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Ginger
Posted: 31 December 2017 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
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From USA Today on Prince Philip’s cracking a joke in church (it has to be a very slow news day):

British media lit up with reports that the Duke of Edinburgh, 96, joked that a bearded man in the crowd at a church near Sandringham might be a “terrorist.”

According to reports from The Daily Mail, The Sun and Sky News, Philip and the queen were on their way to attend a morning service at St. Mary Magdalene church when the prince saw a white man with a long red (or ginger, as the Brits call it) beard.

As the Brits call it? You guys don’t use the word ginger for red hair over there?

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Posted: 01 January 2018 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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aldiboronti - 31 December 2017 09:31 PM


As the Brits call it? You guys don’t use the word ginger for red hair over there?

Not generally, no, we don’t.

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Posted: 01 January 2018 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I find the usage perfectly understandable, but in my passive vocabulary.  My entirely unscientific sense is that it was at one time used in American English, but is not obsolete, or at least old-fashioned.

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Posted: 01 January 2018 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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My sense that it has never been used in American English was pretty much confirmed by its absence from both AHD and HDAS.  I first learned of it as an adult from UK material, and I have never heard it used by a Yank.

Edit: When I say “absence from HDAS,” I mean in that sense, of course; it is there with the definition “spirit; energy; temper” (e.g., “Get some ginger into you").

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Posted: 01 January 2018 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The OED (June 2017) says “orig. and chiefly Brit.”

I have heard Leftpondians use it, but it it isn’t common over here.

COCA has 41 hits for ginger hair. That’s not a lot. (Searching on just ginger yields 7,669 hits, including references to the plant, women named Ginger, and ginger ale.)

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Posted: 02 January 2018 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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"Redhead” is the more common term over here, but “ginger” might be more recognized by younger people owing to a 2005 episode of South Park in which Cartman gins up Naziesque anti-ginger feelings at school for no particular reason.  A thing called “National Kick a Ginger Day” seems to have sprouted some years later at real-life middle schools, and was supposedly inspired by the South Park episode.

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Posted: 02 January 2018 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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jtab4994 - 02 January 2018 07:15 AM

“Redhead" is the more common term over here, but “ginger” might be more recognized by younger people owing to a 2005 episode of South Park in which Cartman gins up Naziesque anti-ginger feelings at school for no particular reason.  A thing called “National Kick a Ginger Day” seems to have sprouted some years later at real-life middle schools, and was supposedly inspired by the South Park episode.

I was going to say that for some reason it is common among the 20 to 30 crowd. I had heard it before, but rarely. My first cousin’s daughter married a man with red-hair and my kids, who are her and his age, would wink and call him a “ging”. It was not done in this man’s presence, obviously.

My misbehaved kids used the word in this sense and, while I had not seen the south park episode, I knew what they were saying.

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Posted: 02 January 2018 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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What then is the US term for a red haired cat?  “Ginger” is the normal term used in the UK

:edit: quick lookup suggests “orange”.  Is that right?

[ Edited: 02 January 2018 02:19 PM by steve_g ]
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Posted: 02 January 2018 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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What then is the US term for a red haired cat?  “Ginger” is the normal term used in the UK

:edit: quick lookup suggests “orange”.  Is that right?

It seems to me, based on usage by my S.O.’s British parents, that ginger is used for a broader spectrum than what I call orange. They use ginger for colors of dogs and cats that I would separate into red, orange, and yellow.

Strangely, people with the same color variations of hair would all be called redheads in my dialect.

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Posted: 02 January 2018 10:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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It’s always struck me as odd, because actual ginger is just a light brown colour, not orange or reddish.

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Posted: 03 January 2018 07:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I don’t recall hearing it in the US. What I do remember is that I couldn’t understand why the hair colour was called red, when it was clearly orange. (And yes, I know the answer now.)

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Posted: 03 January 2018 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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My impression is that “ginger” for orange (esp. orange tabby) cats is fairly common here in the US. Two such kittens born to the “strays” we house and feed (they don’t stray far, since they have a cushy deal here) we called Snap and Ale, although the names were largely moot since we couldn’t tell them apart unless we had a good look at their paws (one was polydactyl) and they don’t respond to their names anyway.

OTOH, my wife and I are somewhat more widely read than typical Americans, and may have picked up a UK usage without realizing it.

And yes, “ginger” for redheaded persons has become much more common since that South Park episode.

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Posted: 05 January 2018 06:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Scottish English speaker here, familiar with ginger cats but never heard it used for dogs bizarrely enough. Not a mutt owner however so can’t say - anyone in UK confirm a ginger dog?

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Posted: 05 January 2018 07:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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OP Tipping - 02 January 2018 10:42 PM

It’s always struck me as odd, because actual ginger is just a light brown colour, not orange or reddish.

I fell madly in love in high school years (15 to 17 years old) with a girl who had what was described then as having “auburn hair” which might have matched this description. Not exactly red but on my artist’s palette, a burnt sienna. I actually never talked to her. Ever!

But I never paint with burnt sienna without thinking of her. I actually don’t even remember her name. sigh!

[ Edited: 05 January 2018 07:53 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 06 January 2018 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I only saw her for one second.  She didn’t see me at all.  But I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by that I haven’t thought of that girl...

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Posted: 06 January 2018 07:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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anyone in UK confirm a ginger dog?

[waves] Over here!

My brother (a copper in the Met Police) had a dog, acquired when it was handed in as a stray to Lavender Hill police station. Of course London mongrels are the product of random matings of a wide range of breeds, and this gene-mixing seems regularly to produce several distinct types. My brother’s dog was a classic exemplar of a common type which I call the London Ginger Pooch: only knee-high, the colour of a fox (another creature that is traditionally described as red only because our familiarity with it predates the word orange); the facial features, alertness and agility of a Border collie; the stiff-looking hind legs and blue tongue (though in his case only partially blue) of a chow; semi-pricked ears; and a highly expressive silky tail, normally carried over the back but capable of being clamped between the legs in fear or whirled round and round when chasing a rabbit.

It’s my feeling that, although it isn’t an approved Kennel Club term (officially it’s “red"), most British people would call a fox-coloured dog ginger; certainly it wouldn’t cause surprise. A cat of a similar colour can also equally (and much more accurately) be described as marmalade, but I would never expect to hear anyone speak of a marmalade dog.

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