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ANSWERED on Thu 29 Nov 2012 - 10:44 pm UTC by David Sarokin

Question: Colorful English exclamations used when in trouble or phrases for hopeless situations

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cloveapple 

Customer

 25 Nov 2012 10:03 UTCSun 25 Nov 2012 - 10:03 am UTC 

I'm looking for things that might be said by a man born between 1930 and 1940. It could be language that's specific to northern England, or it could be language that might be used anywhere in Engand. Colorful, interesting, odd, or humorous is a plus. Crude language is fine.

Here's two examples of the sort of thing I'm looking for. (The examples are from American speech.) An exclamation: An older American woman might exclaim "Jesus Joseph and Mary!" in an upsetting situation. A phrase describing hopeless situations: "up sh** creek without a paddle"

 

David Sarokin 

Researcher

 25 Nov 2012 15:17 UTCSun 25 Nov 2012 - 3:17 pm UTC 

Apparently, "Blow me" fits the bill here, at least according to this guide on English slang:

http://www.effingpot.com/slang.shtml


Scan the list, and you'll find other useful Englishims.

Is this the sort of resource you're seeking?

David

 

montecristo 

User

 25 Nov 2012 16:34 UTCSun 25 Nov 2012 - 4:34 pm UTC 

For hopeless/upsetting situations:

A spot of bother
A rum situation
A fine pickle
To be in the soup
To be in a pinch
Lord preserve us

Since my version of 1930s England is coloured by Lord Peter Wimsey and Wooster, these may not be appropriate for a northern working class fellow with real problems.

"Trouble at' mill" has become a cliche expression for how a northerner of the period would describe a tricky situation, but you can't use it without it being comedic.

 

myoarin 

User

 25 Nov 2012 22:43 UTCSun 25 Nov 2012 - 10:43 pm UTC 

"Oh bollocks!"  perhaps:
http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/bollocks

See also on David's link.

Where is our favorite common tater?  He should know:  both the right age and from the North of England.

Many years ago, I read that on the voice recorders of airplane accidents someone usually exclaims "oh shit!".

 

myoarin 

User

 25 Nov 2012 22:43 UTCSun 25 Nov 2012 - 10:43 pm UTC 

"Oh bollocks!"  perhaps:
http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/bollocks

See also on David's link.

Where is our favorite common tater?  He should know:  both the right age and from the North of England.

Many years ago, I read that on the voice recorders of airplane accidents someone usually exclaims "oh shit!".

 

probo 

User

 26 Nov 2012 09:07 UTCMon 26 Nov 2012 - 9:07 am UTC 

Oh dear!

Has Myoarin been at the Heineken again?

(He typically repeats himself when he's had a drop too much - like 20 litres.)

English people are noted for their understatements and I recall often hearing 'By Jove!' from my fellow Lancastrians of yesteryear.

I understand that Professor Higgins used this expression in George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' which was first produced in 1912.

However, when Hollywood produced 'My Fair Lady' in 1964, this was modified to 'By George!' - possibly as a tribute to George Formby?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVmU3iANbgk

Enjoy!

Probo

 

probo 

User

 26 Nov 2012 09:12 UTCMon 26 Nov 2012 - 9:12 am UTC 

Of course, the Germans had to change this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Uyip04e6Q&feature=related

 

montecristo 

User

 26 Nov 2012 10:07 UTCMon 26 Nov 2012 - 10:07 am UTC 

'By George' hopefully refers to St George, patron saint of England, rather than George Formby.

 

ribuck 

User

 26 Nov 2012 13:47 UTCMon 26 Nov 2012 - 1:47 pm UTC 

I prefer to think that "By George!" was used as a homage to George Bernard Shaw, although the author of the 1912 play styled himself "Bernard Shaw" back in those days.

Certainly it wasn't a homage to a sleeping car porter, given the existence of the Society for the Prevention of Calling Sleeping Car Porters "George":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_the_Prevention_of_Calling_Sleeping_Car_Porters_%22George%22

I suppose "By Jove" sounded a bit too pagan for 1964, given that Jove (Jupiter) was the king of the Roman gods.

Anyway, montecristo and myoarin have pretty-much nailed it, so far as the educated classes go. The art of understatement is still very strong among the older generation in the north of England.

For a less educated northern male, swear words can be assumed.

Upon discovering a situation that is hopeless, the response could be "Oh Bugger!". Pronounced, of course, "Oh booger!". But not how "booger" is pronounced in the USA. In fact, I don't know how to spell "Bugger" in a way that would convey its northern pronunciation to a 'merkin.

After a moment's reflection, the person caught up in the hopeless situation might then exclaim "It ain't 'alf 'opeless". Again it's that northern understatement creeping in. (A northerner might say "It ain't half warm" to mean that it's extremely hot.)

Upon encountering a further obstacle, the outcry might be "Oh bollocks!" as myo suggested.

A solution might then be suggested. If this is unacceptable, the response might be "Bugger that for a lark!" (or "Bugger that for a joke!"). For example, if two northerners find themselves up the proverbial creek without a paddle, one might suggest that the other swims through the leech-infested water to procure a new paddle, to which the response will be equal in meaning if not in wording to "Bugger that for a joke!". An equivalent phrase is "Not bloody likely!".

An expression that's widely used by the older northerners is "Flippin' 'eck!". This one is used by males and females alike. The younger generation would instead say "Fuckin' 'ell!", which is probably the origin of "flippin' 'eck" anyway.

 

Phil Answerfinder 

Researcher

 27 Nov 2012 11:34 UTCTue 27 Nov 2012 - 11:34 am UTC 

I'm late to the question. I think most of the commentators have it nailed especially Ribuck.

Understatement I think would be pretty much the tone. Oh, Bollocks!, Flipping eck. Variations on bugger: Bugger it or I'm buggered,

You could also have 'that's put a spanner in the works', (or bloody spanner for extra annoyance).
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/theenglishwespeak/2012/04/120424_tews_68_spanner_in_works.shtml

Or 'that's put the kibosh on it.'
http://www.worldwidewords.org/articles/kibosh.htm

Phil
answerfinder

 

nevilley 

User

 27 Nov 2012 13:31 UTCTue 27 Nov 2012 - 1:31 pm UTC 

My Mum is Geordie and a little older than your target range. She is not posh, but is very polite.

She might say "you beggar" which is perhaps a bowdlerized version of "you bugger"; but she would absolutely not say it TO someone - rather, about a situation, or because something hurts, or has gone wrong. (In other words, in contemporary parlance it would be an equivalent to "f*ck it" but not to "f*ck you" or "f*ck off".)

For extra Northern flavour it might go "eeee you beggar" and I think I have heard her or her (very) late mother say "you bugs" or similar which I guess is the same thing of saying-but-avoiding "bugger". In all the above it is important that the "you" is not spoken out long, but greatly shortened, so you hear something more like "y'beggar" or "y'bugs" or similar.

I might see if I can tempt her into more abusive terms this evening on the phone ...

 

nevilley 

User

 29 Nov 2012 01:00 UTCThu 29 Nov 2012 - 1:00 am UTC 

My brother points out that someone of whom our uncle (now 92) strongly disapproves is termed a "blighter". This is a pretty serious indictment!

I know that a direct term of abuse is a little offtopic for your question, but hope you might find it useful. The gentleman in question is Southern English and quite posh. :)

 

probo 

User

 29 Nov 2012 07:34 UTCThu 29 Nov 2012 - 7:34 am UTC 

You are right, Neville.

However, I am unsure whether a 'blighter' is worse than a 'cad'.

 

nevilley 

User

 29 Nov 2012 12:23 UTCThu 29 Nov 2012 - 12:23 pm UTC 

"However, I am unsure whether a 'blighter' is worse than a 'cad'."

Very interesting. I would think that the term "cad" is more judgemental - they are behaving in some specifically immoral/dishonest way, and perhaps from a starting point of gentlemanly behaviour being expected of them. A cad would cheat at cards, betray a confidence, break off an engagement, leave another chap to pay his bar bills, and other sins of that ilk. A blighter, on the other hand, is I think more of a general-purpose nuisance. I think I would see cads as a subset of blighters - all cads are blighters but not all blighters are cads. A mechanic who dropped a spanner and scratched the wing on the Alvis might well be a blighter, but he would certainly not be a cad! So yes, I think cads are both more specialized and probably worse than blighters.

All of course imho and with no quotable authority whatsoever behind me ...

:)

 

myoarin 

User

 29 Nov 2012 12:41 UTCThu 29 Nov 2012 - 12:41 pm UTC 

We have gotten away from Cloveapple's question, but since we have ...

I agree with Nevilley's interpretation, which, I believe, can be supported: 
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=cad&searchmode=none

"Cad", short for "cadet," would seem to be a more upper class expression, denigrating a person for breaking social rules.

 

David Sarokin 

Researcher

 29 Nov 2012 13:18 UTCThu 29 Nov 2012 - 1:18 pm UTC 

Might be a few more possibilities in this list:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StockBritishPhrases
Stock British Phrases

including Bollocks, "Gone quite doolally" (never heard that one!), and Kerfuffle.


Still don't have anything as earthy as "up shit's creek". Closest I get is "I'm all sixes and sevens".

 

cloveapple 

Customer

 29 Nov 2012 18:58 UTCThu 29 Nov 2012 - 6:58 pm UTC 

I think you've all probably answered my question several times over now. Sorry I didn't respond earlier. I was very sick for a couple days.

 

David Sarokin 

Answer

 29 Nov 2012 22:44 UTCThu 29 Nov 2012 - 10:44 pm UTC 

Cor Blimey! I'm just Gobsmacked that we could answer your question.

Thanks...and feel better soon.

David

 

cloveapple 

Customer

 30 Nov 2012 17:39 UTCFri 30 Nov 2012 - 5:39 pm UTC 

 

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