Well, if you plan to visit UK, you should definetely know what kind of slang they use. We know most of American slang thanks to Hollywood movies and TV series 🙂 However, British media or movie industry is less exposing. When we turn the radio on, our chance to hear an American song is higher than a British song. Anyway… The point is we are less familiar with the details of British English. I tried to be picky while selecting the words from the list with the fear of offending someone. I hope my article is informative rather than rude 🙂 It is a very long list so I want to publish it in 2 or 3 parts.
Ace – If something is ace it is awesome. I used to hear it a lot in Liverpool. Kids thought all cool stuff was ace, or brill.
Aggro – Short for aggravation, it’s the sort of thing you might expect at a football match.
Anti-clockwise – The first time I said that something had gone anti-clockwise to someone in Texas I got this very funny look. It simply means counter-clockwise but must sound really strange to you chaps! I think he thought I had something against clocks!
Any road – Up north (where they talk funny!!) instead of saying anyway, they say “any road”! Weird huh?
As well – You chaps say also when we would say “too” or “as well”. For instance if my friend ordered a Miller Lite, I would say “I’ll have one as well”. I often heard people saying something like “I’ll have one also”. You’d be more likely to hear someone in England ordering a pint of lager!
Baccy – Tobacco. The sort you use to roll your own.
Barmy – If someone tells you that you’re barmy they mean you have gone mad orcrazy. For example you’d have to be barmy to visit England without trying black pudding!
Beastly – You would call something or somebody beastly if they were really nasty orunpleasant. Most people would consider you a snob or an upper class git if you used this word. People like Fergie can get away with it though.
Belt up – For some reason I heard this quite a lot as a kid. It’s the British for shut up.
Best of British – If someone says “The best of British to you” when you are visiting the UK, it simply means good luck. It is short for “best of British luck”.
Bite your arm off – This is not aggressive behaviour that a football fan might engage in. In fact it just means that someone is over excited to get something. For instance you might say that kids would bite your arm off for an ice cream on a sunny day.
ven “bugger and blast”!
Blatant – We use this word a lot to mean something is really obvious.
Bleeding – An alternative to the word bloody. You’ll hear people say “bleeding hell” or “not bleeding likely” for example.
Blimey – Another exclamation of surprise. My Dad used to say “Gawd Blimey” or “Gor Blimey” or even “Cor Blimey”. It is all a corruption of the oath God Blind Me.
Blinding – If something is a blinding success – it does not mean that any eyes were poked out with sharp sticks – it means it was awesome.
see one view on a subject. It comes from when horses that pulled carriages wore blinkers to stop them seeing to the side or behind them which stopped them from being startled and only let them see where they were going.
Bloody – One of the most useful swear words in English. Mostly used as an exclamation of surprise i.e. “bloody hell” or “bloody nora”. Something may be “bloody marvellous” or “bloody awful”. It is also used to emphasise almost anything, “you’re bloody mad”, “not bloody likely” and can also be used in the middle of other words to emphasise them. E.g. “Abso-bloody-lutely”! Americans should avoid saying “bloody” as they sound silly.
Blow me – When an English colleague of mine exclaimed “Blow Me” in front of a large American audience, he brought the house down. It is simply an exclamation of surprise, short for “Blow me down”, meaning something like I am so surprised you could knock me over just by blowing. Similar to “Well knock me down with a feather”. It is not a request for services to be performed.
Blunt – If a saw or a knife is not sharp we say it is blunt. It is also the way most of us speak! In America the knife would be dull.
Bob’s your uncle – This is a well used phrase. It is added to the end of sentences a bit like and that’s it! For example if you are telling someone how to make that fabulous banoffee pie you just served them, you would tell them to boil the condensed milk for three hours, spread it onto a basic cheesecake base, slice bananas on top, add some whipped double cream, another layer of banana and Bob’s your uncle!
Bodge – We bodge things all the time here. I’m sure you do too! To do a bodge job means to do a quick and dirty. Make it look good for the next day or two and if it falls down after that – hey well we only bodged it! Applies to building, DIY, programming and most other things.
Bomb – If something costs a bomb it means that it is really expensive. We say it when we see the price of insurance in the US, you could try saying it when you see how much jeans or petrol cost over here!
Bomb – If something goes like a bomb it means it is going really well or really fast. Or you could say an event went down like a bomb and it would mean that the people really enjoyed it. In the US the meaning would be almost exactly the reverse.
Bottle – Something you have after twenty pints of lager and a curry. A lotta bottle! This means courage. If you have a lotta bottle you have no fear.
Box your ears – Many young chaps heard their dads threaten to box their ears when I was a littlun. Generally meant a slap around the head for misbehaving. Probably illegal these days!!
Bung – To bung something means to throw it. For example a street trader might bung something in for free if you pay cash right now! Or you could say “bung my car keys over, mate“. A bung is also a bribe.
Butchers – To have a butchers at something is to have a look. This is a cockney rhyming slang word that has become common. The reason “butchers” means a lookeven though it doesn’t rhyme is because it is short for “butchers hook” and “hook” of course, does rhyme.
Cheerio – Not a breakfast cereal. Just a friendly way of saying goodbye. Or in the north “tara” which is pronounced sort of like “churar”.
Chinese Whispers – This a good one. It refers to the way a story gets changed as is passes from one person to the next so that the end result may be completely different from what was originally said. Sound familiar?
Chivvy along – When I’m standing patiently in the checkout queue at Tesco I like to chivvy along the old ladies in front of me. If only they would stop fannying around andhurry up!
Chuffed – You would be chuffed to bits if you were really pleased about something.
Cock up – A cock up means you have made a mistake. It has nothing to do with parts of the male body.
Cor – You’ll often hear a Brit say “cor”! It is another one of those expressions of surprise that we seem to have so many of. It will sometimes be lengthened to “cor blimey” or “cor love a duck”, depending on where you are. “Cor blimey” is a variation of “Gawd Blimey” or “Gor Blimey”. They are all a corruption of the oath “God Blind Me”.
Cracking – If something is cracking, it means it is the best. Usually said without pronouncing the last “G”. If a girl is cracking it means she is stunning.
Cram – Before a big exam you would be expected to cram. This simply means to study hard in the period running up to the exam.
Dekko – To have a look at something.
Dear – If something is dear it means it is expensive. I thought Texan insurance was dear.
DIY – This is short for do it yourself and applies not just to the DIY stores but also to anything that you need to do yourself. For example, if we get really bad service in a restaurant (oh, you noticed!) then we might ask the waiter if it is a DIY restaurant – just to wind them up.
Do – A party. You would go to a do if you were going to a party in the UK.
Do – If you go into a shop and say “do you do batteries?” it means “do you sellbatteries”.
Do – If you drive along a motorway in the wrong lane the police will do you. You could then tell your friends that you have been done by the police. Prosecute is another word for it!
Dodgy – If someone or something is a bit dodgy, it is not to be trusted. Dodgy food should be thrown away at home, or sent back in a restaurant. Dodgy people are best avoided. You never know what they are up to. Dodgy goods may have been nicked. When visiting Miami I was advised by some English chums that certain areas were a bit dodgy and should be avoided!
Donkey’s years – Someone said to me the other day that they hadn’t seen me for donkey’s years. It means they hadn’t seen me for ages.
Easy Peasy – A childish term for something very easy. You might say it’s a snap.
Fanny around – I’m always telling people to stop fannying around and get on with it. It means to procrastinate. Drives me mad!
Fluke – If something great happened to you by chance that would be a fluke. When I was a kid my Mum lost her engagement ring on the beach and only realised half way home. We went back to the spot and she found it in the sand. That was a fluke.
Full monty – Since the movie has come out of the same name I have heard some odd Texan descriptions of what the full monty means. It really has nothing to do with taking your clothes off. It just means the whole thing or going the whole way. That’s it. Clearly when applied to stripping it means not stopping at your underwear! The origins of the expression are still under discussion. There are many theories but no conclusive evidence at the moment.
Gen – Gen means information. If you have the gen then you know what is going on.
Give us a bell – This simply means call me. You often hear people use the word “us” to mean “me”.
Gormless – A gormless person is someone who has absolutely no clue. You would sayclueless. It is also shortened so you could say someone is a total gorm or completely gormy.
Grub – Food. Similar to nosh. I remember my Dad calling “grub’s up”, when dinner was ready as a kid. A grub is also an insect larva. Not usually eaten in England. Actually is available in some Australian restaurants!
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