Thursday, March 6, 2014

10 English Words I Don't Use Anymore

1.         Everso
            This expression somehow fell out of my vocabulary.  I’m not even sure what word I put in it’s place.  I think it might be “really” as in “I’m really hungry”.  It sounds more quaint when you say “I’m everso hungry.”  Maybe that’s why I don’t say it – I needed to blend in.

2.         Fortnight
            Nobody understands when you say you’re going on holiday for a fortnight.  You have to say two weeks.

3.         Holiday
            A holiday is not a holiday as we know it.  A holiday in America is Christmas, July 4th,  Thanksgiving or any other day you have off work.  A holiday is now a vacation – which is never as long as a fortnight, unfortunately.

4.         Brolly
            During the recent rain storms here in California I told someone I was looking for my brolly.  I got a blank stare until I explained it was my umbrella.  I hadn’t used that word in ages, and I then realized why.
It's my Brolly
5.         Biro
            Ask someone to borrow their Biro and you will get that blank stare (again).  Apparently Biro do not make pens in America.  You need to borrow a pen – nothing fancy, just a pen.  The same thing happens when you ask for Tippex – you need to ask for White Out, which I always thought was a snow storm.
Biro - or is it just a pen?
6.         Anorak
            I don’t use it for a jacket or a trainspotter (and I’m sure there are such things in the USA).  I tried once and it didn’t go over too well.  Rain jacket or parka are used – even though a parka as we know it is nothing like an anorak.
Parka - Not really an anorak
7.         Nan
            When talking about my nan, I don’t call her my nan anymore.  She is now known as my grandma or grandmother – which makes me seem frightfully posh.

8.         Roundabout
            I don’t use this one anymore, because if you do happen to come across one, its called a traffic circle.  I only knew of one locally and that was removed because people kept having accidents as they didn’t know how to use it.  Oopsie.

9.         Rubber
            When I started work, I was surprised to see that all the pencils had rubbers on the end (we just had regular old pencils where I worked in London).  In fact, I actually exclaimed to my new co-workers "Oh, the pencils have rubbers on the end" ... having picked themselves off the floor, they explained my error and told me that it was, in fact, called an eraser and a rubber in America is something totally different!  I quickly removed that word from my vocabulary in the work environment.
10.       Motorway
            I have to use freeway now, and suddenly it feels very awkwardly English to say motorway.

 Ten Words I Refuse to Change

1.         Garage – I will not say Gar…arrrge (with a soft g)
2.         Petrol – although I do sometimes slip up and say Gas
3.         Nail Varnish, not Polish
4.         Zebra – I refuse to say Zeeeebra
5.         Zed – not Zeee
6.         Pram – Baby carriage seems a bit archaic
7.         Lead, as in dog lead – Leash just doesn’t sound right
8.         Sellotape – I just can’t get used to calling it Scotch Tape
9.         Indicator – as in American turn signal.  I have been known to shout at people “Use your bloody indicator”
10.       Maths – why is the ‘s’ dropped?  I’ve never understood


  1. I still remember my friend from Scotland telling me how she had her American husband nearly on the floor after she told her 7-year-old daughter to make sure she took rubbers to school.

    A torch is also a very different thing in the US. Whenever I hear someone tell me to grab a torch, I wonder if I should grab a pitchfork, too. ;)

    1. ha ha... yes - a torch always sounds like we are going to burn someone's house down!

  2. When I first got to college, I asked some girls behind me if they had a rubber I could borrow, of course I got blank confused stares, I then remembered to ask for an eraser! Pissed for angry confused me at first, I thought they were saying their friends were drunk at odd hours of the day! My husband always jokes about cavemen when I call a flashlight a torch! Love your blog by the way! I'm also a fellow Brit to So Cal transplant, been here 20 years this summer!

    1. Ahh yes... pissed! I use that one now because being a Brit you know how we love any swear word! Where are you located in So. Cal?

    2. I'm in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles. How about you?

    3. I'm in Riverside, south of LA, but we have very good friends in Santa Clarita and are up there all the time - small world!