-- It were in February - second week in February.

-- February your grandmother!

This is from "1984". It's probably a realistic dialogue from the times when book was written, but do Brits still say it? Is there a specific group of the British (children, the youth, football players, angry people, Northern Englishmen, I don't know) who uses this expression?

If not, is there a modern equivalent? Are there any equivalents of this expression? I know in America teenagers say "your mum" (or rather "your mom"), but I'm interested in the British version.

  • In the first sentence "It were in February" Orwell (an Englishman) is using a dialect. Perhaps the speaker is being facetious, as in "yes, your highness." Jul 15, 2020 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


It’s a common way to express that you think the other person is lying or talking nonsense, that you don’t believe what they are saying.

The common idiom in Britain would be:

February, my arse!

Some will remove the profanity, and say something like:

February, my foot!

There are many such “polite” variations of this, and there is often an awareness that the person is deliberately removing the profanity, so it still carries the same humorous/“naughty” effect.

The word “February” represents the part we don’t believe, that we think should be replaced with something else. Consider the following conversation:

A: It will take me about five minutes.

B: Five minutes, my arse! It took you over an hour last time!

  • 1
    The word "February" in your examples is of course unnecessary, it could be any word, expression or phrase such as "Then he said 'the virus will magically go away ' my foot...."
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 15, 2020 at 15:29
  • @Mari-LouA Thanks, allow me to clarify this.
    – Chris Mack
    Jul 15, 2020 at 15:43

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .