Chambers pardon my English! : an exploration of slang and by Michael Munro

By Michael Munro

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Some of its words and phrases have achieved a wider currency, most notably among the gay community. Here are just a few examples: Aunt Nells the ears Aunt Nellie fakes earrings bona good buvare a drink carsey a toilet, or a house charper to search charpering omi a policeman Pornography Slang charver to have sexual intercourse dinarly money dolly nice, pleasant, attractive dona a woman eek the face feele a child lallie a leg letty or latty a bed or lodgings mangarly or mangary food naff inferior, worthless nantee or nanti nothing 27 ogle-fakes spectacles omi a man park to give polone or paloney a young woman, or an effeminate man riah hair sharpy a police officer strill a musical instrument, especially a piano tober road varda or vada to look or see zhoosh to fix, titivate or tidy zhooshy showy Pornography Slang Readers should note that much of the language in the list below, not to mention the practices described, may be highly offensive to many.

At times there seems to be an almost perverse mania for coining neologisms when perfectly serviceable and plain English expressions could be used without needlessly mystifying anyone. Why else would anyone feel the need to come up with the likes of ‘mission-critical’, ‘facetime’ or ‘helicopter view’? Glossary appro when a product is made available to a customer ‘on appro’, this means that they can try it out without obligation to buy (the phrase is a shortening of ‘on approval’) bang for your buck value for money contribute or offer, especially in business negotiations clicks and mortar retailing that combines traditional outlets with use of the Internet come on stream to go into operation or production bean counter an accountant blue-sky thinking company doctor an adviser, speculation with no immediate practical function bricks-and-mortar used to describe an enterprise that does not use the Internet to conduct its business bring to the table to who turns unprofitable or inefficient companies into profitable or efficient businesses cook the books to falsify accounts corridor work discussion consultant or businessman Commercial and business jargon 34 behind the scenes at a meeting creative accountancy accountancy characterized by an imaginative reinterpretation or dubious manipulation of established rules of procedure for personal benefit or ease of operation exes expenses facetime time spent dealing with another person face-toface featherbed to provide with financial inducements filer a filing cabinet gazump a prospective house buyer is ‘gazumped’ when the seller raises the price of the property after accepting the gravy train a job or scheme which offers high rewards for little effort grey pound the spending power attributed to retired people guinea pig a token company director who does not actually do anything helicopter view a general view of a subject, lacking in specific detail honcho a boss or manager hot-desking the practice of allocating a desk in an office only to a worker who needs it at the time, rather than to each worker as a matter of course knock out to make or sell buyer’s offer but before the contract has been signed gazunder the seller of a house is ‘gazundered’ when level playing field a position the buyer lowers the sum offered just before the contract is due to be signed get into bed with to adopt as a partner in business get your ducks in a row to become properly organized loop if you are ‘in the loop’ go bust to become bankrupt go under when a business practice of tendering an unrealistically low price in order to secure a contract magalogue or magalog a fails or folds it is said to ‘go under’ of equality, from which rivals may compete without anyone having an unfair advantage you are included in a group to whom information is made available; being ‘out of the loop’ is being excluded from such a group lowballing the business Bookmakers’ slang 35 large mail-order catalogue in the form of a magazine mission-critical vital to the interests of a business outfit a business organization perk the ‘perks of a job’ are the incidental benefits that having the job brings, such as being provided with a company car an impression of confident efficiency and have a daunting effect on colleagues and contacts push the envelope to attempt more than seems possible put up the shutters to stop trading, either for the day or permanently pink pound the spending roll out to launch a new power attributed to the gay community plug to ‘plug’ a product is to give it a favourable mention in public, especially to do so persistently to force the item into familiarity power breakfast or lunch a high-level business discussion held over breakfast or lunch respectively power dressing the wearing, product or service shaper a decisive, somewhat bullying manager who carries others along with his or her dynamism swindle-sheet an employee’s claim for expenses touch base someone who ‘touches base’ with another makes contact with them, often without any specific reason wash if a business or by businesswomen, of smart undertaking is said to ‘wash suits tailored on austerely masculine lines, so as to give its face’ this means it just pays its way Bookmakers’ slang Much of the slang connected with bookmaking and betting in general consists of shorthand and codewords, largely arising from the times when bookmaking activities were illegal and bookies had to be careful of who was listening.

O. the once-over whammo very good or successful Polari or Parlyaree is a variety of slang that is most commonly used among members of the theatrical profession. It is believed to have evolved out of the lingua franca used around Mediterranean ports and brought to Britain by British sailors. Other influences include the Romany encountered by strolling players and back-slang. Some of its words and phrases have achieved a wider currency, most notably among the gay community. Here are just a few examples: Aunt Nells the ears Aunt Nellie fakes earrings bona good buvare a drink carsey a toilet, or a house charper to search charpering omi a policeman Pornography Slang charver to have sexual intercourse dinarly money dolly nice, pleasant, attractive dona a woman eek the face feele a child lallie a leg letty or latty a bed or lodgings mangarly or mangary food naff inferior, worthless nantee or nanti nothing 27 ogle-fakes spectacles omi a man park to give polone or paloney a young woman, or an effeminate man riah hair sharpy a police officer strill a musical instrument, especially a piano tober road varda or vada to look or see zhoosh to fix, titivate or tidy zhooshy showy Pornography Slang Readers should note that much of the language in the list below, not to mention the practices described, may be highly offensive to many.

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