"That movie was a bomb."

cheshire

Senior Member
Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
Is it really true that the slang "bomb" has exactly the opposite meanings between AmE and BrE?

That movie was a bomb.
Is it true that it means "failure" in AmE, "success" in BrE?
 
  • foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    In AE, there's no ambiguity. If the movie bombed, it was a bomb. If it was a bomb, it stank on ice. No success whatsoever, unless you're into celluloid cheese.

    "I heard Hiroshima Mon Amour was a bomb."
    "That's supposed to be funny?"
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    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    AE once had more respect for munitions, or at least the casings. Decades ago, bombshell was a term used to describe a very attractive woman.
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    AE once had more respect for munitions, or at least the casings. Decades ago, bombshell was a term used to describe a very attractive woman.
    The shell is the part of a bomb (or unit of artillery ordinance) that is released from the casing. In olden days cannons spewed both shot (solid matter) and shell (hollow projectiles, packed with explosive).

    "Shot and shell" is a set phrase for such ejecta-- casings came later, and are left behind, I guess you could call them rejecta. The phrase has the good grace to rhyme with "Hell," as anyone who's read Tennyson knows.

    As for bombshells, they are different in shape from the casings that erstwhile encased them. Rather like dagmars-- which I'll bet you remember from bydone gaze. Named after a bombshell whose movies (had there been any) would more'n likely have been plain old bombs.
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    BSmith

    Member
    U.S.A. - English
    You may be confusing it with the slang "soandso was the bomb," which actually means something IS good.

    "The bomb" is a phrase out of the black community that implies positivity.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    You may be confusing it with the slang "soandso was the bomb," which actually means something IS good.

    "The bomb" is a phrase out of the black community that implies positivity.
    It may have had its origin in the black community, but around me it's a common expression understood and used by pretty much anyone.
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Anyone under a certain age, you mean-- it's very recent..
    If by very recent, you mean the late 1980s, then yes. I used it in high school, and if not, then at least in early college. I always thought it had its origin in "Valley Speak." **

    ** For those who don't understand, "Valley Speak" was a derivative of surfer speak that originated in the San Fernando Valley south of Los Angeles, like, in the 1980's.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    Do the British actually say "That movie was a bomb"?

    And, if they do, do they mean it in a good sense?

    My experience of British English use of bomb in this way is pretty much confined to "xyz went down a bomb" which meant it was appreciated, or "xyz went like a bomb" meaning it went well (an interview, or exam, or some other event).
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    The shell is the part of a bomb (or unit of artillery ordinance) that is released from the casing. In olden days cannons spewed both shot (solid matter) and shell (hollow projectiles, packed with explosive).

    "Shot and shell" is a set phrase for such ejecta-- casings came later, and are left behind, I guess you could call them rejecta. The phrase has the good grace to rhyme with "Hell," as anyone who's read Tennyson knows.

    As for bombshells, they are different in shape from the casings that erstwhile encased them. Rather like dagmars-- which I'll bet you remember from bydone gaze. Named after a bombshell whose movies (had there been any) would more'n likely have been plain old bombs.
    .
    .
    Could anybody rewrite the blue part easier for me?

    Do the British actually say "That movie was a bomb"?

    And, if they do, do they mean it in a good sense?

    My experience of British English use of bomb in this way is pretty much confined to "xyz went down a bomb" which meant it was appreciated, or "xyz went like a bomb" meaning it went well (an interview, or exam, or some other event).
    Interesting. Do the British agree?
     
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