We may have gotten the Anglophiles among you excited with our list of seven British TV shows to watch this summer— and as I prepare to move back to the States after three years in England, I’d like to take it one step further and suggest seven British phrases we should adopt. (Because I’m pretty sure my American friends would take the piss out of me if I tried to use any of these at home.)
1. “Cheers”: Perhaps the most useful expression since “okay.” A versatile nicety that can mean anything from “thanks” to “you’re welcome” to “drink up!”
2. “Faff”: Has more of a ring to it than “dither ineffectually.” Great way to make procrastination sound cute. “I’ve been faffing about all day” sounds so much more acceptable than “I’ve spent today checking Facebook and eating peanut butter in my pajamas.”
3. “Xx(xxxx)”: Virtual kisses are the customary British sign-off on every text, email or Facebook message. So warm! So friendly! So... un-British.
4. “Whinge”: Complain. Even if you’ve never heard the term before, you just know that whinging can’t be good.
5. “Lovely”: This might not totally belong to Brits, but it sounds pretty pretentious when pronounced in anything but an English accent. A polite yet generic term, you can use it to mean anything from “bland” to “brilliant.”
6. “Bloody”: Even after living in the UK for three years, I still can’t say “bloody” without feeling like an impostor. But if you can pull it off without sounding like Amanda from Friends (the Yonkers-bred Anglophile who says things like "Oh bugger! I feel like a perfect arse"), you’ve got it bloody made. (I just cringed.)
7. “Fancy” (as a verb): Because this makes me—and you—think of Harry Potter.
Lest you think I’m a total traitor, I’ll mention a few expressions I won’t miss:
- “Shag”: This just sounds gross. Might as well say “bumping uglies.”
- “Brilliant”, and its requisite overuse: I get excited when people call something I’ve said “brilliant”, but then I remember they just mean “okay.”
- “Fringe” for “bangs.” My hair is not a carpet!
See you back on the other side of the pond. Cheers!