Pants and Pukka: British English [adjective]

modgirl

Senior Member
USA English, French, Russian
I've heard that in British (probably) slang, pants is an adjective that means bad. Pucker is an adjective that means good. Is that correct?

Are the words used correctly in these sentences?

Eg: I went to see my parents, but it was a pants weekend for everyone.

Oh pants, I just cut myself with the knife.


Eg: I had a pucker time at the party last night!

Pucker, I just got a raise!

Do I like kiwi fruit? Yeah, it's pucker.


If these examples are really not how the words are used, would you kindly give a few examples to show different ways that they are used?
 
  • panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    pants and pukka.
    Who'da thunk it.
    We are into the Jamie Oliver school of English now:)
    They are both, conveniently, filed under P in this link.
    CLICK HERE
    Back in a moment, just wanted to be first to post on this gem:D

    Pants can also [as well as being a garment worn next to the skin on the lower fraction (occasionally a very small fraction) of the abdomen] be used as a general "derogatory word" in a similar but more polite way to crap.

    pukka expl. I almost put this in the "food and drink" category because it has been so popularised lately by Jamie Oliver, British TV's "Naked Chef". Something described as pukka is the genuine article; good stuff. It is derived from the Hindi word "pakka", meaning "substantial", and made it to the UK via the Colonies.

    Definition not too difficult to explain.
    Usage is a little harder I think.
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Thanks, Pan!​

    Very interesting...obviously, the word is pukka, not pucker!

    Some guy on a train from Ipswich to London in June taught me these words, though he spelt it pucker. (Yes, I wrote them down! I was just going through some papers and I found my notes.)

    Since the word (on the page that you gave) pants was compared to crap, I'll have to assume that it is not one to use in polite conversation.

    Edit: Whoops, just saw your edit!
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Pukka/ pucker - it is a product of rhotic/non-rhotic misunderstanding and the generally appalling state of the education system:)

    Pants in polite conversation?
    Hmm. Well it is not at all offensive and is in quite common use.
    It doesn't appear in official correspondence, but then neither would pukka:) - any more, since that young Oliver chap has taken it over. (Used to be OK, snort snort, in the days of the Empire y'no.)

    No, really, pants would not cause any eyebrows to be raised - on account of it's apparent closeness to crap:D

    I can feel other BE-speakers hovering to contradict.

    Usage example
     

    Nocciolina

    Senior Member
    USA
    English
    Inara said:
    I liked the diccionary "English to American" :thumbsup:
    And my usual question: How do you pronounce "pukka": like "few" or like "cup"?
    Thanks
    Well I think punctation would depend on the regional accent:
    Someone from Northern England might say 'pooker',
    whereas in the south it might sound more like 'cup'.
    Someone with knowledge of phonetics cound probably help you more.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Inara said:
    I liked the dictionary "English to American" :thumbsup:
    And my usual question: How do you pronounce "pukka": like "few" or like "cup"?
    Thanks
    :eek: Like few:eek:
    What on earth would that sound like?
    AH - you mean like puke with an a on the end - ~big chortle~.
    It took me ages to work that out. Definitely not:D

    Pukka like Puck with an a on the end.

    Well, even simpler, exactly as modgirl heard it, pucker without the r on the end - exactly the way all those non-rhotic speakers say it.

    What you need is an expert in Estuary English:)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Taking a wild guess-- is "estuary English" spoken by people who live in the south? Along the Severn or the Thames?
     

    Inara

    Senior Member
    panjandrum said:
    :eek: Like few:eek:
    What on earth would that sound like?
    AH - you mean like puke with an a on the end - ~big chortle~.
    It took me ages to work that out. Definitely not:D

    Pukka like Puck with an a on the end.

    Well, even simpler, exactly as modgirl heard it, pucker without the r on the end - exactly the way all those non-rhotic speakers say it.

    What you need is an expert in Estuary English:)
    Was the "few" example that bad? Hmm... You know, Azeri English differs a bit from RP, but it still doesn't go that far as EE :)
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originally posted by Inara
    You know, Azeri English differs a bit from RP, but it still doesn't go that far as EE
    I know this is off-topic (runs at sounds of mods' approaching footsteps), but, what are:

    RP and EE?

    I've seen them in other posts (most notably Spanish-English) and haven't figured them out?!

    (Running out quickly before mods catch up!) :)
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Jonegy said:
    PANTS ?????
    Come on !!
    - the word is "Knickers"
    :) You are either slightly ahead of, or way behind, pants.:)
    Mind you, the usage is different - sorry, was if you are behind - and I have no idea if you are ahead.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Another slang synonym for pants is "naf" so it makes me laugh when I see people with "naf naf" emblems, but then I'm easily amused.
     

    Jonegy

    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Nocciolina said:
    Well I think punctation would depend on the regional accent:
    Someone from Northern England might say 'pooker',
    whereas in the south it might sound more like 'cup'.
    Someone with knowledge of phonetics cound probably help you more.
    that southern 'cup' would sound more like what we in the north would wear on our heads

    Oh the joys of dialects and accents :D
     

    moodywop

    Banned
    Italian - Italy
    GenJen

    Since you were kind enough to respond to my post on I've been meaning I'd like to return the favour and tell you something more about RP, since it's the type of British pronunciation still taught in most European schools and universities. The guy who defined "Received Pronunciation" was a phonetician, Daniel Jones, whose pronunciation dictionary is still widely used, at least in Italy. His definition of RP(mind you, way back in 1917) sounds pretty sexist and outdated nowadays: "that most usually heard in everyday speech in the families of Southern English persons whose menfolk have been educated at the great public boarding-schools".
    To be fair, in a later revision of the dictionary by Jones's successor as Professor of Phonetics at the University of London the definition is described as "hardly tenable today".
    I just thought you might find this interesting.

    Carlo
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    panjandrum said:
    Received Pronunciation & Estuary English
    I think we were not noticed.
    Check the Estuary English link at post #9 - it talks about both.
    Of course you were noticed. We are everywhere:D, but you really weren't off-topic, so I'll just put a small mark next to all the other entries for Pandemonium Varying about a theme, and let life proceed.

    As I live on an estuary, I'm not going to get my knickers in a twist about it.
    Was that proper usage?
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    cuchuflete said:
    As I live on an estuary, I'm not going to get my knickers in a twist about it.
    Was that proper usage?
    :tick: Yes indeed.:tick: But keep your head down - this thread is about pants and pukka, and there's some guy wandering around taking names if you deviate.
     

    Rach404

    Member
    England/English
    Pants....not really used in the London area as far as I know...for most people it sounds a bit "lame" now....I don't know, I'd maybe use it as a softer option to something else, but other than that....
    Pukka- started off by Jamie Oliver...and...mainly used to imitate Jamie Oliver
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Thanks for your replies. I think I'll just leave the terms alone! But it is nice to know what they mean, so if I do hear them, I won't be in the dark.
     
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