Posted by ESC on January 15, 2002

In Reply to: Synonyms for teasing posted by Bob 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?

: The word "gag" wouldn't resonate. The most common/expected version would probably be "I needled John about the Niners," or " I was really putting it to John... " (And, for the way they played, John had it coming.) "Putting it to him" is a close approximation of the UK phrases.

Goofin' on somebody. Exhibiting strange behavior with the aim of getting attention. "We were goofin' on people at the mall."