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#7872 - 10/26/00 02:16 AM Re: tiffin
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
There is also a chocolate bar called Tiffin. Crushed biscuity stuff in chocolate heaven.

If you ever get to see a programme called "Goodness Gracious Me" then watch it! A healthy dose of irony from second (or third or fourth) generation British Asians (forgive me if the terminology has moved on) making fun of their own experience of life. Tiffin, as mentioned by Shanks, is one of those inherently funny words that leads to lots of comedy. I particularly like the scene where they go out for an "English" asking for food that's really "mild" instead of the sterotypical English late night drinkers going out for an "Indian" looking for really hot curry.

{I've now checked out where the cast come from and I'll substitute Asian with Indian if it helps inter-cultural understanding - here's the BBC America website: http://www.bbcamerica.com/programs/goodness_gracious_me.html)

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#7873 - 10/26/00 03:46 AM More on tiffin
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
Jo

I think Goodness Gracious Me is the funniest thing on Brit TV since Absolutely Fabulous. Mr 'Check Please' is one of my favourite characters.

Now back to 'tiffin'. I cannot give you a strict etymology or definition of the word, but I presume that Hobson-Jobson would do the job. My own understanding is as follows.

Tiffin, or a tiffin box, is certainly, as Bingley said, a series of stacked tins for food, with individual handles or otherwise, that can all be bundled together in one unit. If this sounds confusing, think of a cylinder composed of open-topped pans (with lips so one sits neatly on top of the other), and only one lid - for the one on the top. You have two long handles going down the side that, besides allowing you to lift and carry the contraption, also hold it together so none of the individual pans comes tumbling out. With me so far?

The advantage of a tiffin box is that you can carry an entire meal in it, keeping the various dishes separate from each other as you take them to work (or picnic, or school or whatever). The tiffin box, therefore, carries 'tiffin' - your food. Since this entire contraption is used primarily for workers/students, who leave home in the morning after mummy/'the little woman' has cooked and packed lunch, the word 'tiffin' usually refers to your luncheon. It is very Anglo-Indian and British Raj, though it is still used commonly in India today, and I am pretty sure that I have seen it in use amongst other English writers (though I could not, for the life of me, cite one).

Hope that helps.

cheer

the sunshine warrior


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#7874 - 10/26/00 04:34 AM Re: Food for thought
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>feck is never heard as word in US

This takes us back to the rather elderly expletives thread (deep in the bowels).

Another television programme, I'm afraid. When they made Father Ted they needed to reflect the prevalance of four letter words which begin with f and and with k in everyday Irish speech (see Rubrick's thoughts on the subject). The word needed to be scattered liberally (as an intersifier, rather than having any particular meaning). There were two problems as far as I understand. Firstly there are only so many f***s allowed per hour of viewing for a programme scheduled to go out at around 9pm. Secondly the characters were Catholic priests. The programme makers invented the word "feck" which could be uttered without fear of upsetting too many people (given that the content of the programme was affectionate but not exactly angelic).

The result was, of course, that everyone understood the word feck, so it entered the language in the same way that some of the older hands are able to quote whole sketches from Monty Python.

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#7875 - 10/26/00 05:00 AM Re: Food for thought
shanks Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 1004
Loc: London, UK
Is this true? Fascinating.

The reason I might be slightly sceptical, is that an Irish colleague of mine uses 'feck' quite often. Of course, she may have picked it up from Father Ted...

cheer

the sunshine warrior


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#7876 - 10/26/00 10:18 AM Re: Food for thought
FishonaBike Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
Stateside, a pudding is a soft custard like food

Hmmm, more like a "milk pudding" over here, sounds like. Although the thickener isn't corn starch, more often say, rice or semolina...or even Frog Spawn (tapioca)!

We also have "steam puddings", which are suet sponge based, and absolutely wonderful winter treats. Usually topped with jam/syrup. And did I mention the importance of custard?
Let me repeat it anyway!

shanks has described Toad in the Hole below.



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#7877 - 10/26/00 10:51 AM Re: feck
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
that is truly a great story, jo; but I'm afraid there's more to it than that. feck really is the root for feckless and feckful and seems to be a Scottish alteration of ME effect. it means either:
1a) the greater part: majority b) part, portion <the greater ~ of the year>
or
2) value, worth <no ~ would come of it>
or
3) a usu. large number or quantity <a whole ~ of them came>


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#7878 - 10/26/00 01:19 PM Re: feck
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
feck - your definition

I'm sure you are right but if you hear it used here (mainly among younger people) it is more likely to mean f***. There wouldn't be a problem - it would be quite obvious from the context.


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#7879 - 10/26/00 09:54 PM Re: feck
xara Offline
member

Registered: 10/09/00
Posts: 197
Loc: cary, nc, usa
Isn't it funny that my dictionary (merriam webster's 10th ed.) defines feckless and feckly but not feck.


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#7880 - 10/27/00 01:25 AM Re: feck
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10523
Loc: this too shall pass
not really, a collegiate/desk dictionary isn't likely to have a lot of Scottish words.


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#7881 - 10/27/00 02:17 AM Re: feck
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
>isn't likely to have a lot of Scottish words

or even Irish!


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