The good folks over at the Guardian embarked on an ambitious project this week: trying to explain Brits and Americans to one another. That project — dubbed English to English — comes in the form of a Tumblr that provides translations of Britishisms and Americanisms. And the results are pretty promising so far.
As the creators point out, the love affair — or “special relationship,” if you will — between the United Kingdom and the United States seems to have reached peak adoration recently; for evidence, look no further than Americans’ love of Downton Abbey — even if they don’t understand half of what is mumbled in those corridors. (A free article idea for the folks at English to English: A weekly roundup of the at times frustratingly opaque Britishisms deployed on the show.)
Without further ado, here are the highlights so far. It turns out the expression to “shag the balls” doesn’t translate all too well across the Atlantic.
Then there’s the expression “pissed”:
America, the perennial king of desserts:
Vests. They’re confusing no matter where you are:
Is “fanny” a less innocent expression than you might think?
It’s a wonder we’re able to communicate at all.