August 5th, 2015 .


Pat Morden
scott & bailey

I am a huge fan of the British police show Scott and Bailey, about the complex lives of two women detectives in Manchester. The writing is crisp, and the acting is note-perfect. But I have another reason for enjoying the show: I love British slang.

There’s somethingabout expressions like “knackered” (tired), “gutted” (upset, saddened), “chuffed” (proud), and “gobsmacked” (shocked and surprised). A “cock-up” is a mistake, and to “take the piss” means to parody or satirize. “Bollocks” is an all-purpose word that, in addition to referring to a portion of the male anatomy, can be used as a curse or to indicate dismay. “Kerfuffle,” one of my personal faves, means a skirmish, mix-up or fight. And “wanker” is almost impossible to translate but generally describes someone below contempt.

Some would argue that English is a complex enough language without all these informal and often inexplicable additions, but I can’t resist them. I guess you could say that British slang is just my cup of tea.

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