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Old buffer redux

A few clarifications, following up on yesterday's poll.

"Lord X was an old buffer."

This is an ambiguous statement.
8(40.0%)
The author clearly means Lord X was a clownish or mocked old man.
7(35.0%)
The author clearly means Lord X was an old petty officer.
0(0.0%)
Other, to be explained in a comment.
5(25.0%)

What is the difference between an old duffer and an old buffer, with respect to human beings? (the_alchemist asked, I'd love to know too.)



Also on the subject of language recently: C wasn't familiar with the phrase "to phone in a performance". major_clanger assures me it's an Americanism.

I'd never encountered "the subject in hand" before, only "the subject at hand"; yet, from online discussions, the former is apparently much more widespread and more multinational than the latter.

Comments

non_trivial
Dec. 22nd, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
I wasn't aware of buffer as a term for a CPO, but even given that meaning I'd assume that Lord X would have been an officer rather than a non-comm, and that the author therefore meant the term as a synonym for duffer.

On 'phoning it in': Sarah says that it's an Americanism, also heard as 'dialing in a performance,' but that UK theatre types would recognise (and occasionally use) the phrase.
owlfish
Dec. 22nd, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Thank you for the clarification; and also, on checking with Sarah about "phoning it in"!