Literary Listings: 4 Moments when British Phrases Defeated Claire (in Fiction)

So most of these are from Harry Potter, actually all except 1 are, but these are moments when British slang and phrases defeated me in my quest for literary excitement.

Literary Listings: 4 Moments when British Phrases Defeated Claire (in Fiction)

Mogget from The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix

So Nicole and I have mentioned this in a previous post but when I first read the series, I pronounced Mogget as Mo-ghay in a bit of a fluffy boogie french accent. After tweeting Garth Nix and having many discussions with fellow Abhorsen fans, I found out that it’s pronounced Mog-get, because apparently in British and Australian culture, Moggy is another way of describing a cat. At 26 years old, I had no idea but Mogget will always and forever Mo-ghay to me!

Troll Bogey from The Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Straight-up as a child I had no righteous idea what a troll bogey was. I surmised that it was some sort of bodily fluid from the troll’s nose but I deduced at the tender age of 10 that it was a special fluid unique only to troll-kind. It was only when they kept saying it in the film and I had discovered the advent of google at 14, that I decided to research the phrase and was surprised as heck to find out that it was British equivalent of “boogers“. Legit thought it was a special

Anything “Pants” and “Merlin’s most baggy Yfronts” from Ron Weasley in The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Pants are things that you wear on your legs that is an umbrella term for jeans, trousers, etcs. It is not underwear. Only underwear is underwear. However, as I came to realise at the ripe age of 25 when my little cousins kept giggling at my complaints of my pants falling down, or when I complained of the sort at work (to many horrified faces) that my 21 year old coworker explained to me that in the UK pants refers to underwear. Trousers is what you wore over that. What the heck?!

Also what in the earth is a baggy y-front? I still don’t know what it is and when I google it, I’m still confused. I’m 26 and I’ve been pondering that phrase for nearly 13 years. Someone, please save me.

“Jumper” anything in The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Growing up I wore jumpers in primary school, which to me was a dress. A weird sort of uniform style dress. So when I read Harry Potter firs and everyone kept referring to their new Christmas jumpers, I thought meant dresses. This added to the illusion in my head that wizards just wear giant dress-like cape things (especially since she describes robes as giant balloon-like dresses as well). It wasn’t till I went to university that someone told me that jumpers were umbrella terms for what I think of as sweaters and cardigans. Huh, who-woulda-thought?

Have you read any great British phrases in your quest for literature?



About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
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9 Responses to Literary Listings: 4 Moments when British Phrases Defeated Claire (in Fiction)

  1. Mahima says:

    XD This is so educative! I can’t believe you didn’t get bogey of all words! To be honest I don’t get the pants-underwear thing either. It’s the same for me with wifebeaters (heck, my expression when I read that “he was wearing his wifebeater”), tank tops, and vests. I do not know the different between any of them.
    And a jumper is a woolly top with long sleeves. I had NO idea that dresses are called jumpers too. Language is so funny.

  2. Holly says:

    The Harry Potter ones definitely tripped me up when I was younger, too!! 🙂

  3. Nicole says:

    Hahah, you kill me! :’)
    Jumpers are more specifically pullovers from what I can surmise; not cardigans (read: sweaters). And Y-fronts are men’s underwear with…well, “y” fronts: (those were the least offensive I found lol)

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      So wait, there is a distinction between jumper terminology? So a jumper is like…what I call a sweater (no buttons), cardigans are cardigans (have buttons). So wait… …soggy… y-fronts… THAT’S EXPLICIT TALK! No wonder his parents were horrified. And I do believe you, that you had to look for a non-offensive one lol

      • Nicole says:

        You call a jumper a sweater??? I call that a pullover. And I call a cardigan a sweater. Is your idea of a sweater Bajan or Canadian or something? That seems so odd to me :’)
        Also, yes. Ron was being very foul-mouthed hahah

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