A Phrase For Phriday

PJ, lovely PJ (bless her!) has suggested I could occasionally do a feature with English phrases that Americans might find funny, or confusing. To be honest I’m not sure I know what’s English, or maybe British, and what’s not, since we seem to have pinched so much of our language from others over the millennia. Equally, I might well attribute meanings to some of these sayings that are my interpretation, but totally wrong. Hey ho – life’s a bitch, eh?

If people abroad use the same phases and there’s nothing particularly homespun about what I include, then I apologise, but it’s just tough! (In case that’s an English expression, that means too bad, I don’t care, or something like that).

Anyway, sometimes it will be a single word and sometimes a phrase or saying, but I thought I’d give it a go at least. So…

 I’ll start with two phases that sound similar, but are very different:

  1. He’s all dressed up like a dog’s dinner… which means what it says and the subject of the statement is wearing smart (maybe overly or uncomfortably smart) clothes for a particular occasion. Slightly more derogatory meanings are attached at times, but it’s essentially the same and depends much on context and tone of voice.
     
  2. That’s a real dog’s breakfast… which means something is a mess, or just plain wrong, as in, “He tried to put the flat-pack furniture together, but he made a real dog’s breakfast of it,” – i.e. got it wrong, probably very wrong. An equivalent is “pig’s breakfast”.
     

However, as an aside and nothing to do with the explanation, I kind of feel it might be a bit unfair to criticise the poor guy in my example number two above. Have you ever tried to follow the instructions that come with flat-pack furniture? You often need a mind like a corkscrew – as well as several vital parts that you only realise are missing once you’ve already begun and can’t take it back!

Have a good weekend… 🙂

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6 Responses to “A Phrase For Phriday”

  1. Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!

    I agree with you about holding off on criticism on the poor bloke (English term, right?! in example #2. He is most often the husband, cursing under his breath.

  2. I’ve never heard of any of those phrases but I’m going to start incorporating them into my conversations and watch my friends shake their heads.

  3. I would say that even “flat pack furniture” is a different animal that what we’d say here 😉

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