Nappy Valley's current post reminded me of something coming up very soon - Fat Tuesday. It's very big here and kicks off Mardi Gras celebrations. Some of us know it better as Pancake or Shrove Tuesday, but it's one of those things you hear as an expat and you can't quite believe it. I remember hearing it when I'd only been in the States about 9 months. The Ball & Chain was forever feeding me a wheelbarrow load of rubbish in terms of what was "traditional" just to see how gullible I was. Although I knew we were talking about Pancake Tuesday, I had never heard the FAT version before and glanced around the room to see if anyone was trying to hold in an almighty guffaw. Nothing. Everyone had moved on in the conversation.
(I should mention BTW, that "Mardi Gras" is in fact French for "Fat Tuesday". It still sounds funny in English though.)
Another memorable moment like that was when I first heard the word "behoove" (for "behove"). It seems to be used a lot more here (especially in the south) than it was in the England I knew, but when I heard "behoove" I assumed someone was being silly (as when you say "partay" for "party" ) so I laughed, - appropriately I thought. Everyone paused and the "crazy expat" look came over their collectives faces, before carrying on with the conversation. Behoove? How can anyone even take that word seriously? It sounds so funny.
Obviously, there are tons of English words that Americans find funny too, a fine example being Tit-bit. These modest Americans say "Tid-Bit".