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English idiom around the world

English idiom around the world

Old May 5th 2019, 3:01 am
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Default English idiom around the world

While many English phrases are international, even if they started in one local area, many of them have been carried around the world, but some appear to be still local to one area or country.

An example which apparently was unknown to BEVS, per another thread that inspired me to start this one, was "buy the farm", meaning to die, apparently derived from the idea that a US soldier's family received substance monetary compensation if he died in service, though it is uncertain if this was actually ever true - that compensation was ever enough to buy a farm.

Another absolute gem is the expression local to a fairly small area near me - western North Carolina, and the mountains in surrounding states of Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, SW Virginia, and perhaps far NW South Carolina and southern West Virginia. .... The expression is "the devil is beating his wife" - any guesses as to what it means? The only clue I will offer is that it is weather related.

Click here to find out what "the devil is beating his wife" means.
Spoiler:
It is raining and the sun is shining simultaneously.

​​​​
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Old May 5th 2019, 3:23 am
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
While many English phrases are international, even if they started in one local area, many of them have been carried around the world, but some appear to be still local to one area or country.

An example which apparently was unknown to BEVS, per another thread that inspired me to start this one, was "buy the farm", meaning to die, apparently derived from the idea that a US soldier's family received substance monetary compensation if he died in service, though it is uncertain if this was actually ever true - that compensation was ever enough to buy a farm.

Another absolute gem is the expression local to a fairly small area near me - western North Carolina, and the mountains in surrounding states of Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, SW Virginia, and perhaps far NW South Carolina and southern West Virginia. .... The expression is "the devil is beating his wife" - any guesses as to what it means? The only clue I will offer is that it is weather related.

Click here to find out what "the devil is beating his wife" means.
Spoiler:
It is raining and the sun is shining simultaneously.

​​​​
With West Country roots I grew up with the saying "Uncle Tom Cobley and All" being said frequently. When I moved to Australia there were soooo many English phrases that left people here cold, but Uncle Tom sticks in my mind after one occasion. we was doing up a meeting invite for a lot of government Ministers and DGs, and the boss , who also happened to be English, kept coming back with more names to add. Finally I commented "I'll just invite Uncle Tom Cobley and all, shall I?" He looked stunned, then laughed and walked off.
Several minutes later the guy helping me turned and said "I can't find that last one, is his email likely to be Thomas Cobley instead?" Took me ages to explain the whole thing to him!
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Old May 5th 2019, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Absolutely agree Pollyanna.I lived in Devon for many years but not born there so I was a "Grockle",sounds like something from The Hobbit!
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Old May 5th 2019, 3:09 pm
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by dougal03 View Post
Absolutely agree Pollyanna.I lived in Devon for many years but not born there so I was a "Grockle", sounds like something from The Hobbit!
Are you saying that you think UTC&A is a west country expression?

Both my parents used UTC&A and they were both from Yorkshire and lived there until they were 40 or older. And both came from Yorkshire families - they had been there for generations, at least back into the Victorian era. My father was from Sheffield and my mother was from Hull, and that phrase was a particular favourite of hers.

Last edited by Pulaski; May 5th 2019 at 3:13 pm.
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Old May 5th 2019, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

UTC&A does come from the song Widecombe Fair, which is in Devon, so maybe originally south western? I said I'd take a butcher's at something at work, leading to a whole discussion on rhyming slang
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Old May 6th 2019, 3:34 am
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by Pollyana View Post
With West Country roots I grew up with the saying "Uncle Tom Cobley and All" being said frequently. When I moved to Australia there were soooo many English phrases that left people here cold, but Uncle Tom sticks in my mind after one occasion. we was doing up a meeting invite for a lot of government Ministers and DGs, and the boss , who also happened to be English, kept coming back with more names to add. Finally I commented "I'll just invite Uncle Tom Cobley and all, shall I?" He looked stunned, then laughed and walked off.
Several minutes later the guy helping me turned and said "I can't find that last one, is his email likely to be Thomas Cobley instead?" Took me ages to explain the whole thing to him!
Well, I dunno, Polly. I was brought up in south-eastern Queensland and the Uncle Tom Cobbleigh (so spelt, in my world) saying was common. My mother's ancestors were from south-western England.
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Old May 12th 2019, 12:01 am
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by dougal03 View Post
Absolutely agree Pollyanna.I lived in Devon for many years but not born there so I was a "Grockle",sounds like something from The Hobbit!

You'm grockles be 'bout as welcome as they'm Orcs.
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Old May 12th 2019, 1:27 am
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Here's a question I've long wanted to ask... What part of Britain does the word "directly" come from, in the sense of "soon". My mother's mother used to say "I'll be with you directly".
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Old May 12th 2019, 8:22 am
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Here's a question I've long wanted to ask... What part of Britain does the word "directly" come from, in the sense of "soon". My mother's mother used to say "I'll be with you directly".
It's interesting to note that 'dreckly' appears to be an old cornish word, and I read that your mothers ancestors were from southern England, so your mother's mother could actually have been saying "I'll be with you dreckly".
..........'its use to mean 'in a short time', as in 'I'll be with you directly,' and the nice Cornish word dreckly.'
Interesting links follow:
https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dreckly
https://english.stackexchange.com/qu...-of-as-soon-as


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Old May 12th 2019, 11:42 am
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Here's a question I've long wanted to ask... What part of Britain does the word "directly" come from, in the sense of "soon". My mother's mother used to say "I'll be with you directly".
The term dreckly is not limited to Cornwall, it's commonly used in Devon and you may well hear it in Somerset and Dorset.
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Old May 12th 2019, 12:24 pm
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

I sent a group email at work that contained the word 'whilst' as in 'whilst we were waiting'

My emails blew up after that, not one person knew what I was talking about!!
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Old May 12th 2019, 12:42 pm
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by dj6372 View Post
I sent a group email at work that contained the word 'whilst' as in 'whilst we were waiting'

My emails blew up after that, not one person knew what I was talking about!!
I find myself typing "whilst" fairly often in work emails, then removing it and then substituting "while" or another word, because I noticed that it isn't used in the US.
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Old May 12th 2019, 12:54 pm
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
I find myself typing "whilst" fairly often in work emails, then removing it and then substituting "while" or another word, because I noticed that it isn't used in the US.
Yes I learnt that lesson quickly, that and fortnightly pay...................................

Oh and as a WTF in America (specifically Georgia), I have had to ask a 'local' to translate voicemails on my cell for me!!
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Old May 12th 2019, 1:07 pm
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by dj6372 View Post
.... Oh and as a WTF in America (specifically Georgia), I have had to ask a 'local' to translate voicemails on my cell for me!!
For reasons of words or accent?
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Old May 12th 2019, 1:35 pm
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Default Re: English idiom around the world

Originally Posted by dj6372 View Post
Yes I learnt that lesson quickly, that and fortnightly pay...................................

Oh and as a WTF in America (specifically Georgia), I have had to ask a 'local' to translate voicemails on my cell for me!!
Yes I can identify with that. I once mentioned to an American (Pratt & Whitney) work colleague that I was leaving for vacation. He asked for how long. I replied, "A fortnight". His reply was, "A what!?" After repeating, it became clear that he was unfamiliar with the word. I afterwards thought, what a Pra**.........
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