other meanings of 'fag' in UK slang

Twice now, in UK shows, I’ve heard ‘fag’ used for a person, and clearly not in the American sense (demeaning term for gay man). What other meanings does it have?

The two examples are “My fag makes the best toast” (parodying a posh Eton* boy) and “Did you ever have a fag in school? Mine was called …”. The second one’s obviously a play on the normal UK meaning of fag (cigarette).
*it may not actually have been Eton. Could be any of ther other public (UK meaning) or Ivy League (US term) schools.

Well there is another use for fag in the American vernacular other than an anti-gay slur, it’s pretty common at least when I grew up for young men to call other men that, usually for being a whiny bitch.

In British public schools (which are private, like Eton, don’t ask) there was a tradition of the older boys using the younger boys as de facto servants. Those younger boy slaves were called fags. Both your cites seem to reference that.

Also used as slang term for cigarette.

Also, there is a type of meatball called a faggott.

Fagged/fagged out - tired

Fag, or Faggot is a bundle of sticks.

fag 1. That which causes weariness; hard work, toil, drudgery, fatigue (colloquial) / in English public schools, a junior who performs certain duties for a senior; a drudge / a cricket fieldsman (obsolete)

  1. Something that hangs loose, a flap / a fag-end / an odd strip of land, odds and ends of pasture-grass (dialectical)

  2. a knot in cloth / a parasitic insect which infects sheep

  3. The fag-end of a cigarette / a cheap cigarette / any cigarette

  4. abbreviation of faggot as in a male homosexual (U.S. slang)

verb 1. To flag, droop, decline; to fall off, swerve (obsolete/dialectical) / to do something that wearies one; to work hard; to labour, strain, toll / to make one fatigued; to tire, weary (transitive)

  1. To cut corn with a sickle and a hooked stick.

fagot / faggot a bundle of sticks, twigs, or small branches bound together / a bundle of iron or steel rods bound together / a bundle or bunch in general, a bundle or collection of things / a sort of cake, roll or ball made of chopped liver and lungs, mixed with gravy, and wrapped in pieces of pig’s caul / a term of abuse or contempt applied to a woman / a male homosexual (originally and chiefly U.S. slang) / a person temporarily hired to supply a deficiency

Source: mostly OED; not necessarily exhaustive

I wonder if that’s where the American meaning comes from.

I think it more plausible that the American meaning (demeaning term for gay men) comes from “faggot” as a term of abuse or contempt applied to a woman.

Okay, that makes perfect sense. Is this a sort of protective/mentor relationship, or was it more of a bullying kids into it?

Also, what’s the deal with toast? I hear it mentioned a quite often* on UK shows, but nothing to suggest it’s any different than the stuff we eat with breakfast and don’t care too much about (it’s handy, but we wouldn’t be too upset if it weren’t there).

compared to US tv. Stephen ry mentioned liking spaghetti hoops on toast, several folks have mentioned enjoying soldiers* as a kid, the aforementioned fag toast, etc. . In the US it’s a breakfast staple (included with most breakfasts in almost every decent restaurant), but it’s almost never mentioned or seen (unless a scene includes a table set for breakfast, in which case, it’s there somewhere).

** toast cut into strips (3-4 per slice of bread)


Not really a CS thread. Moving.

[quote=“dstarfire, post:11, topic:817684”]

Okay, that makes perfect sense. Is this a sort of protective/mentor relationship, or was it more of a bullying kids into it?


In theory, when trying to defend the tradition, which was an approved part of school life, it was a mentor relationship, which, if you were being honest, included the idea that suffering and service could be educational and character forming. The rest of the time it was abusive or exploitative as determined by the teen-agers involved: it’s just people doing what they are told: it doesn’t have to mean anything.

There’s a clear line with an earlier English tradition of sending the sons away to other peoples homes to grow up (while being exploited and treated like servants). And that has a clear line with the English being less tribal and more mobile, with unusual land-ownership traditions.

In French cooking its close (female?) cousin is called a gayette, a coincidence which always amuses me.

I amuse easily.

Just a quick question on national usage, or on dstarfire usage: are the words “spaghetti hoops” part of a direct quote from Stephen maybe-Fry, or your words?

Because I think most if not all Americans have never said it or even understand it on first hearing. Canned spaghetti bolognese (really just a canned meat ragu) on toast is no doubt what he’s referring to, which is called…something Spag Bol…or something. (Help me out here Brits.)

My next thought if I get “Toast” when I choose “Weird British Dining for $200” is baked beans on toast, which I believe is quite common there as breakfast, and is called I think “baked beans on toast.”

And it must be from a Heinz can, right?
ETA: “Soldiers” appears in English food names in a number of recipes with aligned upright food items–halved asparagus spears, for example. Similarly, in French cooking similar preparations are called bastionnade.

Wait, I just realized, on “spaghetti hoops”

Although vaguely hoopable, spaghetti are of course strings. What I say (and ask) above is correct otherwise, so he must be talking about some other (canned) pasta variant and some sauce or other.

Unless those cans actually contain hooped pasta and they just call it spaghetti because why not.

It’s not so long ago that Brit and US cookbooks called all pasta “macaroni.”

Genuine spaghetti hoops

(No relation to real spaghetti? Well, they’re made of water and flour.)

It’s a direct quote from Stephen Fry. Full quote: “I’m not even ashamed of the fact that I
love spaghetti hoops on toast. I just do!” From QI s09e02 (I’ve got searchable subtitles of the entire series)

I assumed it was just the British name for SpaghettiOs.

I don’t know that there is a “deal” as such: we just quite like toast, I think.

In the quote in the OP, I’d assume a period setting, when toast was made by holding a slice of bread on a toasting fork to an open fire; a skill that required a degree of care and attention. Since the range of comestibles in a public school dormitory of the time would be pretty limited (no pot noodles for another century), toast-making would be a prized attribute in a fag.

Well, no. What he’s referring to is spaghetti hoops on toast (as has been pointed out). It’s the sort of thing you give a kid as a snack, but some people retain a taste for it into adulthood. I’ve got no idea what you’re thinking of with the ragu thing — it might be “spag bol on toast” if there was spaghetti in it.

Why American unfamiliarity with spaghetti hoops would be relevant to a quote from Stephen Fry (who’s very English), I don’t know.

Correct - here’s a link to a Google Image Search of Heinz spaghetti hoops.

Now, clearly, they aren’t actually spaghetti, but remember we started eating these things in the 60s, when olive oil was something you bought from the pharmacy to loosen your ear wax (really).