Use of the word blighty


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Karen Christl

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Dec 18, 2002
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i wonder did anybody else the use of this word when lightoller finishes telling ismay to "stand back & let us lower this boat"? you can hear two crew members say to each other that there will be "trouble about that when we get back to blighty!" (england). i'm (almost) sure that the word came into use in ww1. it was used by the tommies & diggers to refer to england, if you were wounded & sent to england for treatment, you were said to be getting off bl**dy lightly, hence blighty. as this is 1912 & ww1 didn't start 'till 1914, i found this quite curious...
any ideas people??
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kaz
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p.s i do love this movie, please don't get me wrong!!
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Paul Rogers

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Hi Karen.

The word is Indian in origin and, as you suspected, did not come into common use until WW1. So I guess that the use of the word in the film was a minor error.

For more information on the word, click here.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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The term "Blighty" is a G-rated version of the word "Bloody". Much as today you might hear someone referred as a "Freaking" idiot instead of the other "F" word.

The English use of such slang goes back much farther than WW1. The History of Great Britain is a very Bloody one and the word no doubt stems from it's violent past. The phrase "Bleeding Christ" was used by the lookouts in Camerons movie, yet ANTR would certainly have used the less harsh "Blighty" phrase. The polite young lads on board would have used "Blighty" in front of passengers, much as Heck was used instead of Hell. "Aw Heck" LOL
 

Paul Rogers

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Hi David.

I'm interested in your understanding of the origin of the word "Blighty", as it differs considerably from that which I believed (as per the link in my previous post).

Would you please let me know your source for this information? Thanks, in anticipation.
 

Karen Christl

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hello everybody! yes paul, i too am very interested in a david's origin of "blighty". great link btw!! i never realized there were so many different orgins/versions of the word!!
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Dave Gittins

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The Australian Macquarie Dictionary agrees with Paul. Blighty, almost always used as a noun, comes from the Hindi, like a number of other words brought home by British troops.

With regard to the Great Australian Adjective, "Bloody" is another example of a swear word that derives from a religious expression. It comes from "by Our Lady" and goes back possibly to Drake's day. It helps to imagine the phrase spoken rapidly with a heavy regional accent.

For many more derivations go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A527799
 
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michael gregory

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Happy Christmas. This is my first posting - please don't flame me! I was interested to note the original comment, about the two sailors using the word 'blighty'. I have played this scene on my DVD version of a NTR over and over. I have to say that sailors in question definitely say 'There'll be trouble for that when we get to New York'. This would tie in with the actual event that was recorded in Walter Lords original book, although the officer who chastised Mr Ismay was not in fact Lightoller, but Officer Evans - but I am sure we all knew that! Does this mean that overseas versions of NTR film have different scenes/script I wonder?

I have to say that I, as a native of the Anglo Saxon tongue, I have not come across the use of the word 'blighty' as a tame version of 'bloody'. 'Bleedin', 'flamin', 'flippin' are just some of the words I have hear used in this way, but not 'blighty'. When I was a child living in Saudi Arabia amongst ex-pats, the word 'blighty' was used to refer to the United Kingdom as described by several correspondents

Finally - one word which is used several times in NTR that I DO object to is 'sparks' to refer to the Marconi operator. I am certain that this is Royal Air Force slang from WWII, when the mysterys of the wireless were more widely understood. And don't get me started on James Camerons portrayal of the British officers in 'Titanic'!
 
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John Meeks

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As a fellow 'Brit' I agree with you, Michael. I, neither, have ever heard "Blighty" used in lieu of "bloody".

I also believe that its common use also pre-dates WWI by at least a dozen years, being used by troops in the Boer War at the turn of the century.

Regards,

John M
 

Dave Gittins

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John, radio operators were called 'sparks' almost as soon as they had radios to operate. In Lord Mersey's inquiry, Cyril Evans was referred to as 'Sparks' by one of Californian's crew. The name must have lingered on after spark transmitters disappeared.

They may have inherited the name from electricians, who have also been called 'sparks'.
 

Karen Christl

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well spotted michael!! i admit on watching antr again, it is new york that is said. but i'm still sure i have heard it in one movie sos maybe?? (i don't have a copy trying to get things in my part of the world is almost impossible!!)
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kaz
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Jun 4, 2000
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Hello Michael G (oh dear, another 'Mike/Michael'. This board is starting to resemble a Monty Python sketch...)
quote:

This would tie in with the actual event that was recorded in Walter Lords original book, although the officer who chastised Mr Ismay was not in fact Lightoller, but Officer Evans - but I am sure we all knew that! Does this mean that overseas versions of NTR film have different scenes/script I wonder?
Er, I think you may mean 'Officer Lowe'. Interesting word association, though.
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Dunno about the 'different' versions thing. Wouldn't be the first time, but as to whether or not it's a goer for ANTR? Well, I'm interested enough to check my video tonight.

ps no worries, there's no flames here! We're not into char-grilled posters as we much prefer to eat them raw.
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Mar 3, 1998
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<font color="#000066">Finally - one word which is used several times in NTR that I DO object to is 'sparks' to refer to the Marconi operator. I am certain that this is Royal Air Force slang from WWII, when the mysterys of the wireless were more widely understood.

Karl Baarslag, himself an experienced seagoing radio operator, wrote in 1935 a history of maritime disasters in which wireless telegraphy played a part. In that book, he explained that 'Sparks' was the term most often used by ship's crew when referring to the wireless operator, while 'Brass-pounder' was a term that the wireless operators used within their own community to refer to one another.

Parks
 
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I have learned oceans about wireless at this link and all about "sparks"- click on the "spark key" link- Spark key, was used to define the set-up from 1895-1924 before Martin had invented the bug or semiautomatic key- really fascinating stuff.
http://www.zianet.com/sparks/sparkkeys.html
and the fabulous websitehttp://www.zianet.com/sparks/ even I can understand it all as the site is meant for the uninitiated too! With all those sparks literally flying around- the job had its hazards it would seem.
 

Bob Godfrey

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I'm a bit late to join the 'Blighty' debate, but the line in ANTR is actually "trouble about that when we get to New York". Maybe changed for the US release, but seems unlikely.

Bob
(who will be watching the film on Groundhog Day)
 

Bob Godfrey

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Sorry, Michael Gregory, didn't notice you'd made that point before me. I should more time reading the posts and less time watching ANTR!

Bob
 
Jun 12, 2004
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>>I'm a bit late to join the 'Blighty' debate, but the line in ANTR is actually "trouble about that when we get to New York". Maybe changed for the US release, but seems unlikely.<<

I was wondering why it took so long for people to acknowledge this. They were on their way to NY, so of course "New York" makes sense. Is it "Blighty" in the British version? The lips of the sailor who said the line seemed to be saying "New York," at least that's what I saw.
 
May 3, 2005
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>>In that book, he explained that 'Sparks' was the term most often used by ship's crew when referring to the wireless operator......<<

During my service as an Electronics Technician (ET)in the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict, I had occasion to visit another ship for some information (or some other reason which I have forgotten.
:)

I asked the old Bo's'n's Mate on duty how to find their location on board and he referred to ET's as "Spark-Tricians". This was the only time I ever heard that expression used.
Has anyone else ever heard of this ?
 
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