Thursday, July 10, 2014

What the Hell Does It Mean "to Half-Inch" Something?

Posted by on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 8:52 AM

Apropos of the quote in Nipper's post below—"Smith surmises that 'this guy must have half-inched one from the factory the day it was pressed, gone back to work the next day and found out they'd trashed the lot'"—"to half-inch" something means what it sounds like: to pilfer something over in merry old England. But why? Maybe this is something all record nerds know, but for the rest of us, this bloke above explains. Then explains again. And again. There's something sort of soothing about this bloke.


Comments (14) RSS

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this guy I know in Spokane 2
I didn't realize this was a nerd thing, I just sort of thought that people sometimes know this. If you hear/read a Brit saying something like "must have half-inched it from the factory," you (1) realize it makes no sense, (2) look for a word that rhymes with the "wrong" word but does make sense in the context, and (3) you have your meaning.

"Layer Cake" by J.J. Connolly uses a ton of this while also being a fun book about small-time British criminals.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on July 10, 2014 at 9:18 AM · Report this
Fnarf 3
In the truly classic Cockney rhyming slang, though, the formation should be just "half". You typically drop the rhyming word -- a curry is a "ruby" (for "Ruby Murray"); a look is a "butcher's" (for "butcher's hook"), a fight is a "barney" (from "Barney Rubble, i.e., trouble), etc. So why does the "inch" remain in this case? This guy's no Eric Partridge.
Posted by Fnarf on July 10, 2014 at 9:28 AM · Report this

Don Cheadle also explained it in one of the Ocean's Eleven movies. If I remember it's a two step translation, where you first make a conceptual link (or pun), then a rhyme.

"Barney -> Barney Rubble -> trouble"
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 10, 2014 at 9:29 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 5
I thought it had to do with a half-inch master. but I had no clue why.
Posted by Max Solomon on July 10, 2014 at 9:36 AM · Report this
venomlash 6
To "sausage a goose" is to cash a check. Sausage and mash, goose's neck.
Posted by venomlash on July 10, 2014 at 9:37 AM · Report this
originalcinner 8
I grew up with it too, and Bristol Palin's first name always cracks me up. That is sooooo not what anyone in Britain would call a girl child.
Posted by originalcinner on July 10, 2014 at 10:25 AM · Report this
I'd bet that "half-inch" in this context means "to pinch" ie steal.
Posted by VIC_20 on July 10, 2014 at 10:38 AM · Report this
originalcinner 10
@9: no shit, Sherlock.
Posted by originalcinner on July 10, 2014 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Fnarf 11
@7, of course I'm not a Brit, you fucking gobshite. I asked a fucking question. The guy in the video failed to answer it, and so did you. Fucking pillock. What exactly is it you grew up with, again? Syphilis? Goatfucker.
Posted by Fnarf on July 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 12
@6 - Is that what that's supposed to mean? That must be why I'm no longer welcome in several UK banks and farms.
Posted by MacCrocodile on July 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM · Report this
originalcinner 13
@11; the answer to your question is "sometimes you do, sometimes you don't". Just like "i before e except after c".
Posted by originalcinner on July 10, 2014 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Fnarf 15
@14, I haven't been bitten by anything, certainly not by you. If I had wanted to "show off" I would have given it a lot more than that; I'll wager I know more about Cockney rhyming slang (or anything, really) than you know about any subject whatever, including your own butthole. Not that I am a great expert, but you are clearly a nonentity in all areas of mental capacity.

Showing off? You are the one doing that -- "I grew up with it", as if the chances that you are anything other than the most pretentious sort of mockney imaginable were greater than zero. Which they are not. British slang can be delightful but, sadly, Britons, or rather Englishmen, themselves almost never are.

As for swearing, it is its own reward, the greatest pleasure than a person can experience if done correctly, and in the service of calling a soiled fuckstroke such as yourself an infected pus bubble such as you are it is exquisitely called-for. Eat shit and die.
Posted by Fnarf on July 10, 2014 at 1:54 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 16
@15 - or as some character says in Kim: "Get thee to Jehannum and abide there with thy reputationless aunt."
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on July 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM · Report this
venomlash 17
@15: Please read:
Posted by venomlash on July 10, 2014 at 3:09 PM · Report this

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