Skip to content

Kay is mardy

June 29, 2018

I was in Leicester today and I happened to overhear a fragment of conversation which sounded at first like a mysterious code but which, I am fairly sure, I managed to decipher.

Two women were talking and one said, “Kay is mardy.”

“Yes,” said the other one, “when I do Kay it’s always mardy.”

Now, I know the word mardy. It is a northern and midlands dialect word meaning “in a bad mood”. So at first I thought they were talking about a woman called Kay who was always in a bad mood. But the response didn’t fit that interpretation. When I do Kay it’s always mardy – what could that mean?

And about ten minutes later the answer suddenly hit me and I knew it was right.

K is an abbreviation for OK, used in texts. So when you reply to a text saying “K”, that means you’re feeling mardy. If you weren’t mardy you’d reply in full and say “OK”.

You know that’s right, don’t you? I do think it’s amazing. Our feel for language is so subtle, so intuitive, that without any context at all we can make sense of an enigmatic utterance like that.

From → Uncategorized

3 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    I’d have needed the help of Bletchley Park to work that one out although I’ve always rather liked the term “mardy arse”. Not that it’s ever been applied to myself of course.
    Bill Bailey on QI mentioned that he’d heard one girl speaking to another say “Lol” instead of actually laughing.

  2. Mark Brafield permalink

    I may have reported this before, in which case excuse me and put it down to advancing years, but a friend of mine had an Indian driving instructor who had a good grasp of English, but not of exact idiom. If he thought that something was rubbish, he would say ‘that is bollock’. After reflection, we agreed that this was a good phrase for something that was pretty rubbish, but not total bollocks, and we adopted this term in our personal vocabularies from then on.

  3. Simon Carter permalink

    Can I repeat the sign I saw on a bus: In case of obstruction use break glass window.
    I worked out what it meant, after a while, but it seems a strangely inelegant formation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: