This American Expat in the UK ponders new jargon from across the pond

Posted on June 18, 2009 by peacefulyorkshire

yahooavatar15In my imagination, the USA is still the way I left it almost 5 years ago (sigh).  Shrek 2 and Meet the Fockers was still on the big screen,  those pointy-toed witch shoes with tiny heels were all the rage and Matt Lauer was sans hair-plugs.

Living in the UK and approaching 30 has done it to me. I am just another American expat who is outta the loop with what’s hip and cool in America. In this country, I debate Cath Kidston over Boden, Jamie Oliver over Gordon, or Netto to Tesco’s… and I am slowly leaving behind my knowledge of current American culture.  I am loving the new culture… but I have recently heard these current USA phrases and they left me mystified and reaching for Google:

  • Fourth meal– The meal between dinner and breakfast, coined by Taco Bell.
  • Emo Kid– a teenage kid with hair over their eyes that wears skinny jeans, and skinny black ties. It sounds more complicated then that though judging by the amount online written by teens trying to define it!
  • Cougar– Thanks to Expat mum for this  new word,  which was shouted at her recently. With “Cougar” goes “Cougar Hunting” as well.  I guarantee a pissed off man invented this terminology.
  • Just Push the Easy Button-- someone told me that Office Max coined that one on television ads. I can’t confirm that one though.

How about you, lovely readers, any words you weren’t in the know about either?? Do dish.

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What Others Are Saying

  1. yankeebean June 28, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Ooooohhhhh, I love Badly Drawn Boy… cool quirky tunes.

    I know what you mean, though. My brother (still in the States) always texts me words and I have to ask him what they mean.

    ‘Book’ apparently means ‘cool’ now because when you’re typing a text message, the predictive text chooses ‘book’ before ‘cool’. Madness….

    That being said, he reads a lot of UK books and watched UK TV shows and movies and he’s always asking me what words mean and stuff. Symbiotic relationship, I guess :D

  2. peacefulyorkshire June 22, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Hi Stephanie
    That would be expat mum, another blogger not MY mom. ;)

    I am loving hearing about the other phrases I am missing out on… like the BS button. And a “badly drawn boy” is new to me too!

  3. Stephanie June 19, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    That is so cool that your mom was called a cougar! Go her.

  4. smitten by britain June 19, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I will confirm that the easy button is a product of Staples, followed shortly by the BS button which my boss loves to use in our meetings. He thinks it’s funny but it’s just annoying. Can’t tell you where to buy one though.

    Emos are what I remember as Goths in the 80′s but Emos swear they are not Goth- two different things they say. I have not heard “the fourth meal”. That might be a regional thing and hasn’t come to our area yet.

    The word “amazing” is overused now. Everything is amazing.

  5. pacificyorkshirebird June 19, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I’m glad to read Expat Mum’s comment above. Upon arrival in the US I experienced some reverse culture shock about all the sayings and abbreviations people used. I thought it was quite American to come up with some silly new saying that everyone copies for 6 months and then everyone forgets about.

    I never knew “pants” to describe something rubbish was a fairly new invention.

    Weird thing is, I’m a little sad to know that I will soon be out of touch with the same kinds of little things in Britain. I want the best of both, and BBC America doesn’t do it for me.

  6. Corie June 19, 2009 at 4:07 am

    LOL, It’s Staples that has the Easy Button, not OfficeMax!! Aren’t there Staples shops in England? I could have sworn there were.

    I am sooooo over the whole “cougar” thing. Now every woman over 30 is going around claiming that she’s a “cougar”. Paaaleezz. No, your not, honey. Hahaaha.

  7. Christine June 18, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Actually The Easy Button is from Staples. :)

    My UK husband has a joke about Emos, here it is:

    I wish my grass was Emo so that it would cut itself.


  8. Around My Kitchen Table June 18, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Don’t ask me about anything up-to-the-minute, I live in Devon! Only yesterday I embarrassed myself at work when someone was talking about Badly Drawn Boy. “Oh,” I said perkily, “I’ve heard of them!” Apparently, it’s not a “them” but a “him”. Oh well …..

  9. Expat Mum June 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I’m the opposite – the word “Pants”became very popular in England a few years ago (to describe ‘not good’ things). I had no idea what everyone was talking about and certainly couldn’t make an educated guess!

  10. peacefulyorkshire June 18, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Hi Millymollymandy,
    There were no Emo kids around when I was growing up in the 80′s and 90′s. I grew up in a desert town near the USA/Mexican border, so maybe that had something to do with it. Cowboys and Mexicano gangstahs were more the norm.
    See, just goes to show, I am outta the loop!! Good thing we have readers to fill me in on the scoop. whoops. did NOt mean for that to rhyme ;)

  11. Millymollymandy June 18, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    EMOs have been around in England for years – I remember my kids talking about EMOs at their school six or seven years ago. I think they started in the US in the mid 80s.

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