Last week I looked at bollocks (in a manner of speaking). This week, as promised, I’m looking at arse. I almost couldn’t be arsed to do this, as I’ve had the plumbers in this week. They came to install a boiler that is big enough to power a small country, and the first thing they did was to chop through the gas pipe to our cooker. The boiler is so environmentally friendly that it blew a fuse after five hours and has since contributed nothing to any kind of warming. Mind you they worked their arses off, and hopefully the electrician will be able to get off his arse next week and come and work his magic on the wiring which is all arse backwards. But as Jim Royle would say, ‘Boilers? My arse!’
Arse in British English is the same as the American term ass. The pronunciation was apparently the same in Victorian times, but the Americans then changed to what they felt was a more polite version (I found that on the internet, and now can’t remember where I read it; I’d look it up again, but I can’t be arsed. Sorry).
According to an online dictionary (you can see there’s been no expense spared on this research) arse (n. slang) means:
Its roots are very old. According to the dictionary again, they are:
the Old English ærs meaning ‘tail, rump,’ from Proto-Germanic *arsoz (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German, Old Norse ars, Middle Dutch ærs, German Arsch “buttock”), cognate with Greek orros “tail, rump, base of the spine,” Hittite arrash, Armenian or “buttock,” Old Irish err “tail.”
Arse (aaaaaahhrs) is used in all sorts of phrases in British English.
I give you:
German playwright Goethe even used arse in his play Götz von Berlichingen where the hero says the king can lick his arse.
There’s also the phrase ‘running about like a blue-arsed fly’ meaning to be very busy. This could possibly come from ‘a blue house fly’ as there are parts of England where the pronunciation of house sounds just like arse. Cockney comedian Mickey Flanagan tells of how he went to New York and upset some girl by asking if could come up her ‘arse’ – when all he actually meant was that he wanted to pop round to hers for a cup of tea.
Talking of Cockneys, the cockney rhyming slang for arse is aris (bottle and glass, arse; aristotle, bottle).
According to the online urban dictionary ARSE is also an alternate name for the human enzyme Arylsulfatase E coded by the ARSE gene. One could therefore legitimately say: “Could you please hand me that jar of ARSE.” Or, “I think your ARSE gene is acting up.”
My favourite arse phrase is ‘my arse and parsley’: a Scottish term of derision meaning, ‘Aye, that’ll be right’ as in, ‘You’ve won the X Factor? My arse (or erse) and parsley.’ In England this is just shortened to, ‘My arse’. As in:
‘Ed Miliband is a great Labour leader.’
Which could possibly be followed up by, ‘He’s about as useful as a one-legged man at an arse kicking contest.’
I leave you with Father Jack:
All picture via Creative Commons, courtesy of:
Devils house: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eepaul/3862425051/
What is it with the word passionate?
I had an email from a guy yesterday who, get this, is hugely passionate about direct resourcing and offering expertise to a full 360 degree recruitment process in-house.
Everybody’s doing it. I saw a guy on Twitter who is passionately discovering the world, and another who is passionate about gardening. Gardening??? Wtf??
I don’t know what a 360 degree recruitment process is, but maybe I ought to. Especially if it’s going to make me feel [hugely] intense, impassioned, ardent, fervent, zealous, vehement, fiery, heated, feverish, emotional, heartfelt, eager, excited, animated, spirited, vigorous, strong, energetic, messianic, fanatical, frenzied, wild, fierce, consuming, violent, tumultuous, flaming, raging, burning, uncontrollable, ungovernable…(that’s enough definitions, ed).
Frankly, I’m exhausted. I’ve spent all morning on my hands and knees trowelling madly in the wet earth, coping with my hugely tumultuous, flaming, ungovernable desire for spring bulbs, and now I have to face my raging, all consuming, ungovernable feelings for direct resourcing.
According to jobsearch.com it is certain that in a job interview you will be asked what you are passionate about.
Apparently you’re supposed to reply by saying you like helping your mother with household repairs, or possibly attending evening art classes. Do not, I urge you, tell your interviewer that you’re feeling frenzied about a bit of sawing, or that you have erotic feelings over Constable’s Hay Wain. Although, frankly, any twit who wants you to be passionate about direct resourcing deserves everything they get.
Why can’t people just say they like doing something?
picture courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mauch_Passionate_kiss.jpg via Creative Commons
I’ve had a lot of trouble with language lately. I told my exercise teacher (well, Sue in the village) that I’d just eaten a jeely piece and she had no idea what I was on about. (She’s Welsh, I’m Scots, and a jp is a jam sandwich).
Fellow blogger Barry wrote a post containing the word schnook. Apparently it means ‘nerd’, and is not the same as ‘schmuck’ which I had no idea (honest, guv) meant penis.
Another fellow blogger, Naptime Thoughts, (from New Jersey) thought I was having her on when I said I thought a Twinkie was a chocolate bar (that’s twinkie, not winkie). And whaddya know, it’s a cake. More on that later, as we are now set to engage in a programme of exchanging fondant fancies in order to further our cultural bonds. Amazing what posting on WordPress can lead to.
And, with the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow today, can I just help out any passing visitors with this vital information: ‘whaur’s the cludgie‘ means where’s the loo, and ‘yer bum’s oot the windie‘ means, you’re wrong.
So, in the meantime, while thinking of something really worthwhile to post about, and waiting for cake to fall from the sky, I post this film, which shows, that no matter how bad we humans are at misunderstanding each other, a computer in a lift can beat us every time.
picture from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate_cake#mediaviewer/File:300x300_choc_rose_cake.jpg via Creative Commons.