Thursday 6 September 2007

Being British

I often have doubts over a word's appearance and fret over the spelling or meaning of a word that seemed right but looks dodgy when typed out. Thankfully there are online dictionaries, huzzah.

Recently I was tempted to use the word "gaol" in one discussion, but typed out it looked odd and I wondered if I was being a tad too anachronistic and if the American "jail" or the term "prison" would be better. I learnt that "jail" and "gaol" are synonymous but that "prison" has a different meaning.

What tickled me was one online dictionary's definitions of "gaol" that simply has to be shared.

Rummage around here and read down to find what presumably an American has written 'bout British folk using the term "gaol" :

see jail, you tea-sodden football hooligan.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

Tea-sodden, well, quite possibly :-)


Calavera said...

Ooh that's annoying.

I still like the word gaol. It rocks.

Speaking of which, I was talking about football (at that wedding that I went to, incidentally,) and an American guest there said, "Oh that's not football! We Americans play real football, dirty and dangerous!"

"We have that here, too," I said, dryly, "except we call it rugby."

It's weird, but it actually annoys me because FOOTBALL is the correct word for it, not saaah-ker!



(Ok, I'm leaving now, I promise.)

gentlydementinggp said...

But posh old Englishmen such as my late father would call football "soccer"(or, if feelig especially snotty, association football) to distinguish it from proper football, i.e. rugby! Although not posh, male, or out of meiddle-age, I am keeping note of that one in oder to confuse passing Americans...

The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

This American, having stumbled upon your blog via a series of links I don't think I could duplicate if I tried (and have therefore bookmarked), had never heard the word "gaol" and thought perhaps it was plain old "goal" transposed.

If laughter is therapeudic, Dr. The Shrink, you have saved me a fortune in therapy...

PS - WE play football. YOU play soccer... just for a little antagonism ;-)