Tag Archives: words

2442.  In hot water

There are some stories that language prevents the telling thereof. It’s not naughty words; it’s words for common things that are used in one country and not in another. Sometimes a reader in some distant land will think a story involves butterfly caterpillars when in fact it’s about tractors.

Such was the case when Delphine’s hot water cylinder exploded. A hot water cylinder is variously known as a hot water storage tank, a hot water tank, a thermal storage tank, a hot water thermal storage unit, a heat storage tank, and possibly by a dozen other names.

Anyway, Delphine’s hot water cylinder exploded and what a mess it caused!

When Delphine had purchased her house a good forty years earlier the house was already ancient. Goodness knows how old the hot water cylinder was. Friends had said for her to change it because it was old, it lost heat, and it was highly inefficient. Delphine pointed out that the hot water cylinder’s cupboard was perfectly wonderful for airing damp clothes and for keeping laundry dry.  It’s why it was called a hot water laundry cupboard or airing cupboard silly.

Now it had exploded and what a mess it had caused. First it went thump thumb thump. Delphine pricked up her ears. What was that noise? The thumping got lounder. Delphine went to investigate. That’s when things exploded and what a mess it caused.

The funeral for Delphine’s remaining bits is next Wednesday.

2436.  Language

Now Errol, said the teacher, you shouldn’t be using naughty words like that. Who taught you such language?

My father, said Errol.

Well, said the teacher, you shouldn’t use a word like that if you don’t know what it means.

I do know what it means, said Errol. It means the car won’t start.

2416.  Very pretty

Even though it was pretty hard to swallow it was still pretty good. I’d said to Madison earlier that she looked pretty awful. She was not a pretty sight. She should pretty herself up a bit. So she did that and was pretty as a picture.

“Now you’ve got nothing to worry your pretty little head about,” I said. But she said she was in a pretty pickle because the lead male actor was a bit of a pretty boy and tonight’s performance was pretty much a pretty tough kettle of fish.

I said to remember that she was not just a pretty face. She had learnt pretty early in life that happiness cost a pretty penny and you had to work hard if you wanted to be sitting pretty in life.

Madison agreed and said even though it was a pretty state of affairs things had reached a pretty pass. It was pretty is as pretty does.

So we took a pretty expensive taxi to the theatre and she gave a pretty good performance but the pretty boy was pretty bloody awful. In fact he was pretty pathetic – as is this story.

Story 941: Hilarious

This is the second day of seven days in which an early story is repeated. Today it is Story 941: “Hilarious”. It was first posted on 8 May 2016.

Thomas wrote a poem for school. His mother thought it was hilarious. She posted it on line. People said it was hilarious. Everyone said it was hilarious. Thomas’ teacher thought it was hilarious. His classmates thought it was hilarious.

“This is hilarious,” wrote Genevieve on Facebook.

But Cameron didn’t find it funny at all. “I can’t see why people think this is hilarious,” wrote Cameron on the school’s webpage.

And actually, Cameron was the only one who was right. The poem wasn’t hilarious at all actually. In fact actually, it sucked. It was actually hilarious the way everyone thought it was hilarious when it wasn’t hilarious. Hilarious actually!

Cameron’s mother thought it was actually hilarious like. People said Cameron’s comment was actually like hilarious. Everyone said it was like hilarious actually. Actually Cameron’s teacher like thought it was actually hilarious like actually. His like classmates like thought it actually was hilarious.

“This is actually hilarious like really gross hilarious,” wrote Genevieve on Facebook.

2260. What a schemozzles!

What a schemozzles! All that Olaf wanted to do for his school essay was to begin with “What a schemozzles!” The computer spell-checker put a wiggly red line underneath the word. A right click on the mouse didn’t offer any suggestions; it simply said “Do you want to add this to the dictionary?” All that Olaf wanted was to know how to spell it. What a schemozzles!

A search online offered alternative spellings: chemozzles, chermozzles, chimozzles, schemozzles, schimozzles, schmozzles, shamozzles, shimozzels, shimozzles, shlemozels, and shlemozzles. In the end Olaf used “schlemozzles”.

The teacher put a red line through it with “sp” in the margin to denote a spelling error. So what was the right spelling? “Sp” in the margin was a fat lot of use.

As far as Olaf was concerned the teacher was a schlemiel. Or should that be schlemihl or schlemiel? A schmuck anyway. Or was that shmuck or shmuk? A schlimazel?

What a schmendrickous schemozzles.

1694. Mum’s not the word

Some time ago, 11 August 2017 to be exact,  I posted about how sometimes living in different countries with the same language we presume that every word and phrase means the same. Some found it interesting, so I’m going to dig up another handful. I’ve lived only in Quebec, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and New Zealand, so it’s not improbable that some words and phrases are also used in other places.

1. Quite
It took me thirty years to realize this, but when New Zealanders say “quite” we don’t quite mean the same as Americans. I realized this when I had an American friend visit and my sister invited us both to dinner. At the end of the meal my American friend thanked my sister and said the meal was “quite good”. My sister said to me later that he could at least have said the meal was nice.

As I understand now “quite good” in American means something is very good. In New Zealand, “quite good” means that really it could’ve been a lot better but I’m saying “quite good” to be polite. If something is “quite good” or “quite nice” then it’s struggling to be average.

2. Ta
“Ta” means “thank you” and is heard a lot more often than “thanks” or “thankyou”. It’s said like “tar” with a short A.

“Could you pass the sugar please.”
Henrietta passes the sugar.

Speaking of sugar, I once said at table “Sugar please”, and the voluptuous blonde answered, “Is that a request or a term of endearment?”

Ta is not to be confused with “ta ta” which is a little kid’s way of saying goodbye.

“Say ta ta to grandma.”

3. Wop wops
Living in the wop wops means living beyond the black stump (as I think they say in Australia) or living in the boonies (as I think they say in America). I used to think that when Americans used “living in the boonies” they were saying “living in the bunnies” so naturally I took it to mean they were living a long long way out of town.

My Aunty Flo (hands up those who don’t have an Aunty Flo) was a raging extrovert and when she came to visit us from the city she would go on and on about how she was visiting the wop wops. As a little kid I was transfixed.

4. Bach
This word is pronounced “batch” – so it’s not the composer. I presume it comes from the phrase “Bachelor Pad”. A bach is a beach house (usually not very fancy) that a family (if they can afford it) lives in during weekends or holiday breaks. There is a difference between the term used in the North Island and what is used in the South Island (New Zealand is made up of two main islands). North Islanders call it a “bach” and South Islanders call it a “crib”. I have no idea what they call it anywhere else in the world, but if you know…

The only other trans-island difference in New Zealand English that I can think of is the word “couch” – that invasive grass that once you’ve got it in your garden it’s there to stay. North Islanders are inclined to call it “couch” and South Islanders are inclined to call it “twitch”. I have no idea what they call it anywhere else in the world, but if you know… Apparently both “couch” and “twitch” are variations of the Scottish word “quitch” for the wretched pest.

5. Jandals
Jandals are what Australians call “thongs” and some other countries call “flip flops”. I have not a great idea as to who calls what where. Jandals is short for Japanese sANDALS. Apart from Ernest Rutherford splitting the atom, Jandals are New Zealand’s sole contribution to Western Civilization. That and the automatic postal stamp vending machine – which has fast become obsolete because of email.

When I broke my ankle and had 4 pins screwed in, I was wearing jandals at the time. These days the foot is so deformed that I cannot fit into a shoe, but I do fit in when need be to a large pair of:

6. Gumboots
I think some other countries call them wellingtons, or galoshes – you’ll know what you call them from the picture. Galoshes for me are quite different; they are a rubber sheath that one pulls over the top of regular shoes when it’s rainy or muddy. So I’d be interested to know what you call both of these things in your country. When I was growing up on a dairy farm we lived in our gumboots. The back door would usually have a dozen or so pairs of gumboots of different heights and sizes all higgledy-piggledy so that mother would say nine times a day “Pick up those gumboots before someone trips on them.”

7. Dag
A dag is a bit of dried you-know-what hanging off the wool on a sheep’s bottom. When the sheep runs along the dags rattle. This gives rise to the common expression “Rattle your dags” which means “Get a hurry on”.

The other common use of the word dag is in such expressions as “What a dag!” or “She’s a dag”. It can refer to an amusing person or event. “She’s a dag!” would amount to the same as “What a character!” and “What a dag!” would amount to the same as “That’s very funny!”

8. Pack a sad
As far as I can see the expression “Pack a sad” is not universally used, but is common over here. If I’m wrong I’d be happy to be corrected. “Pack a sad” means “Throw a tantrum”.

And then the teacher packed a sad.
There’s no need to pack a sad just because I smashed up your car.

That’s enough for one day. Thanks for reading, and I hope you found the occasional thing a bit of a dag.

1378. On hearing the news

This story is based on the fact that I don’t have a clue in hell as to what they’re talking about when I listen to the news on my radiogram.

The NQI of the HHLD in VT USA was invited by the KPY to speak on the YSTW that DDT had on the PAU. The ORQ is, can the NQI, an appointment by the HOS, refuse to speak? When asked for a comment, the HOD of the FBI LHFAO.

So in conclusion I’d just like to say:


1375. The end

How stressful! Conchita was worried sick. Her husband was away for the afternoon and she was a mess. When he came home she had to tell him; she was in love with another man and she was going off with him. His name was Rex. As far as Conchita was concerned, her marriage was over.

Conchita’s husband arrived home. “Honey,” he said, “I’ve something to tell you. I went to the doctor’s this afternoon and I’ve got cancer. It’s terminal. I’ve been given three weeks at the most.”

Oh the relief!

1373. So many choices

There’s more than one way to spell Wraymound, said Jihll, and I have named my newborn, Ykjhasdbvsdflafaskjlhbsadf – which is pronounced “Ramon”. It will distinguish her from all the other Ramons in the world, and could easily become the feminine form of the boy’s name.

I’m having a difficult time in deciding on a middle name. I was thinking of Lhsadfkjhksadfijhwuefkljhsadf. What do you think? Sound-wise it seems to go well with Ykjhasdbvsdflafaskjlhbsadf. Ykjhasdbvsdflafaskjlhbsadf Lhsadfkjhksadfijhwuefkljhsadf Yjhgljhgwqrfkjhgwqhgwer-Blkjxzclhjsfadkjj sounds pretty attractive to me. I’m gravitating towards it.

Now I just have to convince my partner. She wanted to name the baby “Betty”. If she wants a Betty she should make one of her own.

1368. A true story

Some people thought it funny, but Ray didn’t think it funny at all. In fact, he thought that John had been downright rude and asked Margaret to make him apologise.

Teresa didn’t think he should have to apologise at all and Robert agreed. Not that it mattered as Nyla and Douglas were the two that would care about such things and they were visiting their friend Gregory to congratulate him on his engagement to Denise. Lynda was there as well, and she was having an affair with Richard, everyone knew it, because Charles had whispered it one at a time, starting with Patrick. Juris had said that we shouldn’t engage in gossip and told Jason and Peter by way of illustration. After that, the whole world knew.

Well, at least Thomas, Graeme, Myra, Brent, Lorraine, Frances, Adrienne, Esme, Thomas (a different Thomas from the one previously mentioned), Hein, Jacob, Ruth, Paul, Julie, Patricia, Hubert, Sydney, Walter, Alastair, Kevin, Trevor, Marian, Ngaire, and Ronald knew.

So as you can see, it’s probably not funny at all.