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  1. #1

    you say tomato, I say potato

    "You say tomato, I say potato", what does it mean?

    Also, what is a "buff bod" exactly? Itīs to do with people who exercise a lot, and are (perhaps) too obsessed with their looks.

    An old bean. Is "bean" Brittish slang for an elderly man?

    Thank you

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    Re: you say tomato, I say potato


    The usual quote is: "You say 'to-may-to', I say 'to-mah-to'", but it's actually a misquote -- it's "You like 'to-may-to', I like 'to-mah-to'" and it's from a song called Let's Call the Whole Thing Off. It's been sung by many different people and the lyrics vary, but here's part of the version sung by Fred Astaire:

    You say "ee-ther" and I say "eye-ther",
    You say "nee-ther" and I say "ny-ther";
    Ee-ther, eye-ther, nee-ther, ny-ther!
    Let's call the whole thing off!
    You like "po-tay-to" and I like "po-tah-to",
    You like "to-may-to" and I like "to-mah-to";
    Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, to-may-to, to-mah-to!
    Let's call the whole thing off!

    It's about differences in dialect, and different pronunciations of the words "either", "neither", "potato" and "tomato" (although I have never heard anyone pronounce "potato" as "po-tah-to"). Because "to-may-to" is the usual American pronunciation and "to-mah-to" the usual British pronunciation, the line is usually quoted in reference to the difference between British and American English.

    Old bean:

    This is a very old-fashioned term fashionable in the British upper classes a few generations ago. "Bean" simply meant "fellow" or "chap"; the world "old" was simply part of the idiom and was not a reference to the person's real age -- it was almost a sort of mild term of endearment. An "old bean" was a man or (sometimes) a boy; a woman or a girl might be an "old girl"; and a gender-neutral term was "old thing".

    All of these phrases are no longer fashionable, but you might find them in books written in the first half of the 20th century (for example in Enid Blyton's Famous Five series, or the works of P.G. Wodehouse).

  3. Ouisch's Avatar
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    English Teacher
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    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    Re: you say tomato, I say potato

    A "buff bod" is a body that is in excellent physical shape.

    "Have you seen Fred since he started working out regularly? He's got a totally buff bod now!"

    Britney Spears hired a personal trainer after the birth of her second child, and she showed off her newly buff bod in a miniskirt and crop top on the "David Letterman" show.

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