When did Brits start saying "brilliant" all the time?

Not quite a GQ, but more of an observation with a rhetorical question thrown in for good measure.

Saturday afternoon, BBC America served as background noise while I was rebuilding my computer. One thing I noticed that got irritating after a while, though, was that it seems like the typical BBC America show resembles a Guinness commercial.

“Blah blah blah fah fah BRILLIANT blah blah blah fah fah blah blah OH, BRILLIANT blah blah blah fah fah blah blah BRILLIANT blah blah fah blah blah blah THAT’S BRILLIANT blah blah blah fah fah blah BRILLIANT blah blah fah fah fah SO BRILLIANT fah fah fah VERY BRILLIANT blah blah blah fah fha blah blah blah YES, BRILLIANT blah blah blah …”

On older British television shows, the word “brilliant” is seldom heard. When I was listening on Saturday, it was uttered all the time. So, when did “brilliant” enter the top 10 list of most commonly used words among British English speakers?

I think the shortened version “brill” has been around a long time. “Brilliant” might just be a spiffed up update.

You weren’t watching The Fast Show, by any chance? (cathphrase-laden sketch show). Actually renamed Brilliant! in the US, ISTR, that being one of the characters’ stock phrase.

Anyway, it’s been common enough since I can remember, which dates it to at least the 70s. Also, I reckon people are on average rather better-spoken in those old TV shows, whereas “brilliant” has always been informal. You wouldn’t expect to hear it during Prime Minister’s Questions.

I’ve been hearing it from Britons since as far back as I can remember - again, to the early 70s.

It wasn’t the Fast Show. There were a couple of home improvement shows, and then some drama. I’ve encountered brilliant-itis on British talk shows, too.

My BiL says it all the time, except he pronounces it “blilliant”. Annoying (in a sweet kind of way, as he’s the most positive person I know).

But I’ve been hearing this since the mid-seventies, although in the late 70s and early 80s it did go through a rebranding as “brill” (together with its obnoxious bedfellows “triffic” and “ace”).

I thought it supplanted triffic as the word of choice.

Og knows what will replace brilliant.
I don’t mind it, but then again, here near Chicago, my exposure to brilliant is somewhat limited. I am rather tired of “I’m down with that.” as said by middle aged white soccer moms… :rolleyes:

Heh, I’ve always liked how the Brits use and say the word “Indeed!”.

For some reason; whenever I hear a Brit say that word, it alalways sound so Og damned condescending.

Heh. A couple of British girls asked me the way to Canal Street the other day in Greenwich Village, and when I pointed them to the right train and all they waved and gave a cheery “Brilliant! Thanks!” as they left. :smiley:

I always think of Patsy from Ab Fab using it, but it seems to have spread. The first few times I heard it, I thought people were being sarcastic, but apparently they’re not.

It predates Ab Fab, I was in Britain in the 80’s and things were Brill or Brilliant then.

Just be glad you wern’t in the land where everything was “SWEET”.

as a Brit I can’t say i’ve noticed this at all :stuck_out_tongue: But assuming it is as common as youd sugest then I agree with the various posters above who suggest that it is just a common word thats been around forever. its certainly not a fad word. we do swear too much however…

Yes, saying Brilliant! appears to be very common in England. While living in Liverpool I also heard a lot of Smashing! - did you ever hear that? I found it funny and charming at the same time.

My suggestions to expand the vocabulary with Crushing! and Squashing! never had the same success, unfortunately.

At least it’s better than fandabbydozie :wink:

I had a driving instructor who, whenever I performed a manoeuvre correctly, would let forth a tirade of irritating positive words:

“And nicely into third gear… that’s brilliant. Smashing. Super lovely wonderful, young James.”

I fired the creepy bastard.

Still better then the average Kiwi driving instructor that appproves 15 yr olds!

Ripping! Corking! Capital! Top Hole!

This is not a nation that lacks for superlatives.

As opposed to Americans where the only superlative seems to be “cool”. Even that is creeping in over here. I recently saw a TV advert for a holiday camp where a boy says the swimming pool was “cool”. I would have thought it would have been better if the pool was warm!

“Awesome”, on the other hand, is not in our vocabulary. I’ve lost count of the numbers of things on boards like these which I watched Americans describe as ‘awesome’. Things that are mildly interesting, perhaps, but definitely not awe-inspiring.

awe-inspiring has nothing to do with awesome…
I think these superlatives are cool! (kewl?)

I’ll leave now.


awe-inspiring has nothing to do with awesome…
I think these superlatives are cool! (kewl?)

I’ll leave now.