Woodtourer wrote:Now you have peaked my interest!!
What does Campy=??
well you could say 'Julian Clary has more campy bits than most other folk' and although it isn't terribly good english the average Brit would immediately understand that what you meant had nothing to do with bicycle parts. British cyclists would (unless they had spent time with American cyclists) naturally only ever say 'campag' not campy.
The origins of some other words are less obvious. Boot is British English for what anyone in North America would refer to as a trunk, but in the UK if you mention 'trunk' without context most folk would maybe think of the luggage item first, then the thing on an elephant, then one's torso or the main part of a tree perhaps, all before the storage area at the back of car (BTW 'automobile' is rarely used here either).
The weird thing is that no-one knows for sure why a car boot is called a boot in the UK. It appears to have been used from when extra seats at the back of horse-drawn carriages were common (which makes it slightly mysterious that it didn't go to North America with the english-speaking emigrants). It may have been from the shape of it, and perhaps that there was somewhere to put your feet, but it is anyone's guess really.
Pants comes via French ( I think) and 'pantaloons' which pretty clearly meant trousers (but then again maybe underwear was optional at the time, and a second layer could be over the top or underneath your pantaloons I suppose). Nonetheless how it ever came to exclusively be undergarments rather than trousers in British English is a mystery to me. Latterly if you say something (anything) is
pants, anyone under thirty will understand immediately what you mean but old folk may be absolutely baffled.
English is used differently everywhere it is spoken. Most folk understand other terms for the same thing (often by context alone) but may or may not choose to use them themselves.
Australians have all kinds of odd words for things for example. They would understand and use British English 'pants' but they would also use 'dacks', 'grundys' and more besides.