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Puzzling/Nonsensical expressions.

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Jenny
1343100.  Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:10 pm Reply with quote

In the UK we say 'kiss their arse' or 'brown-nose' (a less appealing description of the same activity I suppose).

 
cornixt
1343102.  Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:57 pm Reply with quote

"Butter up" is another.

 
extremophilesheep
1343167.  Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:37 pm Reply with quote

A colleague of mine used a similar expression in Dutch today, describing a former - not very pleasant - colleague who was indeed always brownnosing with management and such like, and had been doing that to the new management to the moment he took another job elsewhere.

The expression used was "putting his (unpleasant colleague's) arm up his (manager's) ass."

But this new manager is well liked and everyone figured he'd catch on soon enough that this colleague was indeed only after his own interests, or, as I suggested "he'd surely notice it when he'd try to sit down."

I've been told I'm not supposed to make remarks like that when someone has just taken a sip of their hot tea.

 
Efros
1351120.  Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:08 am Reply with quote

Indeed that can cost you a new keyboard/screen.

 
AlmondFacialBar
1361257.  Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:14 pm Reply with quote

Popped into my head cycling home from Tesco just now - the German for a skid lid is Hurratüte, i.e. disposable hurrah bag. Anyone? 🤯

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
AlmondFacialBar
1361834.  Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:09 am Reply with quote

Awitt wrote:
Wikipedia I know, but this explains the basic history.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay


Interesting about Gertrude Stein using it in 1922... In a similar vein, I just learned that jazz trumpeter Tiny Davis and her same sex partner, bassist Ruby Lucas, ran a jazz club called Tiny and Ruby's Gay Spot in Chicago in the late 1940s. So... Were they addressing a predominantly LGBTQ clientele with that one or were they trying to attract as many people as possible but also letting non-straight folk know on the sly that they were welcome there? Time to find out more about the history of that club it seems...

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Brock
1384505.  Sun Jul 04, 2021 5:43 am Reply with quote

I've just been listening to an interview with Nick Herbert (Lord Herbert of South Downs), who was recently appointed as the UK's Special Envoy on LGBT rights:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-appoints-new-special-envoy-on-lgbt-rights-16-may-2021

Is this some new definition of "envoy" that I'm unaware of? I thought an "envoy" was someone on a diplomatic mission. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the word as "someone who is sent as a representative from one government or organization to another".

 
tetsabb
1384509.  Sun Jul 04, 2021 6:17 am Reply with quote

Similarly, I hate the use of the word 'czar' for someone who is in charge of enforcing a government's policy on a certain matter. For example, John Penrose is this government's 'anti-corruption czar'.... the man who is married to Dido Harding.

For one thing, it should be transliterated as 'tsar', from царь.
Secondly, the tsar was the absolute ruler of Russia, not merely some government flunkey.

 
Brock
1384511.  Sun Jul 04, 2021 6:34 am Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
Similarly, I hate the use of the word 'czar' for someone who is in charge of enforcing a government's policy on a certain matter. For example, John Penrose is this government's 'anti-corruption czar'.... the man who is married to Dido Harding.


I think that may be a media nickname. The Government website calls him their "Anti-Corruption Champion":

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/john-penrose

Still a pretty weird job title though.

 
suze
1384515.  Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:19 am Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
For one thing, it should be transliterated as 'tsar', from царь.


The spelling czar is a bit odd. It "looks Polish", but a Polish noun spelled thus - and there is one, but it doesn't mean tsar - would be pronounced "char". The Polish word that does mean tsar is car. (The everyday Polish word for a car is auto. Poles pretend not to know that this is a loan from German.)

In fact, the peculiar spelling appears to be Latin from Russian via German and Polish, approximately. It is first noted in 1555, but has lost ground to tsar since WWII.


As for the use of this word for a "government flunkey", that is first noted in the US in 1866. As Brock says, it has usually been a media term rather than the official name of a position, but the British government has used it officially at least once.

 
Brock
1384607.  Mon Jul 05, 2021 3:52 pm Reply with quote

I wonder whether "tsar" gets used because it's a nice short word to fit into headlines? Here's a headline from today's Guardian:

"Europe’s rights tsar urges MPs and peers to oppose protest curbs"

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/jul/05/europe-rights-tsar-urges-mps-peers-oppose-protest-curbs

The person in question is actually Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. (Yes, the UK is still a member of the Council of Europe.)

 
Alexander Howard
1384724.  Wed Jul 07, 2021 11:19 am Reply with quote

I read about a government 'anti-corruption czar', which suggests that someone has a sense of irony, or no knowledge of Russian history.

 
PDR
1384728.  Wed Jul 07, 2021 12:45 pm Reply with quote

In Alistair Maclean's book "The Golden Gate" one of the secondary characters is a federal government appointee described as "the President's energy czar". That was written in the mid 70s IIRC, so the usage isn't a new thing.

PDR

 
Brock
1384738.  Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:14 pm Reply with quote

I don't think that anyone is claiming that the usage is new in the US; in post 1384515, suze said that it goes back to 1866. This article in Time talks about Woodrow Wilson appointing a so-called "industry czar" during World War I. (It does appear to be primarily a media term rather than an official one.)

When did it start being used in the UK, though? The earliest British "czar" I remember is Louise Casey, appointed by the Blair government in 1999 as head of the Rough Sleepers' Unit. She was commonly referred to as its "homelessness czar" (e.g. here).

 
PDR
1384741.  Wed Jul 07, 2021 1:21 pm Reply with quote

Erm... Alistair MacLean was Scottish.

PDR

 

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