I was recently introduced to some of the more surprising sayings that are used in everyday language in English, and some of the terms we've all used. But the origin of these words or phrases is even more surprising, and so I thought I'd share them with you.
"Scarper" - We've all seen the dodgy cockney bank robber saying "Let's scarper, it's the rozzers." Well it's rhyming slang, believe it or not. Scarper = scapa flow = go. No, I didn't believe it either, but it now makes sense. Oh, and whilst we're on the subject...
Rozzers or cozzers - From the old hebrew of "Chazer" (pronounced 'hazzer') meaning pig.
Berk - A fairly well used insult, meaning someone daft. I remember my teacher at school calling everyone a 'berk,' so imagine my surprise to find once again it's rhyming slang. And not very nice rhyming slang at all! Berk = Berkshire hunt = c**t. You see what I mean by surprising? And in the same vein, one I use regularly is...
cattled - as in, "no it's no good, the virus has cattled your windows. I'll have to reinstall." Cattle = cattle truck = f**k. I'll have to refrain a bit more with that one.
raspberry - As any child will tell you, a raspberry is where you stick your tongue out and blow, producing a thoroughly satisfying (if slightly unrealistic) farting sound. I thought that this was because you 'rasped' your tongue, but it's again rhyming slang. Raspberry = raspberry tart = fart.
Bread - made famous by the Liverpudlian comedy of the 80s, this is well known to mean money. But how many knew it was from "Bread and Honey?"
Jackanory - From my childhood, this was a story telling 15 minutes on kids TV. If someone said to me that I should be on Jackanory, I'd know they don't believe me. But Jackanory is nothing more then slang for 'story,' and was where the TV programme got it's name.
Flash - Most surprising, this one. We've all known a bit of a 'flash Harry,' meaning someone who's always loud, probably solvent, and certainly well known in large circles. It comes from Flash = flash of light = sight, as in "what a sight."
Grass - We've all heard of a 'supergrass,' someone who tells all to the police in return for a new life. Well grass = grasshopper = copper. Ok, hands up who knew that?
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