[Ads-l] US slang with British origins?

Sat May 12 00:13:14 EDT 2018

Mencken wrote, "It is most unusual for an English neologism to be taken up in this country, and when it is, it is only by a small class, mainly made up of conscious Anglomaniacs. To the common people everything English, whether an article of dress, a social custom or a word or phrase has what James M. Cain has called 'a somewhat pansy cast.' That is to say, it is regarded as affected, effeminate and ridiculous.” 

That was then, of course, but I have to say I’m hard put to come up with examples of current American slang that began their lives as Britishisms, in the way that Americanisms like “awesome” and “you guys” have naturalized as slang in the UK.


Geoffrey Nunberg
School of Information,
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-4600

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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