back to article Yanks officially recognise the word 'boffin'

We're delighted to report that the word "boffin" has achieved the international recognition it so richly deserves, securing a spot on the Merriam-Webster "Top 10 Favorite British Words" list. And where better for Merriam-Webster to find an example of this magnificent term than on the pages of El Reg? The dictionary's website …

COMMENTS

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  1. Stephen Hunt
    Pint

    A sentence containing all these words?

    Is it even possible?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      irresponsible!

      What a prat! You realise that productivity in IT facilities throughout the land will now plummet, servers will crash and be ignored, hell-desk phones will ring unanswered as the entire readership of el Reg spends the next couple of hours crafting such sentences!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Irresponsible

        The twee, knackered, gormless, pukka prat cum boffin liked to whinge while drinking plonk and employing jigger-pokery to explain what chunter means.

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        irresponsible!

        Productivity in IT facilities throughout the land HAS plummeted as knackered servers crash and are ignored, hell-desk phones have rung unanswered as gormless wannabe boffins whinge about the immense difficulty of crafting a pukka paragraph (that reads normally despite containing words like "Twee" regardless of the amount of jiggery-pokery you use!) Still, while we are doing it the Boss is knocking back plenty of Plonk to relieve the stress and the hell desk geeks discovered that his wine is a bit twee when they half inched a bit, thus proving Helldesk "techs" are just a bunch of prats.

        BINGO!

        (Note to confused yanks. Half inched = pinched.

      3. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: irresponsible!

        As the gormless prat chuntered on, his whinge penetrating my knackered brain, I felt the need for a glass of pukka plonk - not a twee bistro white, but something fortified by a wine boffin's ABV-boosting jiggery-pokery.

        1. nyelvmark

          Downvoted because

          ...there really should be something better for you to do, Lester, than read the drivel we post here.

          There isn't? Oh, OK, then.

  2. Elmer Phud

    not to be confused with . . .

    . . . boffing.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boffing

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But, but...

      not to be confused with . .

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boffing

      They have evidently confused boffing with shagging.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        you mean to say

        That boffingry isn't the long form of boffinry?

    2. Gannon (J.) Dick
      IT Angle

      We're all IT here.

      That would be more total ignorance of matters boffing than mere confusion about the origins of little boffins.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twaddle

    Not the article, just one of my favourite words.

    1. Marvin the Martian
      Heart

      Shufti.

      + many other words inherited from the Raj or the colonial armies; they help separate the UK and US unilinguals.

  4. Gilleain Torrance
    Happy

    'Chunter' is a good word, but I'm more interested in 'mega-whinge'

    Is there an accepted conversion rate for whinges? I know that us Brits are more prone to whinging, while Americans generally just complain. The difference is between muttering "This toast is burnt!" to your wife and shouting "HEY MANAGER! - MY TOAST!".

    But I hadn't realised that a whinge could be quantified. Perhaps it could be a useful economic measure, like an inverse of happiness.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Coat

      Standradization of whinges: a valid point

      Indeed, if you shout it's not a whinge, it's a complaint. A mega-whinge is either a whinge that that has high temporal extent, or one that is just extremely annoying, despite being brief. A standardization committee is required to make this more precise: the words kilo-, mega-, giga- and tera-whinge should not be used frivolously!!

      I'll get me coat

    2. Yamikotai

      The point

      I prefer burnt toast over, well, bread.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Boffin - sexual activity

    as in 'Cor blimey, I wouldn't mind giving that eruditite young lady Paris Hilton a damn good boffin'

  6. lawndart

    says:

    Well done El Reg.

    Nice to see the Boffin definition is Registorial and not the derogatory Sun "idiot engaged in useless (because we can't see an immediate use for it) science" version.

    I'm surprised the Merkins didn't pick up on Merkin though.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    good news...

    because my occupation is listed on my passport as "boffin". Hopefully there will be fewer raised eyebrows at US immigration in future...

  8. Yamikotai

    Missing vocab

    I'm 18, and personally never heard 'chunter' or 'pukka', but 'gormless' is certainly one of my favourite words :)

    1. Ian Yates

      Don't make me feel old!

      Is "pukka" really one from the by-gone years? It was certainly a big word when I was still legally allowed in playgrounds (as a child, I mean; I don't have any dodgy convictions).

      I can't say I've every head "chunter" before though. And I'm not entirely sure that "twee" is ever used outside of being ironic...

      1. Philolai
        Pirate

        You are old

        I'm 24, and I knew what pukka meant but the only person I can remember using it is my (mid-50s) dad.

        (skull because of how old that is)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Pics or it dn't happen..

      You can blank out everything else.. But I have got to see this! pleaease...

    3. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      My fellow Merkins,

      And I, tend to see the 'e' as a schwa, and so think of Dapne Merkin. Not that I've ever read her books, though I was impressed to see her as one of the editors of "Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Occupation on passport?

      Is this a new UK passport design or that of another country? No passport I've ever had shows my occupation ...

    5. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      merkin

      is already a word outside its slang use for a (US) American. It works on different levels.

    6. nyelvmark

      the derogatory Sun

      The "idiot engaged in useless (because we can't see an immediate use for it) science" version.

      Yes. That's the same definition we use here.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Pukka ?

    Pukka - British ?

    They'll be saying Bungalow is a British word next... and, since when was British a language, it's English !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      English

      Yes, bungalow, veranda and pajamas are all English words.

      In case you hadn't noticed, English is a filthy slut and takes all comers.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Piloti
        Pint

        Well, you say that, but.....

        Bungalow is of Hindi origin, veranda is a mix of Hindi and Portuguese and pajama is the American spelling of Pyjama, which is an Urdu Persian mix.

        Source : OED

        Writer : Pedant.

        P

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Yes I do say that.

          Is pedant an English word?

          1. Piloti
            Stop

            Well.... sort of........

            ORIGIN

            C16: from French pédant, from Italian pedante, perhaps from the first element of Latin paedogogus (see pedagogue).

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      More to the point,

      Nobody has used the word 'pukka' since Jamie Oliver made anyone using it look like a fat-tongued spittle dribbling pretentious moron.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        aka

        a prat!

    3. Elmer Phud
      Thumb Up

      British?

      Yup, done that.

      Went through a load of 'Proper English' words for the benefit of a racist.

      He got pissed off about 'Denim' as well. (didn't have the heart to tell him that 'computer' is an occupation, his head was already crimson. Also didn't tell him that 'The Pub Landlord' is a parody, a piss take, a shining example of all that's dumb with the Proper English)

      1. Piloti
        Thumb Up

        Denim.....

        ... is a great one.

        How many of Uncle Sam's most vehement supporters realise they are wearing the French national cloth ? After all, there is nothing as American as 'denim', is there ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whinge

    I haven't used most of those words since the late 90s. And in the case of "prat", since the late 80s.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Really?

      You some kind of boffin or somesuch to stay so sequestered from the world and then whinge about common language? Think you need to stop being a pratt, get out a bit, chunter along to a pukka pub and have meet some real people who know more than cumputerese.

    2. Marvin the Martian
      Stop

      John Dee,

      Please report to the INS for an interview. There seems to be some doubt about your residency status.

  11. DF118

    Martin Robbins...

    ...Has anyone contacted him for a quote?

  12. Asgard
    Unhappy

    Yanks officially recognise the word 'boffin' ... what a surprise :(

    I've always felt the word Boffin has been used to give the same negative derogatory connotations as a word such as Geek. Its so often used as a subtle put down, to deride educated people like us.

    So while the title Boffin (or a Geek) would apply to me and my friends, I would never think to use it, because there is an element of at best derision and at times, its used for outright unkind malevolent sarcasm. But then to find America wanting to use the word is hardly surprising.

    Its like I said yesterday, about the insecure American way of social life, is for kids so often having to worry about seeking the acceptance of their fraternity peer group leaders and of the kids being endlessly racked with guilt and insecurity if they cannot get in and all the while, the peer group leaders loving their power and attention as they force new members to do humiliating things ... The point is the insecure fraternity peer group leaders are exactly the sort of people who seek to deride educated people like us and words like Boffin & Geek are used by them as part of their derision. Its like America has become one giant fraternity and anyone who is educated gets partly ostracised. Its no wonder America is falling behind in education with their society becoming so over run with fraternity like thinking. For example,

    Out of 34 countries tested, "the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math." Meanwhile the top 3 countries were China, Singapore and Hong Kong in 3rd place. Also whilst China's political system is different to the US, its hard to ignore how many scientifically minded people are high up in its government. e.g.

    http://singularityhub.com/2011/05/17/eight-out-of-chinas-top-nine-government-officials-are-scientists/

    America needs to be encouraging not disparaging to educated people, to help encourage their next generation to help their country compete in worldwide markets. The way its going, they will leave America for a better life in other countries and the UK is going the same way. In the UK our own arrogant fraternity style peer group leaders in our society conveniently forget the UK's wealth was in many ways vastly built up on the successes of the Industrial Revolution created by previous generations of us Geeks and Boffins. If they want to repeat that, they need to be encouraging not disparaging or we will take our knowledge to other countries who do respect and reward what we can do for them.

    1. dogged
      Grenade

      Oh, get over yourself

      You have just shown weakness on the Reg comments section. I recommend you stop whining, grow a thicker skin and prepare for the assault.

      1. Asgard
        Happy

        A boffin replies...

        Dear Mr Dogged, you're just identified yourself as the kind of person who seeks to victimise people (just like these insecure people I mentioned in my previous post) but you forget, knowledge is power, so the more you say, the more we learn, like your derogatory words such as "whining" and seeking to protray me as weak and thin "skinned" which is just identifying yourself more clearly as a troll.

        The irony is, portraying someone as weak, is a sign of a weak person seeking to put others down, to make themselves feel stronger and more powerful, thereby highlighting their inner weakness. But then I'm a boffin, so its to be expected that I would see such things, because us boffins think deeply about such subjects, such as psychology. Also I'm not going to play your game, but I am surprised you didn't end up by at least calling me a Geek or a Boffin ... I've been called it many times and it doesn't bother me, but I do recognise the insecure thinking hidden behind why some people seek to put others down to make themselves feel bigger and better ... That's a clear sign of insecurity in them, not strength and everyone being treated like that (if they don't already know), will learn from your example, which clearly shows its you and not them, who are really at fault, thereby invalidating your words as thinly veiled derogatory manipulations. By the way, I would like to politely thank you for your lesson. ;)

        But then you can see from my previous post that I can see through the put down bullshit. But that's the wonder of the Internet. It acts like a Petri dish to watch your kind, as us Boffins and Geeks find the most effective mind bleach to pour over the poor trolls. Usually the most effective means is simply denying them more attention, because they want attention. Ah didums, want some attention. ;)

        So anyway I really don't care what you have to say in reply to this post (after all, we wouldn't want to give you more attention now would we ;) … but don't forget, knowledge is power. Have a nice day and thank you for your invaluable lesson in the true nature of trolling. :)

        Signed, very politely, one of the "boffins" ;)

        p.s. it works best if you read my post in the polite style and tone of V for Vendetta. ;)

        1. dogged
          Thumb Down

          Re: A prat replies

          a) TL:DR

          b) Don't care: didn't read.

          c) I recommend a large daily treatment of "man the fuck up".

          1. Asgard
            Thumb Up

            @dogged: "TL:DR"

            Your very well practiced nonchalance, after seeking to put others down, is simple a way to pretend nothing can get back at you, no matter what you think you can do to others.

            p.s. On behalf of Boffins everywhere, I would like to thank you once again for your continuing invaluable lesson in helping to see thought the true nature of trolls. :)

            Your sacrifice for the betterment of the world is most appreciated. ;)

            1. dogged
              FAIL

              @Asgard

              I'm a comms specialist. I deal in low level protocol transmission over RF. I don't much give a shit what you do or how clever you think you are, but take some information on board here.

              People don't look down on boffins, geeks or any other self-proclaimed subgroup. They look down on losers. And whining about your subgroup being badly treated is the single best way to get yourself identified as a loser.

              I don't consider myself a geek, nerd or boffin. I'm me. Anyone who doesn't like can piss off.

              Your erudition fails to impress, by the way. Poor wickle you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          WTF?

          Protest too much..

          Remember what site you're on. Using cleverly written text to try and portray a higher level of intellect is, well, transparent.

          "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

          By defending yourself so much, you're just opening yourself up to more abuse. I'm not having a go, just trying to help. If you think people are trolling, why rise to it?

          Your original post just looked like the article hit a nerve, and you let hundereds of techies, scientists and engineers know that. I doubt that anyone on here hasn't been called a geek or boffin at some point!

          And for my seconds quote:

          "Chill Winstone!"

    2. Naughtyhorse

      math???

      i think you mean mathematics.

      mathS for short, if you must.

      maybe reduced attention spa i par o th proble :-

      Boffin, as has been discussed at length here, is not a pejorative term at all. Say boffin and most will have a mental image of, say Einstein, Barnes-Wallace, Heaviside, or even good old Blumlein. except for the sun reading classes who will possibly see Heinz Wolff (if an accent can be seen[ and lets face it if any accent could be seen, his must be one of the more visible]) pretty illustrious company.

      1. Steve Evans

        @Naughtyhorse

        Unfortunately "Math" and "Maths" is one of those divisions in our common language, one of the few which if very obvious when spoken, and yes, it makes me cringe too!

    3. DF118

      @ Asgard

      Oh for goodness' sake, get over yourself.

      "Boffin" is a neutral word which is only derogatory if the person using it intends it to be so. The fact that the citation used is from this organ (where writers and readership delight in the progress of science) tells me that the compiler responsible for producing the list, in his or her professional opinion as a linguist (or whichever variety of boffin they may be) considers the reason for "boffin" being a favoured British word for Americans to be its use in the positive sense.

      Only one hypersensitivised through years of mainstream tabloid pejorative use of the word would take offence at ANY utterance of it, regardless of context or intent.

      Keep at it dear Reg; thanks to you the world knows the real meaning of the word. Down with the Sun/Daily Mail/Express flat-earthers and their denunciation of science.

      Boffinry works, bitches!

    4. Philolai
      WTF?

      What're you on about?

      I've always thought 'boffin' was a term that denoted 'smart person who is doing things beyond our understanding' and therefore was implicitly flattering.

    5. Colin Brett
      Stop

      Why is boffin an insult?

      "So while the title Boffin (or a Geek) would apply to me and my friends, I would never think to use it, because there is an element of at best derision and at times, its used for outright unkind malevolent sarcasm. "

      Geek isn't, as described here:

      http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/G/geek.html

      Which says (among other things):

      "A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance."

      and

      "Correspondingly, there are now ‘geek pride’ festivals (the implied reference to ‘gay pride’ is not accidental)."

      1. nyelvmark

        Geek pride festivals?

        Oh great! When's the next one? Can I bring my girlfriend?

    6. sisk Silver badge

      Derogatory?

      I haven't felt that geek was a derogatory term since the 90s. It's a term that suggests a certain level of intelligence and understanding of a subject that most of the world finds unfathomable. It's a title I proudly wear.

      Boffin, likewise, denotes a person who is very intelligent and has knowledge far beyond that of mear mortals. If it's ever used in a derogatory sense then you should be laughing at the gormless prats with the audacity to misuse such an honorable term is such a way rather than feeling derided by them.

      Just my two cents from a Merkin point of view.

    7. Figgus

      Re: Its no wonder America is falling behind in education...

      Actually, the numbers you give are more a result of the welfare state than anything else. Most "students" see little point in struggling to learn or better themselves when they are planning on getting a gubmint check for the rest of their lives.

      Until the merikans reverse their handout mentality, those scores will continue to plummet. Even requiring a diploma or GED for things like social assistance (or even getting a drivers license) would dramatically change the educational landscape.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        sure would

        it would make things worse

        wise up! ffs

        merka is far and away the shittest place in the first world (we are having a meeting, you are being moved to a group more inline with your skills... as soon as we can find one)

        And the reason for this is your ridiculous adherance to out dated uber con 'I'm alright jack - fuck you' ideology.

        Sadly the freefalling standards in you education system over the last 50 years mean that now you are as a nation to stupid to appreciate the link between the policies that underpin your way of life and how shite that way of life is.

    8. Peter Murphy
      Thumb Up

      I've always thought "boffin" was always a little heroic.

      Unsung heros, maybe, but heroes none the less.

      "By Jove, I don't understand what those boffins at Bletchley Park are up to, but they're helping us win the war. Hats off, lads."

  13. Stratman
    Thumb Up

    title

    Would now be q good time to remind people that West Ham's reserve goalkeeper rejoices in the splendid name of Ruud Boffin?

  14. Pete 2 Silver badge

    abbreviated present continuous

    Of course boffin is a word. It comes from the verb to "boff" an activity that even scientists do.

  15. hamcheeseandonion
    Alert

    Oh dear me....a Scottish Person alert icon would be handy about now..

    You can thank your lucky stars that they haven't started with the Scottish words of that ilk (similar to elk, but generally worn "inside" the kilt).

    A selection:

    Plook

    Bampot

    Bauchle

    Teuchter

    Nyaff

    Muckle

    Although sadly, none with an IT bent....(can you say that in public these days??)

    Hoots mon, and get it right up ye!

    1. graeme leggett

      IT angle

      "Many a mickle makes a muckle muckup"

      referring to the situation when a number of small items overlooked conspire to generate one almighty problem at roll-out

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Jiggery-pokery ...

      ... is from the Scots phrase "joukery-pawkery".

      Don't suppose you know of a decent Scots-English dictionary do you? I find it a fascinating lanaguage.

    3. Gilleain Torrance
      Happy

      Scottish words

      Indeed. I once found a list of such words/phrases (for a friend to use in a play), and it seemed like fully half of them were synonyms for 'idiot'. As in, for calling other people idiot. Teuchter is a very nice one - sort of means 'farmer' or 'yokel', right?

      'Numpty' is pretty good, too. 'Bauchle' I've never heard. Although I'm reminded of my father's mother, who I swear would make up such words : "Oh look at that thing birling away on the roof!" (spinning rapidly?).

      Oh, and especially good is "pochle" - meaning stuff you can legitimately steal, such as from the stationary cupboard at work.

      1. Mike Brown

        bauchle

        commonly used with the word "tatty" as in: "oh dear you are a tatty bauchle, youve split the milk again"

        yes, its another word for idiot!!

        and yes birling is spinning rapidly. it can also be used as the name for a whirlygig.

        Teuchter is usually reserved for those Scottish folk north of Perth. The ones that like sheep too much.....

  16. Mike Richards

    Not much cop as a dictionary

    I just checked, they're still spelling 'colour' wrong.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Headmaster

      "...they're still spelling 'colour' wrong."

      I think you'll find that they are spelling it either wrongly or (rather better here IMHO) incorrectly.

      To have them "spelling it wrong" would require Merriam-Webster to go the extra mile and recognise Estuary English. Since it would appear that they've only just managed to get their heads around plain old English, I do not hold out too much hope for you there.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        <Pedant>

        wrong?????

        estury has is spelled

        rong

        </pedant>

      2. nyelvmark
        Headmaster

        'wrong' is an adverb, too

        Now, don't get me wrong, but I think you're maligning Merriam-Webster, which is (IMO) the best English dictionary available free online. For example, you should be able to find their entry for 'wrong (adverb)' here:

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrong

        ...unless something goes wrong, of course.

    2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      As Noah Webster put it

      There is no "u" in color, any more than there is in "harbor", though in the latter there is sometimes "t".

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
        Troll

        buoy

        Now that's a word I wish you'd go ahead and take the 'u' out of. And you can give us back the aitch in herb while you're at it.

      2. M Gale

        3 people are stuck up prats with no sense of humo(u)r.

        Oh come on, that was pretty funny.

    3. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      Really?

      How do you know **we** got it wrong?

  17. Ged T
    Coat

    @Stephen Hunt - Dunno, but I'll give a good go...

    Whilst no Boffin, and not Gormless but possibly a Prat, it pleases me, whilst I sip on a glass of Plonk, that our Merkin colleagues don't just Chunter along, allowing their language to become Knackered or Whinged about by over reliance on the increasingly Twee aspects of the same by exerting, through minimal Jiggery-pokery of their language reference, they ensure some degree of coherence with the Pukka English language.

    There. Time for a sleep, now.

  18. Dale Richards
    Troll

    Citation

    Since when is an IT blog an adequate citation for a dictionary entry?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For a long time.

      Many glossaries and thesauri include examples taken from real world writings. The idea is to give the reader a better idea of how the selected word is used in context. So as far as realisic usage is concerned an "IT blog" is just as useful a source of quotes as anything else (provided the author uses the word correctly.) The quotations I've seen have all been taken from books and newspapers, including the online variant.

      Also, El Reg tends to have a more colo(u)rful writing style that makes it more relevant to this type of list.

      1. Peter Murphy

        The technical name for this is a "corpus".

        Basically, a corpus is a big sample of spoken and written English (or any other language you prefer). It allows dictionary makers to look up words, and see how they're used in real life. Many dictionaries and institutions have their own corpuses. For example, here's the British National Corpus's entries for the word "boffin".

        http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/x3.asp?xx=1&w11=boffin&r=

  19. Piloti
    Coat

    Good to see our colonial cousins catching up...!!

    The OED has had "boffin" for a while now :

    boffin

    n noun British informal a person engaged in scientific or technical research.

    ORIGIN

    Second World War: of unknown origin.

    P.

  20. foo_bar_baz
    Thumb Up

    Well done

    The Reg and all you working there deserve the recognition.

    1. Elmer Phud
      Happy

      Speak too soon?

      They are already working on 'mobe'

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Troll

    Chunter

    not to be confused with the antipodean word "chunder", which means to vomit.

  22. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Coat

    Missing one vital word

    Plonker.

    How about Twit?

    Are all those who Twitter, Twits?

    Ok, I'll get me coat

  23. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Happy

    Pukka!

    I remember confusing both my US and German work counterparts when I used the word "pukka", when we got a little DB problem sorted out. Having to explain what it meant stumped me for a few seconds when they asked me!

  24. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    jiggery-pokery

    Also a rather amusing song by The Lewis Duckworth Method:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oreIJPk65Iw

    It was jiggery pokery, trickery, chokery,

    how did he open me up,

    Robbery, muggery,

    Aussie skull-duggery,

    Out for a buggering duck,

    What a delivery,

    I might as well have been,

    holding a concert bassoon,

    Jiggery Pokery who was this nobody

    making me look a buffoon

  25. Steve Evans

    About time...

    Boffin has only been about since the 40's! Well done Rik. Bardzo dobry.

    And I thought a twee was what Jonathon Ross had growing in the garden.

  26. Alister Silver badge

    I stand to be corrected on this...

    but in common use in our family and in this area of England I have always understood the word chunter to mean "to grumble under one's breath", rather than to denote movement in some way, although I suspect that - like grumble - it could be used expressively: as in, "the overloaded train grumbled up the long hill to the summit"

    1. Rob 5

      Yep.

      And that's pretty much how Merriam-Webster defines it:

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/top-ten-lists/top-10-favorite-british-words/chunter.html

  27. sisk Silver badge

    Fun with lingusistics

    Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

    Silly buffalo.

  28. Someone Else Silver badge
    Welcome

    I, for one, welcome..

    ...our Brit slang wielding, Dictionary-filling overlords.

  29. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Welcome

    To our glorious linguistic leaders

    We salute you!

  30. Blubster

    <pedant>

    They've spelled gaumless wrong

    Gaumless - (British informal) lacking intelligence and vitality. · stupid - lacking or marked by lack of intellectual acuity ...

    </pedant>

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Go

      @Blubster

      I presume you mean Gormless.

      Why can't the English pronounce the letter "r"?

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: @Blubster

        Gaumless is simply a (currently less favoured) alternative spelling of gormless. Both are pronounced ɡɔːmlɪs, so the "r" has bugger all to do with it, as far as I can see.

      2. Rattus Rattus

        I think you mean

        Why do the Yanks over-stress all their Rs?

        1. nyelvmark
          IT Angle

          Why do the Yanks over-stress all their Rs?

          No, that's not correct. Spanners was nearer the truth. Most English speakers in England and Wales (also our antipodean brethren) do not pronounce an 'r' sound before a consonant. Pronouncing the 'r' in 'farm' makes you sound like a farmer, no?

          But this phenenomenon is well-documented, uncontentious, and has no IT angle that I can think of.

  31. S 11
    Alert

    emf

    But, how do you pronounce "leccy?"

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      leccy

      Rhymes with recce. Or trekkie.

  32. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    One last point

    Why would we Merkins want to use "twee"? It seems about as useful in the American context as a baseball glove to a soccer player. They are enclaves of twee here I suppose, but it seems to take a very low spot among our many oddities.

  33. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    Alright, nice to see "twee" in there...

    ...although I've already heard it used over here for a number of years, usually by pop music critics describing one band or another whose style recalls "twee '60s sunshine pop".

    I've also always rather liked "knackered", although I'm surprised to see that "wanker" and/or "tosser" haven't made the list, especially as "wanker" has also been popular over here for a while; I'd have definitely taken "wanker" or "tosser" over "chunter" (wha...?).

    ...and, where's "chuffed"? That's a great one, too...

    1. nyelvmark
      Devil

      Onanism...

      ...still isn't a topic for discussion in the mainstream media, so "wanker" wouldn't have been a good choice for Merriam-Webster's little PR exercise.

      It is, of course, in the dictionary:

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wanker

      Bootnote: Early episodes of 'Mork and Mindy' (written, I guess, before they tried to flog the series abroad) featured Mindy's landlord and landlady - Mr and Mrs Wanker. They seem to have simply been written out of later episodes, which was hard luck on the actors, I guess.

      Spawn of Satan icon because 'spawn' is something like 'semen'. Almost.

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