Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Aussie word of the day: fake-out edition

My brother Sam, who finds Jason's linguistic machinations hilarious, recently heard someone exclaim "cheese and rice," and assumed that the person was Australian and was using rhyming slang in place of "Jesus Christ!"*

For the uninitiated, rhyming slang involves using replacing a word with other words, with the last word rhyming with the word it's intended to replace, e.g., "cheese and kisses" for "missus," "frog and toad" for "road," "Pat Malone" for "alone," etc. It gets even more convoluted when the last word (i.e., the rhyming one) is left off altogether, like when "septic tank" is used to refer to an American ("Yank"), but "tank" is omitted and "septic" is abbreviated to "seppo."

Have I mentioned that Aussies are a little nuts?


In Sam's case, he was right. The person was undoubtedly either Aussie (or maybe British), and was using "cheese and rice" as a sub for "Jesus Christ."

But sometimes Jason will use an expression that sounds to me like it should be part of a rhyming combination, but actually isn't, so I'll sit there racking my brain trying to figure out what he's trying to say and what's supposed to rhyme with what.

My favorite example is "she'll be apples," which means "everything will be OK." As in, "Don't worry about the party, love. We'll get what we need from the store and I'll watch the kids while you cook, and everything will get done in time. She'll be apples!"

The first time I heard this phrase, I assumed that "apples" was part of a rhyming combination, so I was sitting there with my brow furrowed and smoke coming out of my ears, trying to be all clever and figure it out, as I thought to myself, "apples and pears? what rhymes with pears? apples and something else??"

And Jason saw the confused look on my face and asked, "what's up?"

"Apples and pears?"


"What goes with apples?"

"What are you talking about?"

"What's 'apples'? You said, 'she'll be apples.'"

He laughed and explained what it meant.

"Oh, OK. You're not just messing with me?"

"Fair dinkum, baby, I wouldn't do that!"


*Incidentally, I did some research and discovered that the Cockney rhyming slang for "jew" is "five and two." But Jason said he'd never heard this, so it must be a Brits-only kind of thing.

1 comment:

  1. Lori B3:51 PM

    Cheese and rice is now going to be my new swear word. Love it.