Why ARE there difference between American and British English?
Well, who really knows
this but I like this explanation sent to me by a visitor to this website:
"Alistair Cooke stated in his 1980s television series "The Story of English"
that Americans purposely pronounced every letter of every word on purpose to
differentiate themselves from the English. He stated somewhere that we
changed our forks to our right hands prior to the Revolution as a sign the
the eater was a rebel. Also to be different from the British."
are the English called Limeys?
From the habit, on long
journeys, of English sailors drinking lime juice as a preventative
Why are the English called Poms or Pommies?
"Pommy" (or "pom" or "pommie")
is a primarily Australian (and largely derisive) slang term used to indicate
a recent immigrant from Great Britain, or
a Brit in general.
Hwoever the origination of this word is a little unclear. "Pommy"
might have been based on the word "pomegranate" -- either because the redness of the
fruit supposedly matched the typically florid British complexion, or because
it was used as rhyming slang for "immigrant." Also a possibility
is since Australia was originally a hold for convicts from England, the
letters P.O.H.M. (Property of her majesty) were printed on their clothing
and then began to apply to all immigrants from England. Interestingly
enough, the Oxford English definition of POM stands for Prisoner of Mother
Another explanation: it
originated in Victoria, where the British immigrants came by ship to the
Port of Melbourne. The initials POM were quickly adopted as a fond nickname.
Why are Americans called Yanks or Yankees?
origin of Yankee has been the subject of much debate, but the most likely
source is the Dutch name Janke, meaning “little Jan” or “little John,” a
nickname that dates back to the 1680s. Perhaps because it was used as the
name of pirates, the name Yankee came to be used as a term of contempt. It
was used this way in the 1750s by General James Wolfe, the British general
who secured British domination of North America by defeating the French at
Quebec. The name may have been applied to New Britainers as an extension of
an original use referring to Dutch settlers living along the Hudson River.
Whatever the reason, Yankee is first recorded in 1765 as a name for an
inhabitant of New Britain. The first recorded use of the term by the British
to refer to Americans in general appears in the 1780s, in a letter by Lord
Horatio Nelson, no less. Around the same time it began to be abbreviated to
Yank. During the American Revolution, American soldiers adopted this term of
derision as a term of national pride. The derisive use nonetheless remained
alive and even intensified in the South during the Civil War, when it
referred not to all Americans but to those loyal to the Union. Now the term
carries less emotion—except of course for baseball fans.
Why are New Zealanders called Kiwis?
The name kiwi was made
famous by a brand of boot polish called "Kiwi", developed by an Australian
William Ramsey. In 1910 Ramsay returned to Australia from New Zealand after
marrying Annie Meek of Timaru. In Melbourne Ramsay developed his own brand
of boot polish. In need of a name for his boot polish he settled on a New
Zealand symbol - the kiwi (a flightless bird found in New Zealand).
During World War II the
British Army ordered a large shipment of the Kiwi Boot Polish. By the end of
the war, the New Zealander Soldiers were known as kiwis. The name kiwi has
stuck ever since.
Why do Americans and Commonwealthers drive on the opposite side of the road?
This is a rather long
explanation and can be found HERE.
Where does that word "Bloody" come from the English are so fond of using?
According to the Oxford
English Dictionary: "In foul language, a vague epithet expressing anger,
resentment, but often a mere intensive, especially with a negative -- as,
not a bloody one." They cite an 1840s usage. On the other hand, the use as
adverb dates back to 1650s: as an intensive, meaning, "very" or "and no
mistake". In the 1880s, it was considered a "horrid word" by respectable
people, on par with obscene or profane language, and was printed in
newspapers, etc., as "b----y."
The OED says the origin is uncertain, but possibly refers to "bloods"
(aristocratic rowdies) of the late 17th-early 18th centuries ... "bloody
drunk" arising from '"drunk as a blood" ... and the association with bloody
battle, bloody butcher, etc., "appealed to the imagination of the rough
Another version is that the
derivation of "bloody" is as a corruption of the medieval phrase "by Our
Lady", which, being an oath sworn on the person of the mother of Jesus
Christ, was considered blasphemous.
Where does the British saying "Bob's Your Uncle" come from?
This is another of those
catchphrases which seem to arise out of nowhere and have a period of
fashion, in this case quite a long one. We know that it began to be used in
the 1880s in Britain. One theory has it that it derives from the slang
phrase all is bob, meaning "all is safe". But there have been several slang
expressions containing the word bob, some associated with thievery or
gambling, and around this time it was also a common generic name for
somebody you didn't know. The most attractive theory is that it derives from
a prolonged act of political nepotism. The prime minister Lord Salisbury
(family name Robert Cecil) appointed his rather less than popular nephew
Arthur Balfour (later himself to be PM from 1902-11) to a succession of
posts. The first in 1887 was chief secretary of Ireland, a post for which
Balfour was considered unsuitable. The consensus among the irreverent in
Britain seems to have been that to have Bob as your uncle guaranteed
success, hence the expression and the common meaning it preserves of
something that is easy to achieve.