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Strictly British

sack, sacked, sacking
To be sacked is to be dismissed from one's job; in the U.S. we'd say "fired". To sack someone is to fire that person.
The sacking of Mr. Banks in Walt Disney's film adaptation of WEB LINKMary Poppins is recommended.

A variety of tangerine with a sharp taste, originally from Japan (NSOED).

To run away. This may be an example of rhyming slang in which the rhyming word is no longer used (scarper = "Scapa (Flow)"), although it is also attributed to the Italian word scappare, "escape, get away" (NSOED)

scrubbed wood table
scrubbed wood table by Hawley's Fine Woodworking
An aged, well-used wooden table. Scott Hawley, of WEB LINKHawley's Fine Woodworking, sent this description:

The term "scrubbed wood" or "scrubbed pine" is actually just...what happens to the wood over time. The of a table that was once painted and over many years of hard use and scrubbing down to clean over and over, the paint has been worn off leaving only certain areas of the old paint left in marks and dings the wood has also acquired over time. This leaves a smooth top surface with an abundance of character and color variation.

Scott's scrubbed wood tables are actually beautifully hand-crafted replicas of farmhouse scrubbed-wood tables, of course. As I (SVA) look at the pictures, I'm starting to think I should have had Scott make me one for my new desk...

A child in his or her second year of school.

Sellotape (British edition only)
Cellophane tape. In the U.S., we'd say "Scotch tape". The name of the wizarding equivalent, Spellotape, is a play on this, a pun that is lost in translation for U.S. readers.

Someone in his or her seventh year of school.

sherbet lemon
A hard lemon-flavoured candy shell filled with effervescent sherbet powder. Also known as sherbet lemons. Not the same thing as Lemonheads or lemon drops! Sherbet powder is not the same thing as an iced sherbet.

a look

Annoyed; angry. Probably from "to get someone's shirt out," to annoy, or "to keep one's shirt on," to keep from being annoyed. (NSOED)

To put on a short list.

U.S.: a look. This word can be used as either a noun or a verb; it was originally military slang, derived from the Arabic for "have you seen"? (NSOED).

shut it
Shut up.

Someone in his or her sixth year of school.

skip (British edition only)
U.S.: Dumpster.

skirting board
U.S.: baseboard. A board placed parallel to the floor at the base of an interior wall, serving as edging.

skive, skiving
To avoid doing one's task or duty; to "skive off" is to skip, as in skipping classes at school.

Lockhart, © 2001 by Edgar Torné

Originally meant to smear (especially in the sense of slicking down with something like hair cream or oil) (NSOED), but now is used mostly in the sense of behaving in an oily way - that is, with a lot of overdone flattery and deference. In the U.S. we'd say "suck up" rather than "smarm up".

Self-satisfied, conceited; ingratiating in an oily way.

snog, snogging
To kiss passionately.

spare, going spare
A colloquial phrase, meaning either going crazy with worry or getting really agitated/angry.

spotted dick
A suet pudding made with currants or raisins (NSOED). The name is thought to come from a corruption of the word "pudding".

Spotted dick: a long pudding, or dick, spotted with currants. When you've said that, you've said it all. I mean, if people are going to laugh about something like this, we'd never get through a mealtime. - from WEB LINKNanny Ogg's Cookbook by Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs, Tina Hannan, and Paul Kidby, Corgi edition © 2001 All rights reserved

Stark naked.

More generally, tacking -ers or -er onto the ends of shortened forms of words to make slang equivalents was originally school slang at Rugby, and in the fullness of time Oxford as the students who spoke such slang got older and went to university, then later seeped into the general public. The word 'soccer' is an example of one such slang word that seeped into general use (NSOED).

steak and kidney pie
These two ingredients represent a popular British filling for a pie (normally encased in pastry). Steak and kidney pies are often served with chips and appear on the menu of most British fish and chip shops.

U.S.: Streetlight.

stoat sandwiches
Definitely not a British delicacy. JKR made this up. A stoat is a small mammal similar to a weasel which is found in Britain and Ireland. It is not usually eaten by humans, in sandwiches or any other form. [WEB LINKThe Mammal Society]

swot, swotty
As a verb, "swot" means to study hard; as a noun, "swot" refers to somebody who does this. Hermione and Percy could both be called swots.

Covered or otherwise sweetened with sugar. For the "covered in sugar" sense, in the U.S. we'd say "glazed"

sugar tongs
Long-handled grips used to pick up cube sugar. In Britain, sugar is available granulated or in moulded lumps or small cubes. Cube sugar would be considered posh by someone like Petunia Dursley, but it's arguably exactly the opposite.



U.S.: Candy store.

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Primary editor: Michele L. Worley.
original artwork of Gilderoy Lockhart © 2001 by Edgar Torné, used by permission
Original page date 28-October-2005; Last page update 4-August-2007 MLW