From Sarah Dodd:
Yes, we do say "chucking a Uey" in Australia or at least we do in the West. Since I haven't read the back issue I'm not sure how "speccy" was used but again here in the West it's used as an
abbreviated version of spectacular.
Australians seem to "shorten
and add -y" more than even the English!
From Rob Young:
Your Sez You correspondent Margaret says that she has never heard someone
use the word 'speccy'. Any Australian who has football-playing children has. It even turns up on
some of the football shows on television. At least, here in Victoria it does.
Also, in my youth I have been known to chuck, do, hang or even toss a u-ey.
All interchangeable terms.
We imagine Margaret now knows
the real story on speccy.
From Valetta Bolton:
I am a new reader of this site
and I am finding it very interesting. I have to contradict Margaret in Sez You Issue 152. Here in Australia we DO
say 'chuck a u-ey' - you can 'chuck' many things including 'chuck chunder' which means 'to vomit'. Apparently it came from people being sea sick and
calling "watch under" or something of the sort. Was the "speccy" Maragaret was referring to from "take a speccy"? This
means to take a fantastic mark in Australian rules footy!
Poor Margaret, you had no idea your letter would
generate so many responses, did you?
The common factor in the making of espresso is the use of
pressurized hot water, not steam, to extract the flavor essences from the compressed grounds. Linda Echols' piston machine uses hydraulic pressure from the piston to
pressurize the heated water and modern electric machines use an electric pump (which allows electronic control). Illy used
pressurized air in the first automatic espresso maker. Both the earliest espresso machines and stove-top espresso makers use steam (vapor) pressure to force water through the grounds but the resultant super-heated water cooks the grounds and gives a bitter "burnt" flavor (inspiring the other methods of
As an Australian I am familiar with the term "chuck a u-ey" as well as "do a u-ey" and "hang a u-ey" as well as "chuck" or "hang a right/left(-hand turn)."
Thanks for educating us all
regarding the mechanics of making espresso.
From Carolyn Diamond:
Just to throw an Aussie's two cents' worth into
the 'pommy' fray, the name "Pom" is said to derive from Australia's origins as a convict colony. Each unfortunate transported down under
from Britain for his or her (mostly) petty crime was said to be a "Prisoner of Her Majesty" or POHM, later simplified to POM. Your
references appear much more sound and valid, but this is the explanation that appears to have the greatest currency amongst Australians!
Although Australia is a large country, it has a comparatively small
population. However, there is still plenty of room for different usage of words and expressions. I don't know where in Oz Margaret hails from,
but here in Sydney, most people would use the expression to "chuck a u-ey", so perhaps it's more an east coast, state or Sydney thing. But
just to be contrary, we do also sometimes use her choice, "do a uey" - we're nothing if not flexible! "Speccy" is predominantly a Victorian
term (the state of Victoria, rather than a 19th century one!) that comes from the game of Australian
Rules [football], to describe a 'spectacular' mark or catch, and is quite likely uncommon in other parts of Australia. I
dated an Aussie Rules footballer once, hence my knowledge and use of the word.
As you now know, that popular explanation for pommy
is almost certainly spurious. Regular readers of TOWFI have the following
mantra stuck in their heads like a bad tune: "Words are rarely derived
from acronyms. Words are rarely derived from acronyms. Words are..."
From Erica Hruby:
I am a lifelong resident of the Boston area, and I have only heard and used the variant "bang a
Melanie used to hear "hang a
u-ball" in Texas, though it was probably uttered mostly by transplants
from elsewhere in the U.S.
From Andy Lutsch:
Call me an optimist, but I'd always considered the word
"Congradulations" as a purposeful, intentional, and once clever -- but
now quite TRITE -- contraction of the phrase "congratulations graduates." I could also swear I saw a banner with the word (written
and posted by the token ditzy ?female? character) on a television show about 10 years back.... perhaps one of your other readers will
remember this. Still enjoying your work (especially when it's weekly!) and spreading
Certainly it is sometimes used as
a bad pun on graduation. However, we've seen it too many times in
non-graduation circumstances (e.g., weddings, promotions, etc.) to suggest that
all misspellings of congratulations as congradulations are
From Brad Daniels:
I first saw this misspelling as a deliberate choice on a greeting card,
sometime in the early '80s. It was, as you might expect, a graduation card
which said "CON-GRAD-ULATIONS!" on the front. This spelling then became
common for graduation announcements, and eventually, some people began assuming it was the correct spelling. It does bug me when people use
"congradulations" for things other than graduations, but I think it's a
reasonable deliberate misspelling in that context.
We agree, when it is deliberate.
From John Hindsill:
Perhaps, in response to Delcie Light's curmudgeonly comment, the
spelling of 'congratulations' as 'congradulations' is not so much an unintentional misspelling as it is a cutsie way of acknowledging the
From Richard Regan:
Isn't a berliner a pastry? Making JFK's remark an unintended joke?
Indeed! We knew most of our erudite readers
would understand why we chose that particular image (of John F. Kennedy's
speech notes in Issue 152's Spotlight), and so we did not
offer an explanation. Yes, JFK's speech did translate as something
like "I am a jelly doughnut"!
From Guy and Danielle:
A propos of your Spotlight on inhabitants, here are a
couple of local tidbits for your trivia files. "Egarenses" are the folks
from the city of Terrassa, Spain, reflecting the Roman name of the city,
Egara. Also, there are many establishments in Barcelona, Spain, which bear
the name Laie or Laia, after the pre-Roman "laietans" of this area. Also,
from the region of Aragon, Spain, people are known as "maños". Thank you for yet another delightful issue of
From Steve Whitelaw:
I enjoyed your "inhabitants" column, and have a few more for you. Residents
of Rio de Janeiro are Cariocas; Buenos Aires, Porteños; Halifax, Haligonians; Lisbon, Lisboetas or
Alfacinhas; Mazatlan, Mazatlecos. Liverpudlians are, I believe, more commonly referred to as Scousers in England, at least in my experience.
Scouse is a kind of stew common to the area.
Yes, natives of Liverpool
are indeed known as Scouses by the rest of England because they
are/were fond of a stew called scouse, which is short for lobscouse.
The latter is of unknown origin. Most Americans are unfamiliar with
either of these terms. Scouse meaning "a native of
Liverpool" dates in writing from only 1945. Scouser came
a bit later.
According to my sources, the mailing list of friends of Silly Wizard known as Rambling Rovers, the answer
[to "why on Earth are the folk of Hawick called Teeries?" from
last issue's Spotlight] is: Teribus ye Teriodin is the Hawick town motto, but folk in the other border towns call
And the poem may be read at:
And there is http://www.teridom.com/ of course, where you can find more info on the town motto.
erudition. Thanks, Howie!
From Graham Crowley:
I thought that the inhabitants of Liverpool and Newcastle were called Scousers and
Geordies [respectively]. But what do you call people from Ramsbottom? It can't be Malesheepsarseans, anyway Ramsbottom is like a reversal of Wheatear,
it's of Norse origin, sounds anatomical, but is a reference to plants.
We really liked Malesheepsarseans!
As for Ramsbottom's derivation, it either means "valley of the
rams" or "valley where wild garlic grows" (the Old English
word for "ram" was similar to that for "wild garlic"). No one is completely