Author Topic: Etymology question for my British friends  (Read 4205 times)

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Offline ear3

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Etymology question for my British friends
« on: May 05, 2016, 07:47 AM »
What is the reason and origin of the term chippy for carpenters?
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Offline bobfog

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2016, 07:56 AM »
Most building/construction trades in the UK have slang terms for the people who undertake them. With the trades being generally working class, the names are fairly low-brow and elementary.

*Electrician = sparky, because electricity can arc or spark.
*Plasterers = spreads, because they spread plaster on walls/ceilings.
*Carpenter = chippy, because they chip away at wood/make wood chips.
*Plumber = flood, because water causes floods. (This is a less common one than above).
*Mason = bricky because they lay bricks.
*Gas engineer = sniff, because gas smells.
*Foreman/supervisor = gaffer. In the film industry worldwide the gaffer is the head electrician, not sure why it bridged the gap and became the overarching name for any foreman in the UK.

Offline Tinker

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2016, 09:41 AM »
quote>>>*Foreman/supervisor = gaffer. In the film industry worldwide the gaffer is the head electrician, not sure why it bridged the gap and became the overarching name for any foreman in the UK.<<<

Many moons ago, I used to hear the term, "getting the gaff" meaning "getting fired".
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline RL

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2016, 10:44 AM »
I'm not sure how long the term chippy has been around, but it could also be derived from the French charpentier meaning carpenter.

It's also used to mean a prostitute, and a fish-and-chip shop.  ???

Offline ear3

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2016, 02:19 PM »
Thanks guys.  Sniff -- I like it.
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Offline joiner1970

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2016, 02:43 PM »
I'm not sure how long the term chippy has been around, but it could also be derived from the French charpentier meaning carpenter.

It's also used to mean a prostitute, and a fish-and-chip shop.  ???
Lol reminds me of when I was younger, out in night clubs chatting up girls. I'd often get asked

 "what do you do for a living?"

 " oh I'm a chippy"

"What you work in a fish n chip shop ?"

Lol

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2016, 03:26 PM »
Ironically, this is a true story.  Obviously not as well told as by @Tinker

I was working on a job using all my Festool stuff about 6 years ago and was actually making custom molding profiles on the fly by request of the owner when her interior decorator came out.

I shut down by router.  I was covered with sawdust -SHAME ON ME.  And then she asked: "What do you do?"  I shook my head and replied: "I am a male prostitute.  I do anything for money."  The look on her face was priceless just before she scurried back inside and I started the router again.

Guess I really am a chippy^2.

Peter

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2016, 03:45 PM »
what does "Gnats nambjer" mean? Very small?
Not sure I have "nambjer" spelled correctly trying to spell it phonetically.

tim

Offline copcarcollector

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2016, 04:09 PM »
The descriptions are interesting.

Am I the only one who had to look up "Etymology"? Guess I should have stayed in skoool.. [blink] Well I learned a new word today!

Offline Holmz

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2016, 04:27 PM »
The descriptions are interesting.

Am I the only one who had to look up "Etymology"? Guess I should have stayed in skoool.. [blink] Well I learned a new word today!

I think it is a british word.

Offline Kev

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2016, 05:14 PM »
The descriptions are interesting.

Am I the only one who had to look up "Etymology"? Guess I should have stayed in skoool.. [blink] Well I learned a new word today!

I think it is a british word.

English .. Latin roots.

Offline windmill man

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2016, 05:35 PM »
Gnats nadger.............. yes means very small  [embarassed]    It a tiny none standard measurment it equates to the lenght of a gnats reproductive equipment


well you asked [big grin] there are other permutations

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2016, 05:50 PM »
For those elsewhere in the world the phrase used here for tiny measurements was similar - Gnats Hair.  I am sure that I am showing either my age or it was a geographically accepted term by constructions workers.

Peter

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2016, 06:09 PM »
Re Gnats hair, around here many trades use the term of ' precision measurement', smaller than a Bee's D _ _ _!

_______________________________
From Google -
etymology
ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/
noun
the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.
"the decline of etymology as a linguistic discipline"
the origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning.
plural noun: etymologies
"the etymology of the word ‘devil’"
synonyms:   derivation, word history, development, origin, source
Feedback
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 06:57 PM by Untidy Shop »
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Offline windmill man

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2016, 06:10 PM »
Never heard "gnats hair" Peter we use "hairs breadth" here though

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2016, 06:53 PM »
Gnats nadger.............. yes means very small  [embarassed]    It a tiny none standard measurment it equates to the lenght of a gnats reproductive equipment


well you asked [big grin] there are other permutations

Thanks, I figured.
And thanks to @Edward A Reno III for starting the thread. I like to study the origin of words and phrases. William Safire used to write a column in the New York Times called "On Language" which was a history of the world through the origin of words and phrases.

Offline greg mann

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2016, 08:57 PM »
Our Aussie friends have the inside track on expressive words and phrases. Any of you like to enlighten us on the origin of Pommie Ba$tard?
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2016, 10:12 PM »
Our Aussie friends have the inside track on expressive words and phrases. Any of you like to enlighten us on the origin of Pommie Ba$tard?

Well @greg mann , you did ask!  [eek]

Origin in times of mass British migration in 1950's and 60's when it cost 10 pounds to immigrate by ship to Australia. The Ten Pound Pom who was always complaining how better it was back in England. "Too hot, have to work, we do it that way in England " etc.,  hence 'Whinging Pommy Bastard'. Not all deserved this and like others from Europe worked hard to make a new life in Australia following WW11.

The phrase tended to be directed more at the English than Irish, Scots or Welsh. This bias probably stems from Convict and Working Class migration in the 1700 and 1800s and the treatment of 'Diggers' [term still used today for Australian Soldiers] under the command of English Officers on the Western Front in WW1. Many of the Western Front Survivers were still alive in the 1950s and 60s. For further reading regarding the experience of Australians on the Western Front see Peter Fitzsimons book,  'Fromelles & Pozieres'. Available through IBook.

Bastard can be a word of anger or friendship depending on the context. "You old bastard" is generally said with affection. "YOU Bastard"! Certainly not!

An example of affection is, on hearing @Kev has purchased a new Router - "Kev, you old Bastard".  [smile]

Pommie Bastard can still be derogatory, especially at the
Ashes cricket tests?  [smile] But with time can be said with affection. Again context is significant.

More info from Mr Google -
whinging pommy bastard
Englishman that complains a lot; or, an Englishman. Whinge means to whine or to complain, a pommy or pommie is an Englishman, and bastard is just for emphasis.

an unpleasant or despicable person.
"he lied to me, the bastard!"
synonyms:   scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, brute, animal, weasel, snake, monster, ogre, wretch, devil, good-for-nothing, reprobate, wrongdoer, evil-doer; More




______________________________________

Another tradie term around here, mainly by Plumbers referring to pipe joins - "that's tighter than a c _ _ _  in a sock".
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 12:15 AM by Untidy Shop »
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Offline Kev

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2016, 11:04 PM »
Most building/construction trades in the UK have slang terms for the people who undertake them. With the trades being generally working class, the names are fairly low-brow and elementary.

*Electrician = sparky, because electricity can arc or spark.
*Plasterers = spreads, because they spread plaster on walls/ceilings.
*Carpenter = chippy, because they chip away at wood/make wood chips.
*Plumber = flood, because water causes floods. (This is a less common one than above).
*Mason = bricky because they lay bricks.
*Gas engineer = sniff, because gas smells.
*Foreman/supervisor = gaffer. In the film industry worldwide the gaffer is the head electrician, not sure why it bridged the gap and became the overarching name for any foreman in the UK.

Don't for get the spanner man ... mechanic [wink]

Offline tony_sheehan

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2016, 03:17 AM »
"Pommie Bastard can still be derogatory, especially at the
Ashes cricket tests?  [smile] But with time can be said with affection. Again context is significant."

Ha! All the Aussies (and Kiwis) I've worked with over the years, I don't believe I've ever heard it used affectionately

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2016, 03:37 AM »
"Pommie Bastard can still be derogatory, especially at the
Ashes cricket tests?  [smile] But with time can be said with affection. Again context is significant."

Ha! All the Aussies (and Kiwis) I've worked with over the years, I don't believe I've ever heard it used affectionately


@tony_sheehan
Tony,  on a building site you are probably right, but in the pub after work it could be used either way!  [eek]  [big grin]

I hasten to add that I am not trying to defend this phrase. I answered @greg mann 's question. It is not a term I use, as it can certainly lead to strife. And it is being used less and less, at least here, due to generational changes.

Calling someone an 'old bastard' however is still in common use.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 03:51 AM by Untidy Shop »
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“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Offline Kev

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2016, 04:11 AM »
@tony_sheehan  @Untidy Shop

Shades of grey guys ...

I'm a ten pound pom myself ... but an infant at the time (who knows, maybe I was a zero pound pom). I had a teacher at school that loved caning the little pommie bastard and parents that thought schools were the law. Back then I had enough built up emotion to make a jihad look like a nursery game [mad]

.........

In Australia we'll call people the most disgusting names, but do it with affection - other times, no affection. It's the local language and culture and it can be very disconcerting to an outsider. It's all in the inflection. This stuff doesn't translate well as text on a forum.

I could call Untidy a stupid hairy goat with a smile in my voice and he'd know it was friendship. A stranger would probably think we were about to brawl.

Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2016, 07:51 AM »
I could call Untidy a stupid hairy goat with a smile in my voice and he'd know it was friendship. A stranger would probably think we were about to brawl.




Crickey @Kev, you old Galah!  [big grin]

the interpretations for other readers-
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=crickey
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Flaming%20Galah

_______________________________________________

And more on Bastard and Cricket
https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:Australian_English_terms_for_people

bastard /ˈbɑːstə(r)d/ – general purpose designation for a person or persons, may be either a term of endearment or an expression of hostility or resentment. It has sometimes been called "the great Australian endearment", but can also be an insult; interpreted according to context. Calling someone "a silly bastard" is affectionate: calling them "a stupid bastard" is a serious insult. According to a cricketing anecdote, during the "Bodyline" series of 1932–33, the England captain complained to the Australian captain, Bill Woodfull, that an Australian player had called one of his players a bastard. Woodfull supposedly turned to his team and said: "Which one of you bastards called this bastard's bowler a bastard?" When the English Captain, Douglas Jardine, brushed a fly from his face a voice from the crowd called out, "Jardine, yer pommie bastard, leave our flies alone!"

And some other references if you can be bothered ' Mate' s [big grin]
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-14/pobjie---mate/4426516
http://matadornetwork.com/abroad/8-things-learned-dating-australian/
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 08:05 AM by Untidy Shop »
If you don't like Signatures, just go to Look and Layout and tick No Signatures.

“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Offline Tinker

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2016, 09:17 AM »
Ironically, this is a true story.  Obviously not as well told as by @Tinker

I was working on a job using all my Festool stuff about 6 years ago and was actually making custom molding profiles on the fly by request of the owner when her interior decorator came out.

I shut down by router.  I was covered with sawdust -SHAME ON ME.  And then she asked: "What do you do?"  I shook my head and replied: "I am a male prostitute.  I do anything for money."  The look on her face was priceless just before she scurried back inside and I started the router again.

Guess I really am a chippy^2.

Peter

@Peter Halle  Thanks for the compliment.  this story might be a little off topic, but it doaes have a related meaning hat could be taken a few different ways.

I had recently met a cute young college girl out on the ski trail.  I took am immediate liking and spent many a Sunday afternoon visiting her.  It was nt a long trip via motorcycle, so I would sometimes visit on aSaturday evening.  I never knew in advance if i could make  it on a saturday and wold call at the last minute.  If she was not around, i would leve a message, leave for the trip and take my chances on her being available or not.  It was a girls college, so there were plenty of girls around.  I did not even look at the other girls (wells, maybe i looked, but was not interested)

On one Saturday, I got to the college at about the time some sor of party had started.  There were a few other guys around, but certainly not enough to go around for all those beautiful women.  As was my habit, I was not dressed in great party duds.  since it was mid winter, I was dressed in leathers with very warm clothing underneath.  Many of the girls had seen, and met, me before; so when my girl got a long distance phone call (she was from California) it was no problem for her to grab a friend and direct her to keep me company until she could return from the phone call. 

The girl she left me with was a pretty good looker, but thee hustle-bustle type who seemed to be more busy-buddy thant the true blue like my girl friend.  We talked for a few minutes when the girl said, "Lucy (not her real name here) has told me sooo much about you.  I am just dying to know what you do for a living.  Ah, NO, don't tell.  Let me guess."  She sarted with "Doctor" and continued with all the "honorable" professions  she could think of.  Architect/Engineer/veterinarian and so on.  Finally, she excliamed, "I give up.  I just cannot think of an occupation that might fit you. Please tell me."

"I break rocks for a living."

She looked at me for a few seconds as her jaw proceded towards her knee caps.  She did not know what to say.  I have no idea what was  in her mind, as my reply could have been taken many ways, some not repeatable in many circles.  I am quite sure that she never thought that I was a stone mason.  She disappeared across the room. I never saw her again.  My girl laughed long and hard over that one, telling me the girl got what she desreved. 8)
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Tinker

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2016, 09:34 AM »
I had an old farmer friend who i loved dearly.  I often stopped by his place at milking time and help him with the milking.  It was in the days of mostly hand milking and we had plenty of time for stories without haveing to shout over the noise of milking machine vac pump.  Dave would tell me some of the greatest stories all the way from childhood thru college days thru farming experiences thru escapades a town prosecuter (the days when every town had its own court system.  He was the sort of man, who upon occasion when he had to send a yound lad to jail would put the boy on parrole and take him into his own familly.  A lot of stories along the way that never seemed to wear out.

He used to tell me of one old farmer friend who had come down from Maine logging camps and set up a farm near by.  Somehow, I had a very vivid picture in my mind as to just the sort of man he was talking about.  One day, i stopped by a little late to start with milking, but knew there would still be a few on the list.  As I walked into the barn, there was this very tall but slim and rawboned man standing on the floor just behind where my friend was doing his thing of releiving a producer of her load of milk.  The stranger was standing there and talking in a rather loud voice, "That SOB was the nicest G D Bastard I have ever known."  My friend did not have to introduce the stranger.  I knew immediately who he was.  I liked him immediately.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline tony_sheehan

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2016, 07:22 PM »
This has been one of the more interesting threads I've seen in a while: thanks guys, and thanks to Edward A for starting it

Offline demographic

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Re: Etymology question for my British friends
« Reply #26 on: May 12, 2016, 03:08 PM »
Chippy is more commonly used by the shandy sipping southerners than up north.