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February 06, 2008



I knew a few of those, but I've learned a lot of new stuff from this! I've heard I'm using both British and American English.
Thanks for visiting my Dalai Lasma quotes.


I use #9 quite often, and I am a colonist! Happy TT :)


There is a variation of #5 in the California dialect. Although it would be more like: "No, I'm lying...." and then the corrected info.

Happy TT.


I've had to explain "Bob's Your Uncle", and "It's A Fair Cop" to Americans. I've never heard "Cupboard Love" anywhere. Where does that come from?


i'm us'n "sure as eggs" from here on out. good one. HA mine's up 2.


How very, very interesting! I giggled at some of those because they sound so different. I guess when (if) you hear people say things like "Don't count your chickens before they hatch" you probably wonder what they are talking about, too huh?

Happy Thursday! :)

Comedy Plus

I enjoyed this very much. It's interesting how different folks express themselves. Very well done as always. Have a great TT. :)


Nicholas, we in North America do use "WITHOUT word of a lie" meaning we are definitely telling the truth.

Also you asked on my TT post about only giving up ONE thing for Lent instead of 13 things. When I was young I gave up one thing and one thing only: chocolate. Now I'm giving up many more things since I'm closer to dying and trying to make sure I get into heaven! I'm joking wink, wink! ;)


Nicholas, I forgot to say I loved your list! You English are so clever! :)


I've heard "straight up" quite often in these United States... and used it a few times as well. :)

Matthew James Didier

Lessee... I regularly use (well, enough to say I regularly use...)

Quick as you like!
Get the chop.
No word of a lie...

...and would you qualify that I often use...

That's one for the books! the same fashion as your *A turn up for the books.*

...and I am in North America... I think... Toronto? Well, I know it's the centre of the known universe... let me check in Wiki... YUP! North America!

The Gal Herself

#11 -- Straight up -- is familiar to me. It's even a Paula Abdul song. But I love "sure as eggs is eggs." Reminds me of those nosy neighbors waving at the Beatles in HELP!, pronouncing the lads as so friendly and natural, "Just like they was before they was." Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting my TT.

Linda at 2nd cup

Fascinating. And yes, please get the very first season of Lost for the next rainy day. It's the only TV series I've ever been into like this. I think I now know how Trekkies have felt all these years. I believe I'm a Lostie who is unwittingly beginning to proselytize.


Thanks for the lesson. I had heard of a couple of them, but did not know the reasons behind them.

ellen b

Oh Fun! I've never heard any of these! I'm hoping for "a turn up for the books" and I hope not to be "up a gum tree"!


This was a great TT. I enjoyed it a lot. I enjoy learning new expressions.


I know many of these from my time in Ireland. The first one I have tried to say a few times and just can't get it out! Thanks for this great, enlightening list. God bless.

Jenny McB

The only 1 that I knew was To be mother, I will have to keep my ears open for the others now.

BTW- absolutely loved the winter poem. Spoke volumes.


I've heard "straight up" before but nothing else. Interesting list!


This was delightful! I have quite a few friends here from across the pond... they say,
"I have to collect the children." For "pick-up."
or "Plasters", which of course are band-aids.
My friend from Ireland says "they could do this for a fortnight." (Not sure if I spelled that right.)
I'll try a few of these on them!

Ornery's Wife

I have actually heard a few of them used around here, but they are all quite interesting. I especially like the one about being up in a gum tree. I guess you'd be pretty well stuck, eh?


I adore British slang and now you've given me a few more I can use! :o)

Susan Helene Gottfried

I was convinced you were right and none of those had made it over to my neck of the woods, until we got to Straight Up. Darn it; I was hoping for a perfect 13. Bummer.

Brenda ND

I had a British friend who always said,"Fair enough." I like dropping by to read your TT's. They're interesting. Happy TT!

marcia v

no never heard those or bloody this or that


Wow...I feel smarter already. Thanks for educating me:) Happy TT.


Great list....I think I've used no word of a lie before. lol

Happy TT!!


We have used getting the chop and also straight up. Great list and very interesting.


Quite a few of these sound familiar to me because I've read a teensy bit too much British detective fiction. I catch myself using phrases sometimes that I suddenly realize no one around me has ever heard before. (ie "Quick as you like" and "cupboard love") I even occasionally have trouble remembering whether to spell it "color" or "colour" and using "bi-carb" instead of "antacid".

Wylie Kinson

Ah - you brought back some memories, though I have heard a few of these in Canada.

I was thinking about a few more, but am not sure if they're British or Bermudian: "on offer", "chalk and cheese", "three sheets to the wind" - and here's my mil's fave: "They couldn't organize a piss up in a brewery."

On a Limb with Claudia

I love these! I will print them out for use! My favorite, that I haven't heard here is: "I have to get this off my tits." lol! :)

As always, Nicholas, you're awesome!

Buck Naked Politics

I know some Brits, you among them, yet I've not heard one of those sayings. Great list.

Nicole Austin

I've heard #2 & #12 before, the rest are new to me. Very cool list!

In response to your question on my list, yes, pictures will be posted after the convention! One of my close friends is a cover photographer so there will be lots of pictures.


You are my last TT before I sleep. I just thought "straight up" meant without ice.

Happy TT!!!

Wacky Mommy

The only one I've ever heard is #7, when my girlfriends and I were having tea one time.

Happy Thursday to you and your readers!

Infinity Goods

That was a great Thursday Thirteen, as usual, and that's no word of a lie. Very informative.

SJ Reidhead

Very,very good.

The Pink Flamingo

Harris Channing

Great list. I heard one from a British friend, daft as a brush. I liked it. Oh and, she's so annoying, she's up my nose.

Thanks for sharing!



Hi!Thanks for the visit.
This is the first time, I read, heard... sure as eggs. I will use that next time!
I envy you also for being stress free!


I've spent a lot of time in the UK and thought I was fairly familiar with British slang (I'd travel mainly to London and Surrey, but did a lot of work with folks in Manchester and Newcastle as well), but most of these are new to me.

Learn something new every day.

(You don't say okey-cokey, do you? I could never stand that one LOL.)


Very interesting and catchy Brit phrases. I learned something new today.

Happy TT :)


I grew up with a version of #5. "No, I don't have it. Wait, I'm a lie, here it is."

And "Straight up" was very popular in my neighborhood even before the Paula Abdul song came out. :)

I'd heard a few of the others from different people who are from the UK, but there were definitely some new ones here I was glad to learn.

Strangely enough, and without any reason I can give, I find myself picking up one British habit in particular. I'm starting to drop my articles in certain sentences.

The best example, here you would say "He's in *the* hospital." But the habit of dropping "the" and saying "He's in hospital", keeps cropping up. I did it first in my writing and ended up making it a cultural habit with my shapeshifters just to keep me consistance. But I don't know where it came from...

Must be too much BBC America. LOL.

Talk to you soon, Nicolas. :)


Ivan Girl

hey, that's very interesting! =) would love to learn some...

do visit my t13. =)


Lovely list - I so enjoyed it, especially the examples!
Do you know, Nicholas, slang/idioms have landed me in hot water more than a few times. I had no idea that I used them so often, and it has lead to some unpleasant misunderstandings. However, I seem to be completely incapable of erasing them from my dialect. They're a part of the way I speak; they're a part of me.


not one single word of a lie, i totally found this interesting.. where i grew up we didn't have subways, and i moved to montreal and they called them 'tubes'.. so that's what i learned to call a subway, and i've been accused of british affectation for it lol


I hope you don't mind that I copied this to read to my "oh so American" students. I've never heard any of these. They aren't the kind of thing one reads in books. Thanks.


I love this list. Very interesting. I have always been interested in idioms of other countries.
Thanks for dropping by my T13 too!


Like that list...I have heard a few of them, but not part of our daily fare. Happy T-13!

Pop Tart

#8 is the only one I'd ever heard of... But your list is Aces; now I can work these into conversations to sound cool lol


Fun list! Reminds me of the decades I exchanged letters with a penpal in England from the age of 10 until she died. She used such phrases in her letters and I was forever asking what she meant. I've bookmarked this so I can revisit it when time permits to review and remember.
Hugs and blessings,


I enjoyed that, straight up!


It's very interesting to see cultural differences in language. I've heard the "I tell a lie", "Quick as you like" and "Sure as eggs" but I've definitely not heard some of those others. I would probably look at someone strangely too if I heard them using those phrases here lol. Thanks for sharing these and thank you so much for stopping by my blogs and leaving a donation.


How fun your TT was this week. I have heard of #2, #9 #11. I learned something new today, thanks for that.

Tilly Greene

Don't I know it! Put it all in reverse and then again, and you've been welcomed to my world :-) I forget and frankly don't mind the blank looks anymore.

The one that still sticks in my mind, and I think it's a northern thing, is to say something like "our Mike" as in "Our Mike went to the shops" when talking about someone close. Interesting.

It's lovely to be back and reading your interesting TT's Nicholas :-)


Being a fan of all things British I have to say LOVE IT! I am totally going to snag some of these for either conversation purposes or... writing either way I'll have fun.
Great list!

Kat's Krackerbox

I say "Straight up" a lot! Great list. Happy TT

Amy the Black

I think I've heard "Up a gum tree" before and I have heard "straight up." I love idioms. Thanks for sharing!


“To be mother”

Sexist pigs, the lot of you!

LOL, I've never heard any of those. I've only got oone british friend though an d Francesca is kind of nutty, so maybe thats why.


I've definitely heard "Straight up" before. In fact, I believe Will Smith used to say it on Fresh Prince if I remember correctly. :D Also I Anne McCaffery uses "As sure as eggs hatch" in the harper books she writes (maybe in all of her books, but those are the ones I just finished) I wonder if that is related or if she just made it up because dragons are so important in her world. Anyway... HAppy TT!


I would say my kids are definitely guilty of "cupboard love". Great phrases, thanks for sharing!


I use a few of these myself ("straight up" and "No, I lie", most oft) but then I worked for/with a Brit myself for a decade, so perhaps I picked them up, there?!

Great list!


I actually use a few of these myself (most oft, "No, I lie" and "straight up!") but then I worked for/with a Brit for a decade, so perhaps I picked them up, there?

Great list!


Wow, I have never heard not one of these! Now I'm going to have to throw a few in conversation and see if I can stump people.

Happy TT!

Penelope Anne

A most spot on post sir, I love it. And will check out the other TT you direct too.
Did I mention I drive my kids crazy by saying "spot on"???


I have heard about half of these. But then again, I know some English people!


Nicholas, those were fascinating. I am going to pretend I am British and use some of them. Wait, I better not, I think they locked Britney Spears up for doing that.


I often find myself saying "what?" when watching Britcoms such as "Rising Damp". As someone mentioned, Straight Up was a pretty popular saying in the U.S. back in the 80s/90s. It was even the title of a #1 hit by Paula Abdul.


I've heard "I tell a lie," but not the others. I'll have to point my sons to this TT--they're enthralled with Britishisms.


I love word origins and funky little facts about words and phrases. I think my favorite of those has to be "quick as you like". To me that sums up what I love about polite British sarcasm. =)

Happy TT!

Pamela Kramer

These are great! I'm going to have to share this list with my hubby. He's a big fan. Happy TT.


I don't know I have every heard any of those sayings before.....but then again, I grew up in the South! Thanks for visiting my TT.


Some of those sound like things Dr. Phil (not a fan of his by the way) would say if he were British. He's always saying funny things like that.

Karen @ Simply A Musing Blog

This post was the bees knees. Seriously.

Chelle Y.

This is so cool! I once had an Australian teenager in my classroom. He asked for a "lolly" once, and I thought he was talking about a lolly pop! Come to find out, he was talking about candy. But, I am sure you knew that already.

Miss Understood

I'm glad I came over for a butchers at this. It was the dog's bollocks, Nick!


Hi, I'm glad you came back to my site. Your address didn't work last week, so I couldn't find you.

Enjoyed your list. Many of these were familiar because of all the reading I do. I remember we used to say, "straight up" when we were teenagers -- a long time ago, in a faraway place . . .


These are great. I'm surprised that I hadn't heard any of these before because I had a British boyfriend who use a lot of interesting idioms. I like the way you've put them in context, very helpful!


I'm a Brit, but have never heard anyone use the phrases: To have it on one’s toes, Sure as eggs, To be mother, No word of a lie nor Cupboard Love.

Guess it shows you what a difference regional and other issues can have on colloquialisms and idiomatic phrases.


Oh, great list! I love learning new things! Mine is up and I think you will like it.Drop by when you can.


I know I've heard "Put paid to" and "quick as you like."


I've heard 2, 6, and 11 many times. I suppose it's regional. Nice TT.


Oh my, I have missed out on this kind of life! Oh bloody HELL! lol

Thanks for sharing these! Happy TT!


I have heard some variations of the "I tell a lie" but all of the rest are new to me. What an interesting post.

Dane Bramage

I don't hear straight up as much these days as when I was (much) younger. I think someone has already mentioned that Paula Abdul had a hit song by that title from her monster hit album "Forever Your Girl". But I have not heard any of the others even after years of watching "Are You Being Served", "Monty Python", and "Absolutely Fabulous".

Thanks for visiting my T13 #66 13 Movie Titles that are Song Titles too.


I have heard "straight up" but none of the others!! Informative list thanks for posting this one!


I've used "No word of a lie"; the rest, nope!


I am constantly using "Put paid to" and getting weird looks from folks. I even caught myself trying to use in in my thesis.


These idioms are cute. But you are right I've NEVER ever heard these idioms before.

But I really feel like I'm up gum tree right now.

Happy TT and have a great weekend!


Would "Straight Up" be what Paula Abdul used in one of her songs? If so, interesting use of British slang popularized in pop music.


I use "put paid to" and "straight up" all the time. :)


Mix these with some Cockney Rhyming Slang and we won't understand a word of each other.

My son (whose dad is English) came home from England with a T shirt that said "Mind the Gap." No one hear would say that or know it came from the metro.


I knew 2, 11, and 13 but the others were new. Really interesting TT! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Michelle B

Well, the only one I've heard before is "Put paid to." I can't remember where, though. I do have some British friends, but I may have seen it somewhere online. I'll have to keep an ear out for the others:)


Funny, I hear these all the time!


Ah! "Quick as you like." That one can be terribly rude depending upon the inflection. Great list, and Happy TT!

Happy Nester

I haven't encountered most of those quotes! I guess I'll be using some of them now. I hope I don't confuse who I tell them too! :D


I loved your list! I was surprised to find that I hadn't heard any of those (other than "straight up," but perhaps slightly differently). I can't decide which to like best, being mother, feeling it in your water and being sure as eggs are definite keepers! And I'm bookmarking this. I rarely bookmark blog posts, but this was clever and fun!


Yup..ya got me. The only one I've ever heard before is "put paid to". For some reason, though, some of my freelance clients tells me that I sound British when I write - I have absolutely no idea why!

No TT from me this week. I'm boring. :-)


Very interesting! I've never heard of most of those!


Great list. I know a few British expats over here; I'll have to try a few out on them. They'll probably demand, "Where did you pick that up?"

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