Okay, I've resisted as long as I can. I think I have to do a post about Kiwi words and phrases. Actually, since New Zealand lingo borrows heavily from Great Briton, a place I've never been, I sometimes have no idea whether a word is uniquely Kiwi or not. So this is really going to be about "stuff they say differently here."
Starting with a couple of my favourite phrases:
Doesn't mean: A reference to someone's body type.
Does mean: Used to describe something that's gone badly, such as "that's when things went pear-shaped."
Analogous to: Similar to "went south" or "went to hell."
In popular culture: Used in a couple episodes of Farscape (an Australian-made sci-fi tv series)
"You're a star" or (even better) "You're a legend"
Doesn't mean: that you are literally famous.
Does mean: That you did something really good and the person is praising you for it.
Analogous to: umm, possibly "way to go" though it's not really the same. (actually, I can't think of an American phrase
that isn't used just as frequently as a put-down)
In popular culture: "you're a legend" is used in the Flight of the Concords song "The most beautiful girl in the room."
Well, that's a good start anyway. Now I think I'll get to work on a more exhaustive list.
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