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Taking the piss

Since we at Samizdata are only too aware that most of our readers are not British, we take a particular relish in introducing our readers to the rich and fruity idioms of British slang. We see this as a kind of cultural export.

In this tradition, may I refer you to the expression ‘Taking the Piss’. It means being disrespectful to the point of effrontery or the process whereby, having caused injury or offence to someone, the ‘piss-taker’ then goes on to compound said injury or offence for no obvious reason except contempt.

As always, these terms are best illustrated by a real-life example, so here is quite the most blatant example of ‘taking the piss’ that I can imagine:

“The burglar injured by Tony Martin after he broke into the farmer’s home is suing him for £15,000 compensation for loss of earnings.”

I burgle your home then I sue you for trying to stop me. See, that’s called ‘taking the piss’.

“Brendon Fearon, 32, wants the compensation because he has supposedly been unable to find a job since suffering the gunshot injuries in the raid on Martin’s Norfolk home..”

This thing is expecting the rest of us to believe that, had it not been for Tony Martin’s buckshot lodged in his jacksy, he’d have been abroad actively seeking honest, gainful employment. Get the picture?

“The writ gives a number of reasons for Fearon’s claim, including his leg injuries, which prevent him finding work, concern about his “long-term sexual functioning” and becoming “very tearful” when watching a film in which someone dies.”

Woe, woe and, thrice, woe! Fearon may be unable to breed new Fearons. And I too, get ‘very tearful’ when I watch the world go stark, staring bonkers.

“He is also said to claim that he is afraid of fireworks, no longer enjoys ju-jitsu and kick-boxing and becomes depressed when TV shows contain gunfire.”

I know exactly how he feels because I become depressed by the horrible feeling that his ludicrous claim will, like as not, succeed.

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13 comments to Taking the piss

  • bear, the (one each)

    What’s a Jacksy?

  • David Carr

    Oh sorry. British slang slipped in but unexplained.

    ‘Jacksy’ = posterior

  • Alan

    How long will it be before Fearon’s life story is shown on television? Any bets on the format? A documentary (working class bloke forced into crime after years of despair on the dole). Perhaps a docu-drama (story of a cheeky lovable rogue whose life is destroyed by gun toting maniac).

    At the very least we can expect a book.

    There’s more to come on this one. Oh yes.

  • Joe Moffitt

    Maybe Mr. Martin should file a counter suit against the wannabe robber.

    I’m sure Mr. Martin has suffered psychological trauma as a result of the shooting as well and the criminal needs to compensate him as well.

    Not to mention that Mr. Fearon owes Mr. Martin for the valuable psychological conditional that will hopefully turn him from a life of crime.

    And there’s the service of reducing the future child support payments that Mr. Fearon would have no doubt not paid anyway…

  • Byron

    Unfuckingbelievable. That’s the American word for this absurdity.

  • Byron – that’s also my word for it as well. I expect most of these ‘charges’ have been made up by his no-win-no-fee lawyer. After all, if Fearon was smart enough to come up with this stuff himself he wouldn’t be burglarizing houses, would he?

    What a scumbag.

  • Jacob Resler

    David, Steven has apoint, you forgot to give us the British expression for that lawyer.

  • Fearon would also have been called a “pikey”, a “gyppo”, a “TGB” etc., though not in the newspapers – someone of a disreputable or ‘rough’ background who is known to have a reputation for petty criminality.

    There’s a family called by that epithet in every town in the South-East.

  • David – you should blog about the politician jackasses that permit such litigation to be filed in the first place. This is one of the best examples supporting reform of our (US and UK) justice system that I have read recently. Keep up the good work. Blog on!

  • “Taking the piss out of someone” in Australia means to ridicule that person.

  • SMP - USA - PA

    Thank goodness we have the National Rifle Association in the US to protect our RIGHT to keep and bear arms.
    Hope this teachs everyone a lesson – Never shoot to wound anyone. If it takes two shots so be it. 🙂 One less person to sue you later.

  • Luke

    Plenty of law cases like this in Oz also. Recently an under age drinker was kicked out of a licenced establishment so he proceeded to climb up to the land lords residence above the pub where the land lord’s young family was sleeping. As the under age, drunk drinker entered through a 1st story window and was spotted by the publican he was attacked. The kid (17yo) won $50k in court, but what really got me is his mum was also awarded $17k for the stress she went through.

    Another ridiculous incedent also involved a pub. Some joker won a meat tray at a pub raffle and thought it would be fun to strap the pork chops to his feet and dance around the pub. When he slipped and injured himself he sued the pub, but I am not sure what the ridiculous settlement was in this case.

  • Luke

    Plenty of law cases like this in Oz also. Recently an under age drinker was kicked out of a licenced establishment so he proceeded to climb up to the land lords residence above the pub where the land lord’s young family was sleeping. As the under age, drunk drinker entered through a 1st story window and was spotted by the publican he was attacked. The kid (17yo) won $50k in court, but what really got me is his mum was also awarded $17k for the stress she went through.

    Another ridiculous incedent also involved a pub. Some joker won a meat tray at a pub raffle and thought it would be fun to strap the pork chops to his feet and dance around the pub. When he slipped and injured himself he sued the pub, but I am not sure what the ridiculous settlement was in this case.