Bruce Lawson’s personal site

If you’re British, it’s not “awesome”

If you’re British, it’s not “awesome”. That’s an American word, like “sidewalk”, “gas” for petrol, “critter”, “varmint”, “tarnation” and “gotten” as the third form of the verb. Americans, you’re welcome to use them; they’re your words, but they are not English.

If you want knee-jerk circle-jerk response to mediocre design, the term is “Brendan Dawesome“.

If you want to express actual approbation for something, the English terms are “spiffing”, “top-hole”, “wizard” or “ticketyboo”.

Thank you. Bye.

29 Responses to “ If you’re British, it’s not “awesome” ”

Comment by Jen

I can’t believe Mr. Dawesome hasn’t opened his foolish yapper yet to contribute yet another short-sighted and poorly worded epithet on your AWESOME-ness. 😉

Comment by Bruce

@jen – I’m not having a go at Brendan.

Personally, I think twitter is the place for vague nods of support, as 140 characters isn’t room for a sophisticated critique. “Awesome” seem to be the way that people wish to do that. (Or “FAIL!!” with multiple exclamation marks as a rather juvenile mode of scathing put-down.)

As groups of friends naturally wish to be nice to each other, I think a new word to mean “I’ve got nothing to say except vague nods of support” wouldn’t hurt, so our American friends’ real “awesome” isn’t diluted too much.

As Brendan first identified the phenomenon, I coined the neologism in his honour.

Comment by Foamcow

I would add, “capital” and “top-notch” to that list.
In a similar vein, let’s not forget the classic “hurrah!”

Comment by Bruce


“fabulous” is a special case, reserved for flamboyant Londoners who work in the media. (Which, to be honest, is most of them.)

Comment by Anna

You are wrong, these words are english.

After colonizing the world, bringing havoc, pain and death over several societies, british people have to accept that there is now more than one english, some evolving outside the UK. And they are all true english. And they aren’t owned by the UK. And its the United Kingdoms own fault.

It is pretty nationalistic and narrow minded to think otherwise. You may be shocked to see this part of you, but obviously it is there.

Comment by Martin

Anna, you are perfectly entitled to your opinion, but I think you’ll find there is no form of English where capitalisation or the apostrophe are optional.

Other than that, a spiffing contribution to the conversation.

Ta duck.

Comment by lucideer

What then would your opinion of the likes of amn’t, ’tis, ye, childer, mitching, craic, wee (small), etc.

Be they English?

Comment by Rick Lecoat

@Martin Precisely targeted and nicely executed, sir.
For myself, I’m always on the lookout for good English put-downs. Personal favourites ‘du jour’ (yes, yes, I know) are ghastly, beastly, and horrid — preferably prefaced with a reinforcing “perfectly”.

That said, it irks me somewhat that Mr Bruce disapproves of me appropriating “Ornery varmint” for my comedic, grizzled prospector-esque needs.

Comment by Paul Annett

I love the fact that this is now slipping into the Twitter vocabulary! ™

Is there an official definition for the word brucelawsome (sic) yet?

Comment by annonomas

well you foooool the langwitch is called ENGLISH you just messed it up why dont you get your own langwitch and call it amercan

oh yeah its crisps not chips
chips are the yellow things you get at mcdonnalds
awesome conversation

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