The other day as I was watching an episode of Pie in the Sky, it was mentioned that someone had been arrested for GBH. I scanned that area of my brain which stores all the British knowledge I have acquired. Obviously it was some sort of legal jargon, but I couldn’t come up with the words for that particular acronym. After a few keystrokes I found that there’s not only an English hardcore punk band by a similar name, but also what I was looking for which was “Grievous Bodily Harm”, a personal assault crime involving wounding and other forms of serious intentional injury.
This acronym got me thinking about many others that I’ve often heard and sometimes had to research in the course of my British television viewing. So here’s a short list that might help you next time you hear an abbreviation you aren’t familiar with.
1. OAP – Old Age Pensioner (a retired person who collects a pension)
2. GCSE – General Certificate of Secondary Education (tests taken at around 16 years old; students can leave school after they pass these examinations or continue on for two more years to take their college preparatory A-levels)
3. PMT – Pre-Menstrual Tension (same as PMS in the US)
4. CV – Curriculum Vitae (resume)
5. VAT – Value Added Tax (sales tax reflected in the price on the sticker, not added afterwards)
6. M & S – Marks and Spencer (famous British department store)
7. ASBO – Anti-Social Behaviour Order (civil order aimed at minor offenses such as loitering, drunken behaviour, and intimidation which prohibit the offender from entering a particular establishment or engaging in similar behaviors in public; young adults who are habitual offenders are often referred to as ASBOs)
And to give you an example of ASBO-like behavior, here’s a YouTube clip of Little Britain’s Lou and Andy dealing with a group of bullies in the park: