The Uxbridge English Dictionary

Although I love the language, I try not to get too hung up on usage or abusage because that way madness lies, but there are certain phrases that grate on my sensibilities for no adequate reason.

One of them is the way people say they will ‘meet with’ someone else. To my mind, you might ‘meet with’ an accident or misfortune, but if all you’re doing is getting together for a coffee, you simply ‘meet’ them.

I suspect it was politicians that started the ‘meet with’ fad thinking that it somehow softened the subject of the meeting. Either that or some HR manager somewhere who wanted to sound caring while laying people off.

The grammar websites are split on whether one is more correct than the other, or even if they have nuanced differences in meaning. The BBC says that to ‘meet with’ has more formal connotations, that you are meeting to discuss something specific, rather than just a chance encounter.

It still gets on my nerves, but I suppose I will just have to accept that the language changes. To illustrate this, The Uxbridge English Dictionary arrived in the post today and here are a few of my favourite old words and their new definitions:

Assassination – an arrangement to meet a donkey.

Bidet – two days before D-Day.

Equip – an unasked for joke off the internet.

Hither – a snake with a hair-lip.

Lackadaisical – short of one flower.

Pre-Raphaelite – one who leaves before the raffle.

Telepathy – when you can’t be bothered to change tv channels.

Xenophobia – fear of Buddhists.

You can find more definitions, or suggest your own, on The Uxbridge English Dictionary website. Or if you’re wondering what on earth this is all about, below if a short clip from I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue for you to meet with which will probably fail to explain all.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

13 comments… Add yours
  • Lexicological Pudding 6th October 2012

    shellfish – a self-centred drunkard
    Oldham – gammon left in the cellar too long
    Manchester – a thug who habitually nuts his victims in the sternum
    Liverpool – a gory puddle at the abattoir
    Blackpool – a gory puddle near a South African mine
    Welshpool – urine near any pub in Wales (sometimes gory)
    Gory McIlroy – Ulster golfer after a punch up

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 6th October 2012

    My absolute favourite is on the recording: Venezuela – a gndola with a harpoon.

    Reply
  • Francisca 6th October 2012

    “…because that way madness lies”… Aha! So that’s my problem! I’m an incorrigible grammar cop. LOL! Kidding… but only partly. My list of linguistic pet peeves is too long to share, especially at 2 in the morning. But serendipitously, and only somewhat related, I thought this an interesting read: Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19670686

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 7th October 2012

    An interesting article Francisca. One of the things about blogging is that it makes me aware of using Britishisms since I’m conscious that the reader isn’t necessarily from the UK. Sometimes I do it on purpose!

    ‘Sell-by date’ to describe someone or something past its best might have first started in food retail as it is a stock control term, rather than having any legal status other than for eggs. The actual everyday term is ‘best before’ but I guess it doesn’t sound quite right.

    Reply
  • Roger Green 7th October 2012

    About 2/3s are terribly funny and 1/3 I don’t get at all.

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  • Francisca 7th October 2012

    I think “best before” is what I see most often…

    A final giggle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz658-9ZOCc 🙂

    Reply
  • Trevor Rowley 8th October 2012

    If it’s not the Yanks getting it in the neck, it’s us Brits. Between us, we seem to be blamed for all the world’s ills. On that basis, you’d think that we could at least keep our language in check wouldn’t you? While we’re on the subject, how on earth did we end up with that dreadful expression, “See you later”, when people are going their separate ways. More often than not, they don’t mean “See you later”, they really mean “Goodbye” or “Cheerio”. They have no intention of seeing them later (eg It’s now 11.00am and I will be back to see this person at about 3.15pm) so why say it? It gets on my t**s .

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 9th October 2012

    I’m afraid that I’m one of the ‘see you later’ brigade, although only when I mean just that. More often than not, it’s just a ‘see you’ which probably demonstrates my lack of commitment!

    Reply
  • Chrissy Brand 9th October 2012

    ISIHAC is my favourite, have you got the rules for Mornington Crescent?

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  • Trevor Rowley 9th October 2012

    I overheard my wife’s telephone conversation earlier today (I think it was an heiress to my millions) which she ended with, “See you later.” The conversation then became resurrected, at the end of which my wife said to her daughter (the heiress), “See you soon.” Now, put yourself in the shoes of the heiress, was she to expect seeing her mother sooner or later? I know that they’ll be seeing each other tomorrow so does that come under “sooner” or “later”? I give up.

    Reply
  • Mr Parrot 9th October 2012

    That’s the beauty of ‘soon’ and ‘later’ – they’re imprecise terms. Or rather they are relative, so one person’s ‘soon’ might be another person’s ‘later’ and vice versa. I would imagine it gets even more complicated if you’re one of Doctor Who’s companions.

    Reply
  • George Stanford 30th October 2012

    How about junk food-words, like “pan fried” and “hand baked”, which have been introduced to make products sound as if they weren’t “factory made”? Personally, I prefer things to be fried in a hat, and wow! how hot can a hand get?

    As for the “sell by” date, for most people it’s just a “smell by” date.

    Reply
    • Mr Parrot 31st October 2012

      ‘Pan fried’ is definitely a tautology, unless there’s some frying method that I’m unaware of that doesn’t involve a pan. Perhaps it’s just a way of saying ‘we didn’t just get this out of a packet and stick it in a microwave you know.’

      Reply

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