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Posted by Word Camel on January 14, 2002

In Reply to: Synonyms for teasing posted by The Fallen on January 14, 2002

: : : : UK English has many colloquial phrases that signify having a joke at another's expense, or poking fun at someone. A few examples as follows:-

: : : : Taking the mickey out of someone
: : : : Taking the piss out of someone
: : : : Winding someone up

: : : : Admittedly we English have a tendency to delight in mockery - many have accused us of having both deprecation and self-deprecation as national characteristics. However, despite this, I've not yet found any acceptable US equivalent for the above - "tease" is not colloquial, and I am sure that "pulling someone's leg" is as old-fashioned as it is over here.

: : : : Is there a contemporary equivalent idiom?

: : : Don't you know we Americans never EVER make fun of one another?

: : : Here are a few I can think of -

: : : To mess with someone, as in "I was just messing with him" or the more crass "****ting" as in "He was ****ting me"

: : : I usually resort to the non-colloqial "making fun of"

: : : On a more serious note, I'm not sure there is an equivalent - at least not in the sense of a thing which one does to someone else. Perhaps it's because mocking is seen as more malicious here. It's far more common for the injured party to declare "You're ****ting me?" "You're kidding?"

: : : Anyone else? I'd be interested to know what people under 25 are using.

: : Yes, I myself often wonder what they're using.

: : And now back to the topic: US expressions include "making [someone] the butt of the joke," "ragging," and "ribbing." "We ribbed Joe about that new haircut of his until he finally put his hat back on." (From "rib-tickling"?)

: These are also known on my side of the pond... but are they really in everyday contemporary spoken use in the USA of 2002? I'm not qualified to comment exactly, but I can't help but feel that if I made the comment over a beer that I'd "ribbed/ragged John Doe from SF over those Niners" or "made him the butt of a Superbowl gag", although people would know exactly what I mean, they'd look at me like I was from Mars. Or am I being paranoid?

I'm cringing just imagining it. I'm pretty condfident you could say you were "messing' with John Doe. After extensive research in the local sports bar, I know what one would say in Brooklyn, but it's probably too rude for the board and the other 99% of the country.

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