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Mother of Millennials contains many words and phrases that may be difficult for a novice reader of English to understand. So we thought we would make it less of a drag by providing easy access to translations. We’ve also thrown in a ton of interesting information about British culture, and a fair amount of quirky nonsense as well!

We’ll continue to build on the list of definitions, and make them freely available  in common e-book formats. Our first edition will be released in June, and available in ePub and mobi formats. Want something different? Let us know (use the Contact Form) and we’ll see if our technical wizardry is up to the task.

The 11-plus (sometime written as 11+) is an examination administered to some students in England and Northern Ireland in their last year of primary school. It is used for admission to grammar and other secondary schools that select pupils on academic ability. The name derives from the age group for secondary entry: 11–12 years.


The examination tests a student’s ability to solve verbal and non-verbal reasoning problems. The original intention of the test was to evaluate general intelligence rather than knowledge. The test was open to anyone; enabling children from even the poorest families to secure a place at the best schools.


Very few children now take the test, since selective education has been phased out in most areas of the country.  


This is a catchphrase from the popular science fiction television series Star Trek. It comes from the command given to the chief engineer, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, when any member of the crew wants to be teleported back to the Starship Enterprise.

The phrase is now used to express a desire to be somewhere else.


The Bermuda Triangle is a loosely-defined region in the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Back in the 70s and 80s, it wasn’t unusual for such disappearances to be attributed to paranormal activity or extraterrestrial beings. However, most reputable sources now dismiss the idea that there is any mystery, claiming research has shown that many of the reported incidents were embellished or completely false. They also point out that the number of genuine disappearances isn’t unusual for an area which is amongst the most heavily travelled shipping lanes in the world, as well as home to a busy air corridor. 


BSc – Batchelor of Science (BA – Batchelor of Arts) 理学学士学位

The degree commonly awarded by universities after three years of full-time study. It is usually awarded for science-based subjects, while the equivalent for an arts or humanities degree is a BA. However, universities can decide for themselves which degree type to award for any subject.


MSc – Master of Science (MA – Master of Arts) 硕士(理学硕士)

Both MSc and MA are commonly referred to simply as a Masters. They follow on from a Batchelor degree, and typically take an additional two years of full-time study to complete.


PhD – Doctor of Philosophy 博士(哲学博士)

A degree that follows a Masters, and is awarded to people who have completed advanced research into a subject. By the time a student is awarded the degree (known as a doctorate), they are often approaching their early thirties, and deep in debt.


You may hear the phrase “Bullshit. More Shit. Piled Higher and Deeper”. This saying provides alternative definitions of BSc, MSc and PhD. It is occasionally used by people who are questioning whether the time, effort and expense they have invested in their education has been worth it.

在英国有这样一句话“学的都没用。学了更多没用的。没用的东西越学越多。(Bullshit. More Shit. Piled Higher and Deeper)”。这句话的缩写等同于学士(BS)、硕士(MS)和博士(PhD)的缩写。人们有时会用这句话来质疑自己花在教育上的时间、精力和支出是否值得。

This term is often used to encourage people to speak frankly, even if the matter is considered impolite or unpleasant. Alternatively, it can be used to draw attention to situations were creative use of language has made something sound more interesting than it is in reality.


A neurological condition in which people see or hear things that are not real, but they are not suffering from mental illness. The condition was first described in 1760 by Charles Bonnet, a naturalist and philosophical writer born in Geneva, Switzerland. It is usually associated with visual hallucinations in people who are blind, or whose eyesight is deteriorating. However there are also many recorded cases of auditory hallucinations associated with a gradual or sudden loss of hearing.

邦纳综合征指没有精神疾病的正常人出现视幻觉或听幻觉。查尔斯·邦纳(Charles Bonnet)在1760年首次描述了这种病症。他出生在瑞士日内瓦,是一位哲学家、自然学家。邦纳综合征通常出现在盲人或视力恶化的人的身上,症状为视幻觉。然而,也有许多病例表明,邦纳综合征在听力逐渐丧失或突然丧失的人身上表现为出现听幻觉。

Born Priscilla White in 1943 in Liverpool, Cilla Black became a famous singer and entertainer. In the early days her career was undoubtedly helped by her close friends John, Paul, George and Ringo – collectively known as the Beatles. Cilla’s marriage to her manager, Bobby Willis, was a spur-of-the-moment event. It took place in a registry office in London with few people in attendance. On the insistence of her mother, a ceremony for family, friends and members of the public was hastily arranged in Saint Mary’s Church, Liverpool. You can view some footage here: Link

1943年出生于利物浦,是英国一位著名的歌手和艺人。在早期,她的事业无疑得到了她亲密的朋友约翰、保罗、乔治和林戈(这四人组成了披头士乐队)的帮助。茜拉一时冲动,和她的经纪人鲍比·威利斯( Bobby Willis)结了婚。婚礼在伦敦的一个婚姻注册处举行,没有多少人出席。在她母亲的坚持下,他们在利物浦圣玛丽教堂匆忙举办了一场能让家人、朋友和公众一起见证的仪式。你可以在这个网址看到一些录像:Link

Coronation Street (also known as Corrie) is a British soap opera which has been broadcast on ITV since 1960. The programme centres on a street in Weatherfield, a fictional town based on an inner-city area near Manchester, and is noted for its depiction of a down-to-earth, working-class community, and its strong characters.

Coronation Street(加冕街),也被称为Corrie,是1960年出品,在ITV电视台播映的一部英国肥皂剧。剧中设定的场景,是在曼彻斯特邻近地区,一个被称为威勒菲尔德的虚构小镇。该剧因其对脚踏实地的劳工阶级的描述和鲜明的人物角色而出名。

As far back as 2010, Corrie became the world’s longest-running soap opera. After nearly sixty years the show remains popular, with six new episodes broadcast every week. Each episode is approximately 24 minutes long (or 30 minutes if commercial breaks are included), and watched by about 8 million viewers across the world.


Former professional tennis player and entrepreneur. David, and his younger brother John, became two of the leading British tennis players throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Following his retirement, he went on to found David Lloyd Leisure Clubs. The first opened in 1982, and by 1995 the number had risen to 18. The clubs were a new concept: family-oriented with an emphasis on tennis.

 戴维·罗伊德(David Lloyd )曾是职业网球选手,目前是一位企业家。戴维和他的弟弟约翰是上世纪70年代和80年代两个最成功的英国网球选手。退休后,他创办了戴维·罗伊德休闲俱乐部(David Lloyd Leisure Clubs)。第一家俱乐部于1982年创立,至1995年,旗下俱乐部已达18个。这些俱乐部有一个新的创办理念:面向家庭,以网球为主。

Prior to the emergence of these clubs, most tennis in Britain was played in a few months during the summer. It became particularly popular at the start of the Wimbledon fortnight, but the surge in interest lasted only as long as it took for all the British players to be eliminated – usually mid-way through the first week. However, the indoor courts at the new centres offered people the opportunity to play tennis all year round. It is probably no coincidence that, after 50 years of under-achievement, Britain now has a few world-class tennis players.

在这些俱乐部出现之前,英国大多数的网球运动只在夏季的短短几个月内进行,并且在历时两周的温布尔登网球锦标赛( the Wimbledon fortnight)开赛时变得尤其受欢迎。但是,当所有的英国选手都被淘汰时——通常在第一周比赛中途,人们对打网球的兴趣就会急剧降低。然而,室内网球场的出现让人们打网球不再受季节限制。在之前的50年里,英国在网球上取得的成就并不高,但现在有了几个世界一流的网球运动员,这也许并不是巧合。

In the 1897 novel Dracula, written by Irish author Bram Stoker, Count Dracula is an undead, centuries-old vampire, and a Transylvanian nobleman. He lives in Castle Dracula, a decaying castle somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains. The novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so that he may find new blood, and spread the undead curse.

在1897年由爱尔兰作家布莱姆·斯托克(Bram Stoker)撰写的小说《德古拉》中,德古拉伯爵是一个不死族,一个活了几百年的吸血鬼,也是特兰西凡尼亚的贵族。他居住在破旧的德古拉城堡中,这座城堡坐落于喀尔巴阡山脉。小说讲述了德古拉为了寻找新的血液和传播不死诅咒,试图从特兰西瓦尼亚搬到英国的故事。

Unlike the vampires of Eastern European folklore, which are portrayed as repulsive, corpse-like creatures, Dracula is handsome and charismatic.


Fake news is deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media, or online social media. In recent years platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp have been blamed for rapidly disseminating fake news and rumours with devastating effect; for example a raft of recent lynch-mob killings in India, Sri Lanka and Mexico. Also, many political commentators and conspiracy theorists blame the spread of fake news by Russia as a major contributory factor behind the election of Donald Trump as US president.


Not all fake news is sinister. Take for example an edition of Panorama aired by the BBC in 1957. The program is an investigative current-affairs documentary that has been a trustworthy source of journalism in Britain since it was first broadcast in 1953.


When distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby reported that a mild winter in Switzerland had resulted in a bumper spaghetti harvest, people in Britain had no reason to doubt the story. The combined authority of the narrator, the BBC, and Panorama was further enhanced by footage of a family gathering long strands of spaghetti, along with a credible explanation of how each strand was grown to a uniform length.


After the show, the BBC was flooded with callers asking where they could get a spaghetti plant from, and whether the trees were suitable for the British climate.


The date of the broadcast? 1st April – April Fool’s Day.


Here’s a link to a documentary about the report Link:


And here’s a link to the actual broadcast. 150 seconds of pure joy! Link


People who prefer a simple life away from built-up areas and without modern conveniences such as running water, electricity and the Internet. They are often considered strange and treated with suspicion.


Used to describe someone who prefers intellectual activities over socialising. The term is often used as an insult, portraying the meaning of someone who is perceived to be unfashionable, boring or socially awkward.


Some people happily adopt the term as a badge of pride. This is particularly true of those technology-gifted geeks who have risen to positions of influence over the global economy and society. Mark Zuckenburg, the founder of Facebook, is an excellent example. Other examples include all the leading male characters in “The Big Bang Theory”, one of the most successful TV shows of all time.

有些人乐意用这个词形容自己,并以此为傲。对于那些在全球经济和社会上有着举足轻重的地位,并且是技术天才的极客们来说尤其如此。Facebook的创始人马克·扎克伯格(Mark Zuckenburg)就是一个很好的例子。其他例子还包括有史以来最成功的电视剧之一《生活大爆炸》中所有的男主角。

Someone who enjoys building or fixing machinery, and doesn’t mind getting covered in oil in the process. Common examples are car, bicycle and motorcycle mechanics.


To have a fun or exciting time doing something.


A participation dance thought to originate in British folk music. It has a distinctive tune, and the accompanying lyrics tell you exactly what the next move is. Here’s an example:

You put your right foot in

your right foot out

in, out, in, out

you shake it all about.

You do the hokey cokey

and you turn around.

That’s what it’s all about.

It then launches into a rousing chorus, before starting the next verse with a different body part.

The dance continues ad nauseam. It is usually harmless, although minor injuries are often encountered, especially if participants have been drinking alcohol.

霍基-普基舞(Hokey Cokey)是一种起源于英国民间音乐的参与式舞蹈。它的舞曲有着独特的曲调,曲中的歌词会告诉你下一个动作是什么。例如:










A chain of over 50 high-end department stores operating throughout the United Kingdom. In 2008 its flagship store in Oxford Street, London, was awarded a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II as “suppliers of haberdashery and household goods”. This highly-prestigious award allows the store to advertise that they supply to the Royal Family.

John Lewis & Partners(约翰·路易斯合伙公司)是一家在英国各地开设了50多家百货公司的连锁店。2008年,其位于伦敦牛津街的旗舰店获得了英国女王伊丽莎白二世的皇家认证,成为英国王室的家具杂货用品的供应商。这一荣誉让这家店能借此打广告。

For many older people, memories of John Lewis relate to when they were ten or eleven years old. At this age it was usual to visit the store to purchase your first school uniform. Emotions were often mixed, with the anticipation and excitement generated during the long queueing phase having evaporated by the time the transaction was complete. Parents would be left reeling from the shock of the final bill, while children would be horrified that every item of clothing was at least two sizes too big. The cost of the uniform – in particular the blazer and pleated skirt for girls – was so great that most parents decided the clothes would have to be big enough to last until the end of their child’s time at school.


Of all the department store in Britain, Harrods – located in Knightsbridge, London – is probably the most famous.  


An informal term used for an institution providing care to mentally ill individuals. The term, once in regular use, is now generally considered offensive. A more acceptable term is psychiatric hospital.

Looney Bin是一个非正式用词,指为精神病患者提供护理的机构。这个词曾经被广泛使用,现在通常被视为带有侮辱意味。另一个比较受认可的词是psychiatric hospital(精神病医院)。

A unit of distance defined in Britain’s imperial measurement system. It is equivalent to 1.6 kilometres.


The United Kingdom never completed its program of metrication which started in 1965.  Metric is the official system for most regulated trading by weight, but some imperial units remain the primary official unit for volume and distance. For example, miles, yards, and feet remain the official units for road signage, while the imperial pint also remains a permitted unit for milk in returnable bottles, and for draught beer and cider in British pubs. Items sold by description, for example computer screens and items of clothing, are often specified in imperial units. So if you’re looking for a man’s shirt, you’ll need to know the circumference of your chest and neck in inches, rather than metric equivalent of centimetres.

英国一直没有完成于1965年开始的公制化。公制是大多数按重量计算的规范交易中所用的官方度量衡制度,但一些英制单位,如英制体积单位和距离单位,仍是英国主要的官方度量单位。例如,英里(miles)、码( yards)和英尺(feet)是道路标志的官方单位,而单位品脱(pint)则是可回收瓶中的牛奶、英国酒吧中的生啤酒和苹果酒的容量单位。一些商品描述,如电脑屏幕和衣服的商品描述,通常使用英制单位。所以,如果你想要找一件男士衬衣,你需要知道自己胸部和颈部以英寸为单位的尺寸,而不是以公制厘米为单位的尺寸。

You might also come across the words furlong and acre. These are imperial measurements for length and area respectively. Both have their origins in farming.

你可能也会碰到弗隆( furlong )和英亩(acre)这两个词。它们分别是长度和面积的英制单位。两者都源于农业。

Furlong is almost exclusively used in the world of horse racing, and is one eighth of a mile.


An acre denotes a piece of land of any shape measuring 4,840 square yards. A typical football pitch is about 110 by 70 yards (the rules allow some flexibility in the size), so a pitch covers about one and a half acres. 


A multipotentialite is someone who has never felt able to answer the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?” They have many interests and creative pursuits, and reject the traditional view that everyone has one true calling in life which they should dedicate themselves to.


Unfortunately for multipotentialites, mainstream society views their tendency to jump between interests as immature. In fact the term “Jack of all trades, master of none”, has been used for generations to describe exactly the same behaviour. The only difference is that people label themselves multipotentialite, and view it as a badge of pride; whereas Jack of all trades, master of none is used in a negative way, and usually to describe someone else.

不幸的是,对这种人来说,社会主流观点认为,他们总是在各种不成熟的兴趣中游移不定。“样样皆通,样样稀松”(“Jack of all trades, master of none”)说的就是有这样特点的一代人。这一代人却给自己贴上这一标签,并把它当做骄傲的资本。实际上,“样样皆通,样样稀松”含有贬义,通常用来形容其他人。

Note: The shortened version “a jack of all trades” is often a compliment for a person who is good at fixing things, and has a very good broad knowledge.

注意:简写版”a jack of all trades”(“一个样样都懂的人”)有时也是对一个人善于应对各种事情,有着渊博知识的一种夸奖。

Netball is a sport that traces its roots to basketball. It is one of the main winter sports played by school girls (the other is hockey). A team consists of 7 players, each of which is assigned a position that determines which areas of the court they are allowed to play in. The sport spread from England throughout the British Empire and it remains popular in commonwealth nations.


There have been many efforts to get netball included in the Olympic Games, but funding and its status as a ‘women only’ sport are holding it back.  


An easy or obvious conclusion or decision; something requiring little or no thought.



Describes someone who behaves in ways that are strange, or has beliefs that are unusual but harmless. It is often used in a friendly way, for example “you’re a bit of an oddball, but I like you” wouldn’t (usually) signal the end of a friendship.

被用来描述行为古怪,或秉持着不同寻常但无害的理念的人。人们经常以友好的方式来使用这个词,如果有人对你说“你有点古怪,但我喜欢(you’re a bit of an oddball, but I like you)”,这并不代表友谊的终结。

The period in your early- to mid-twenties when you realise you are heading towards an unappealing career. A career you chose not because you were passionate about it, but because of the expectations of others. As with the mid- and three-quarter life crises, it has two main outcomes: some people make radical changes in the hope of a happier future, while the remainder accept that life is shit and get on with it the best they can. 

Quarter life crisis指当你20多岁时,你发现自己正在走的职业道路对你毫无吸引力,因而产生的人生危机。你选择这个职业不是因为你对它充满了热情,而是为了满足他人的期望。如同中年危机和四分之三人生危机一样,青年危机主要导致两个结果:一些人为了有一个更幸福的未来做出彻底的改变;其他人则接受了生活是多么糟糕这一事实,尽力和这样的生活好好相处。

To say or do something that causes someone to become angry, nervous, or frustrated.


Shove ha’penny (pronounced hay-penny) is a traditional pub game played by two players on a smooth, rectangular board usually made of wood, stone or slate. A number of parallel lines or grooves run horizontally across this board, separated by about one-and-a-half coin diameters. The aim of the game is to score points by pushing your ha’pennies (obsolete, low-value coin from Britain’s pre-decimal era) so they lie between the grooves. At the end of the game the player with the most points wins. Although the concept of the game is simple, the best players deploy well-developed strategies and are very skilful.


Scrumpy is an alcoholic drink originating in the West of England. It is a type of cider which is produced by pulping and pressing apples, then adding the juice to a special vessel and leaving it to ferment naturally. The traditional methods of production gives scrumpy a cloudy appearance, and make it stronger in alcohol and more tannic than most commercial ciders.


SHC is a term used to describe the combustion of a living (or recently deceased) human body, without an apparent external source of ignition. Current scientific consensus is that most, and perhaps all, cases of SHC involve overlooked external sources of ignition.


However, not everyone agrees with scientists. This was particularly evident back in the early 70s, when an abundance of pseudoscientific theories accompanied the death of Margaret Hogan, an 89-year-old widow from Dublin, Ireland. The body of the unfortunate lady was found burned almost to the point of complete destruction, although her two feet and lower legs were undamaged. Furthermore, apart from some melted plastic flowers and a television screen which were close to her body, there was no other notable damage.


People with a scientific mind were quick to blame a stray ember from a nearby coal fire which, they claim, set her clothes alight before slowly burning through the fat in her already-dead body. However, the inquest into her death reported that no connection to the coal fire could be found, opening the door to those who prefer less obvious explanations. Alternative suggestions included poltergeists, ball lightning and ketosis – a natural metabolic state where the body breaks down body fat.


Want to know more? Here’s a good place to start. Link


A pupil who is liked best by a teacher, and treated better than other students. The status of Teacher’s Pet is often – but not always – achieved through hard work and being helpful. The positive benefits of being a Teacher’s Pet are often outweighed by negatives such as jealousy, hostility, and ridicule from other members of the class.

Teacher’s Pet 指老师最宠爱的学生,他们比其他学生得到更好的照顾。他们通常是(但不完全是)那些努力且能帮老师很多忙的学生。成为老师的宠儿有一些坏处,比如其他同学的嫉妒、敌意和嘲笑,但好处往往大于坏处。

The period towards the end of your career, when you look back and reflect on how meaningless your working life has been. For some people, it leads to radical changes in life style as they commit to make the most of their remaining time on earth. However, the usual response is to ignore the feeling of un-fulfilment and drift on until retirement, clinging to the comfort of a regular pay check.

Three-quarter life crisis指职业生涯接近尾声时所面临的人生危机。这时,当你回顾过去,发现以前的职业生活是多么的毫无意义。有些人在此时期彻底改变了他们的生活方式,充分利用生命中剩下的时间。然而,大部分人的反应是忽略不满足感,碌碌无为,直至退休,安逸于定期拿到的工资所带来的舒适稳定感。

The tooth fairy is an iconic symbol of childhood. When a child’s tooth falls out they leave it under their pillow when they go to bed. During the night the Tooth Fairy collects the tooth and replaces it with money. To avoid disappointment, parents often tell their child how much the Fairy will leave them.


The magic only works if (a) the child remembers to tell their parents, and (b) parents aren’t too busy to pass the message on to the Fairy. If a tooth remains uncollected the next morning, it is not unusual for a parent to make a fake phone call to the Tooth Fairy hot-line. While the disappointed child listens in, the parent will say things such as ‘Sorry to hear the Tooth Fairy was unwell last night. She’ll leave twice as much money tonight? Thank you, that’s fantastic. My child will be so happy!’


In the event that a child swallows a tooth, all is not lost. The Tooth Fairy can use her magic to extract the item directly from the intestine of the child as she sleeps. So no need for anyone to monitor the toilet situation.


Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television programme, made by the BBC, and originally broadcast weekly between 1964 and 2006. Each programme consisted of performances from some of that week’s best-selling popular music artists, and included a rundown of the singles chart.

《流行之巅》(Top of the Pops), 也被称为TOTP,是英国BBC的一个音乐排行榜电视节目。1964年至2006年间,这个节目每周播出一次。节目内容包括本周音乐最畅销的一些流行音乐人的表演,以及流行单曲排行榜的介绍。

The programme was essential viewing for all school girls from about the age of 10. Any girl who failed to watch TOTP was likely to find themselves excluded from conversations with their classmates. In some cases the unfortunate girl could be called unpleasant names and suffer other forms of bullying.


A number of the most popular presenters and artists involved with TOTP used their fame to sexually assault children and young adults. These included Jimmy Savile, whose crimes were exposed to the public following his death in 2011. This was the catalyst for a flood of sexual abuse claims, which led to the arrest and conviction of men who had previously held positions of power and influence.

一些最受欢迎的参加过TOTP的节目主持人和歌手曾利用他们的名声,对儿童和年轻人实施性侵犯,如吉米·萨维尔(Jimmy Savile)。2011年,吉米去世后,他的罪行随之被公之于众。紧接着,有更多性侵犯指控曝出,使一些曾经有权有势的人被逮捕定罪。

Editions of the programme from the 1970s and 1980s are regularly repeated by the BBC. However, episodes featuring disgraced presenters and artists such as Jimmy SavileDave Lee Travis and Gary Glitter are no longer shown.

BBC定期重播制作于19世纪70年代至80年代的TOTP节目。但是,有吉米·萨维尔(Jimmy Savile)、戴夫·李·崔维斯(Dave Lee Travis)、盖瑞·格里特(Gary Glitter)等名誉扫地的节目主持人和歌手参加的节目被禁止播放。

A region in Central Romania known for its mountainous landscape, imposing castles, and rich history. Many people in the Western world do not realise Transylvania is a real place. Instead, they believe the area, made famous by Brad Stoker’s Count Dracula, is a fictional land inhabited by bloodthirsty vampires and howling wolves.

特兰西瓦尼亚,位于罗马尼亚中部,因其多山的景观、壮观的城堡和丰富的历史而闻名于世。西方世界的许多人以为特兰西瓦尼亚并不是真的存在。并且,他们认为,这个地方是虚构出来的,因布莱姆·斯托克(Bram Stoker)的小说《德古拉》而出名。小说中,这片土地居住着嗜血的吸血鬼和嚎叫的狼。

Another word for Wellington boots, a variation of the waterproof footwear made popular by the Duke of Wellington in the early 19th century. The origin of welligogs is unknown. The word is not in common usage, with most people preferring to use the abbreviated form – wellies.

Welligogs (惠灵顿长筒靴)是Wellington boots的另一个说法。19世纪早期,惠灵顿公爵使防水鞋流行开来。惠灵顿长筒靴的起源仍是个谜。Welligogs 这个词并不常用,大多数人会使用Wellington boots的缩写形式—— wellies.