Brit euphemism...

A. Vine avine at ENG.SUN.COM
Tue Dec 7 18:43:47 UTC 1999

"Aaron E. Drews" wrote:
> On Tue, 7 Dec 1999, Bethany K. Dumas wrote:
> }On Tue, 7 Dec 1999, Bruce Dykes wrote:
> }>I heard one new to me from our London office:
> }>"He's gone to spend a penny."
> }
> }It's not new, it's very old. Under the old currency, it took a large
> }copper penny to open the stall door. I have wondered since 1971 (when
> }decimal cxurrency completely replaced the old currency) if the phrase
> }would survive. I am delighed to see that it has.
> My mother was tickled when she heard my father-in-law use the phrase.  I
> wounder if the phrase is used by younger speakers.  How old was the London
> person?

My 71-year old mother-in-law uses the expression - in the Bristol area.  I can't
say I've heard that many young folks use it.  I think people use it in front of
family and friends.  I can't imagine someone using it in a formal situation.

Andrea Vine, avine at
Sun-Netscape Alliance i18n architect
Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.
-- Dr. Dave Farber (father of SNOBOL and one of the creators of Token Ring)

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