F-nny and F-g

An Aussie family is visiting our church for a few months so the dad can do an internship here (Orange County, CA), and I had the pleasure of informing the daughter what we call those bags you clip around your waist (bum bags).

“Are you ready? Really ready? Ok, we call them ‘fanny packs.’”

She turned bright red.

For any 'mericans that don’t know, “fanny” is apparently pretty dead on to “cunt” in every other native English speaking country. And combined with “pack,” it makes for a heck of a whollop of a phrase.

But, then, I’ve never had anyone come up to me and ask me for a fag.

So, the point is, does anyone know of any other “misunderstanding” words among us English speakers, or even interesting examples in other languages?

Why, I’d say the answer is most definitely “Yes”, Dave! Hop over to MPSIMS and check out the two threads titled “British-American Mix-ups” and “Loopy Brits and Daffy Yanks” for lots of other examples and discussion of this topic. If you have anything new to add, you may be able to revive one of these threads!

Thank you, Mark, for steering Dave in the right direction. Those two threads are definitely a hoot.

elderly joke:

American and British guy are having a conversation.
A: “…do you know so-and-so?”
B: “Oh, yes, I used to fag for him back at Eton.”
A: (blushes and coughs) “Wow, you Brits are sure frank, aren’t you?”

(of course, “to fag” means for a younger student to be a servant to an older.)

Note to frightened Americans: To my knowledge there are no confusing differences between Canadian and American slang usages of the type described. We do have some of our own slang terms (“bumf”, “newfie”, “snard lumps”), but you needn’t worry about them overmuch.

“bumf” is British.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

But it is also Canadian. And more to the point, not existing in American, it has no conflicting slang meanings to confuse you, which was what I was trying to say.

I’m still wondering about “overmuch”.

I just saw Sliding Doors, which was set in England. One of their favorite curses was “shag”, which of course means “fuck”.

They must think we’re pretty frank with a movie called Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.