crackers

emsr2d2

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I would call them "party poppers".
 

emsr2d2

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Well, according to that link, it appears it might be offensive in the US.
 

Rover_KE

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Yes — they're party poppers. [link]

Our American members will tell us more about your supplementary question when they wake up in a few hours. It's news to me.
 

emsr2d2

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In BrE, we sometimes say someone is "crackers", to be mean they're nuts/crazy/mad. Some people refer to particularly beautiful women with "She's a cracker" - I don't think it's offensive but I'd probably avoid using it!
Also, there was a Northern Irish comedian, whose name escapes me now, who used to say after a particularly good joke "That's a cracker!" The phrase can still be heard occasionally.
 

GoesStation

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Cracker was once a somewhat offensive term for certain white people from the American deep South (which is really the southeast). I think it's been a long time since anyone has taken offense at the word, but I don't live in the deep South so I can't be sure.

It's also a perfectly innocuous word in American English for a crisp little wafer often eaten with cheese.
 

tzfujimino

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Is the word "party popper" also used in the U.S?
 

Tdol

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Just because a word might be offensive in certain contexts, it does not follow that it will necessarily be offensive in all contexts. I know what cracker can mean, but that does nothing when I open a packet of crackers to go with cheese. A word that can be used in many contexts, like this one, will probably only be offensive in specific contexts. A word that is offensive in any context is one to avoid in all contexts.
 

SoothingDave

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We don't have "Christmas crackers" in the US.

The others I would call "party poppers."
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Rover_KE

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Two people grasp an end each and pull until the cracker splits open with a small explosion (the crack).

Typical side-splitting joke found inside:

What breed of cat has eight legs?

An octo-puss.

I sense a gap in the North American market here—you're missing out on so much fun and hilarity over there.:roll:
 
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