Nine Words British People Use That Mean Something Different To South Africans

  1. Bird

bird_UK_SA

What it means to South Africans: A thing that flies and evolved from dinosaurs.
What it means in the United Kingdom: Moderately patronising word for woman. Could have evolved from “chick”.

2. Chips

chips_uk_SA

What it means to South Africans: We call crunchy things out of a bag chips, but we also call potatoes cut up and fried in oil chips.
What it means in the United Kingdom: The confusion is thus that only potatoes cut up and fried in oil is chips. The other things are crips.

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3. Copper

copper_SA_UK

What it means to South Africans: Wire or pipes that sometimes gets stolen.
What it means in the United Kingdom: A police officer.

4. Fag

fag_UK_SA

What it means to South Africans: A derogatory term.
What it means in the United Kingdom: Cigarette.

5. Jammy

jammy_UK_SA

What it means to South Africans: Something covered in jam.
What it means in the United Kingdom: A lucky person. Sometimes also used when referring to something a little bit dodgy, eg an older person talking about their knee.

6. Jumper

jumper_UK_SA

What it means to South Africans: A person or a thing that jumps, perhaps jumper cables.
What it means in the United Kingdom: A jersey.

7. Pants

pants_SA_UK

What it means to South Africans: Something you wear to cover your legs and your underwear.
What it means in the United Kingdom: Underwear. This can be incredibly confusing. For eg: South Africa: I’m just going to wear my pants to the drinks thing tonight. British person: *heavy breathing*

8. Tea

Tea_UK_SA

What it means to South Africans: A nice Rooibos.
What it means in the United Kingdom: Dinner. Most often used in the north of England, the practice of referring to dinner as a drink is the cause of much consternation in households made up of South Africans and British people.

9. Trainer

trainer_uk_SA

What it means to South Africans: Somebody who frequently inflicts pain on you and who you have a love-hate relationship with.
What it means in the United Kingdom: Running shoes.

Source: The South African

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