Tuesday, 20 September 2016

American whimsy

I haven't had a moan for a while, so here goes...

I've noticed a certain word cropping up on natural history Facebook groups and in plenty of tweets. It is a word used to describe an insect - normally a small insect, and usually one that has not been identified. And that word is CRITTER.

FFS - critter. A word that has come from the folksy, whimsical world of Americana. You can imagine a good ole boy on his rocking chair, sitting out on the verandah in Texas, or Georgia, or Alabama (you pick), swatting those 'pesky critters' as he chews tobacco and screams "Yee-ha!" I've most probably broken several rules on racial stereotyping there, but you get my drift.

What next? Spiders referred to as "Lil' fellas"?

Wasps as "stripy dudes"?

To quote one Jim Royle, "Critters my arse..."


  1. OK, I grew up in Georgia and a "critter" generally refers to a mammal, less often to an insect. It is a perfectly acceptable colloquialism for "creature". At least in these parts! ;-)

    1. Oh - and I was born in Texas. You hit two out of three! Critter is a great word; use it wisely.

    2. Oops! This must have read like a personal attack on you Wilma! Not intended of course - I could have referred to many other states other than the ones I mentioned. I apologise if any offence was taken. And thank you for the information on the use of the word critter. You see, those that have adopted it in the UK are misusing it!

    3. No offense taken at all! I was highly amused. I do have to admit that I am very often perplexed by idioms and slang used in many of the blogs from Great Britain that I follow. And sometimes by the American ones, too! I believe it was George Bernard Shaw who said that Great Britain and the United States are 2 nations separated by a common language.

  2. What has been pissing me of over the last year or so, especially on Springwatch/Autumnwatch, is referring to everything, including birds, butterflies and insects as "animals" - Packham does it all the time.

  3. Love it, perfectly acceptable, yes siree