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Emily Winslow
03-24-2011, 12:25 PM
Hi all--I'm looking for a British-vocab alternative to "kick ass!" (as in, "do a fantastic job and thrash your opponent!"). Or, for permission to use it as is in British dialogue ;-)

Firstly, I know that the British is "arse" rather than "ass." But googling UK sites shows "kick arse" to be significantly less used than "kick ass" (even searching with "-film" to adjust for the use of "kick ass" as a movie title).

Lots of American phrases seem to be creeping into common use over here. If I can reasonably retain the phrase "kick ass" in my dialogue between British characters in a British-set book, I would like to.

So...
Would it distract you to read a British character say "kick ass"?
If yes, what equivalent phrase would you recommend?

Many thanks, all!

Dgullen
03-24-2011, 12:59 PM
If it's contemporary I think 'kick-arse' would be fine - not kick-ass though. You've used a good alternative yourself - thrash, or thrashed.

It's a little long-winded, but I'm fond of 'handed his arse on a silver platter', or as I like to say, being butlered.

Dave

waylander
03-24-2011, 01:21 PM
I share your doubts about saying 'kick arse' or 'kick ass'.
I'm fond of the phrase 'stuffed out of sight' to describe the kind of overwhelming victory you refer to.

dpaterso
03-24-2011, 01:56 PM
I don't think I'd be too bothered if a UK character said "kick ass" in any context -- this is one of many phrases that have migrated across the Pond and been absorbed into everyday language.

Of course this would vary by region, some older traditional phrases are unlikely to be easily displaced, e.g.

Threatening: "I'm gonny kick his arse!"*

Triumphant: "We kicked their arses!"*

Complimentary: "That's pure dead brilliant."

* a much ruder worse than "arse" would be used where I live.

-Derek

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 02:22 PM
Kicking someone's arse, yeah pretty okay I think. I don't hear it as in the phrase 'That was really kick-arse' though for something good. It's more about the arse-kicking as in your actual kicking it.

Some alternatives

Threatening: "I'm going to kick your arse into next week!"

Triumphant: "We wiped the floor with them/knocked seven shades of snot out of them!"*

Complimentary: "That curry was the dog's bollocks!"

Priene
03-24-2011, 03:38 PM
Give them a slap. Give them a smack. Give them a spank.



(Gets overexcited and has to retire to a dark room)

scarletpeaches
03-24-2011, 03:45 PM
This thread is the bollocks.

And you, my American fellow AWers, will get your arses felt.

Buffysquirrel
03-24-2011, 04:55 PM
I don't think it would bother me much. After all, I've started writing check for cheque these days....

Showed them how it's done. Walked all over them. Showed them who's boss.

RobJ
03-24-2011, 04:57 PM
Give 'em shit!

Priene
03-24-2011, 05:02 PM
Give them a gubbing.

Anne Lyle
03-24-2011, 06:03 PM
I think you can get away with "kick-ass" as an adjective, since it's made its way into British English as a loan-word:

"That was a seriously kick-ass movie."

Any other usage, though, it depends on context. In the imperative, "(go and) kick ass!", maybe "Give 'em what for!"? If it's an exclamation, "(that was) kick ass!", some of the suggestions above, like "You showed him who's boss" would be more idiomatic, or just "You totally kicked his arse".

Torgo
03-24-2011, 06:50 PM
Wander over to Quora, where Jonathon Green - the world's pre-eminent expert on English language slang - seems to be happy to answer (http://www.quora.com/Jonathon-Green) all kinds of slang-related queries.

Mr Flibble
03-24-2011, 06:52 PM
Give them a gubbing.


I'll take thee knackers and have 'em fer earrings!

Sorry, sorry, couldn't resist :D

Drachen Jager
03-24-2011, 07:51 PM
My favourite (for telling someone to go kick ass) "Put some welly into it!" or "Give him some welly!"

From wellingtons-big boots. It's a pretty useful phrase meaning 'give it all you've got'.

BunnyMaz
03-24-2011, 08:07 PM
So long as none of your UK male characters refer to having hurt their fannies you'll be fine. :P

But yeah,

"Kicked his arse" for violence. Is fine. But if you want kick-arse as a complimentary it would grate for me to have coming from a UK character. Our language may be becoming more Americanised amongst the younger ones, but I've still yet to know anyone who uses "kick-ass" as a positive. Phrases equivalent will vary from region region but phrases I grew up with include

dog's bollocks
fucking minted
fanbloodytastic
well dead good
fecking marvellous

The fecks and fucks are important. We are not such a polite bunch :D

Also as a general cheering-on of someone as in watching sport, dog racing etc, COME ON MY SON! Regardless of whether the thing being cheered is your son, male or even human :)

My best advice is - play Killing Floor for a bit. The characters are all delightfully working-class-British-Londoner in the way they speak.

Drachen Jager
03-24-2011, 08:24 PM
http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/index.htm

A pretty complete dictionary of britishisms.

Kitty Pryde
03-24-2011, 08:35 PM
On my trip to England, I learned this one: Get stuck in! Is that close to what the OP wants?

Priene
03-24-2011, 08:37 PM
Get stuck in!

I just had a flashback to my old games teacher.

Polenth
03-24-2011, 09:41 PM
If I were being slangy, I'd say "thrash them" rather than "kick ass" in that context.

Rufus Coppertop
03-25-2011, 04:21 AM
If I saw "kick ass" coming from an Englishman's mouth in a novel, I'd assume the novel was written by an American who hadn't bothered with any research.

IceCreamEmpress
03-25-2011, 05:07 AM
I love the episode of Fawlty Towers where Basil tries to get all Clint Eastwood and shouts "I've had enough of this ARSE!"

Priene
03-25-2011, 10:17 AM
If I saw "kick ass" coming from an Englishman's mouth in a novel, I'd assume the novel was written by an American who hadn't bothered with any research.

Agreed. A British author could have a British character use it in a smirky, sarcastic way, but that wouldn't come over from a foreigner author.

Emily Winslow
03-25-2011, 10:39 AM
Wow, thanks, everyone! Your slangy insults and encouragements have made my day ;-D

Anne Lyle
03-25-2011, 10:56 AM
You should join us at CB2 one Saturday - I'm sure the Cambridge NaNoWriMo crowd could put you straight :)

Emily Winslow
03-25-2011, 05:12 PM
You should join us at CB2 one Saturday - I'm sure the Cambridge NaNoWriMo crowd could put you straight :)

I love CB2!

(I was once in there near the Nano table--couldn't help overhearing. I almost said 'hello'...)

scarletpeaches
03-25-2011, 05:19 PM
If I saw "kick ass" coming from an Englishman's mouth in a novel, I'd assume the novel was written by an American who hadn't bothered with any research.
Agreed. A British author could have a British character use it in a smirky, sarcastic way, but that wouldn't come over from a foreigner author.Firstly, we're talking about British, not specifically English. Secondly, I say it occasionally in real life. So yes, it does happen.

Rufus Coppertop
03-25-2011, 05:57 PM
Firstly, we're talking about British, not specifically English. Secondly, I say it occasionally in real life. So yes, it does happen.

Whether English specifically or British generally, I'd still make the assumption until disabused of it by further information.

scarletpeaches
03-25-2011, 05:58 PM
Further information: the fact a Brit has just told you it's in use here.

Rufus Coppertop
03-25-2011, 06:06 PM
Well, all right then. Seeing as you're a Brit, I'll believe you. But only because you're a Brit who's over there and who uses it.

scarletpeaches
03-25-2011, 06:09 PM
Told you I was kick-ass.

ETA: I believe the intartubes and so many American shows on British television are to blame for the blurring of the language lines. Just the other day an American called me a wanker. Me!

Priene
03-25-2011, 06:12 PM
Further information: the fact a Brit has just told you it's in use here.


Well, all right then. Seeing as you're a Brit, I'll believe you. But only because you're a Brit who's over there and who uses it.

It must be some sort of youth signifier. Like drinking Red Bull or txting your mates while you walk down the High Street or appreciating the oeuvre of Lady Gaga. In my day it was football hooliganism, fancying Kim Wilde and using the word div.

scarletpeaches
03-25-2011, 06:13 PM
A youth? At 34? I fucking wish. And thanks for lumping me in with the rest of the knob-jockeys who like Lady Gaga. I've never seen the point to her, myself, and I'd pay good money to kick her in the face.

Rufus Coppertop
03-25-2011, 06:15 PM
Oh don't do that! Kick her ass instead!

Priene
03-25-2011, 06:16 PM
A youth? At 34? I fucking wish. And thanks for lumping me in with the rest of the knob-jockeys who like Lady Gaga. I've never seen the point to her, myself, and I'd pay good money to kick her in the face.

Ideally, you should be kicking her in the ass.



Edit: Oh bollocks, Rufus beat me. Must be age catching me up.

scarletpeaches
03-25-2011, 06:18 PM
I love how this thread has gone from "Kick ass," to "Get SP to kick Lady Gaga in the ass."

I love you guys.

Rufus Coppertop
03-25-2011, 06:18 PM
And bugger me dead, I meant to say arse, not ass!

Rufus Coppertop
03-25-2011, 06:20 PM
I love you guys.

Well, kissy kissy and let's have a group hug then. Come on Priene, you're in this too!:e2grouphu

Priene
03-25-2011, 06:25 PM
Well, kissy kissy and let's have a group hug then. Come on Priene, you're in this too!:e2grouphu

An Englishman doing a group hug? E-I-Addio, I don't think so.

RobJ
03-25-2011, 06:29 PM
I love you guys.
See how quickly you've fallen from kick-ass to suck-ass ;)

Rufus Coppertop
03-25-2011, 06:29 PM
Attention Please: Groups hugs hereby cancelled pending disinhibition of all parties.

seun
03-25-2011, 06:44 PM
I still say div. Although I draw the line at fancying Kim Wilde.

Mr Flibble
03-25-2011, 06:47 PM
A youth? At 34? I fucking wish.

Oh great, just rub it in why don'tcha?



Although I draw the line at fancying Kim Wilde. Even if it was in a threesome with Blondie? What about Claire Grogan?

seun
03-25-2011, 06:49 PM
Grogan, definitely.

Priene
03-25-2011, 06:56 PM
Wilde kicks Grogan's ass. Fact.

Mr Flibble
03-25-2011, 07:06 PM
Wilde kicks Grogan's ass. Fact.


While wearing bikinis, battling it out in a pool of custard?

scarletpeaches
03-25-2011, 07:27 PM
Bella bella! :D

Priene
03-25-2011, 07:29 PM
While wearing bikinis, battling it out in a pool of custard?

As long as Grogan promises not to sing. Don't want to curdle the custard.

BunnyMaz
03-25-2011, 09:34 PM
Further information: the fact a Brit has just told you it's in use here.

Odd. I'm a Brit and I can't say I've ever heard anyone over here say it. I certainly wouldn't consider it a normal part of Brit language usage. I mean, what with the amount of exposure we get to American culture I know plenty of people who occassionally slip up and use terms like "sidewalk", but it's the exception.

Torgo
03-25-2011, 09:46 PM
Odd. I'm a Brit and I can't say I've ever heard anyone over here say it. I certainly wouldn't consider it a normal part of Brit language usage. I mean, what with the amount of exposure we get to American culture I know plenty of people who occassionally slip up and use terms like "sidewalk", but it's the exception.

I have been known to use "kick arse" as an adjective.

alleycat
03-25-2011, 09:55 PM
If anyone is interested, there is a thread in International about the differences in English used in the US and UK.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=151733

I might merge this thread into it, if Mac thinks it's worth it.

seun
03-25-2011, 11:31 PM
I mean, what with the amount of exposure we get to American culture I know plenty of people who occassionally slip up and use terms like "sidewalk", but it's the exception.

My brother once left me a message on my mobile to call him back on his 'cell phone.'

I called him back and told him he was a wanker. For what it's worth, his wife and kids were in the background, telling him the same thing.

Priene
03-25-2011, 11:49 PM
I called him back and told him he was a wanker. For what it's worth, his wife and kids were in the background, telling him the same thing.

I remember Danny Baker talking about wearing eye glasses. That made me think he was a wanker.

Rufus Coppertop
03-26-2011, 04:45 AM
Odd. I'm a Brit and I can't say I've ever heard anyone over here say it.

Tell you what. You and Scarlet Peaches have a brawl over it and I'll believe the winner.

:popcorn:

Torgo
03-26-2011, 04:49 AM
I remember Danny Baker talking about wearing eye glasses. That made me think he was a wanker.

I will not hear a word against Danny Baker.