I remember working with people from many different Latin American countries during one of my first jobs after college. One phrase to a Columbian was a joke but to a Mexican it was the worst insult you can say to them.
According to a post in the Smarter Traveler, you should be careful using the following words or phrases when traveling to other English speaking countries:
- Pants- while this means slacks, jeans or trousers in the U.S., it mean underwear in the U.K. If you are looking to purchase a pair of khakis in England, call them trousers.
- Fanny pack- This bag is not something anyone should wear anymore 🙂 but don’t use it in The U.K, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa because you will be referring to a woman’s privates. These unattractive bags are call bum bags in Britain
- Pissed- when in Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, pissed doesn’t mean mad or angry, but rather drunk.
- Taking a Piss- You would think that after reading #3, this phrase would be getting drunk, but no- it means to mak fun of.
- Bangs- You know, the hairstyle that Michelle Obama just got— with the short hair covering her forehead??? Not in England, it’s called Fringe. Bang is a verb meaning the same as it does in the U.S. when used as a verb. We won’t say more here.
- Knob– In the U.S., we think of door knob— not so in the other English speaking countries around the world. It’s part of a man’s anatomy. If you are a male and you are called a knob head, it is now time to be offended.
- Rooting around- Not a phrase that I typically use but you may be rooting around for something you have lost. If you are rooting around in the Australia and New Zealand, a man and a woman will likely be doing something involving a knob and fanny.
- Pull- in the U.S., we might be pulling a muscle or pulling open a door. In the U.K. or Ireland, “going out on the pull” means you are out on the prowl looking for some action.
- Bugger- you might refer to a child or pet as your cute little bugger in the U.S. Don’t even think of using that word since it is a common expletive elsewhere.
My Vacation Lady is always on the prowl for new travel tips to offer our clients and, yes, we are located in the United States so I do mean, we are always searching for travel tips that we can share with our clients. If you have any to share with us, please send them our way.