now that’s a mouthful: Oral

oil canThis occurred to me the other day, so I reckon I’ll share. I was trying to wash a dish that was retaining a slimy residue and I said, ‘Dang, this oral’s really not coming off, even with soap.’

Let’s be clear: I meant oil.

When/ where I grew up, oil was pronounced ‘oral,’ so at some point in my very tender years (I learnt to read and write long before kindergarten),

now that's a mouthful teethI remember asking, ‘Why is oral spelt O-I-L when they mean in cars and oral is spelt ORAL when it means your mouth?’

This is one of those times when adults try to not laugh at kids.

Gram explained, ‘Some say oral for oil but oil is oil and oral is oral.’

I didn’t believe cos I’d heard OIL pronounced oral too many times. As it turns, she was right.


3 thoughts on “now that’s a mouthful: Oral

  1. It’s so interesting how different parts of the country say things differently. Well, not even the country. My mom says many things that sound “wrong” to me. Like melk, instead of milk. Tor when she means tour. Compfterbul, not comfortable. Etc.

    At work we call the microscope oil “Earl”. But, that’s just us.


    • Lily says:

      Most people NOW in the region say ‘oil.’ I’m telling you, electricity, cable TV and THE INTERWEB has greatly widened the input people get. My family didn’t say ‘oral’ for oil but all these surrounding ones did…Of course I said stuff in Irish the locals didn’t understand but I didn’t know it was Irish (as a kid). Weird stuff. I think it’s all funny/ cool.


    • Lily says:

      Oh! And another one that’s just to the south or east of us is ‘Are-A’ for R.

      We say R (are) but that one always cracked me up, too.


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