Tag Archives: slang

Gobby, continued

I often have this with new words – I come across one and think, hm, maybe it’s not that common, maybe I’ll hardly ever hear it again and I almost don’t write it down. But being the nerdy type that I am, most of the time I do. And a few days (sometimes even hours) later this word appears out of nowhere again.

Next day after I heard ‘gobby‘ at a meet-up with colleagues, I was reading Londoners by Craig Taylor in bed, and, sure enough, there was the word ‘gobby‘ staring at me from the page: ‘And we were both precocious and gobby and forthright, very opinionated’.

This book is a brilliant collection of stories of and interviews with Londoners – a truly enjoyable read whether you love London, hate London or cannot quite make up your mind.

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Gobby

gobby meaning

Photo credit: scarlettlondon.com

Yesterday I went to a meet-up with fellow translators and what a nice bunch of people they are! I met quite a few new people and really enjoyed myself. Towards the end I was talking to a guy who has been working as a teacher at at one of local schools (for girls), and the general conclusion was that when they are young they behave themselves and don’t cause much trouble, but teenage girls often become gobby. Now, that was a genuinely new word for me, even though I knew exactly what it meant because having lived close to a local school I’ve seen quite a few of them.

According to Oxford Dictionary, ‘gobby‘ means ‘tending to talk too loudly and in a blunt or opinionated way’.

Here’re a few examples:

– At convent school, I was always untidy and gobby and got everything wrong (Oxford Dictionary).

– Adele Adkins is a gobby, funny and extravagantly talented 19-year-old whose massive voice is going to make her the biggest singing star of 2008. And, no, she’s not going to be the new Amy Winehouse (The Guardian)

– Those are the teenage girls I love to write about in all their stroppy, sweet, bitchy, gobby, shy, pain in the arse, multi-faceted glory. Because when you’re a teenage girl, being difficult is your default setting (The Guardian).

 

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Geek magnet

geek magnet meaning

Photo credit: hdwallpaperstock.eu

The other day I went to a free self-defence workshop organised by one of the sports clothes shops here in Bristol (maybe I need to mention their name and get paid for this!). It’s not that I’ve been in any situations where I needed to resort to self-defence, but it’s always good to be prepared.

Our instructor was really experienced, both in psychology and martial arts, and she had many stories to share from her personal experience. She called herself “a geek magnet” – someone who seems to attract a disproportionate amount of weird (and sometimes dangerous) people. This is probably not a set expression just yet, but still my inner linguist was clapping her (surely my inner linguist is also female) hands, mostly because my best friend is exactly like that – a proper geek magnet – and now I know that in English there’s perfect phrase to describe her.

However, I was thinking that maybe ‘geek’ doesn’t not always have a negative connotation, and maybe ‘a weirdo magnet‘ would work equally well or even better. Indeed, there’s an entry in Urban Dictionary, with the following example:

– Ashlee is such a weirdo magnet, that guy sniffing paint just sat right next to her (Urban Dictionary)

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Sugar

sugar fix sugar fascist sugar daddy

Photo credit: webmd.com

Yesterday I was sitting in a park proofreading my translation and occasionally glancing at other people. There was a group of teenagers who were skating down a hill on a funny kind of skateboard. I heard one of them saying ‘Sugar!’ (pronounced like shhhhh-uga) and remembered that it was a nice euphemism for ‘shhhhit!’

Today it occurred to me that I came across quite a few expressions with ‘sugar’ lately and thought I’d put them all into one post.

The other day I emailed my French colleague asking her to recommend some cafés and salons de thé in Paris. She emailed back saying ‘I don’t know many traditional salons de thé but in a it’s 4 o’clock, I need a sugar fix kind of thing, I can recommend’…. followed by a list of tea and coffee establishments. It can also be called ‘a sugar hit‘ and ‘an afternoon pick-me-up‘.

The same colleague once used a term ‘sugar fascist‘ about a parent who doesn’t let his/her children eat sweets and I made a mental note of this expression – now is the perfect time to share it with others.

However, those children with more lenient parents who don’t mind giving sweets to their offspring, might get a ‘sugar rush‘ (i.e. become hyperactive and uncontrollable), at least that’s the popular belief.

Here’s a good example in context:

  • People often get cross when you tell them there’s no such thing as a sugar rush. Especially parents. They have witnessed, time and again, their offspring going ape at parties, after mainlining jelly and ice cream. “Sugar high,” sigh the grownups, resigned to the inevitable crash. This observation has been passed down through generations, like DNA (The Guardian).

There’s another sugar phrase – ‘sugar daddy‘ – I don’t remember how I came across it though. And it means ‘an older man who gives a younger woman expensive presents, especially in exchange for a romantic or sexual relationship’.

Here’s an example:

  • “More than a hundred students at the University of Northampton signed up for so-called “sugar daddy dating” to help fund their tuition fees last year, according to an online dating website.” (BBC)

P.S. When I think of the word ‘sugar‘ a song immediately springs to mind – this is a great episode of one of my favourite films and books – ‘Hi-Fi‘ by Nick Hornby.

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How to get around to… publishing a guest post

get around to it a round tuit phrase

Photo credit: thingsforgottenantiques.
com

Today’s post is from a fellow translator and linguist, Zsofia Forro, who kindly offered to contribute to this blog, and I love the post she came up wit. Enjoy!

‘I really love puns. A pun is a joke based on a word (or group of words) sounding like another one and creating humour from that unexpected similarity. Many people frown upon puns, especially if they grew up with English as their native language, because puns are a bit simple and some people think they’re not hugely funny. Few people perfect it to an art form, and they always turn up here and there.

The expression I want to introduce today is ‘to get around to doing something‘. If you are very busy you might promise to call people, or write or do something some time later, ‘when you can get around to it‘.

There is a solution for this. All you need is ‘a round tuit‘ (like the one on the picture above). Then you’ll be ready to do everything you’ve been putting off, because you will finally be able to get ‘a round tuit!’

Some examples of ‘getting around to it‘:

– [Procrastinators] do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils (…) when they get around to it (structuredprocrastination.com).

– Every year, I come up with ideas for posts that I never get around to writing (theunemployedphilosophersblog.wordpress.com). 

– I’ll get in shape and pay my bills just as soon as I can get around to it (en.wikibooks.org)’.

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A swot / to swot

a swot british meaning usage

Photo credit: Daniel Sokol

You would say that a Spanish podcast for beginners is an unlikely place to hear some cool new English words, and you’ll be right. However, today I started listening to the Notes in Spanish podcast, narrated by a Spanish lady and an English guy, and they mentioned that for those who are really keen to do some homework – swots – there’s a forum on the website where they can practice some writing. I haven’t been to the forum just yet but when it comes to languages I think I qualify as a bit of a swot.

A swot‘ is a student who works very hard and has no time for (or interest in?) other fun activities and it is usually used disapprovingly.

To swot‘ means to study hard, usually before an exam.

Here’s a selection of examples I’ve found:

– Want to become a British citizen? Better swot up on Monty Python. New citizenship test will quiz people on all aspects of British life including comedy, music, history and science (this is very relevant for me, actually, as I might be taking this test some time in the future) (The Guardian)

– Born in the southern city of Augusta, Georgia, in 1953, and raised in the city of Dillon, South Carolina, Bernanke was a school swot, winning the state spelling bee at the age of 11, and teaching himself calculus (The Guardian)

– It was fine being clever at school – at any rate if you were at a girls’ school, as I was – but being clever outside, when there were boys around, made you a social leper. If anyone wanted to do real damage they would call you a swot – no boy would ever go out with a swot (The Guardian).

– At school I was what they called a ‘swot‘ and going to Cambridge was what I got in return; I was able to cash in all those boring hours of homework and sneering looks from more popular kids for three years living in a listed building and a master’s degree you don’t have to do any work for (The Guardian).

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To mirandize

to mirandize meaning usage

Photo credit: latimesblogs.latimes.com

I have to admit I have a weakness for certain series, especially those involving detectives or doctors. My most recent finding has been Perception. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s a completely mind-blowing series, but still I worked my way through the first season pretty fast.

In one of the episodes there was a dialogue:

– He should have had an attorney present.

– They mirandized him twice! He denied representation. It was a by-the-book interrogation.

Now, I was aware of Miranda Warning – you know, ‘You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law, etc.’, but I never knew it has been turned into a verb! The ever-so-flexible English language never ceases to amaze me!

And it’s not just a one-off, here are a few more examples:

– “Having been a federal prosecutor, I think this rush to Mirandize cost us valuable intelligence in terms of other plots that may be out there,” McCaul told reporters on Capitol Hill (Huffington Post).

– Failure to Mirandize Does Not Violate Constitution or ‘Miranda’ (law.com)

– Timothy McVeigh: killed 168 people. Injured over 800 more. Was motivated by political convictions. He was arrested, Mirandized, charged, appointed with legal counsel, and tried in a civilian court (The Economist).

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Pet

pet used to address somebody

Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

While I was reading Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took my Dog I came across an interesting way of addressing somebody – the main character, a woman in her fifties, addressed a little girl as ‘pet‘. I’ve heard of ‘love’, of course, and have been called that on numerous occasions, but ‘pet‘ was new to me.

As it usually happens with my newly discovered words, the very next day I went to the Leicester Market to stock up on amazingly cheap fruit and one of the sellers said ‘That’s two pounds, pet’ to me.

I googled this to see if there was anything special about this word and it turned out that it’s mostly used in the north of England (the lady in the book was from Yorkshire). Here’s a very informative piece of friendly and informal terms of address from the BBC.

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