|The Show Went Down a Bomb! Photo by Gareth Cameron.|
This use of descriptive matter taken from nature does, in a sense, seem to confirm the British tendency to feel comfortable with botanical terms as claimed in the style manual article. It’s entirely understandable that Americans use the term “alligator clips,” while we in Britain say “crocodile clips.” It is certainly true we have no crocodiles in UK except in zoos, but they are not too far away and are more likely than alligators to have been experienced by former British travellers in West Africa.
Some definitions from nature are equally delightful whether American or British, for example:
•Devil’s paintbrush (American) and orange hawkweed (British)
•Harvestman (American) and daddy-long-legs (British)
•Eggplant (American) and aubergine (British)
“Bomb” as a Noun must be Understood in ContextIf you see a great show in Britain, you might say, “That went down a bomb.” But if you said the same in the US, it would appear you were being extremely scathing about the standard and quality of the show. In Britain, the meaning of the word “bomb” as a noun depends on context – if a play is thought to be a bomb, then it’s a dud, but if it goes down a bomb, that’s high praise indeed. Brits might also complain that something “costs a bomb” meaning a large amount of money.