Learning English as a foreign language? You might think you’ve got a handle on it, but let’s be honest – sometimes the lingo can get as tangled as a pre-mobile telephone wire! Take International Mens Day on 19th November, with a whole raft of masculine monikers to amuse and confuse:

  • Bud – A cooler cousin of the word “buddy”, with roots in the 18th century American South. Although some say it has ties to “butty”, which is Welsh slang for “companion”.
  • Chief – It hails from the Old French word “Chef” and screams leadership, hence job titles like Editor-in-Chief and Chief of Police. So, puff out your chest with pride next time someone calls you “Chief”.
  • Big Guy – It sounds all friendly and complimentary. But beware the condescending edge. It’s usually about the size of one’s presence. Or a subtle way of saying “Steady on, Charlie big shot!”
  • Big Man – The crown jewel of respect. It was born on campus and remains a term of endearment for everybody’s favourite hall resident, while also extending to sports teams and even workplaces.
  • Bro – Once synonymous with shoe-gazing, beer guzzling, half-mast trouser wearing young stoners, it’s now used as a mark of close, almost familial, male camaradie, e.g. “bromance”.
  • Dude – Starting as a 19th century term for a fop (from the term “Yankee Doodle”), “Dude” got a surfer makeover in the ‘60s. Since then, it’s become an all-encompassing term that’s as American as apple pie, thanks to the iconic The Big Lebowski film.

These male-oriented mash-ups can be as challenging as they’re jocular when you’re learning English as a foreign language. But remember, when in doubt, just nod and smile. These terms will soon be tripping off your tongue like a pro!

At La Academia, our EFL Team make it fun and informative for English language learners navigating soubriquets. So, check out our EFL courses. And a very happy International Mens Day to every bloke, chap, fella, geezer and boss on the planet!