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More HP Britishisms


A couple more British words that survived the Americanization of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: judder (which I see fairly often in submissions by British authors, and almost never in stories by American authors), chunter (not to be confused with chunder, Australian slang for vomit, best known in the US from the song "Land Down Under," your earworm for today), and chuffed (you'll have to click the word in the list of matches).

There's a Dictionary of British Words in the Harry Potter Books that's not bad, though its entry for chuffed leaves out the main relevant definition.


Sorry Jed but "chuffed" doesn't mean "puffed with fat" (!) but pleased; pleased and proud. You might, for example, be "chuffed to bits" with your exam results or some other achievement. Neither of the links you posted seems to me to have quite got it.

Who knew HP needed translation??

Oddly enough, chuffed means either pleased or annoyed, depending on the context. So if I am chuffed by a toddler's behaviour, you still can't tell if I'm happy or sad, until you see the emoticon. Or something.

Abu riffs on this class of words pretty well, or at least as well as we're likely to get until Somebody goes back to writing a column about words.


Wendy: Yup, that's why I said the HP British dictionary leaves out the relevant definition of "chuffed." I told the author about the problem, but was informed that that site has been unmaintained since 2002.

...Hmm. Or maybe you're reacting to MW10's etymology section rather than to their definition? If so, take another look; the definition they give (on the line after the etymology) is "proud" or "satisfied". (MW3 says "quite pleased" or "delighted").

V: That's interesting, 'cause I always used to think that "chuffed" meant "annoyed"—it has that sound to it. But I never actually see it used that way, and neither MW10 nor MW3 list it as having that meaning. Nor does Thorne's Dictionary of Contemporary Slang. I wonder if the citation in AWAD that you pointed to is a usage unique to Australia....

Well, and I turned to Google. I found chuffed used as disgruntled mostly in places where the author was attempting Yorkshire dialect, more or less effectively. Page 31 of this 360-page word doc has a character saying “We were gerrin on reet good, like, an' dint do nowt bad. Farmer were chuffed, like, but the' were some as dint like it, like, some as were chuffed off, like. Tha sees?” You may want to take my word for it, although evidently the story was a Mithril Award semifinalist, so if you like that sort of thing, that may be the sort of thing you like.
Similarly, the extraordinarily funny (if you like that sort of thing) Yorkshire Bible Stories has Goliath “getting right chuffed off” at David after the boy says “So today [The Lord]'ll wipe floor with thi and rip thi head off and then it'll be me luv, it'll be me what feeds thi brains to birds and everyone'll know as God's on side of Israel.”
Searching this page for chuffed leads to someone called Tina (from Leeds) being “a bit chuffed off” that her video recorder stopped working fifteen minutes into some sort of event. So that’s a (perhaps) real Yorkshirewoman using the phrase on an actual site.
It’s pretty clear, though, that it’s mostly used as ‘proud’. Disgruntled may be Yorkshire-specific; therefore if somebody declares him- or her- self ‘chuffed’, you may assume pride, unless the person is from Yorkshire, or a pretentious Anglophile American with a fondness for Alan Bennett, Dennis Potter, Trevor Griffiths, and, um. Alan Ayckbourn. Are there any famous people from Yorkshire?

Although since I'm looking for a tag, perhaps the Yorkshire dialect would be fun for a while.

Tha' sees?

Are there any famous people from Yorkshire?

James Herriot's "My life as a vet" books (All Creatures Great and Small, etc) were all set in Yorkshire.

Depending on what you consider "from Yorkshire", you could start with Patrick Stewart, Jarvis Cocker, and I believe the Brontes.

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