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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:
And did anyone bother to read the definitions that I posted? It's perfectly within proper usage on both sides of the Atlantic to call someone a wanker if they're merely annoying or just an idiot.

Yes, but in the UK it's much more offensive to do so than it apparently is in the USA. And at least part of that must be down to the etymology (or the literal meaning) being lost in the USA.

An analagous word in the UK might be "berk". (Trollface has used this example before, I know.) That's a fairly mild word meaning "silly idiot". However, it's derived from the rhyming slang phrase "Berkshire hunt" - I'm sure you can work out the rhyme. I think it's fair to say that most people in the UK that use it as a mild swear word don't know that, or if they do now, they didn't at the point when the word came into common use. Because otherwise my mum would have been consciously calling me a cunt for half my childhood, and I'm fairly sure she wasn't.

(edit) And another example of the sense of a word being lost in the USA might be the word "shag". I remember when the film "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" came out, and was advertised openly on buses and posters and so on, my reaction and that of a lot of other people was "They can't call it that! Don't they know what that word means? Do they think it's a double entendre or something?". In America I think the primary definition was some sort of dance, so perhaps it did work as a quaint double entendre, but in the UK it was pretty direct and, until that point, a mildly taboo word. The word is a lot more acceptable now - probably the film had something to do with that.

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Bored and Dangerous
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:
And did anyone bother to read the definitions that I posted? It's perfectly within proper usage on both sides of the Atlantic to call someone a wanker if they're merely annoying or just an idiot.

Yes, but in the UK it's much more offensive to do so than it apparently is in the USA. And at least part of that must be down to the etymology (or the literal meaning) being lost in the USA.

An analagous word in the UK might be "berk". (Trollface has used this example before, I know.) That's a fairly mild word meaning "silly idiot". However, it's derived from the rhyming slang phrase "Berkshire hunt" - I'm sure you can work out the rhyme. I think it's fair to say that most people in the UK that use it as a mild swear word don't know that, or if they do now, they didn't at the point when the word came into common use. Because otherwise my mum would have been consciously calling me a cunt for half my childhood, and I'm fairly sure she wasn't.

Probably not, I'm sure. That would have been an interesting thing to explain to the neighbors. [lol]

I guess my problem is that I see (at least on here) is a lot of Britons assume superiority in vocabulary regarding the English language because "they thought of it first." Language changes over time, and simply because a word doesn't retain the basic meaning it once did doesn't invalidate the new meaning, or the old meaning. It's simply used in different ways, by different people, to mean different things. What nationality uses what word for something doesn't make it better or worse.

ETA:
quote:
*snip* In America I think the primary definition was some sort of dance
For your edification. [Big Grin]

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:
quote:
*snip* In America I think the primary definition was some sort of dance
For your edification. [Big Grin]
Thanks!

One of the hits when you googled my name used to be a memorial page for a guy called "Rick Wilkinson - Shag King". It was put up by his dance club and contained testimonies from various women about how great he was at shagging. Shame it seems to have gone now.

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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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can we get something straight- i believe you. i don't think that it can only ever possibly mean one thing.

my point is that this

"What I am saying is that some Britons think that because they originated a word, that what they think must be the only meaning for it, and all other meanings are incorrect because they've never used it that way."

is as bad as this

"As for "wanker", I've always been under the impression that the reason it is so freely used in the USA is because a lot of americans don't know what it means. "

'a lot of americans' 'some britons'. i'm not arguing with your usage of the word, but that you're both making generalisations. although the op did clarify with 'i was under the impression'- giving an implication that she may be wrong.

i think you're being a bit too defensive, is all.

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Bored and Dangerous
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quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:
can we get something straight- i believe you. i don't think that it can only ever possibly mean one thing.

my point is that this

"What I am saying is that some Britons think that because they originated a word, that what they think must be the only meaning for it, and all other meanings are incorrect because they've never used it that way."

is as bad as this

"As for "wanker", I've always been under the impression that the reason it is so freely used in the USA is because a lot of americans don't know what it means. "

'a lot of americans' 'some britons'. i'm not arguing with your usage of the word, but that you're both making generalisations. although the op did clarify with 'i was under the impression'- giving an implication that she may be wrong.

i think you're being a bit too defensive, is all.

Which you would be justified in thinking if she had presented an example of a American specifically misusing (British style) the word wanker in this thread--or even in another. However, all we're presented with is a Briton who says that they think wanker is used wrong by most Americans. No proof. Just "I'm under the impression that..." I don't know about you, but I dislike being told I'm using something or doing something incorrectly simply because I'm a certain nationality.

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Hans Off
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[mini hijack] IIRC we have had this "debate" before B & D So I'm going to sit this one out! [/mini hijack]

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Bored and Dangerous
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Hans Off:
IIRC we have had this "debate" before B & D So I'm going to sit this one out!

Yeah, I know. This is about the umpteenth time I've done this, but I keep coming back for more. Keeps me from totally declining into depression, y'know--gives me a purpose. [lol]

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Yeah, I know. This is about the umpteenth time I've done this, but I keep coming back for more
What I want to know is who's in this cabal of so-called linguistically superior Brits who haunt you so B&D [Wink]

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Bored and Dangerous
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
quote:
Yeah, I know. This is about the umpteenth time I've done this, but I keep coming back for more
What I want to know is who's in this cabal of so-called linguistically superior Brits who haunt you so B&D [Wink]
Weee-yull...I know I've had this debate with trollface. Probably twice. Although, he should be enough for a cabal by himself, right? [Big Grin]

Here's a good thread that's basically doing what we're doing now.

I should quit while I'm ahead. *sigh*

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I think I'm part of the cabal too - all us Brits think with one brain anyway. (Embra has it at the moment, I believe, and she's not posted much lately...) This might be the first time I've played my variant though.

Changing the subject entirely, I went to the Microsoft Tech-Ed '99 in Amsterdam. The band at the end of event party was from the film The Commitments. They had a set of about four or five songs, then all the members of the band rotated round one place, swapped instruments and played the set again. All the band members could play all the parts including the vocals. And they could keep this up indefinitely. It was quite impressive technically, but after a couple of hours and a fair bit of extremely strong skunk I was convinced it was a plot to drive the audience insane...

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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:
[/qb]

Which you would be justified in thinking if she had presented an example of a American specifically misusing (British style) the word wanker in this thread--or even in another. However, all we're presented with is a Briton who says that they think wanker is used wrong by most Americans. [/QUOTE]

"I guess my problem is that I see (at least on here) is a lot of Britons assume superiority in vocabulary regarding the English language because "they thought of it first." "

and where are your examples? [Wink] anyway, she only said she had that impression. you can't jump on someone because of something that, in my experience, is a relatively common over here. i would think that because (as has already been said) we see it being used willy-nilly over there we would assume you're using it 'incorrectly', or not knowing what it means. i, for one, wouldn't think "oh, they must have a different meaning for it" because i know quite a few americans who had never heard of the word.

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Bored and Dangerous
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jessboo:
I don't have a problem with people thinking things from ignorance--they can learn differently. What I have a problem with is assuming everyone else is ignorant while assuming that you're not. Here's what I got (other than the OP that we're talking about):

Alex Buchet:
"Hold your horses. Most Americans DON'T know what it means."

Richard W:
"I've also seen Americans use the word in a way that suggests that they don't know what it means."

To me, that's pretty plain: "Americans don't know what the word means. Culture over here's better, we know what things actually mean."

I can understand people not knowing that it's used other than the sexual connotation, but I dislike the implication that I'm incorrect and ignorant because it's simply something you're (plural) not used to.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Isn't "wank" the noise that Japanese pigs make, anyway? It's just "wank wank wank" all the way home...
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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Isn't "wank" the noise that Japanese pigs make, anyway? It's just "wank wank wank" all the way home...

Nah - 'wank' is the noise Army beds make when kids masturbate in them wankwankwankwankwankwank - at least according to Billy Connolly [lol]

quote:
The band at the end of event party was from the film The Commitments.
Cool - was Glen 'Outspan' Hansard there?

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:
I can understand people not knowing that it's used other than the sexual connotation, but I dislike the implication that I'm incorrect and ignorant because it's simply something you're (plural) not used to.

That isn't quite what we're arguing. It's used in a non-literal sense here too, but because of the masturbatory root (sorry Australians) the non-literal sense is considered somewhat taboo. Either a lot of Americans don't consider masturbation taboo, or they aren't aware of the literal definition.

So in fact the average American appears to be ignorant of the literal definition of the word "wank", when the average person in the UK knows both the literal and non-literal definition. Hence the ignorance is on the American side.

I'm even better than the average Brit because I know what Japanese pigs say, too.

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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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well yes, the first example is a bit extreme- but the second? he may have seen americans use it to call someone pretty, or ugly, or clever, or stupid, or any number of things. i don't think that one is saying what you got from it.

also i don't see that, overall, anyone is saying that you're incorrect or ignorant. but whatever, this is going to go round in circles...

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
quote:
The band at the end of event party was from the film The Commitments.
Cool - was Glen 'Outspan' Hansard there?
I don't know, to be honest. I know that the main stars of the film weren't, but that some or most of the band members had been in the film as supporting characters. It seems from IMDB that Glen Hansard is primarily a musician rather than an actor, so he may well have been.
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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:
push button? [Confused] i've never heard that

Can't say that I have, either, but these guys think so.

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Danvers Carew
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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The wikipedia entry for 'wanker' gives a good overview of these issues (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanker) - also look at the Discussion page.

I think the point is that it seems very odd to the British ear to see the more casual use of 'wanker' on American programs. It seems particularly odd when you hear it on American teen shows/children's shows like The Simpsons or Buffy the Vampire Slayer - the word would never appear on similar shows here.

In fact, look at the IMDB entry on The Simpsons:

quote:
The 200th episode "Trash of the Titans" was edited for showing on British TV. Both utterances of the word "wanker" were cut out; the first by U2's Larry Mullen removed completely, and the second by Mr Burns was overdubbed with a "D'oooooh...". The episode was released uncut on a UK video titled "The Simpsons' Greatest Hits" which got a "12" certificate because of "moderate bad language".
If I were to talk about American TV 'misusing' the word or 'not knowing what it means', I'd mean that they have a tendency to have their British characters use the word too casually, and in a way that we wouldn't actually use it over here (or pronounce it - Spike from Buffy never quite nails the pronounciation of 'Wanker', but that's a different issue!) So it is 'incorrect' from that point of view.

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Gale
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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if I can stick my head around the corner, I want to through something in.

My grandmother always used the word "crap" when I was a kid. She had heard it used somewhere as a term for something useless. And she was right. However, she had no idea that before the word became more common or acceptable, before she would have heard it on tv, it was another word for shit. That her contemporaries were rather shocked to hear it come out of her mouth. She'd never refer to shit. Especially at church, which she was wont to do when refering to committees. We grandchildren knew exactly what was going on and we thought it was pretty funny.

While wanker does have other connotations now, they're due to the fact that the word got past some folks who didn't know from whence it came. I can remember hearing it for the first time about 83 and having the excrutiatingly embarrassing experience of having it explained to me thoroughly with hand gestures in biting RP.

I think a lot of people use it without knowing the *background* of the word, and to a lot of Brits the way it gets used here is a lot like hearing your grandmother say "crap" in church. Not quite cursing, but not quite the thing, either.

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Megan'sMom
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:

on a bit of a tangent. when i was on holiday in florida, i told my friend to "piss off". this guy from new york, who was nearby, fell about laughing, saying he'd never heard the expression. surely americans use it, too?

We do use "piss(ed) off" as a euphemism for "make angry" {"Gee, I really pissed off the boss when I showed up late again."} or to tell someone to take a hike {Oh, piss off! You're getting on my nerves."}. The one we don't use is "taking the piss", as in razzing or teasing someone.

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Bored and Dangerous
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:
I can understand people not knowing that it's used other than the sexual connotation, but I dislike the implication that I'm incorrect and ignorant because it's simply something you're (plural) not used to.

That isn't quite what we're arguing. It's used in a non-literal sense here too, but because of the masturbatory root (sorry Australians) the non-literal sense is considered somewhat taboo. Either a lot of Americans don't consider masturbation taboo, or they aren't aware of the literal definition.

So in fact the average American appears to be ignorant of the literal definition of the word "wank", when the average person in the UK knows both the literal and non-literal definition. Hence the ignorance is on the American side.

I'm even better than the average Brit because I know what Japanese pigs say, too.

I said earlier that Americans usually know what it means, both definitions, but choose to use the less offensive. I can't count how many times I've heard "wanker" to refer to someone masturbatory, and how many times I've heard it to refer to someone who's basically a "jerk-off," which is a show off, a jerk, a dumbass. No one's ignorant--one side is just choosing to be more offended than another at the way a word is used, and then assuming incorrectness on the part of the other.

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Hans Off
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:

I can understand people not knowing that it's used other than the sexual connotation, but I dislike the implication that I'm incorrect and ignorant because it's simply something you're (plural) not used to.

No offence, but the implication isn't that you're incorrect because it's simply something you're (plural) not used to.

the implication is that your incorrect because you are wrong .(in our humble opinion)

There is no milage to be gained in your argument by playing the "offended" card when there is nothing to get offended about. The disagreement centres around we thinking you're (plural)are totally wrong and us being totally right.

(runs and hides)

EDIT...
and B & D can you fix your above link to the old thread? I have been wracking my brains trying to remember how that "debate" ended up! I seem to remember rather enjoying it!

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Bored and Dangerous
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Hans Off:
quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:

I can understand people not knowing that it's used other than the sexual connotation, but I dislike the implication that I'm incorrect and ignorant because it's simply something you're (plural) not used to.

No offence, but the implication isn't that you're incorrect because it's simply something you're (plural) not used to.

the implication is that your incorrect because you are wrong .(in our humble opinion)

There is no milage to be gained in your argument by playing the "offended" card when there is nothing to get offended about. The disagreement centres around we thinking you're (plural)are totally wrong and us being totally right.

(runs and hides)

EDIT...
and B & D can you fix your above link to the old thread? I have been wracking my brains trying to remember how that "debate" ended up! I seem to remember rather enjoying it!

Eh, this must be the dry British humor coming through! [Big Grin]

Seriously, that's the kind of attitude I've encountered before, though. The "I'm right and you're wrong and there's nothing you can say to change my mind because I'm British" kind of mindset.

Unfortunately, my Googling skills are less than stellar, and I can't pull up that conversation again, and other threads on the subject seem to be mysteriously gone. Oh, well.

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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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[/qb][/QUOTE]Eh, this must be the dry British humor coming through! [Big Grin]

Seriously, that's the kind of attitude I've encountered before, though. The "I'm right and you're wrong and there's nothing you can say to change my mind because I'm British" kind of mindset.

[/QB][/QUOTE]

and there we have it. do you not think that maybe you have a teeny bit of a chip on your shoulder? you seem to think that all the 'british' (and god, how i hate that. i'm english!) people here are saying you're wrong. we're not.

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Bored and Dangerous
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:

Eh, this must be the dry British humor coming through! [Big Grin]

Seriously, that's the kind of attitude I've encountered before, though. The "I'm right and you're wrong and there's nothing you can say to change my mind because I'm British" kind of mindset.

[/QB][/QUOTE]

and there we have it. do you not think that maybe you have a teeny bit of a chip on your shoulder? you seem to think that all the 'british' (and god, how i hate that. i'm english!) people here are saying you're wrong. we're not. [/QB][/QUOTE]Not all of you, to be sure. But a vocal minority usually does.

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Hans Off
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Heh, wiggle and point your fingers all you like!

It's not


"There's nothing you can say to change my mind because I'm British"

its

"There's nothing you can say to change my mind because YOU ARE WRONG"

[Razz]

and BTW I was only being semi humorous!

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Em
Happy Holly Days


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quote:
Originally posted by Bored and Dangerous:
quote:
Originally posted by Hans Off:

EDIT...
and B & D can you fix your above link to the old thread? I have been wracking my brains trying to remember how that "debate" ended up! I seem to remember rather enjoying it!

Unfortunately, my Googling skills are less than stellar, and I can't pull up that conversation again, and other threads on the subject seem to be mysteriously gone. Oh, well.
Is this the one?

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Llewtrah
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WRT Spike and the "w" word: Did someone really have to mention Spike's enunciation? I thought I was over Spike (however he pronounces British obscenities), but I'm having a relapse. Spike with handcuffs ..... mmmmm!

WRT language used by British characters in American shows: any British character who uses the word "boink" should be regarded with suspicion - over here the word is "bonk".

I'm amused that I can say "pain in the ass" in polite-ish company here, but "pain in the arse", even in my best received pronunciation is off-limits.

The differing meanings of "fanny" in the UK & US can also cause amusement or offence, depending on context.

If we didn't have linguistic differences, we'd lose a great subject for amiable debate!

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Hans Off
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Em That's the one!

Ohh happy days!
quote:

"Go wank off, you wannabe wanker."

:rofl: [lol] [lol] [lol]


B & D's munchkin has now been fully classified! [lol]

Llewtrah WTF is "Boink"?

Rhymes with Oink?

(or apparently wank if you are Japanese)

Hans "funny how everything comes full circle in the end!" Off

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Llewtrah
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Hans Off:


Llewtrah WTF is "Boink"?

Rhymes with Oink?

It seems to be the USAnian equivalent of bonk (meaning shag).

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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by Llewtrah:
quote:
Originally posted by Hans Off:


Llewtrah WTF is "Boink"?

Rhymes with Oink?

It seems to be the USAnian equivalent of bonk (meaning shag).
it just remind me of craig david - all over your *boink*

hm. i've given myself an earworm [Mad]

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Bored and Dangerous
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Hans Off:
Em That's the one!

Ohh happy days!
quote:

"Go wank off, you wannabe wanker."

:rofl: [lol] [lol] [lol]


B & D's munchkin has now been fully classified! [lol]

Ever heard of sarcasm and facetiousness? [Roll Eyes] Apparently American humor is lost on you, just as you claim British humor is lost on me. You also missed the part where I said:

quote:
I used wanker in a sentence that got the most "tongue in cheek" value. Seems you missed that as well.
Nothing's come full circle--you're just interpreting it how you like, in pieces.

I'm sure you've never used a piece of American slang in the incorrect way (to them), either, right? Because people surely wouldn't make fun of you if you did. Because, y'know, British people are above reproach as far as their language skills go. [flame]

And, no, that wasn't the correct thread.

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bloodaxe
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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So let me get this straight, right....Wanker in the US means idiot or whatever whilst most Americans are aware of it's other meaning.
In the UK it means the sexual sense, but as an insult it is far harsher than idiot, more akin really to c**t. To call someone a wanker and mean it means he is a low life of the first order, a slimy, vile person of no worth whatsoever. To call someone a complete wanker means that person has no redeeming features.
Whilst the English can swear at a friend using most abuse and be humorous, I think 'wanker' generally isn't one of those terms. Mind you "you f**cking c**t" isn't generally ever used humorously either!

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Bored and Dangerous
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by bloodaxe:
So let me get this straight, right....Wanker in the US means idiot or whatever whilst most Americans are aware of it's other meaning.
In the UK it means the sexual sense, but as an insult it is far harsher than idiot, more akin really to c**t. To call someone a wanker and mean it means he is a low life of the first order, a slimy, vile person of no worth whatsoever. To call someone a complete wanker means that person has no redeeming features.
Whilst the English can swear at a friend using most abuse and be humorous, I think 'wanker' generally isn't one of those terms. Mind you "you f**cking c**t" isn't generally ever used humorously either!

You're pretty spot on as far as the American understanding and usage of it. I respect that it's highly insulting to UKians, but it's not really that taboo to Americans. And, yeah, f**king c**t isn't generally used to insult people humorously, either, even in the US.

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