Sometimes when trying to use new English words, mistakes will happen. So, what in the world does “minging” mean?
Featured photograph: Dustin, Blades and the rest of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee soccer team celebrate winning a Horizon League Championship.
“Blades would be absolutely minging off this,” said Dustin in a fake English accent, nodding at the gooey artichoke concoction he vigorously dunked a tortilla chip in.
It was a bold move for the new kid on the team.
What had he just said?
Five black polo, beige short-wearing college soccer players shot puzzled frowns across the Applebee’s table. I was in a better position that most to decode the flawed statement he had so confidently delivered. “Minging” (pronounced miNGiN’) is a British slang word. My new housemate Dustin had probably overheard it from The Inbetweeners, a London-based TV show I had introduced to some of my Milwaukee teammates.
But it didn’t make any sense in this artichokian context. One simply cannot “ming” off something. Blades, our injured English midfielder, not present on this away trip to Cleveland, could not be “minging” off an appetizer. All I could surmise was that Dustin had confused it with another Inbetweeners term.
“Mate, did you mean Blades would be buzzing off that artichoke dip?” I asked.
Dustin looked up, pausing the loaded chip en route to his mouth. His round, slightly sunburnt face turned an Applebee’s shade of red.
“Oh, umm, yeah I think I did. What does minging mean again?” he asked, the English twang dropped for his ordinary Wisconsin accent.
“Disgusting or gross. But if you’re buzzing off something you’re excited or enthusiastic about it.”
He nodded, looked down at the table, and quietly finished his chip.
“What an idiot,” said Zach, another housemate, with a chuckle, and the rest of the table roared with laughter.
As one of my earliest friends in America, Zach had a year more experience with my Briticisms and would never make such a humiliating error. The newbie had tried though, and had made a fool out of himself. But accepting his role as butt of the joke, Dustin laughed too.
Two years later, in another Applebee’s before another fall soccer game, in a black polo and beige shorts, one of our freshman ordered the artichoke dip. At the table sat Dustin, Zach and myself, best friends who still live together. Blades, now an assistant coach who rents the apartment above us, was there too.
For the hundredth time, we shared the story of that famous meal, which had proved to be Dustin’s initiation into our group. When the appetizers arrived, Blades leant across the table and stole one of the freshman’s chips. He scooped it in artichoke, chewed, and turned to face Dustin with a smirk. He exaggerated his swallow.
Written by Laurence Bell studying at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. This article was a submission for our microscholarship program.