This is the UK, Mate! (British Slang is Ace! #2)

Here is the second part of my previous post. For those who did not read the introduction, I have quoted it below:

Well, if you plan to visit the UK, you should definetely know what kind of slang they use. We know most of the American slang thanks to Hollywood movies and TV shows :) However, the British media or movie industry is less exposing. When we turn the radio on, the probability of hearing 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.

Gutted – If someone is really upset by something they might say that they were gutted. Like when you are told that you have just failed your driving test!

Haggle – To haggle is to argue or negotiate over a price. Most people that wangle stuff are usually quite good at haggling.

Hard lines – This is another way of saying hard luck or bad luck.

Hash – The thing you call a pound sign! Before you ask, yes it is also something you smoke – see wacky backy. Also to make a real hash of something means you reallyscrewed it up.

Her Majesty’s pleasure – When visiting England, try to avoid being detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure. This means being put in prison with no release date!

Hiya – Short for hi there, this is a friendly way of saying hello.

Honking – Honking is being sick or throwing up. Presumably this is a problem in New York where there are signs on the streets that say “No Honking”.

Hunky-dory – My English dictionary tells me that hunky-dory means excellent. We would generally use it to mean that everything is cool and groovy, on plan, no worries and generally going well.

I’m easy – This expression means I don’t care or it’s all the same to me. Not to be confused with how easy it is to lure the person into bed!

Jolly – You hear people use this in all sorts of ways, but basically it means very. So “jolly good” would mean very good. A common exception is where you hear people say “I should jolly well think so!” which is more to emphasise the point.

Khazi – Another word for the toilet. Our version of your bathroom.

Knackered – The morning after twenty pints and the curry, you’d probably feel knackered. Another way to describe it is to say you feel shagged. Basically worn out, good for nothing, tired out, knackered.

Knuckle sandwich – If somebody offers you a knuckle sandwich you’d be best to decline the offer and leave at the next convenient moment. It isn’t some British culinary delight – they’re about to thump you in the face.

Leg it – This is a way of saying run or run for it. Usually said by kids having just been caught doing something naughty. Well it was when I was a kid!

Lurgy – If you have the lurgy it means you are ill, you have the Flu. Don’t go near people with the lurgy in case you get it!

Luvvly-jubbly – Clearly another way of saying lovely. Made famous by the TV show Only Fools and Horses.

-ly – These are two letters that seem to be left off words in America. I never heard anyone say something was “really nice” or “really cool”, they would say real nice andreal cool. We would be sent to the back of the class for grammar like that!

Mate – Most chaps like to go to the pub with their mates. Mate means friend or chum.

Momentarily – As you come into land at an American airport and the announcement says that you will be landing momentarily, look around to see if anyone is sniggering. That will be the Brits! I never did figure out why they say this. Momentarily to us means that something will only happen for an instant – a very short space of time. So if the plane lands momentarily will there be enough time for anyone to get off? Weird!

Mug – If someone is a bit of a mug, it means they are gullible. Most used car salesmen rely on a mug to show up so they can sell something!

Narked – In the UK you would say that someone looked narked if you thought they were in a bad mood. In the US you might say that someone was pissed. We definitely would not say that, as it would mean they were drunk!

Nice one! – If someone does something particularly impressive you might say “nice one”! to them. It is close the Texan good job that you hear all the time.

Nicked – Something that has been stolen has been nicked. Also, when a copper catches a burglar red handed he might say “you’ve been nicked”!

Not my cup of tea – This is a common saying that means something is not to your liking. For example if someone asked you if you would like to go to an all night rave, they would know exactly what you meant if you told them it was not exactly your cup of tea!

Nowt – This is Yorkshire for nothing. Similarly owt is Yorkshire for anything. Hence the expression “you don’t get owt for nowt”. Roughly translated as “you never get anything for nothing” or “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”.

Off colour – If someone said you were off colour they would mean that you look paleand ill! Not quite the same as something being off colour in the US!

Off your trolley – If someone tells you that you’re off your trolley, it means you have gone raving bonkers, crazymad!

On about – What are you on about? That’s something you may well hear when visiting the UK. It means what are you talking about?

Pants – This is quite a new expression – I have no idea where it came from. Anyway, it is now quite trendy to say that something which is total crap is “pants”. For instance you could say the last episode of a TV show was “total pants”.

Pardon me – This is very amusing for Brits in America. Most kids are taught to say “pardon me” if they fart in public or at the table etc. In America it has other meanings which take us Brits a while to figure out. I thought I was surrounded by people with flatulence problems!

Thanks for VousDeux for this precious information. This is all I know about the author. You can reach his/her posts on StumbleUpon by clicking here. If you come across this book, please give me the link so that I can buy! 🙂

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For the first part, click here.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Amongst other things….on my blog…..I regularly post phrasal verbs, idioms and a bit of slang too….similar to above. Incidentally….’Mug’ can also be used for ‘mug of tea’ as opposed to a cup of tea or a cup of coffee…… LOL

    Reply

  2. Nice one! Good job! Finally, I have read all of the 3 series of your post about british slang. I appreciate your effort of sharing this.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Maggie on June 13, 2012 at 22:43

    What about Minger? Or is that only used in Wales? A Minger is an ugly girl, or she is (looks) minging… Minging is used for anything which is unpleasant or quite bad, like “the food was minging, the hotel room was minging”. Another one is Ginger, which is really nasty. It is a ginger (red hair) girl who is a minger. Please don’t attack me now, I am just explaining the meaning of it 😉

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  4. Posted by Delila on June 14, 2012 at 13:58

    “Momentarily” means “in a moment”, or “soon”, rather than “for awhile”, at least in the US. Many of the expressions are used in the US as well, such as “not my cup of tea”. And in addition to “pants” meaning something was “crappy”, it means “underpants” in the UK, whereas in the US it means “trousers”. Lots of sniggers there.

    Reply

  5. Posted by F I MacIllFhinnein on July 7, 2012 at 03:54

    To me, “honking” means primarily that something has a very bad smell, and by extension that it’s horrible or disgusting – a bit similar to “minging”, in fact.
    Many British words came via the army from Hindi, such as “khazi”, mentioned above. (Many others have dropped out of the language, such as “jankers” or “get a jildy on”, or been altered, such as “swaddi”, which has become “squaddie”.)

    Reply

  6. […] This is the UK, Mate! (British Slang is Ace! #2) […]

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