Category Archives: Phrases and Sayings

Dirty English words

Not very long ago we talked about the following dinky joke with some of my students:
What do you want for breakfast ?
A 7 year old and a 4 year old are upstairs in their bedroom. “You
know what?” says the 7 year old, “I think it’s about time we started
The 4 year old nods his head in approval.
“When we go downstairs for breakfast I’m gonna swear first, then you swear after me, ok?”
“Ok” the 4 year old agrees with enthusiasm. The mother walks into
the kitchen and asks the 7 year old what he wants for breakfast.
“Oh, shit mum, I guess I’ll have some Coco Pops” WHACK!! He flew
out of his chair, tumbled across the kitchen floor, got up, and ran
upstairs crying his eyes out.
She looked at the 4 year old and asked with a stern voice, “And what
do YOU want for breakfast, young man?!” “I don’t know” he blubbers, “but you can bet your fucking arse it won’t be Coco Pops.”

On this occasion some students started by asking me why we shouldn’t learn some really hard swears and bad words you occasionally hear in the street. Good gracious! I can’t do that in our lessons, I’m afraid. I’m not looking for trouble with the parents.
So I decided not give the really bad words out, but a moderate, traditional English alternative. All can use them, as they are inoffensive. Would you like to join?
Here comes the first one:
You may say „shit“ if something went wrong which is all too common. Why not using „blast it!“ instead? „Bloody hell“ is also practicable.

More is soon to follow.

48 British Words For Driving That You May Not Know

The following is a guest post by Jonathan/

How the British Communicate Driving Differently Than Americans


This is the first article in an ongoing series about British English or as we Americans tend to call it, British Slang. The following list of words is taken from Anglotopia’s Dictionary of British English and you’ll find these and a ton more words in our bestselling dictionary.

This week we’re going to talk about the words for driving that are different from British to American English. Some of the words are obvious in their meanings, some words are used completely differently to the way we Americans use them – which can lead to confusion when renting (or hiring as the Brits say) a car when you’re in the UK.

AA – abbr – The British Automobile Association, whom you call when your car breaks down.
Bollard – n – Metal post that usually indicates a place one should not drive into.
Bonnet – n – The hood of a car.
Boot – n – The car’s trunk, opposite of the bonnet.
Camper van – n – Recreational vehicle.
Car boot sale – n – Swap meet or flea market where people sell items from the back of their car.
Car park – n – Parking lot or parking garage.
Caravan – n – Another term for Recreational Vehicle.
Caravan Park – n – Campsite for recreational vehicles and trailers
Cat’s eyes – n – Reflectors located on the road in the center line.
Central Reservation – n – The median between two opposite sides of a road.
Damper – n – The shock absorber on a car.
Dual carriageway – n – A divided highway a step down from a motorway.
Estate car – n – A station wagon.
Gear lever – n – The stick shift in a manual car.
Golf buggy – n – Golf cart.
Handbrake – n – Parking/ Emergency brake in a car.
Hard shoulder – n – Shoulder on the side of the road that’s paved.
High street – n – Main street.
Hire car – n – A rental car.
Indicator – n – Turning signal in a car.
Kerb – n – A curb.
Kerb crawler – n – A person who solicits street prostitutes.
L-plates – n – Special license plates you’re required to have on your car while learning to drive in the UK.
Lay-by – n – Rest area along the highways.
Lorry – adj – A semi or heavy goods truck.
Manual gearbox – n – A manual transmission on a car.
Motor – n – An antiquated term for an automobile.
Motorway – n – The equivalent would be an interstate highway.
Nearside – n – The side of the car that’s closest to the curb.
Number plate – n – License plate.
Pavement – n – The sidewalk.
Pelican crossing – n – A type of crosswalk on British streets.
Puncture – n – Flat tire.
Registration – n – A car’s license plate.
Roundabout – n – A traffic circle.
Saloon – n – Standard 4 door family sedan car.
Sleeping policemen – n – A speed bump in the road.
Slip-road – n – An exit on/off ramp on a highway.
Soft-Shoulder – n – Roadside shoulder that’s made of gravel.
Tarmac – n – A paved road.
Traffic Light – n – Stoplight
Trailer tent – n – A pop-up camper.
Undercarriage – n – The underside of your car.
Verge – n – Shoulder on the side of the road.
Windscreen – n – Windshield.
Wing – n – Car fender.
Zebra crossing – n – Pedestrian crossings on roads.

The words on this list were excerpted from Anglotopia’s Dictionary of British English: Brit Slang from A to Zed, featured in

Saying of the week

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

If money burns your pocket, you’ll not be alone at the fire.

Never be afraid to try something new. Always remember: amateurs built the ark, professionals the Titanic.