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A Guide to Bridget Jones' 'Life Lexicon'

April 08, 2001|HUGH HART

The Brit-specific lingo sprinkled throughout "Bridget Jones's Diary" captivated Renee Zellweger when she read the book after its American publication in 1998. "The cultural references were not quite clear," she says. "It's sort of like watching an episode of 'ER,' I suppose-you don't get it all .... You question it, you go, 'Whoa, what is this?' You have to pay closer attention to figure out what it is that they're talking about."

Add a few phrases coined by author Helen Fielding, and you've got what Zellweger calls Bridget Jones' "life lexicon."

Here's a sampling:

Bunny Boiler: "Hateful concept suggesting that if a woman is 36 and unmarried, she is going to start murdering other people's husbands and boiling their children's rabbits." (From "Bridget Jones's Guide to Life," Picador.)

Gherkins: Pickles. "People like Bridget's mom who are very suburban and think they're still hip will serve pickles on toothpicks as hors d'oeuvres," says director Sharon Maguire.

Granny Pants: Girdle-like undergarment designed to flatten the stomach and thus make a good impression on a first date.

Milk Tray: Milk chocolate made by Cadbury. Bridget's favorite sweet to binge on when lonely or frustrated.

Mini-break: Three-day weekend. "An important rite of relationship passage involving not less than one or more than three nights in country house/hotel/fisherman's cottage, near pub by river (ideally with open fire) in country." (From "Bridget Jones's Guide to Life.")

1471: The British equivalent of star-69. "Adds to excitement of being single but also doubles misery potential on arrival home: no-number-stored on 1471 misery adds to no-message-on-answerphone misery or number stored turning out to be mother's misery." (From "Bridget Jones's Guide to Life.")

Tarts: Prostitutes.

Vicars: Parish priests.

Tarts and Vicars Party: A costume affair at which women dress as tarts, men as vicars.

Singleton: "Replacement for poison outdated word 'Spinster.' " (From "Bridget Jones's Guide to Life.")

Smug married: "Annoying married person who keeps saying things like 'Can't put it off forever you know, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock."' (From "Bridget Jones's Guide to Life.")

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