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The Eskimos apparently have around 20 words for snow. It would seem that the English have at least that many words for getting drunk, idiots and men’s appendages. But we do talk about other things too… sometimes. Here’s a glossary of slang words and phrases in everyday use by the English. Actually – The English attempt at adding mild surprise to a statement: Love, actually. Shit, actually. A&E – Accident and Emergency or Emergency Room in hospitals (see DIY). All over the shop – something disorganised or confused: Bob’s presentation was all over the shop. Nobody could understand what he was talking about. Anorak – a waterproof coat worn by train spotters. Also means ‘geek'. Arse – English equivalent of ‘ass'. Used in phrases like ‘pain in the arse’ (a nuisance). Also means effort as in ‘can’t be arsed’ (can’t be bothered) or ‘a half-arsed attempt’ meaning not trying hard enough. Arsehole – the English term is arsehole, the American term is asshole – same meaning. Arsey – aggressive, irritable or argumentative. ‘We didn’t realise it was private property until this arsey bloke banged on the window and went ballistic.’ Arsing about - messing around. Auntie – affectionate term for the BBC. Ballistic – ‘to go ballistic’ is to become extremely angry. Bank Holiday – public holiday when the banks are closed and our hardworking bankers take a well-earned break. Ordinary folk at home get out power tools and step ladders to indulge in home improvements or macro gardening, often taking a trip to A&E later. Bangers – sausages. Bang on about – to keep talking about the same thing. Bang out of order – totally unacceptable. Barking – completely mad. Barmy – mad or crazy. ‘Those barmy Americans asked the tour guide why Windsor Castle was built so close to Heathrow Airport.’ The Beeb – the BBC. The bee’s knees – the polite version of the dog’s bollocks, meaning brilliant, excellent. ‘Antony passed his exams, so he’s feeling the bee’s knees.’ Bender – a pub crawl or a heavy drinking session. Also means a gay man. Use with care. The boys went on a real bender at the weekend. Bent – gay.
Berk – moron. Bib and tucker – old-fashioned description of best clothes for special occasions. Big ask – something tough or demanding. Can be misheard as ‘big arse’, which isn't flattering. Big girl’s blouse – wimpy, emasculated, weak man. ‘Kick the bloody ball, Geoffrey! Stop being a big girl’s blouse – it’s only a game!’ Billy no mates – description of an unpopular person. Bingo wings – the hanging fat that swings from an obese woman’s upper arms when they are raised and shaken while shouting "Bingo!" during a tournament. But even non-bingo players can have bingo wings. Bint – derogatory slang word for woman or girl. Bird – woman/girlfriend. Bitter – draught beer, served at cellar temperature. Bizzies – Liverpudlian term for police. Bladdered – another word meaning drunk. To blag – to steal, get away with something or talk your way in without a ticket. Terry blagged his way into the nightclub and then blagged a couple of drinks off the barman before blagging a lift home from a woman.' Bleeding – adjective and expletive, ‘Bleeding hell! The bleeding car won’t start again!’ Bless! – how cute! Blighty – old fashioned, affectionate term for Britain used by the British. ‘Despite all the excitement of Las Vegas, Harry longed to be back in dear old Blighty.' Blimey – another exclamation of surprise. ‘Gawd Blimey’ or ‘Gor Blimey’ or even ‘Cor Blimey.’ A corruption of the oath ‘God blind me.’ ‘Blimey mate, that’s a shiny suit you’re wearing!’ Blinding – fantastic. Blinkered – narrow-minded or only seeing one view on a subject. Bloke – guy. Bloody – one of the most useful swear words or adjectives in English. Universally applied, ie bloody French, bloody trains, bloody weather, bloody boring. Bloody-minded – someone who is stubbornly contrary or obstructive. Blotto – drunk. Blow me! – not a request for services to be performed. An exclamation of surprise, meaning ‘blow me down.’ Bob’s your uncle! – added to the end of sentences to mean ‘and there you have it!’ ‘Voila!’, as the French would say. To bodge – badly done handywork, programming or DIY jobs. ‘Crikey! That plumber did a bloody bodged job on the bathroom taps. There’s water all over the shop.’ Bog – slang for toilet. Bog roll – toilet paper. Bog standard – ordinary, unmodified.
Bogey – obviously a golfing term meaning one over par, but also encrusted mucus from inside the nose. Bogeymen don’t exist in England, but bogeys can be found inside library books, on the edge of car seats, under school desks etc. Bollocks – testicles, but also used to refute fact or opinion, ‘No, that’s complete bollocks!’, or as an expletive ‘Bollocks, I’ve left my house keys at work again!’ The dog’s bollocks – great, fantastic, wonderful. ‘My new phone is the dog’s bollocks, it’s got loads of apps.’ Bollocking – when one is lectured, criticised or reprimanded. Someone receiving a bollocking has been bollocked. ‘You’re gonna get a bollocking, mate.’ ‘Too late mate, I’ve already been bollocked!’ Bollocked – a telling off or extremely drunk. ‘On Saturday we got completely bollocked..’ (Costs) a bomb – very expensive. (Goes like) a bomb – really fast. Bone idle – lazy. Bonk – same as shag, meaning to have sex. Bonkers – completely mad. Boob – breasts. Boob job – breast augmentation. To make a boob – to make a mistake. Bookies – where millions are won and many more millions are lost. Short for bookmaker or betting shop – where the British public can bet on just about everything, even two flies crawling up a window. Booze – alcohol. Boozer – the pub. Booze cruise – group taking a ferry trip across the English Channel, with the sole objective to purchase cheap alcohol. Less common in these economic times. Today, a booze cruise is more likely to involve a short trip to a supermarket down the road. Booze-up – drinking session. Bottle – bravery, courage, no fear. ‘He’s got a lot of bottle, that bloke.' To lose your bottle – when the bravery, courage and fear have vanished. To bottle it – to wimp out. Jack climbed up to the highest diving board and bottled it. Bovvered – bothered/annoyed. ‘Am I bovvered? Do I care?’ Boy racer – aggressive, young fast driver. Brass monkeys – extremely cold. ‘We queued in the snow and it was absolute brass monkeys.’ Brilliant – terrific, great, excellent. Shortened to ‘brill'. Brolly - umbrella. Budge up – to ask someone to make some more space in a cramped environment: ‘Hey mate, budge up a bit will yer?’ Bugger – sodomy. Also an expletive: ‘Oh, bugger!’
Lucky bugger – fortunate person. Old bugger – annoying old man. Bugger off! – an impolite form of ‘go away.’ Buggered – tired, defeated or apathetic. Bugger all – nothing: ‘How many Marmite sandwiches did you sell to the Americans?’ ‘Bugger all.' Builders – cup of tea – the ordinary sort of tea drunk by the gallon by builders. ‘Cup of tea? Will builders do?’ Bum – rear end, backside, butt, arse. To bum – to scrounge: ‘I bummed a fag off this bloke.’ Politely, that translates as ‘I obtained a cigarette from a gentleman.’ Bumf – paper-based information. Bumpf on a new house, holiday brochure, insurance policy etc (from bum fodder – toilet paper). Bun in the oven – pregnant. Bung – to throw, as in ‘Bung my car keys over here, would you?’ or a bribe, ‘Charlie offered me a £1000 bung to keep quiet.' Bunking off – skiving (truanting from school/work). The business – the best (see the dog’s bollocks). ‘This book is the business. It tells you everything you need to know about the English.' Doing the business – having sex, doing an unpleasant task or a dog crapping. Butter up – schmooze. Camp – effeminate, teasing, theatrical manner (male). Chalk and cheese – description comparing two completely different people who have nothing in common. Chap – man, bloke. Chat up – flirtatious talk. Chav – much maligned underclass individual, identified by his/ her cheap clothing, uneducated accent and feckless attitude. Cheeky – impertinently bold, impudent or saucy. Cheerio – ‘goodbye!’ Cheers – drinking toast, thank you or goodbye. Chelsea tractor – any large, top-of-the-range, new, expensive 4x4 car driven in an urban environment as a status symbol (typically for the school run), never to be driven off-road. Chin wag – gossipy chat. Chinky – Chinese takeaway restaurant. Chippy – a chip shop or a carpenter. Chivvy along – hurry along. Chocka (from chockablock) – very full/choked. ‘Sorry I’m late. The place was absolutely chocka with Chelsea tractors and I couldn’t find a parking space.' Chuffed – very pleased: ‘Sharon was chuffed when at last the chippy took out his tool and got down to business on her floorboards.'
To chunter – to mutter or grumble incessantly, in a meaningless fashion (typically English behaviour - everyone chunters). Clobber – to beat someone up, utterly defeat, or lots of personal items. ‘Jeff’s wife had an affair with Pete, so Jeff clobbered him.’ ‘Hooray! Liverpool clobbered Manchester United 6–0.’ ‘Billy moved in, dumping all his clobber in the living room.’ Cobblers – rubbish. Cock-a-hoop – elated, extremely pleased. Cock up – a big mistake or things going wrong. ‘John cocked up booking the tickets for Cup Final. He got two instead of three, so you’re not going.’ Codswallop – nonsense, rubbish. Common – adjective to describe the class of an uncouth, badly behaved or badly spoken person. Common as muck – very common. Cop it – to get into trouble. ‘John copped it when the fellas discovered the tickets cock up.’ Coronation Street (Corrie) – soap opera: Cheating, beating, arguing, fighting, gossiping, drinking and murdering – all in a day’s work from Britain’s most popular, longest-running soap opera (since 1960). Set in working class Greater Manchester. Cow – an impolite description of a woman. Stupid cow, lazy cow, fat cow etc. Cracking – brilliant, excellent, the best: Wallace: ‘Cracking cheese, Gromit!’ Crap – popular word for rubbish. Crikey! – an exclamation of surprise. ‘Crikey! The prices have gone up since last year!’ Crumpet – small round pancake-like savoury bread, eaten hot with butter. A bit of crumpet – slang for a sexually attractive woman ‘Cor, Bob, do you fancy a bit of crumpet – the place is teaming with totty?’ Thinking man’s crumpet – a sexually attractive, intelligent woman appealing to a man who considers himself to be a smart thinker. Cuppa – tea. ‘Would you like a cuppa while you wait?’ Curry house – curry restaurant. Cushy – easy, making few demands. Daft – wacky, insane, very stupid. Daft as a brush - really, really wacky, insane, stupid. Damage – the total cost of a bill. ‘What’s the damage Kev? Is it more than fifty quid?’ Debag - spontaneous forcible removal of a person's trousers by an inebriated gang of males who ambush their victim in a public place and find it highly amusing. Dickhead – picture a penis growing out of a man's forehead and you'll have a clear image of an idiotic man who exhibits his faults well.
Diddle – to rip off or short-change. Doddle – something that’s simple to do. Dim/dimwit – not very intelligent. Ding dong - kerfuffle, argument. Dipstick – stupid person. Dishy – description of an attractive, good-looking person. Diss - disrespect. Dissed - told off. DIY – Do-it-Yourself. There are superstores dedicated to this popular Brit weekend pastime, which embraces carpentry, plumbing, electrics and household repairs. DIY involves using lethal tools at home to carry out tasks learned on the Internet, usually whilst balancing on a ladder or rooftop. (See A&E). Do – a party, celebration: ‘Harry’s having a bit of a do to celebrate his 40th.’ Do – prosecution by the police. The police will ‘do you’ if you speed or drive on the wrong side of the road. Then, you will have been ‘done’ by the coppers. Doing his/her nut – furious anger. ‘You shouldn’t have used Dad’s credit card. He’ll do his nut when he finds out.’ Doddle – easy, cinch. Dodgy – not to be trusted, faulty or something of dubious origin. Dodgy food, dodgy plumbing, dodgy goods, dodgy salesman. Avoid. Dog – disrespectful term for an unattractive woman. Dog’s dinner – a complete mess. ‘Sharon forgot her umbrella so she looked like a real dog’s dinner when she arrived at the audition, so everything went pear shaped.’ Dogging - watching or participating in night-time sexual activity taking place in wooded areas, parks and lay-bys. (If you're lost, make sure you don't inadvertently flash your lights when parked up to read the map or drop your keys out of the door - these misconstrued signals might indicate that you'd like to join in the kinky outdoors fun). Doobry – thingy, watchamacalit, can’t think of the word… ‘Wayne’s got a doobry for hacking into phones, to see if Shazza’s having an affair!’ Doolally – mad, crazy. Doris – slang word for woman: ‘They’ll be lots of Dorises at Gary’s party.’ Dosh – money. ‘Got any dosh on you? Can you lend me a fiver?’ Dosser – homeless person. Dotty – harmless eccentric. Drop a clanger – to do or say something stupid or embarrassing. ‘When’s your baby due? Do you know if it is a boy or a girl.’ ‘Actually, I’m not pregnant.’ Eastenders – definitive, long-running Cockney soap opera set in Albert Square in Walford, a fictional borough in London’s East End. Most of the
nasty infighting takes place in a pub called The Queen Vic, a chip shop and a Laundromat, (because none of the residents of Albert Square, although they can afford to emigrate when they are written out, have washing machines). Easy peasy – very easy. Effing and blinding – polite way to describe someone who swears profusely without mentioning the ‘f’ word or ‘bugger'. Epic fail - complete failure. Fab – fabulous: ‘Oh Barry, your new hairpiece is fab. It looks completely natural.’ Faff – to dither, procrastinate. Fag – cigarette. ‘John went on a fag hunt as he was feeling desperate.’ Fagging – old fashioned practice of enslaving younger boys to do errands and other things for older boys at English boarding schools. Fair enough – OK, reasonable. ‘Fair enough. If you want to put the garden gnome by the pond, that’s fine with me.’ Fancy – wanting something or being attracted to someone. ‘Do you fancy a beer?’ or ‘Of course we all know that Gary fancies Sharon!’ Fanny – a woman’s front bits. As a rule, English women don’t have fanny packs, fall on their fannies or fanny about. Father Christmas – Santa Claus. Fill your boots – help yourself, take as much as you like. Fit – extremely good looking, description of an attractive person. Fiver – a five pound note. Flash – gaudy, assertive, showy. Mick hoped his flash new suit would impress the ladies. Flog – to sell something. Terry flogged his car to Pete. Flutter – a small bet. Everyone has a flutter on the Grand National. Fogey – old person. Fuck all – absolutely nothing at all. Also, bugger all, sod all, nada, zilch, zero, zip, nowt, jack shit, naught. Shortened to FA, or sweet FA. Full Monty – going all the way, the whole thing, everything, ie a Full Monty English breakfast will set you up for the day. Full of beans – having loads of energy. Gaff – London slang word for house. Gaffe – make a gaffe (accidentally say the wrong thing). See 'drop a clanger.’ Gagging – desperate, usually in a sexual way. 'Pam was absolutely gagging for it.’ Gastropub – a once traditional pub, which is still a pub, but also doubles as a restaurant, serving good food. Instead of a bag of crisps to go with your beer, you’ll need to purchase the duck a l’orange nestled on a salade endive, served with sautéed potatoes followed by the Bakewell tart with
custard for dessert. Geezer - either an old man, or conversely, a bloke/ guy same as American for 'dude'. Diamond geezer - a legendary hero, cool bloke. The Gents – toilets for gentlemen. Get the nod – be given permission. Getting off – making out – an objective of most teenagers on a big night out. See snogging. Get your kit off – undress fully, after you have got off with someone. Git – pedantic old fool. Gob – slang for mouth. Gobshite – a person who talks bollocks. Gobsmacked – amazed. Gordon Bennett! – old fashioned exclamation of anguish or incredulity, when one is truly gobsmacked. Go off on one – a verbal tirade of annoyance. Good innings – phrase derived from cricket meaning a long and productive life. Goolies – balls, nuts, gonads, bollocks. Grand – one thousand. Greasy spoon – slang for a café frequented by truck drivers and builders which serves full English breakfasts 24/7. Grotty – tacky. Grub – slang for food. Pub grub is pub food. Grub is any satisfying food when hungry. Grub’s up! – ‘Dinner’s ready!’ Gutted – very upset. Guv or guv’nor – London slang for ‘sir'. Usually used by traders or taxi drivers to address their male customers or when referring to their boss. 'Ello Guv!' Hairdo – hair that has just been styled. Hair of the dog – dubious hangover cure in the form of another strong alcoholic drink, downed early the next morning, with the intention and belief of the drinker that it will smash the hangover. Haggle – to barter. The English are moderately good at haggling when buying or selling cars or houses. Anything else, and we're just too embarrassed. The only exception being a rickshaw driver in India with whom they'll haggle over the cost of a fare right down to 100 rupees (about £0.11). Reverting to type back in England at a market stall 'How much for that teapot?' '£5 mate.’ 'Will you take £4.50?' 'No.’ 'OK, here's a fiver.’ Remember, the English are reluctant and uncomfortable barterers. A half – a half pint of beer in a pub. Hanky panky – cheeky meaning for sex. Hard – English men are sometimes hard after a lot of beer with their mates. In this instance hard means tough, emboldened and ready for a fight or
challenge. Having kittens – panicking. Debbie went into labour and her mum had kittens. Helping the police with their enquiries – police interrogation. Her indoors – slang description by a husband of his wife. ‘I’ll have to ask her indoors if I’m free on Saturday.’ At Her Majesty’s Pleasure – a polite phrase to describe a prison sentence. HMP is the prefix before the name of the prison, standing for Her Majesty’s Prison. ‘Tommy got five years at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.’ Higgledy-piggledy – in disarray. High Street – cloned Main Street in all English towns – identical shops selling identical things in all towns across the country. The hoi-polloi – collective term used by the upper classes to describe the masses, the general public or common people. Hoodie – hooded tracksuit top worn mostly by chavs. The hoods hide faces from CCTV cameras and the police. Hoo-Ha – commotion. Hooray Henry – young, posh, affluent, cocky individual usually making a lot of noise, often drinking with other Hoorays. Hooter – nose. Horses for courses – a person suited for one job, may not be suited for another. Iffy – doubtful, uncertain. Pam had put on so much weight that the chances of her fitting into her wedding dress on the day looked iffy. Innit? – slang request for agreement (isn’t it?) ‘Nice day, innit?’ ‘Sue will meet us at the cinema, innit?’ Jammy – lucky, fortunate. Jippy tummy – diarrhoea. Also Montezuma’s revenge, the squits, the runs. Jobsworth – an unsporting official who will snitch on you – it’s more than their job’s worth not to tell. John Thomas – if this is your real name, never use it socially or on business in England. It's old fashioned slang for penis. Joint – roast leg of lamb or beef. ‘Ahh! Smell that lovely joint!’ A jolly – junket. To fool the tax inspectors, the company listed the day as a training course. But with all the champagne, stretch limos and Barry Manilow tickets, the girls knew it was a complete jolly. Jolly – very. ‘Poor Toby was jolly sad to crash his car.’ Jugs – breasts. Keep your hair on! – calm down! Kerfuffle - commotion. Khazi – slang for toilet. Kicking off - starting up and getting out of hand.
Kip – a nap. Knackered – exhausted, tired. Knees-up – a party or lively gathering, often with dancing. ‘Jim and Joan are having a knees-up on Saturday night at their gaff.’ Knickers – panties. Knickers in a twist – agitated, flustered or upset. Knob – one of many words for penis or a stupid person. Knobhead – same as dickhead. Knockers – boobs (tit variety). Knock off – an item that is ‘knock off’ has been stolen (popular term in Liverpool). To knock off – one who knocks off early, leaves work ahead of time. It also means committing adultery or having someone killed. Check the context before volunteering to knock someone off. Lad – boy or young man. Ladettes – (always plural) gaggle of teenage or young women, usually drunk, loud, behaving badly and up to no good with the lads. The Ladies – toilets for ladies. Laughing gear – mouth. Leave it out! – don’t go on about it! Leg it – to run away, having done something naughty. (Get your) leg over – to have sex. Left, right and centre – everywhere. On holiday, Mick got his leg over, left right and centre. Lippy – answering back, showing no respect. Local – a local is a favourite pub, close to one’s home or workplace. ‘I’ll see you down the local for a pint on Friday.’ Lolly – money (lots of it). Loo – toilet. Loo rolls – toilet paper. (Not to be confused with the late American singer, Lou Rawls). Lose the plot – to become angry or confused, or both. Lovely – opposite of ‘bloody'. Popular adjective used by the English to describe nice things: lovely weather, lovely gardens, lovely cup of tea etc. Lovely jubbly! – an exclamation used when something good or lucky happens. ‘I’ve had another winner on the horses. Lovely jubbly!’ The lurgy – the flu'. Luv – affectionate form of address. ‘Yes, luv. Can I help you?’ Manc – culturally originating from Manchester (people, haircuts, music etc). Man flu’ – a common cold with extreme, debilitating symptoms afflicting men, but not women. Mate – friend. Also friendly term used by men to address other men, they may not know. ‘Excuse me mate, do you know where the nearest chip shop is?’
Middle England – media and political characterisation of a predominantly middle class, middle income section of society. In a general election, Middle England ultimately decides. Milkman – the milkman delivers groceries and milk at dawn to people’s homes, driving a battery powered, silent flatbed ‘float'. People often joke that their son or daughter is ‘the milkman’s’, meaning he/she bears no resemblance to their father. ‘Where did Jordan get that red hair from?’ ‘He’s obviously the milkman’s.’ Minging – unattractive, repulsive (rhymes with singing). Minger – ugly person, or one who exhibits disgusting behaviour (rhymes with singer). Something or someone truly revolting is actually 'minging'. Mitts – hands. ‘Get your filthy mitts off my clean car!’ Mockney - mock Cockney. Someone who tries to sound cool and matey with a fabricated Cockney accent, disguising their middle class upbringing miles away from London's East End. Monkeys – if you ‘don’t give a monkeys’, you don’t care. 'I don't give a monkeys if you've got man flu'. You've got to get your arse into gear.’ Moreish – food so good, you just want more. Mug – a gullible person. Muggins – simpleton, fool. Also used humorously to refer to oneself. ‘Guess who parked on the beach as the tide came in? Yep – Muggins here!’ Munter – someone definitely ugly. Muppet – stupid person. Naff – uncool, tasteless, cheap. ‘Colin thought the ornamental garden gnomes in Ron’s garden were a bit naff.’ Naff off! – acronym (popular with Princess Anne) for ‘not available for fun’, so you can ‘naff off!’ Narked – to be annoyed about something. Narky – irritable, complaining. NED - non-educated delinquent. Nick – to nick is to steal. Nicked – something that has been stolen, or to be caught by the police. Nipper – child. Nippy – cold (weather) or fast. ‘It’s a bit nippy today’, or ‘Tina’s bought a new car – it’s very nippy.’ Nookie – snogging, groping and sex. Nosh – food. Not half! – confirmatory response to a question, meaning ‘very'. ‘Did you enjoy the book?’ ‘Not half, mate!’ Not my cup of tea – not to my liking. ‘The 80-year old rapper on Britain’s Got Talent isn’t really my cup of tea. I think I’ll vote for the piano-playing poodle instead.’ Not short of a bob or two – understated expression describing someone comfortably well off financially. (Bob is slang for shilling – about 10p).
‘Terry will invest. He’s not short of a bob or two.’ Not the sharpest tool in the box - lacking intelligence. Natter – chatter or gossip. Doris and Enid had a natter over the garden fence. Nutter – crazy person. The Old Bill – affectionate or contemptuous term for the police. Old boys’ network – social and business connections among former pupils of male-only public (private) schools, who identify themselves by wearing their school tie. In England, it matters not what you know, but who you know. Old fart – boring, pedantic, old-fashioned tribal elder. Off your trolley – gone mad. Off the back of a lorry – euphemism for stolen goods. Offie – off licence, liquor store or shop which sells alcohol. Oi! – an exclamation or shout, usually as a warning. ‘Oi! What’re you lookin’ at?’ Oik – an uncouth youth or a person of low class. On about – what are you on about? What are you trying to say? On the job – either training alongside someone at work or having sex. Check the context first. On the piss – drinking with the intention to get drunk, or to get pissed. On your bike – go away, or get on with something. One off – a once-only experience. ‘In a completely one-off surprise gesture, Terry bought all his friends a drink at the pub.’ OTT – over the top. Too much of anything. Beatrice wore a hat to the wedding that was completely OTT. Over the moon – overjoyed. To pack it in – to quit, to finish. Page 3 girl – pert, topless model featured in Britain’s best-selling daily newspaper, The Sun. Panto – short for pantomime – that uniquely British theatrical entertainment at the opposite end of the thespian spectrum to Shakespeare (although the cross dressing remains the same). Pants – underpants. Also means rubbish, not good. Having missed his tenth shot, Gary left the course declaring that he was pants at golf. Parky – cold weather. Pear shaped – plans that have gone wrong. The wedding went totally pear shaped when the bride’s car broke down on the way to the church. Pecker – penis. But 'to keep your pecker up' means to keep your chin up, not your penis, and remain cheerful. Peckish – hungry. Chas passed the stall selling crabsticks and jellied eels and suddenly felt peckish. Piece of cake – something that’s easy to do. Toby arrogantly described his
ascent to the summit of Everest as being a piece of cake. Pillock – idiot. Pinch – to nick (steal) something small. A pint – general term for a drink at the pub ‘Do you fancy a pint later?’ Piss poor – an extremely poor attempt at something. Piss weak – description of drink lacking flavour or character. Piss up – a heavy drinking session. Couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery –incapable of doing the easiest task. Pissed – drunk. Pisshead – drunkard. Piss off! – go away! Pissed off – annoyed. Pissing about – messing around. Pissing down – raining heavily. Piss-take - an attempt to make someone or something seem silly. Plastered – drunk. Plonker – penis or foolish person. Podged – how you feel having eaten too much. Poo – yes, it’s the same thing as in the rest of the world. But it’s also the perfect gift anytime. Champagne… which morphs into shampoo… and is then shortened to poo. ‘Poo anyone? Rupert’s brought some over to help us celebrate!’ Porkies – Cockney rhyming slang, ‘porky pies’ which rhymes with lies. Bob told his wife a few porkies about his financial success at the horse races. Posh – posh is a perception that something – a restaurant, hotel, car, school etc – is classy because it’s expensive and looks as if it’s used or owned by rich or upper class people. Popularly believed to be an acronym for ‘Port Out, Starboard Home’, describing the cooler, north-facing cabins taken by the most aristocratic or important passengers travelling with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company from England to India and back. Potty – eccentrically crazy. Poxy – having little value, importance or influence. Dora lives in a poxy village in the middle of nowhere. Prat – ridiculous person. Toby looked a bit of a prat in his top hat. Prick – yet another word for penis or an idiotic man. Pseud – a pompous, pretentious, pseudo-intellectual who tries to impress people by using grandiose language or descriptions:
Pseud examples: One of the few valid ‘lessons of history’ is that agglutinative processes always set off fissile reactions. Englishman, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, The Independent.
‘The Hegelian philosophical principle that out of a thesis and its opposed antithesis comes the hardy alloy of a synthesis has a seductive power.’ Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, quoted in The Times. ‘His (David Beckham) boots carry the names of his children and the training vest shows off those lean arms and the collage of tattoos that snake across his upper body, telling the story of his life and turning his body into football’s equivalent of the Sistine Chapel.’ Guardian Sports
Pub crawl – an itinerant group of drinkers sampling the ale in all the local hostelries within the locality. Pukka – cool, great, proper, genuine, good. Jamie’s got a pukka recipe for toad-in-the-hole. To pull – to attract/ pick up someone. Someone is 'on the pull' if they are trying to get lucky or 'pulled' if they respond positively to the other person's sexual attraction or personal magnetism. Put a sock in it – shut up! Quid – £ To rabbit on about something – from Cockney rhyming slang (rabbit and pork – talk). To talk incessantly about nothing interesting. Raining cats and dogs – raining very heavily or pissing down. Randy – a feeling of sexual excitement and an eagerness to have sex. In Britain we have a range of male first names, Randy not being one of them. Rat arsed – yet another term for drunk. Readies – available cash. Reccy – ‘to do a reccy’ is to check something out (reconnaissance). Riff-raff - upper class word to describe a rabble from the lower classes. Roger – to have sex. Also confirmative military radio transmission and a man’s first name. (Oddly, not as inappropriate here in Blighty as being called Randy). Round – a collection of drinks bought by one person for others in the group in a pub or bar. ‘It’s your round, John. Mine’s a triple gin and tonic.’ Ruby Murray – curry. Widely used from Cockney rhyming slang. For some reason it's is often said with a Birmingham accent – ‘Rooh Bay Morr Aye.’ Rubbish – trash. Rug – a man’s hairpiece. Rumpy pumpy – hanky panky or what consenting adults get up to in private. Runner – ‘to do a runner’ is to leave a shop/ restaurant in a hurry without paying.
Sack/sacked – fired from work. Sad – someone to be pitied. Gary’s mates thought he was sad missing the football match so that he could fix his lawnmower. Sarky – sarcastic. Scrounge – to borrow something with no intention of returning it. Scrounger – a parasitic person. Scrubber – once slang for prostitute, now occasionally used to describe women offering comparable services free of charge. To scupper – to ruin. Rain scuppered the barbeque so Betty cooked 120 sausages in her small oven instead. Shafted – ripped off, conned (or can mean to have been shagged - see 'to shag' next on this list. To shag – to have sex. Shagged – past tense of shag, but can also mean very tired. Shambles – chaotic, disorganised. Shed load – a large amount of any one thing. Keith brought a shed load of beers to the party. Sherberts – slang for beers in a pub. Shirt-lifter – gay man (also uphill gardener, sausage jockey). Shirty – angry. ‘Calm down mate! Don’t get shirty with me.’ Shite – description for something that is shit. Shitfaced – being very drunk. Short-arse – a vertically-challenged person. Sick as a parrot – unhappy, disappointed or depressed. Skint – having no money. ‘I can’t come to the pub mate, I’m skint.’ To skive – (rhymes with jive) to deliberately avoid school or work. Slag – derogatory name for a woman free with her affections. Slag off – to bad-mouth someone. Slap-head – bald man. Slapper – another woman free with her affections. Slash – pee or wee. Sloshed – drunk (again). Smarmy – obsequious, smooth-talking. Smashing – terrific. Ron bought some smashing gnomes for his garden. To snog – to kiss with groping. Snookered – equivalent to being up the famous creek without a paddle. Sod – stupid person. Old sod – old stupid person. Sod all – receiving nothing. Sod off – a command to go away. Sod’s Law – Murphy’s Law – whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Soft lad – wuss. Sorted – fixed, resolved, arranged, done. 'It's sorted mate.’ Spend a penny – polite way to say going to the toilet. (Originated when public toilets operated a penny slot to open the cubicle door). Today it's more like 'spend a pound'.
Splash out – spend lots of money. Sprog – slang generic term for a child ‘I hear Camilla’s had another sprog. Wasn’t five enough!’ Squiffy – drunk or out of kilter. Starkers – stark naked. You are starkers when you've taken your kit off. Stick – abuse. To 'get stick' for something is to be given a hard time. Sticky wicket – cricket-derived word meaning an awkward situation. Stiffy – an erection. Or can mean a printed Christmas card or invitation (not email). Or a shot of alcohol to revive or give courage. John gulped down a stiffy before going on stage. Stitch up – frame or trick someone. Stonking – huge, powerful. Strop – a sulk. Stroppy – easily offended or annoyed, belligerent. Stuff – shove, or not caring about something. Stuff it! Stuff him! Stuff her! Bob regretted telling his boss to stuff his stupid job. To suss out – to figure out something. Ta – thanks. Tad – a small amount. Even in his boots, Malcolm was a tad shorter than Alison. Taking the biscuit – something someone has done that is really annoying or surprising. Taking the Mickey – mocking or teasing someone. Taking the piss – make fun of someone. Tart – a cooked, fruit-filled pastry case. Also, a provocatively dressed woman, free with her affections like the slapper and the slag. Telly – television. Tenner – ten pound note. The great unwashed – the masses, the general public. 'Hermione, I simply can't bear public libraries. All that hush-hush amongst the more literate members of the great unwashed.' To throw a spanner in the works – to wreck something. Tickling our fancies - making us laugh. Tight – drunk or mean with money. Tit – small wild bird, a breast and an idiot. ‘Oh no, here comes that tit, Dick.’ Tits up – plans or events that have gone tits up have actually gone pear shaped (gone wrong). 'It all went tits up when got clamped and we had to walk home.’ Todger – another word for penis. Toff – the ultimate in class snobbery. Resentful and derogatory term used by the English to describe fellow countrymen who speak with an educated accent and appear to lead a privileged existence.
Toffee-nosed – adjective for a haughty person with a high opinion of himself. To tonk – to thrash a team or an individual at sport. A tonking – a sports thrashing. Tosser – jerk, idiot or wanker (one who jerks off). Totty – macho collective term used by men to describe for attractive women. Train spotter – geek, or person obsessed by trivial data. Travellers – aka gypsies, pikeys, Romanys or scumbags. Much maligned itinerant groups of people living in caravans, driving big shiny vehicles and having big trashy weddings. For a small fee, they’ll cut your hedge or tarmac your driveway. They may also remove some of your valuables, free of charge, while you’re out. True dat – true, agree. The trots – diarrhoea. Twee – dainty, quaint, neat and fancy (not always tasteful). Twat – idiot or female genitals. Twerp – idiot. Twit – idiot. To upsticks – to move from the city to the countryside. Up the duff – accidentally pregnant. Up for it – willing to have a go at something. To waffle – to talk on and on about nothing. A wag – someone who’s always joking and usually laughing at his own jokes. WAGs – Acronym for ‘Wives and Girlfriends’: An assortment of overpublicised, vacuous anorexics of working class origin, found lurking at football matches. Distinguished by their orange skin tone and high bodyplastic index. WAGs’ purpose in life is to pleasure the players and spend their vast salaries on fashion. To wangle – to secure something better – an upgrade on a plane, free tickets. Wank – to jerk off. Wanker – a jerk. Watcha – greeting, meaning ‘hi!’ Way out – the exit. Wee – pee. Wellies – rubber boots (named after the Duke of Wellington). Welly – to give it welly, is to try hard (place Wellington boot on the accelerator). Wet – pathetic, weak, not very exciting characteristics in a person. Wet the baby’s head – an excuse for a drinking spree to celebrate the birth of a baby.
What's-his-face - when you can't remember someone's name. 'I was at the greyhounds and I saw what's-his-face - you know, the big fella married to June?' What's he/she like? - a rhetorical question in response to unusual or extreme behaviour. 'Gary crashed his new car the first time he drove it. What's he like?' Whinge – whine. Whinger – one who whines. White Van Man – ubiquitous delivery man who drives a white van dangerously, parks in the middle of the street and shouts abuse at everyone. Wicked – cool, great. Willy – penis (again). Wind up – to wind (rhymes with find) someone up is to provoke them. To be wound (rhymes with found) up is to be annoyed. Wobbler – a tantrum. People can ‘have a wobbler’ or ‘throw a wobbler.’ Neither is a pretty sight. Wonga – money. Interestingly, www.wonga.com is a money-lending resource offering a tempting APR of over 4000%. Wonky – wobbly or unstable. Yakking – talking incessantly with another. Y-fronts – men’s underpants. Yipping – going on about something. Nigel yipped on about health and safety procedures until the team lost the will to live. Yob – an uncouth youth. Yomp – a hike, a trek or a long walk. Yonks – a long time. Yummy Mummy – a young, attractive, wealthy mother with gorgeous children, a successful and good-looking husband, a home ‘to die for’ and a wonderful problem-free life. Zonked – exhausted.
© Annie Harrison 2012 Extracted from The Oddball English by Annie Harrison – available on Kindle.
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