Decoding British Phrases: Background information when reading Started Early, Took My Dog

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Started Early, Took My Dog

A Novel

by Kate Atkinson

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2011, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2011, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
BJ Nathan Hegedus

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Decoding British Phrases

Print Review

Does trying to decipher the meaning of British phrases make you raving bonkers? UK Flag Confused over all those acronyms used to identify British police officers? Do you find yourself reading and rereading certain sentences asking: What the heck does this mean? How is it that trainers don't seem to mind being tossed into a boot, and how do they fit in it anyway? Read on.

Police terms:

  • nicked: stolen
  • PC: Police Constable
  • WPC: Woman Police Constable
  • DC: Detective Constable
  • DS: Detective Sergeant
  • DI: Detective Inspector
  • DCI: Detective Chief Inspector
  • D Supt: Detective Superintendent
  • Guv: used to show deference when referring to one's superior whose rank is of inspector or greater, regardless of sex

Food:

  • chips: French fries
  • crisps: potato chips
  • digestive biscuit: cookie
  • pasty: half-circle shaped pastry filled with spiced meat and potatoes
  • black pudding: sausage-like breakfast food made from pig's blood and fat
  • Marmite: dark-colored salty spread comprised of yeast extract (a vitamin-rich by-product of beer brewing)

Odds and ends:

  • braces: suspenders
  • jumper: sweater
  • boot: car trunk
  • fringe: hair bangs
  • quid: one pound note
  • trainers: sneakers
  • chemist: drugstore
  • cot: baby crib

This article was originally published in May 2011, and has been updated for the October 2011 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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