7 British Words (That Aren’t ‘Bloody’)

British words that aren't bloody

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I am tired of ‘bloody’ and ‘mate’ being the only words used to identify a person with a British accent in books. I hate to tell you, but there are actually other accents in Britain and not all of us drink tea. As such, I have a compiled a* list of words used by a knowledgeable Londoner such as myself, which authors should endeavour to use in their writing.

*(not entirely serious)

1. Naff Ooh, I’m feeling quite urban here, aren’t I? Naff is a curious word which means the opposite of tasteful, but not the same as distasteful. Synonyms include gaudy, trashy, a large proportion of Camden market.

2. Term I know I’ve said this before, but THE AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM IS VERY CONFUSING. (And maybe other places too. I haven’t read enough books to make judgements, really.) In this wonderful country, we have three terms instead of, like, two semesters, or whatever they have across they have across the Atlantic. I’m not really sure.

3. Converse It took me several re-reads and a film to discover that when Hazel Grace wears Chuck Taylors, she means converse. I just call all of those shoes converse, even if they’re actually Β£4.99 fakes from Primark.

4. Nick Something that will happen to your Liberty bag if you leave it on the bus, i.e. get stolen.

5. Train DoΒ they even have much public transport in America? Characters seem to drive or fly everywhere. I know the USA is crazy big, but I managed to take an 8 hour train from London to Aberdeen. (On which I left my pencil case and books, by the way. Never going on it again.) And, just to confuse everyone, you’ve got the Tube and the Underground and the Overground and the Eurostar and the DLR. Fun times.

6. Shops Yes, I am going shopping to the shopping centre to visit the bookshop. IT’S IN THE VERB.

7. Lessons Because school does not deserve to be classy.

Oh, and one more: “Isn’t it just chucking it down?”

Dear authors, I hope you have taken note and will do your best to include these in your next novel, undoubtedly set on this glorious island of ours. Old chaps, thank you for reading, and cheerio; for those fellow Britons of mine, are there any I have missed out?

23 thoughts on “7 British Words (That Aren’t ‘Bloody’)

  1. I think the ultimate British word is “all right?” as in the greeting like “Hey, how are you?” My cousin came and visited us for her gap year over a year ago, and she’s from South Africa, and whenever someone asked if she was “all right”, she thought they meant “all right” as in… sane. (i.e not crazy, which is what it apparently means in S.A!)

  2. I call converse converse so I think that’s a more personal thing…and yes we have two semesters (fall and spring) and usually the summer off but you can take classes over the summer if you want…it’s sorta complicated.

    1. Saying bloody makes me feel all…Sherlock-like. Or maybe Ron-like. πŸ˜› (My parents use it a lot, but I never really picked it up?)
      Maybe it’s just a thing for TFiOS and where that’s set? *shrugs*

  3. LOVE THIS POST! I love learning about different cultures and some stereotypes each culture entails, so thanks for sharing this! It was a very insightful post. πŸ™‚

    2). Honestly, even as an American, the school system still confuses me. I think the British school system sounds much more straightfoward. Basically, from ages 6-11, you go to elementary school (I think it’s called primary school in Europe), then you go to middle school from age 11-14, and finally high school from 14-18.

    Our school year is split into four semesters. Why, I have absolutely no idea. *shrugs*

    5). To be honest, some people use public transport, but most just use cars when they’re going somewhere instead of using the train or the subway. There technically is a railroad that goes from one coast of the US to the other; but nowadays I bet people fly instead. πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed reading. πŸ™‚ Comparing other cultures to my own is always so interesting!
      Ah thank you for that! One of these days, I’m going to work out the American school system. One of these days. (And yes, we call it primary school. πŸ™‚ )
      Haha, this actually shows another different word – we’d call it a railway track or line. πŸ™‚ But I think I do sort of understand? I guess, living in a big city, I’m just used to public transport because of awful traffic. If I lived in somewhere more isolated, I probably would understand it more. πŸ™‚

  4. THE CONVERSE THING CONFUSED ME. I know what Converse are (the American version) but I have no clue what Chuck Taylors are. So do you British peoples just call every shoe a Converse??? *so confused*
    The school system in the US really varies. I used to have trimesters, which is three terms basically, but some schools have semester (two terms) and some have quarters. It’s confusing. >_<

    1. Ahh sorry, I just mean for that particular type of shoe! (The one with the laces that’s made of canvas and stuff.) I think Chuck Taylors refers to the particular type of Converse with the Chuck Taylor badge on? *shrugs*
      Yeah, I get the impression that it varies a lot across different states. πŸ™‚

  5. Ha, this is great! I use several of these words too, being a British colony — term and lessons, especially. We do use them interchangeably with American terms, though …

  6. Funnily enough, I know most of these words. But since I moved to the other side of the pond, I rarely ever use them because it just confuses people. “Naff” is a really interesting word, though.

  7. Haha, this post is so funny and eye-opening! I don’t really notice the different words English speakers use because I’m not from either Britain or America or Australia (I heard they have some bizarre words) Also, everything is mixed up on the internet. I’ve learned on Goodreads, though, that British people use “gutted” when they’re disappointed (or…okay I don’t really know :P)

    1. Haha thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed reading! I think the culture difference is only really visible to me when I read books set in, like, American high school and stuff. (Mostly just contemporary things.)
      My own vocabulary is really mixed up, though! I’ve picked up so many phrases from the internet. πŸ˜›
      And yes, we do use “I’m gutted” to mean disappointed! I didn’t know that was specific to Britain… You learn something new every day!

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