Author Topic: Different Meanings for Words  (Read 96011 times)

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Leafy

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Different Meanings for Words
« on: September 23, 2011, 06:59:28 AM »
After reading a few threads recently in which I was momentarily thrown by the different meaning for a commonly used word, I thought that it might be something that we can explore and ask each other for the regional/country variations.

My examples:
1) Tailgating - in Australia this would mean some-one who is drving right on your tail "he was tailgating me all the way from the traffic lights". I understand in the US this is when you have a BBQ around the back of the car in a parking lot, usually at a sports stadium. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

2) Flu, or more specifically stomach flu. In my area we only use the word flu to describe influenza (well some people call a cold the flu but we won't worry about them  ::) ). I've recently seen some-one here call a stomach issue a stomach flu. We would probably either call this a stomach bug or gastro (short for gastroenteritis). I am making an assumption here of course that the person using this phrase didn't mean the flu with some vomiting. Can anyone shed any light on this one?


Your turn now. Have you seen any words used completely differently to how you understand them that has thrown you for a moment?

Wonderflonium

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2011, 07:02:07 AM »
1) Tailgating - in Australia this would mean some-one who is drving right on your tail "he was tailgating me all the way from the traffic lights". I understand in the US this is when you have a BBQ around the back of the car in a parking lot, usually at a sports stadium. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

Actually, in the States, it has both of those meanings, which now that I think about it, is weird.  :)

Quote
Flu, or more specifically stomach flu. In my area we only use the word flu to describe influenza (well some people call a cold the flu but we won't worry about them   ). I've recently seen some-one here call a stomach issue a stomach flu. We would probably either call this a stomach bug or gastro (short for gastroenteritis). I am making an assumption here of course that the person using this phrase didn't mean the flu with some vomiting. Can anyone shed any light on this one?

You are correct about "stomach flu." It doesn't refer to an actual flu.
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RingTailedLemur

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2011, 10:03:30 AM »
"Bailiff"

In the UK this is someone who comes to your house and takes your property for non-payment of debts (in the US this is a repo man, I think).  In the US I think this applies to some kind of court official?

I do see a lot of things like this on Yahoo!Answers.  A UK poster had said they were in trouble for not paying their gas bill (the domestic stuff that comes in via pipes that you burn to cook with).  A US-ian started going on about how can that be possible, you pay when you fill up at the station (he meant petrol).  This led to a lot of people going, "station?!?!"

Don't get me started on Americans who wade in on questions about the British TV Licence with, "There is no such thing as a licence to watch TV!"  Thankfully people like that are by far a minority :)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 10:26:09 AM by RingTailedLemur »

Wonderflonium

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2011, 10:15:26 AM »
"Bailiff"

In the UK this is someone who comes to your house and takes your property for non-payment of debts (in the US this is a repo man, I think).  In the US I think this applies to some kind of court official?

Yup

Quote
I do see a lot of things like this on Yahoo!Answers.  A UK poster had said they were in trouble for not paying their gas bill (the domestic stuff that comes in via pipes that you burn to cook with).  A US-ian started going on about how can that be possible, you pay when you fill up at the station (he meant petrol).  This led to a lot of people going, "station?!?!"

I have natural gas appliances, but not every place has natural gas pipelines. However, I thought that everyone here at least knew they existed; apparently not. We do use the word "gas" as a shorthand for both natural gas (piped into homes) and gasoline (pumped into cars).
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bigozzy

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2011, 10:34:47 AM »
Pants.

IN Australia and US = Trousers.

UK= underwear. Also a slang expression meaning something is not very good. "This party is pants"

When my boys were younger this caused lots of hilarity when visiting family in Australia

RingTailedLemur

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2011, 10:46:40 AM »
Oh, I forgot "fanny"!

In the UK it means female private parts.  I was shocked the first time I heard it on TV.

Miss Vertigo

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2011, 10:54:46 AM »
"Bumming a fag".

UK: To scrounge a cigarette from someone when you've run out, used in this context "Can I bum a fag from you please mate?"


Thipu1

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2011, 12:08:22 PM »
Cab and taxi. 

Here in NYC, they both mean the sort of metered vehicle that you hail on the street.  If you need a car to pick you up at a specified time and deliver you to a specified place at a previously agreed upon price, you call a car service.  The driver will pick you up at 7:30 AM and drive you to terminal 3 at La Guardia for 30 USD.  That's how it works. 

The Last time we were in London we needed help getting our luggage from the hotel to the train station.  We asked the desk clerk to call us a car service.  Se looked at us as though we had just landed from Mars. 

It was interesting to learn that in London, a taxi is what you hail on the street.  A cab is the equivalent of what we call a car service. 

Isn't it also interesting that, in the UK, the Royal Mail delivers the post while in the USA, the Post Office delivers the mail?  ;D


 

Judah

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2011, 12:10:17 PM »
Boot and bonnet are, apparently what we (U.S.) call the trunk and hood of a car. A boot, to me, is footwear that comes over your ankle and a bonnet is an old fashioned sort of hat.
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Ruelz

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 12:23:22 PM »
Sneakers and runners...

In Canada we call the ubiquitous running shoe a "runner".
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RingTailedLemur

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 12:30:58 PM »
Cab and taxi. 

Here in NYC, they both mean the sort of metered vehicle that you hail on the street.  If you need a car to pick you up at a specified time and deliver you to a specified place at a previously agreed upon price, you call a car service.  The driver will pick you up at 7:30 AM and drive you to terminal 3 at La Guardia for 30 USD.  That's how it works. 

The Last time we were in London we needed help getting our luggage from the hotel to the train station.  We asked the desk clerk to call us a car service.  Se looked at us as though we had just landed from Mars. 

It was interesting to learn that in London, a taxi is what you hail on the street.  A cab is the equivalent of what we call a car service. 

Isn't it also interesting that, in the UK, the Royal Mail delivers the post while in the USA, the Post Office delivers the mail?  ;D


 

I never use the word "cab" I only say "taxi".  I had never heard there was a difference!

NestHolder

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2011, 12:46:51 PM »
Cab and taxi. 

It was interesting to learn that in London, a taxi is what you hail on the street.  A cab is the equivalent of what we call a car service.
 

Well, not quite.  I would use 'taxi' and 'cab' interchangeably.  But there is also the 'minicab', which is an inferior kind of service.  Minicab drivers in London do not use the special taxi cab vehicles but ordinary cars, and they don't have to pass the 'knowledge' exams which proper taxi drivers must pass (which is why London taxi drivers are the best *anywhere*).

I think, but I'm not sure, that minicab drivers throughout the country do not have meters in their cars, but have prearranged charges instead.  They are usually cheaper than taxis, and as a whole have a dodgy reputation.

MummySweet

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2011, 01:37:11 PM »
Cab and taxi. 

It was interesting to learn that in London, a taxi is what you hail on the street.  A cab is the equivalent of what we call a car service.
 

Well, not quite.  I would use 'taxi' and 'cab' interchangeably.  But there is also the 'minicab', which is an inferior kind of service.  Minicab drivers in London do not use the special taxi cab vehicles but ordinary cars, and they don't have to pass the 'knowledge' exams which proper taxi drivers must pass (which is why London taxi drivers are the best *anywhere*).

I think, but I'm not sure, that minicab drivers throughout the country do not have meters in their cars, but have prearranged charges instead.  They are usually cheaper than taxis, and as a whole have a dodgy reputation.

I've lived in the UK 8 years.   I would equate "cab" or "minicab" with  what was often called a gypsy cab in the US.   

My personal favorite is, "I'll knock you up"... meaning "I'll drop in later" in the UK and "I'll get you with child" in the US.

Thipu1

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2011, 01:52:32 PM »
Thanks for the input.  It's always good to learn these nuances.

What came to pick us up was in no way a mini-cab.  It was a good, big car that that did exactly what we wanted at a reasonable price.  The driver was identical to the kinds of drivers we know from Brooklyn.  We were pleased with the service and gave him a good tip.

Elfmama

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Re: Different Meanings for Words
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2011, 05:24:55 PM »
Bum.  US = worthless, lazy person (the meaning of 'hobo' is rarely used nowdays).  As a verb,  sponging off another.  "My nephew is such a bum, he can't hold a job because he can't be bothered to get up and go to work.  He just bums money from his parents."

UK = the part of the body you sit on. 
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