plural uses singular form, eg., 'Fifteen quid is all I want for it..', or 'I won five hundred quid on the horses yesterday..'. The slang money expression 'quid' seems first to have appeared in late 1600s England, derived from Latin (quid meaning 'what', as in 'quid pro quo' - 'something for something else'). Other intriguing possible origins/influences include a suggested connection with the highly secretive Quidhampton banknote paper-mill, and the term quid as applied (ack D Murray) to chewing tobacco, which are explained in more detail under quid in the cliches, words and slang page."
    at http://www.businessballs.com/moneyslanghistory.htm
    something about the websites name made me select that one :).

  4. Thank you Caroline. I knew you would come through for me.

    And "flat". Don't forget "flat". Why you would call a cube a flat, I don't know.

    Sort of where I live: New Mexico. It's not new and it's not Mexico.

    Go figure.

    How is my Caroline today? No so grumpy today from overwork? :)

  5. I am doing much better today, quite possibly because its still quite early, and although I have been at work for 2 hours already, I have actually managed not to talk to anyone just yet, well for another 3 mins, then I have my first meeting of the day.

    I have no idea why we call it a flat, I am assuming you mean an apartment, as that is the only non-flat thing that is called a flat that I can think of.

    How are you doing today?

  6. I was having posting issues again :)

  7. I'm ok, thanks. Still kinda sad. I'll be ok.

  8. Sad, well that isn't a good thing to be :)

    Miss Caroline will have to find a way to cheer maxy boy up ;)

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Heh. I'll bet she could if she wanted to. :) I'll tell you sometime. Not now.

  11. Thanks Caroline, because I never knew where 'quid' came from (and hadn't ever bothered looking).

    Max, there are various other terms for amounts of money too, such as 'pony' and 'monkey'. Don't ask me which is which because I can't remember. (Not much help today, am I?)

    As for 'flat' as in 'apartment' - perhaps they're called 'flats' because they're all on one level (usually)?

    I believe the 'muffatee' that was being knitted by Mrs Rabbit is better known just as a 'muff' (usually a furry or fluffy tube-thing to warm the hands in; I had one as a two-year-old bridesmaid). Ah, the humour available in that...

  12. Hi Catherine. I'm betting I don't have enough bucks to buy a pony. You are probably right about the muff word. I didn't even think of that.

    And we sometimes call pallets flats. What do you call them?

  13. Muffatees are worn by babies to keep there little wrists warm. Not the same as muff, which is itself a real word and not an abbreviation. (And warms both hands at once.)

    Oh, the magic of Google.


  14. Muffatees--would you like to see a picture? Apparently not just for infants...

  15. I am scared to click the link when I am at work :)

  16. About "queue"... while the general population may not use the word, it is quite popular among geeks.

  17. Speaking of geeks. How's my favorite one? Are you slumming today? Good to see you anyway.

    But I think most of that talk originated with British geeks. You know, the ones who can read and write. American geeks just learned the Brit's geekese out of the manuals they wrote for us.

    And you know damn well that's true.

    What the hell you been up to? And where? Just doing artsy smartsy doodles to make the rest of us look bad? Hey...have you seen Eddy's (shearyadi's) new blog? Man, that guy can draw with a pencil, let me tell you. http://www.shearyadi.com/myworld/

  18. Kelly that is one thing I never understood, why is it a line when its people, but a queue when its a bunch of jobs waiting to happen.

  19. Caroline......

    I ain't Kelly, lord knows, but it is still a line.

    A line of people.
    A line of rabbits.
    A line of computer jobs.
    A line of Max's waiting for Caroline to show up.

    No? :)

  20. I am here, for another 10 mins, then I got to run again, but... the good news is I am going to work from home this afternoon :)

    So I'll have less interuptions.

    I work in IT, and a line of jobs is referred to as a queue... but I don't know why. Honest I don't.

    I am not sure I can handle more than one max.

  21. Has anyone ever told you how exasperating you are?

    Forget the queues and the lines and the computer jobs.

    And there is only one Max.

    But that is more than enough.


  22. No one has told me that recently. Well, I guess I'll just keep quiet for a bit then :(

    (She wanders off to find a corner to sulk in)

  23. Caroline,

    don't sulk, when Max insults YOU, it is because he loves you so desperately and wants more of your attention. Rub his belly and he will be yours to mold once again.

  24. Hi Debbie,
    How goes it?

    he's like the boys at school, that have a crush on you, and act all mean.

    come here maxy, let me rub your... tummy.

  25. And now I return and what do I find? I find that people are being insulted, are sulking in corners, and that I need my belly rubbed.

    A doggie can always use a nice belly rub by a pretty girl. But this is not Carolines doing, I suspect. I fear there is an outside instigator who has been running things in my absence, creating turmoil on my peaceful blog.

    Who? The master instigator of course: mesmerizing Debbie. Of course. And don't tell me she's not here. I can sense her brain waves blocking my control of this blog.

    But her brainwaves are weak; she's probably run off by now. Debbie is a hit and run artist. Easily bored. It is her primary weakness, this short attention span.

    Probably off to torment the Canucklehead. Talk about easily bored.

    I feel safe in taking a break. Everyone is off doodling or whatever.

    I shall return later...

  26. "The master"

    that would be Mistress

    "her brainwaves are weak"

    that would be blonde waves

    "Debbie is a hit and run artist"

    I wondered what type of artist you viewed me as.....

    "Easily bored."

    or Sleezily, but one must have talent to keep my attention

    "Probably off to torment the Canucklehead"

    now that is my primary weakness, or is it????????? I do so love ruffling your coat!

  27. I'm actually disappointed to find out that muffatees and muffs aren't the same things, although they're not a million miles removed.

    There are several villages in Ireland called Muff (it derives from a Gaelic word meaning marsh). The landscaping on roundabouts (going back to another fave of yours, Max) are often sponsored by companies; there used to be a petrol station (filling station, service station, etc) in our local village of Muff which sponsored a roundabout. The name of the company which owned the petrol station was 'Top'.
    People used to take photos of the 'Top Muff' sign. I regret that I never got a decent one.

  28. a.-thank you for that link to that site, btw. Much info on money (and some other things. I will become an expert before long. :)

    And then you can all LINE UP to ask me questions...

  29. Boo! I'll take 1000 quid please.
    I use the word 'queue' all the time... does this make me a geek?

  30. Chunder is a disgusting word. I believe Wayne & Garth of "Wayne's World" fame popularized it at one time.

    "Ralph" is much more proper-sounding.

    But I wonder if the British say "That makes me want to Rafe"?

    Have you covered the meaning of the term "toodle-pip" anywhere on the site? Because I know what it means, if anyone is dying to know. All the answers I read online are WRONG!

    I know from reading Patricia Highsmith novels.

  31. According to : http://www.urbandictionary.com

    Chunder means to be sick, originating from old seafareing days when sailers would get seasick and stick their head out of the porthole in their cabin. As they did this they would shout "Watch Under" to warn people in lower cabins of the forthcoming puke.

    I suppose it has derived in the same way that the old toilet bowls (prior to indoor plumbing) were nicknamed Gazunders as they go under the beds out of sight - though probably not out of smell.

  32. OMG.. I just cant beilive i clicked on that!!
    Note to self.. never click on maxies thingy...


    on the currency talk my mates refer to money as Gorilla's, chimp's, and sheckles...

    Gorilla = R1000
    Chimp = R100
    sheckles = coins..

  33. Hi Julia. No, it doesn't make you a geek. It makes you an Aussie. You're allowed. And it's good to see you up and about again. Hope things have settled down and I will see more of you, ok? Thanks for stopping by. :)

    Grumpus, please tell me that this blog hasn't made its final death plunge, and that we are not going to degenerate into the various world euphemisms for puking. Because that would just be the final feckin' straw, you know?

    And, of course, the extraterrestrial one must plant a final seed before she flits off back to Saturn: toodle- pip, is it? Has Lord Likely been using it incorrectly? And will Grumpus simply tell me the meaning? Of course not. How she must be chuckling inwardly at the mere thought of such a thing.

    He opens an investigation. Will do research. This had better be good, he thinks...

    Sage, good to see you again. Yes, but did you like my picture of illustration? I'll bet you are much too savvy to have clicked on that loathsome link. Unlike BecauseICan-the-gullible, I might add.

    Interesting about the possible word origin, though. And thanks for refreshing that image in my mind. It had almost faded, and now it is with me again for another day or so. I owe you one, my friend.

    becauseican-so it was too much for your delicate sensibilities, was it? This from someone who talks about pelt-waxing on her own blog. And that's on a GOOD day. Sorry you were offended. But my site stats show you clicked on the link 21 times. So there's that issue to deal with... :) Little b, you don't know how close I came to including yet another special link, just for you, in this reply, just to test your resolve. But then it occurred to me that some others might click on it as well. So I shall visit you in the dead of night, privately, link in hand. It is ever so nice to see you this morning, Briget. Oh, and thank you for the info about SA money. You know, it had never even crossed my mind that you might actually have some sort of formal monetary system in South Africa. I had always assumed you simply bartered blankets and pottery and such for your food. Interesting. Gorilla, huh? I think you are making that up. I will verify. I have my ways. Have a good day sweet thing. I will be by to harass you later. :)

  34. Catherine, it occurs to me that there are probably enough distractions when one is negotiating a roundabout without being expected to read advertising at the same time. Do you people have a death wish, or what? :)

  35. Catherine, at first I was assuming you were talking about little unobtrusive signs in the middle of the landscaping (like we often see on our sponsored street medians) but apparently you are talking of something large enough to warrant taking pictures of.

    Is it too late? Is that photo op gone forever? Forgive Max for not being familiar with that particular Irish Muff...


    ok. "media". but medians sounds more reasonable. Actually "media" is the plural of medium. So maybe "medians" is correct after all. I am obsessed with words on this blog. I will NOT investigate this one. I will continue to say "medians".

  36. Alas, the petrol station was bought and the sign now reads 'Texaco Muff' which just doesn't have the same ring to it.

  37. Catherine, you are right. Not the same ring to it all! what are you up to today?

  38. Just noticed the bit about the advertising on roundabouts. It has become very commonplace around here, but I do remember the first time I noticed it, when one of the advertisers was the local funeral undertaker. I couldn't decide whether they had a great sense of humour - or none at all.



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