British English a to Zed by Norman W. Schur, Richard Ehrlich, Eugene H. Ehrlich, Eugene

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By Norman W. Schur, Richard Ehrlich, Eugene H. Ehrlich, Eugene H. Ehrlich

A conscientiously researched, wickedly witty, and eminently worthwhile number of over 5,000 Briticisms (and Americanisms).

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World War II slang for ‘civilian scientist’ was applied. Early in 1943 Mr. Rayner worked with a scientist who liked to give his colleagues nicknames out of Dickens, and the future Mrs. Rayner was his assistant. The name-giver called her Mrs. Boffin, after the character in Our Mutual Friend. By association Mr. Rayner became Mr. Boffin, and was thus addressed by his colleagues on a visit to Fighter and Bomber Command Headquarters soon thereafter. The term is now used more generally for scientists or mathematicians of high distinction.

Robert (from the same Sir Robert) was another British term for cop. ; bogey; busies; pointsman; slop. bobby-dazzler, n. something special Inf. Anything or anybody outstanding; often applied to a particularly spiffy dresser. Bob’s your uncle! Inf. there you are! you’re done! Inf. An expression used at the end of instructions such as road directions, recipes, and the like. For example: Go about 100 yards, take the first turning on your right, then straight on through a little gate; go 40 yards to a gate on your left marked Main Entrance, but that’s not really the main entrance (they just call it that, I haven’t a clue why), but 20 yards farther on there’s a small gate on your right that really is the main entrance; go through that, you’ll see a dismal brown building on your left and—Bob’s your uncle!

This term from French applies generically to service bartering arrangements between two parties, with little or no money changing hands. Two professionals might thus make an au pair arrangement. British families also exchange children with foreign families in order to broaden the children’s experience, this being another type of au pair arrangement. 2. The term is heard most often in the expression au pair girl (often called just an au pair) and refers to the British custom of a family giving a home to a girl from abroad who helps with the children and the housekeeping.

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