The Casual Vacancy employs a number of British terms within the context of the story:


  • 999 - British emergency number. In the United States, one would dial 911
  • Bin - A trash can or other such container. In the United States, "bin" is normally used only in association with recycling, as in "Recycle Bin."
  • Casual vacancy - a situation in politics in which a seat in a deliberative assembly is vacated during that assembly's term
  • City - a population centre which has been granted a Royal charter (traditionally, one which has at least one Anglican cathedral, but this is no longer the criterion). Contrast with the American English usage, wherein a city is any population centre above a certain size.
  • Comprehensive - a type of state school found in Great Britain and certain other countries that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude
  • Conker - the seed or tree of a chestnut and also a game played with the seeds
  • Fag - a cigarette
  • GCSE - General Certificate of Secondary Education, an educational certification in Great Britain. Normally achieved in Year 11 (American 10th grade) at the age of 16.
  • Goose flesh - raised bumps on the skin from cold or fear also called "goosebumps"
  • Hoover - A vacuum cleaner or the act of vacuuming a carpet. In the United States, the term "Hoover" is normally only used to refer to the specific brand name.
  • Loo - the bathroom or toilet. (In British English "bathroom" is specifically a room with a bath, though in homes the toilet is usually in there as well)
  • Mock - a preliminary exam to prepare one for a real exam
  • Nappy - diaper
  • Nick or nicked - slang for steal or stole
  • Nursery school (sometimes just nursery) - British term for what is called "preschool" or "kindergarten" in American English
  • People carrier - a large (typically 7-seater) car, to carry an entire family.
  • Prick - slang term for penis or an inconsiderate person
  • Form or registration room/teacher - the room where school students report upon arriving at school and the teacher overseeing it. In the United States, this is referred to as "homeroom."
  • Rounders - a bat and ball game played with similar equipment to baseball or softball, but with different rules
  • Row - when pronounced to rhyme with "wow," it means an argument.
  • Squash - a high-speed racket sport developed in England
  • Torch - a flashlight
  • Twat - pronounced to rhyme with "that". An insult—refers to a person considered stupid or extremely unpleasant.
  • Wank - verb to masturbate, noun/gerund the act of doing so. Wanker is an insult used to refer to an unpleasant person.
  • Washing up / Washing up liquid: In the United States, typically referred to as "doing dishes" and "dishwashing liquid" or "dish soap" respectively
  • Wobbly - in reference to a tooth or teeth, what one in the United States would call "loose."
  • Wog (or rarely golliwog or golly) - a coloured person, especially one of darker skin tone. Despite being the basis of Florence Kate Upton's heroic Golliwogg character, is now an offensively racist term, due in large part to Enid Blyton's interpretation of the archetype.
  • Yob or yobbo - an antisocial person, especially a particularly young or violent one. Believed to derive from "boy" backwards.

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