Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Even though English is spoken here in England, words and phrases are different. Today was one of those days were I said something at work, and everyone looked at me as if I had five heads.....and I heard things that I didn't understand either! 

The first situation was this morning at work while I was in a meeting discussing a merger. I made the comment of "Let's just move forward with it, so we are not nickel and diming you." After I made this comment, I was faced with a room full of blank stares by my British colleagues. Of course they did not know what I was saying because they don't have nickels and dimes here! I did not spend the time to explain the phrase to them because I wanted the meeting to move along. My interest, however was peaked about the origin of this phrase. I consulted the world wide web, and found this explanation:

nick·el-and-dimed or nick·eled-and-dimednick·el-and-dim·ing or nick·el·ing-and-dim·ing
1. To drain or destroy bit by bit, especially financially: nickel-and-dimed the project to death.

The second situation happened this afternoon when I received the following email at work:
Hi Cassie,
So sorry we are as keen as mustard and I will get on to it first thing tomorrow morning.
Best wishes,

I re-read the email twice and then let out a chuckle. I then asked the girls in my office if they had ever heard such a phrase before? They of course laughed at me, saying "You've never heard the phrase as keen as the mustard?" I responded no and then we all had a chuckle. I asked them if it were positive and they said, "Yes, it's very positive!" 
For more on that phrase, you can read :

There are often phrases we hear over here that are not quite the same English versions of things back in the US. It is really two countries separated by a common language!
I have not done a great job at blogging about these happenings, and to some extent a few of the words and phrases have probably become part of our daily language now. Today's two phrase incidents were blog worthy and I do not think "keen as mustard" will be integrated into my daily conversation anytime soon. 


'Cross the Pond said...

I'm having a devil of a time with the different phrases, etc. I discovered this weekend that an estate car is a station wagon. Who knew? Great post.

Anonymous said...


TheLadyWhoLunches said...

So true! I have been here for over a year and can't say I've heard that one before. Although, yesterday I heard the phrase "Stop bumping your gums!" Yes, that means "stop gossiping about other people." That stopped me a bit.
Nice to meet your blog!