Americans like ‘dongle’ and ‘bung’

Posted on December 10, 2009 by yankeebean

Conversation between me and Mr Nice Guy when we were in America:

Me: Hun, where’s the dongle? I wanna check our business banking.

*giggles heard from the next room*

Mr Nice Guy: I haven’t seen the dongle since we got here – did you check the suitcase?

*chortles waft from the next room*

Me: Found it!  It was in your jeans pocket in the suitcase – do you want it when I’m done?

Mr Nice Guy: Nah, just bung it back in the suitcase when you’re done

*guffaws and general merriment erupt from the next room*




When I think about it, bung and dongle are two hugely English-sounding words.  I can imagine them both wearing wellies to walk to the local pub… talking about Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report – or Gordon Ramsay’s plastic surgery (depending on their current place in the British class system).

These are hidden gems, a level (or two) below ‘bloody’, ‘bugger’ and ‘brilliant’ – the ol’ faithfuls that always get rolled out when a British characters appears in an American TV show.

So, Americans!  If you’d like to put your British-ness on display, liberally apply the words bung and dongle across your next conversation.  Let me know how it goes :)

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Miss America December 16, 2009 at 12:06 am

    LOL. My mother just acquired a “dongle”, or an air card, or broadband card, as they would call it here. When I told her that in England it was called a dongle (this I know specifically because I was simultaneously intrigued and a littled weirded out for the “dongle” ads in the underground), her response was “Ewww! Sounds like something you don’t want to touch!” Priceless.

  2. Steve Shawcross December 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    “Dobber” is also pen used at bingo (as in Mecca dobber)! “Hoy” is another symonym for “bung” in NE England. Also “lob” too… not sure if that’s common currency in the US?

    Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report affects all classes I think, we’re all going to be worse off [morbid chuckle]! Gordon Ramsey has had plastic surgery, not so you’d notice mind.

  3. Iota December 13, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Maybe I’ve been away from Britain too long, but I’ve never heard ‘dongle’. But nor has Expat Mum, so I’m not alone.

    But yes, ‘bung’ is a very useful word.

  4. Almost American December 11, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Bung – yes, that’s English rather than American

    Dongle – is geek rather than English OR American. My husband used to own software that only worked with a hardware dongle. His aunt has embroidery software that only works with a dongle attached to the PC. I think most software companies graduated a long time ago to very long serial numbers instead of dongles and the term is used more for wireless broadband adaptors now.

  5. Expat Mum December 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Dongle? Is that a regional thing? I never heard it once growing up. Bung, yes. The other one that Americans laugh at is the “dobber” for the TV remote.
    And while I’m on – you guys have “doo-hickey” and “boondoggle”. We’re equal I think.

  6. kenandbelly December 11, 2009 at 10:18 am

    This is SO true! We had a dongle this summer and I brought it up in every post I could. My American readers (and I) think it is such a funny word.

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