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What is a “Lie in”?

4 September, 2008

In a recent correspondence with someone, they asked me what a “lie in” was. I wasn’t really sure if they were being serious or not. I know it sounds odd, but this person wasn’t British and I’m not sure that the term “lie in” is used widely in other parts of the world. So, this question put me in a quandry. Should I answer with facts and simply explain, or should I reply with some element of humour? I chose the latter, mostly because I’m a sarcastic bugger.

Here’s my reply. The person asking the question is a Canadian keen gardener, if you were wondering.

“when someone stays in bed until after the sun has risen in a morning, that’s called a lie-in, as in lie-in-bed. It’s a traditional British non-activity, usually practiced at weekends or on days off from work. Work is that other thing we do, when not in the garden, or browsing the stores in shopping malls. Sometimes it also involves making money so that we can spend it on our gardens or on the entrance fees of other peoples gardens, typically the gardens of the upper classes or aristocracy, who are so skint (hard up, penniless, brassic) that they have to charge people for walking around their gardens.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. 5 September, 2008 6:13 AM

    Thank you for answering my question and for throwing in some humor! I had never heard the term “lie in” until last week when I was reading a blog written by a British man who was complaining that his rambunctious dog was preventing him from having a lie in. I assumed he meant having a nap but I am thankful you have cleared things up for me. In Canada we use the term “sleeping in” or “slept in”.

    This same blogger also introduced me to the word “nutter”. Thankfully he was not calling me a nutter, although I am sure I have come across as a nutter a few times!

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