Showing posts sorted by date for query penis. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query penis. Sort by relevance Show all posts

nimrods and other idiots

Tim L wrote (a long time ago) to ask about nimrod:
Have you stumbled across the difference in meanings of the word "nimrod" in American and other Englishes?  It was a surprise to me to learn that it meant something other than dimwit, and a bigger surprise to learn that it meant dimwit only in American English.  The history is mysterious
though the Bugs Bunny explanation is widely touted on the 'net.
Nimrod, as you may know, is the name of a character in Genesis--Noah's great-grandson, and based on that it can be used to refer to 'a great hunter'.  But like many Americans, I knew it first as a word for an idiot, or as the American Heritage Dictionary puts it, 'A person regarded as silly, foolish, or stupid.'  It's the kind of thing that would make one giggle if one heard it in Sunday School.  I was also unduly amused when I discovered that there's a Biblical personage named Dorcas--because of the name's similarity with the American slang term dork which these days means something very much like nimrod, but has also been used to mean 'penis'.

So, coming from an American perspective, it's surprising and strange to find that in the UK it's best known as a type of military (BrE) aeroplane/(AmE) airplane.  It sounds like having a plane named (AmE) doofus or (BrE) der-brain or (BrE) div or (particularly northern BrE) numpty.  So, speaking of "Nimrod accidents" will probably bring up different pictures in the minds of British or American listeners.
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I've avoided doing a post on how BrE pudding is used to mean (AmE) dessert because it's one of those AmE/BrE differences that is known by most people with any interest in the two countries. (And way back in the beginning, I said that this blog wasn't about those things that are well-covered in lists of AmE/BrE differences. This has led me to drag my feet, or perhaps my knuckles, in responding to requests for this topic from American readers Cathy and Jacqueline.) The pudding/dessert equation has been mentioned in passing here and there on the blog. But there are angles on this issue that deserve further discussion. So what the hell, here are some observations on them.

This comes up naturally, since I'm in the US at the moment, and the first 'new' AmE/BrE difference we taught my linguistically insightful five-year-old niece on this visit was "dessert is called pudding in England". Her immediate question was the same as reader Cathy's:
If any dessert can be called pudding, what is [AmE] pudding called [in BrE]?
But before I get to that, let's start with a fine-tuning of the general American understanding of the meaning of pudding in BrE. Yes, it can be used to refer to the sweet course of a meal, served after the main course. But in addition to referring to a course, it can also refer to a particular kind of dish, as it does in AmE. But there's still a translational problem, in that it doesn't refer to the same type of dish in the two dialects. In BrE, the dish-sense of pudding is:
A baked or steamed sponge or suet dish, usually sweet and served as a dessert, but also savoury suet puddings (e.g. steak and kidney). Also milk puddings, made by baking rice, semolina, or sago in milk. (Bender & Bender, A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Oxford UP, 1995)
Here's a photo of a Christmas pudding, from Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency. It's kind of like a fruit cake, but it's cooked by steaming. I know Anglophiles who buy and eat Christmas puddings in the US, but other such puddings are very rare in the US. My personal favo(u)rite is Sticky Toffee Pudding, and I consider it my duty to sample as wide a variety of STPs as possible in order to try to identify the best. Nominations on a postcard, please! (AmE speakers should usually mentally translate toffee in BrE contexts to caramel.)

In AmE, pudding nowadays refers particularly to creamy, custard-like desserts. Wikipedia treats this better than other dictionaries I've consulted (BrE translations in brackets are mine):
The second and newer type of pudding consists of sugar, milk and a thickening agent such as cornstarch [=BrE corn flour], gelatin, eggs, rice or tapioca to create a sweet, creamy dessert. These puddings are made either by simmering on top of the stove [=BrE on the hob; AmE stove = BrE cooker] in a saucepan or double boiler or by baking in an oven, often in a bain-marie. They are typically served chilled, but a few types, such as zabaglione and rice pudding, may be served warm.
As the Wikipedia bit indicates, the steamed, cake-ish kind of pudding is older than the 'milk pudding' sense, but it's not the oldest. Originally pudding referred to more sausage-like things. Hence black pudding, a blood sausage that is far more common in Britain (especially in the north of England--at breakfast time, for godsakes) than in the US.

On the grammatical angle, note that the BrE dish-sense of pudding is often a count noun (e.g. I made enough sticky toffee puddings to feed an army) because the puddings are items with well-defined boundaries, whereas in AmE it's usually a mass noun (e.g. I made enough pudding [not puddings] for everyone) since it refers to a substance. (Throughout English, we have the ability to make count nouns out of mass nouns and vice versa, so in this case I'm talking about the natural state of these words when referring to the food as it is prepared, rather than the senses "a portion of X" or "a smear of X", etc.)

So, what do BrE speakers call the creamy stuff that Americans call pudding? I think the best answer is that they don't call it anything in particular. There is no such thing as Jell-o pudding (the form in which most Americans encounter this substance) in the UK. The closest thing to that, although it's more 'mousse-like' is probably Angel Delight. A baked custard is a kind of pudding-y thing that is found in both countries (though not very popular in either place now, I think, except in the more exotic Spanish/Mexican incarnation, flan--which Kevin in the comments reminds us is usually called crème caramel in BrE. See the comments for more on what flan means). But in the UK custard usually refers to pouring custard, which Americans might occasionally come across under its French name crème anglaise. (This was discussed before, back here.) Both countries have rice pudding and the less creamy bread pudding.

(Incidentally, Better Half and I were grocery-shopping here the other day, and we happened down the Jell-o [US trade name, used generically to mean 'flavo(u)red gelatin', i.e. BrE jelly] aisle. BH was flabbergasted by the range of little boxes to be found there, which included two brands (Jell-o and Royal) and both gelatin/jelly and (AmE) pudding mixes. The Kraft Foods website lists 20 flavo(u)rs of regular Jell-o, 12 of sugar-free Jell-o, 17 of instant regular Jell-o pudding, 9 of instant diet Jell-o pudding, and 9 of the regular and diet cook-and-serve pudding mixes. So that's 67 products before we even start counting the ones that Royal makes. I've lived abroad long enough that instead of celebrating such a range of products, I am exhausted by the thought of it and look forward to getting back to a more sensible shopping experience. But only after I've loaded up my suitcase with A1 sauce, low-calorie microwave popcorn and New York State maple syrup.)

Returning to the course-sense of pudding, the term dessert is heard in BrE. The first sense below from the OED has been around in BrE since the 17th century at least, while the second, more general sense is noted as more American, but increasingly found in BrE:

1. a. A course of fruit, sweetmeats, etc. served after a dinner or supper; ‘the last course at an entertainment’ (J.).
b. ‘In the United States often used to include pies, puddings, and other sweet dishes’ (Cent. Dict.). Now also in British usage.
Other BrE terms for this course are the more colloquial afters and sweet, which is often found in lists of 'non-U' terms. Pudding is the least socially marked of these terms.

I believe that the pudding/dessert course is the one that diverges most, food-wise, in the two countries. That is to say, there are lots and lots of British puddings that aren't found in the US and American desserts that aren't found in the UK. And, of course, some of these are sources of amusement--particularly the name of the British dish spotted dick.

Finally (and not entirely unrelatedly), pudding is sometimes clipped to pud (rhymes with wood), which disturbs me when I see it in writing since I first learned pud as a slang term for a woman's genitals that rhymes with bud and is derived from pudendum. But BrE also has a genital-slang pud, which means 'penis'. This one rhymes with wood, since it is derived from pudding. (The OED notes that this is chiefly used in the masturbatory phrase pull the/one's pud.)
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breakfast in Brighton

The title of this post is also the title of one of the first books I read after moving to the titular town. (I recommend it if you know the town, or have reason to get to know it.) It's also what I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Tonight I'm in an airport hotel outside Copenhagen, after another heavenly work trip to Sweden. The only thing that keeps me from believing that I really have gone to Heaven when I'm in Sweden is the preponderance of icky fish in the diet. It's charming the way that my Swedish friends constantly offer me food with fish in it, even when they know that fish is the one thing I cannot keep in my mouth long enough to swallow. (OK, it's not the only thing...but they haven't had reason to discover my relationship with broccoli.) It's not that they're cruel or forgetful, it's just that it doesn't occur to them that anchovy toast or caviar paste actually contains fish products--until I embarrass myself by refusing their kind offers.

But tomorrow I fly early enough to be home before I would have been awake on a normal day. And the only way I'll be able to get through the day is to have a nice protein-o-rific breakfast. Known in those parts as a cooked breakfast.

And the reason for letting you in on my breakfast plans? Oh, just to give unneeded autobiographical background to discussing some queries from Dennis in Wisconsin. Dennis has been noting down (I don't know for how long) sentences in British books that contain words he doesn't understand and can't locate the meanings for. A number of these fit into the category of 'breakfast'. So, here's a tour (in alphabetical order) of British breakfast foods in literature (mostly murder mysteries, from what I can tell. Can't solve crimes on an empty stomach, I guess):
"He had consumed a jumbo dogknob and beans for breakfast that morning" Grave Music, Catherine Harrod-Eagles, p. 5.
Sorry to start with this one. It's just crude. Dogknob here is most likely referring to a sausage--probably a hot-dog-like (i.e. red) sausage. Knob is slang for 'penis', and dogknob red is a crude description of a certain shade of colo(u)r. Moving right along...
"After a breakfast of two eggs and couple of rashers of the greenback he liked..." A New Lease of Death, Ruth Rendell, p. 27.
Because this comes in rashers (a word I haven't heard much in AmE--we tend to call them slices), we can tell it's bacon. I haven't found a definition for it, but since it is contrasted with smoked back bacon on this butcher's site, I think we can assume it's unsmoked back bacon. (Leave a comment if you know otherwise!) The type of bacon that's eaten in the US is called streaky bacon in BrE. If you buy it in Britain it's unlikely to crisp up the way that American bacon does--I'm not sure if it's because it's more thickly sliced or if there's something else different about it. (Your theories?) It won't be maple-cured, that's for sure.

And next on to...
"[Slider's tray held] two fried eggs, double fried bread, sausage, bacon and tomato, tea an' a slice." Blood Lines, Catherine Harrod-Eagles, p. 3
That's a slice of bread. If it didn't say double fried bread just before, I'd have assumed that this was a fried slice, which is certainly not as inedible as fish or broccoli, but not something I'd choose to eat. I looked fruitlessly for a picture of fried bread on the web, but did find a video on how to make it--I'm not sure if the humo(u)r in it is intentional. (The resulting fried slice is far more attractive than anything I've seen in the caffs [BrE slang = 'cafés'] that I frequent.) The same team has made a video on how to make a Full English breakfast.
"Carver went off with his breakfast into the guv'nors' dining-room, but Slider preferred to mess with the ORs, and exchanging friendly nods with some of the sleepy night relief just coming off, who had stayed for a cuppa and a wad, he took his tray to the window table." Blood Lines, p. 2
Dennis didn't ask about cuppa, but I had to highlight it anyhow, as it's just so BrE. It refers, of course, to a cup of tea, which for many Britons is a drink, a security blanket and a way of life. Wad is (apparently military) slang for a (BrE) bun ([postscript:] more probably a sandwich--see comments).

Of course, there is much, much more that could be said about breakfast foods (some of which has already been said on this site--hit the food/cooking label to go to more food discussions). But for tonight, I'm sticking with what Dennis gave me.

There's a very strange noise coming from the hotel bathroom, so if I don't post again, you can imagine that I came to an untimely (because I won't have had my English breakfast) and grisly end, at the hands (or tentacles) of a toilet monster.
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hen nights

Describing Nicole Kidman and what's-his-name's prenuptial activities, Scott Lamb on Salon writes:
Much less interesting is the description of Kidman's bachelorette party, or as they say down under, her hen's night: "Instead of male strippers and boozing, the girls each brought a favorite recipe to discuss."

They may say hen's night in Australia (and they do, if the internet is to be trusted), but in the UK and Ireland, it's generally referred to as a hen night. While the term bachelorette party is used in the US, I've never been to one--in spite of having been a bridesmaid five times and (more recently) a sister-in-law three times--so I wonder how popular they actually are. But here, [drunken] hen nights are hard to escape, especially if you live in a coastal/touristy town like mine. I met three hen nights tonight on my post-prandial promenade. One group were all wearing glittery pink cowboy hats, one seemed to have wreaths of flowers on their heads (much more classy), then there's the ever-popular bunny ears. You can usually spot the bride because she's the one (a) with a veil, (b) with L-plates (the badge that learner drivers must display on their cars), or (c) carrying a naked, male blow-up doll or giant penis balloon. More and more popular are hen weekends--which often involve going abroad, or to touristy coastal towns like mine. There are businesses that speciali{s/z}e in organising hen trips.

Of course, older brides tend not to go for the pink cowgirl outfits or matching t-shirts with pictures of the bride. Recipe-swapping sounds like a nice alternative. But I do wonder about the rate of male take-up on a local 'paint your own pottery' business that advertises "Have your hen night/stag party here!"
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The book!

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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)