Last month I confessed to an affection for evocative words from British English, mostly encountered in my reading of murder mysteries.
To my whingeing (whining, but more annoying), snogging (making out), topping up (refilling, as of a drink), gormless (stupid, clueless), and dodgy (unsound, unreliable, suspect), readers of the post added gobsmacked (astounded), chuffed (well pleased), and a series of frankly vulgar terms. Good show.
Since then I have recalled juddering (shaking and vibrating rapidly), mizzle (light rain or drizzle, also a verb), knackered (exhausted), tickety-boo (this one’s from P.G. Wodehouse, for going smoothly), and, a favorite, stroppy (easily annoyed, ill-tempered, belligerent). Several of these turn out to be included in the New Oxford American Dictionary, which is more ecumenical than one might have expected.
And, since English has much wider scope than the United Kingdom and the United States, I’ll put in a word for the Australian fair dinkum, of obscure origin, meaning authentic or genuine.
If you have an interest in the separated-by-a-common-language phenomenon, you should check out the blog of that name maintained by Lynne Murphy, who is also on Twitter as @lynneguist. You know, egg salad in the U.S., egg mayonnaise in the U.K.; call someone on the telephone in the U.S., ring someone in the U.K.; American carryout and British takeaway; that sort of thing.
In good conscience, I should warn you that, unless you are, say, an American Episcopal clergyman trying to lay on the posh for the Anglophile parishioners, or in the secure company of fellow Are You Being Served? rerun addicts, you will want to exercise careful judgment about incorporating such vocabulary into your daily speech. You wouldn’t want to be thought toffee-nosed.