What they say/what it really means

Moved over from a thread in ATMB:

This thread drifted into a discussion of what people say versus what that really means.

For example, how all the terms used to describe curvy females really indicates “fat.”



“Oh I don’t want her/you can have her/she’s too nice for me!”

I’ve found, in conversation, if someone replies with only an “interesting”, they really think you’re full of it/boring/disagree/coming from left field.

In one of the old Yes Minister episodes, the Civil Servant Sir Humphrey describes one of the potentially more troublesome decisions made by the Minister, Jim Hacker, as “courageous”. It’s a masterful use of language, and of course derails the entire scheme.

Bringing in a quoted post from the other thread:

And I completely understand it from that point of view, but it never occurred to me at all. :o I had an Orange cat that I called Orangey and a white (feral) cat I called Whitey (which I guess could also be offensive now that I think about it). It’s not that I like using slurs, it’s just that I am really uncreative in my naming schemes. :wink:

I am glad that you understand too, though. :slight_smile: And you made me giggle with the “(still are)” addition.

Well, at least you didn’t name it after the famous dambusters squadron’s mascot dog.


Yeah, once I told someone of fairly new acquaintance that Pluto had been discovered to have an atmosphere. His “interesting” had a very flat tone to it, his frequent sleep deprivation aside.

I recall an essay it which the author wished that the value of innovative ideas could be as clear as in chess. He had a friend who was a very strong chess player, and his typical remark when somebody tried something unworkable but imaginative was "Interesting concept!

Originally Posted by MeanOldLady
I had a dog who I referred to as Blackie for several months because I couldn’t be bothered to come up with a name. My mom said, “You can’t call the dog that!” I said, “Why not?” When she just kind of grimaced at me instead of answering, it dawned on me, oh yeah, that. We might have gotten less flak for shouting “Blackie!” in public because we were (still are) black, but I would still imagine it would have been an unpleasant thing to hear for some people.

The only family cat I recall from my childhood was “Blackie” and no doubt nobody thought it would be a problem for anyone. The second of two cats I adopted as an adult had orange stripes, and I tossed over ideas for a long time. Finally, with a vague recall in the back of my head, I was going: "Orange… Orangie… Orange Juice… O.J.!"

When I told people of my newer cat and asked them to guess what color she was, they sometimes guessed that she was black! (Think about it.)

Eek! You just [del]said[/del] ***linked to ***the n-word! :wink:

***- “Opie” ***(of the parent thread)

On a happier note.
When I was a teenager I “adopted” a neighbors neglected puppy. He complained at first but soon lost interest.
Anyway, she was very young and sweet tempered, and as I found out later, a whippet.
She was white with orangish markings. I was sitting on the back porch one day watching her play while I ate a tangerine and I noticed her color was similar to the fruit so I named her “Tangerine”, which soon became “Tangie”. It always takes me a while to name animals who happen into my life. Most wind up with “people” names.
She lived a good long time, until I finished my Navy enlistment. Very cool pooch. :slight_smile:
You don’t see many whippets.
Whippet. Tangie did, indeed, slep on her back.

While I’ve heard it used for that, I’ve also heard it in another context. I saw this woman walk into the library. I smiled that little “Sorry I’m looking at you” smile, and she smiled back, and held it a little longer, so I similed back at her. She came over to sit across from me on one of the computers. I went back to what I was doing, looked up, and she was smiling at me, so I smiled back. I looked up a few more times, and she was doing the same thing. She then says “Oh, I’m sorry. You just look like someone I know. You have these kind eyes.” She later gives me her email address and tells me to write.

So I think it depends on context.

Life is full of these.

We are going to have to let you go. I couldn’t run a whelk stall and my drooling incompetence as a manager has driven this department deep into the brown and sticky faster than a nuclear-powered piledriver. We’re losing money like a drunk in Vegas, so I’ve been given a good kicking and told to slash costs. This means either you go or I go. And - guess what! - I’ve decided it’s you.

From time to time we may share your details with a small number of carefully screened and selected partner companies to enhance you customer experience. We’re gonna hawk your private details to every spam-o-rama spiv from here to the horizon, in return for cold, hard cash. We will never stop, neither will they, and we honestly couldn’t care less.

Please tick the box to indicate you have read the Terms & Conditions. We know you won’t read them, and that’s just fine by us because way down in para 137, in a font so small you’d need a bubble chamber to see it for three nanoseconds, there’s a clause that basically says whatever happens, you’re screwed, we’re golden, and you’ll never get your money back no matter what. Even if our product actually kills you, you have no legal redress. Seriously! Our legal team are ever so proud of their work on this.

This restaurant is now under new management. Okay, so we took a wrong turn back there with the botulism outbreak, the slight problem with the rat faeces in the pizza, the whole ‘being closed down by the Health Nazis on three occasions in our first year’ glitch, the court orders, that news bulletin where they found stale urine in the second-hand cement mixer we never cleaned that we were using for the bread dough, and the ebola outbreak that we hushed up by bribing the sanitation guy. But, that’s all behind us now, and technically speaking, Bob isn’t the owner any more, his cousin Frank is. That’s what it says here on this fudged paperwork full of crossings out with new names written in with a crayon. So let’s all just start over, shall we?

Mr. Ko and I have been house hunting since 2006, so we’ve learned that

cozy, charming, adorable = tiny
good bones, awaits your touches, loads of potential = dump
hurry, won’t last = will still be sitting there in 6 months
amazing deal = short sale that will never close
gorgeous = overpriced

Heh. This thread made me think of the article Personals from the old Brunching Shuttlecocks website.

“No Hurry” means “Please Hurry”

“Am I in your way?” often means “You are in my way.”

“I don’t mean to offend” usually means you do.

“Not to change the subject…” always means the subject is about to be changed!
“Well, I’d better let you go now!” means the person cannot stand talking to you for one more minute!

“Bless your heart.” In the South, this means “You’re an idiot.”



“What a location” - but what a crappy house
“Sun drenched” - hot as hell
“Light filled” - see “sun drenched”
“Quick stroll to transport” - you’ll be woken up by the trains at 5 in the morning
"Quick stroll to shops " you’ll be woken up by the goods trucks at 5 in the morning
“Unique” - wierdly laid out
“Very Unique” - you’ll want the builders in
“Great courtyard for entertaining” - concrete slab just big enough for two deck chairs.
“Freshly painted” - should hide the giant cracks for at least 6 months
Any pun based on the street name - “oh crap, we’ll never get this one off our hands”

Motivated seller:
a. Is one step ahead of foreclosure
b. Knows what a structural/electrical/mechanical nightmare the place really is
c. Is one step ahead of the cops

My personal favourite is “no offence” which is supposed to be some kind of excuse for the obviously offensive thing that is about to be said.

In a similar category to “I’m not being funny” - no you’re really not, you’re actually complaining about something. Glad you can tell the difference.

And here(warning - PDF) is a dictionary of British civil service-ese to English.

“Let us/me help you to” means “let me sell you something”.
Be especially cautious of the recently popular “Due to the present economic situation”.
Any sales pitch with the word “free” in it.
“Of course I love you, but”
Oh yeah, a man’s most feared “Size isn’t that important.” :stuck_out_tongue: