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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 123

he does not reserve or engage seats; he books them. If he sits down-stairs, it is not in the orchestra, but in the stalls. If he likes vaudeville, he goes to a music-hall, where the head-liners are top-liners. If he has to stand in line, he does it, not in a line, but in a queue. If he goes to see a new play, he says that it has just been put up, not put on.
  In England a corporation is a public company or limited liability company. The term corporation, over there, is commonly applied only to the mayor, aldermen and sheriffs of a city, as in the London corporation. An Englishman writes Ltd. after the name of a limited liability (what we would call incorporated) bank or trading company, as we write Inc. He calls its president its chairman or managing director. Its stockholders are its shareholders, and hold shares instead of stock in it. The place wherein such companies are floated and looted—the Wall Street of London—is called the City, with a capital C. Bankers, stock-jobbers, promoters, directors and other such leaders of its business are called City men. The financial editor of a newspaper is its City editor. Government bonds are consols, or stocks, or the funds. 9 To have money in the stocks is to own such bonds. As Englishman hasn’t a bank-account, but a banking-account. He draws cheques (not checks), not on his bank but on the bankers. 10 In England there is a rigid distinction between a broker and a stock-broker. A broker means, not a dealer in securities, as in our Wall Street broker, but a dealer in second-hand furniture. To have the brokers 11 in the house means to be bankrupt, with one’s very household goods in the hands of one’s creditors. For a City man to swindle a competitor in England is not to do him up or to do him, but to do him in. When any English business man retires he does not actually retire; he declines business. 12
  Tariff reform, in England, does not mean a movement toward free trade, but one toward protection. The word Government,