Words & Stuff

zzz: Across the Pond (Reader Comments and Addenda)

(6 January 2000)

Dan Tilque was one of several to say that "on line" is not a Britishism; apparently it's a New Yorkism. I think what I had in mind was actually something entirely different: the Canadian word "lineup," meaning what Americans would call a "line" and what the British might call a "queue." As in the Kids in the Hall "Flying Pig" sketch, though that uses the word "line" as well...

Dan adds:

A solicitor is a lawyer that does legal paperwork but does not represent people in court. A barrister is British for a trial lawyer.

The British tend to think that a bathroom should have a bathtub in it. They get amused when Americans say they need to go to the bathroom and then go to the toilet (either a public restroom or a small room with just a toilet in British homes). A larger room with a sink and bathtub is usually called the lavatory.

Another difference is that British say "different to" where Americans say "different than" or "different from."

Jon Featonby informed me that some of my UKisms are incorrect, but I've been unable to reach him by email to find out which ones. Mr. Featonby, if you read this, please drop me another email.

Back to column zzz

Back to main Words & Stuff page


Jed Hartman <logophilia@kith.org>