Preface  |  A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G  |  H  |  I  |  J , K  |  L  |  M  |  N  |  O  |  P  |  Q, R  |  S  |  T  |  U  |  V  |  W  |  X, Y, Z  |  Index


B.A. Bugger All.

B.C. Bar of Chocolate.

B.SC. Boy Scout.

BACHELOR n. a small thing in the kitchen what has a flat base and a long handle; used for lifting things.

BACTERIA n. a grasshopper’s third pair of wings, along with anterior and posterior.

BALANCE OF POWER n. making a battery stand up straight in your hand.     

BAMBOO n. an Italian baby.


Above: a bambino, not bamboo. (Illustration by Tosh Bibb.)

BANK HOLIDAY They call this happy day Bank holiday, because the banks shut up shop, so as people can’t put their money in, but has to spend it. People begin talking about Bank holiday a long time before it comes, but they don't begin to spree about much till the night before.

Bank holidays are the happiest days of all your life, because you can do nearly what you like, and the police don’t take no notice of you. You can go into fields, and shout all about as hard as you like and laugh at people, and dress up in all different colours, and you can do everything but steal and break windows. Never steal or break windows, for it is written in the Bible.

There’s only one thing that spoils Bank holiday, and that is not being fine and hot. When it’s wet all the gentlemen get savage, and fight one another. But when it’s fine and hot, the gentlemen all laugh and are kind, and the women dance about and drink beer like the gentlemen. Everybody’s right, and boys don’t get skittled round.

Last Bank holiday was a regular good one. We just had as much as we liked to eat, and then there was plenty left for tea and supper. Baby never cried at all, but tumbled about on the grass, and looked at the white ducks and hens. Lots of people kept coming all day till it was regular jolly. After tea, the young gentlemen and their sweethearts played at kissing in the ring. I never seed so many kisses in my life.     

BANKER n. a man who grants OVERDRAFTS to farmers.

BANTER n. a small rooster.


Above: A school kid mistakes banter (playful chat) with bantam (a small breed of chicken). (Illustration by Denise Sutherland.)

BARBARIAN n. 1. a thing you put into bicycles to make them run smoothly. 2. a man who does not shave. 3. a man who cuts hair. Cf. BARBER.       

BARBER n. the opposite of heiress.

BARRISTER n. 1. a piece of thick wood, generally at the side of stairs. 2. a man who is not MARRIED. 

BEDS are what you have in rooms you sleep in and there are always two beds in every room that is for your father and your mum and your two sisters and your brothers and you. Beds are really for sleeping in at night but some times when your mother thinks you are no good and wants to be a real nasty she makes you go to bed in the day time and I think that is a mad thing for her to do because you can't even go to sleep when you think the other kids are playing footy with your ball.

Beds are good things when you are sick and you have to have medicine because you can pretend to be asleep and not have to have it. Also beds are good to go to when your dad is not good friends with you and wants to come and have a talk with you and your mum won't let him come in and wake you up.

BILINGUALISMn. the language spoken by people in Billingsgate.

BINNACLE n. the plural of monocle.

BIPLANE n. an aeroplane with only one wing.

BIZARRE n. a church sale.

BLACK DEATH n. a plague which half killed one-third of the population.

  BOOKKEEPING n. the silent art of not returning books borrowed.


Above: The art of "book-keeping". Something tells us the young person who defined the word is quite experienced in the art. Illustration by Tosh Bibb.

BOOMERANG n. 1. an Australian marsupial. 2. a savage kind of monkey.

BOTULISM n. a close study of plants.

BOUQUET n. the man you give your money to when you want to bet at the races.

BOWEL n. used for carrying food and liquid.

BRACE n. the singular of braces.       

BRAWN n. an oversized shrimp.


Above: A school kid mistakes brawn for prawn. You couldn't call this prawn a shrimp! (Illustration by Tosh Bibb.)

BRIDGE n. a thing that you have in the road for the river to go under.

BROADCASTING vb. boasting or talking things just for show.

BRONCHITIS n. saddle soreness.

BUDGET n. a booklet for recording expenses.

BURGLARISE vb. to make burglars.

BUTTRESS n. 1. a woman who makes butter. 2. a female butcher. 3. a female goat. 4. a butler’s wife.

BY-LAW n. a law that the police are not keen on carrying out.