Phrase For Phriday

These Phrases for Phriday are something that I started a while ago in response to a suggestion from one of my readers, the lovely PJ. They (I hope) provide examples of how Brits and Americans (and other English speakers around the world) are often, as the saying goes, divided by a common language.

I prefer to begin these light-hearted posts by admitting right here that I’m not at all sure if these are particularly solely British words and phrases. However, I have to start somewhere and that means making some assumptions… they sound pretty British to me, or to put it another way, these are instances when I believe those Americans and others I mentioned might be tempted to think, “WTF does that mean?”. But I’m providing nothing more here than my personal interpretation of the words in question. Of course, I could be wrong – nothing new there then, either!


Today’s phrase is…

I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole, which I guess is probably quite understandable to a lot of you, even though it’s an English expression. A barge pole is a ten foot or more long pole that was used to push barges along canals once upon a time and the phrase simply means that something is so undesirable to you that you don’t even want to get that close to it – such as modern banking and investment advice, or a political career perhaps…

An example might be, “He’s spent the last five years living it up in Thailand. I’m not touching it with a barge pole until I see the results of a medical!”

Have a good weekend… 😉

4 Responses to “Phrase For Phriday”

  1. Thanks. That makes sense. In America we say we wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole so now I know whose pole we’re talking about.

    • I’m delighted I was able to provide an answer to something that surely must have given you many a sleepless night 😆

  2. Ah, you solved the mystery for Joanna and me!

    Do you say, “He doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground?” We delight in that saying over here.

    • No. I think that’s American. We do have a similar one though – he doesn’t know his ass (well, the English say arse, actually) from his elbow… 🙂

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