Top 100 British Slang and English Language Differences. From Cursing to the Spoken Word

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Top 100 British Slang and English Language Differences. From Cursing to the Spoken Word

a bit off of the other

having sex.

arse

ass. as in arsehole, that's my arse. "arse over tit" is a phrase that is something akin to ass over elbow in US English. "completely arseholed" means you are really drunk.

aubergine

eggplant. the big purple weird fruit thing.

apples & pears

stairs. not sure why?

bender

everything from a pub crawl, to a heavy drinking session, to a true multi-day mega-blowout global party. the British get to take credit for this great word with serious depth. see Rules for the global bender

bang

screw. have sex. look for a sly smile from the cute British girl when the stylist asks her what she'd like to do with her bangs.

bespoke

custom made, just for you. as in tailored clothing made for you on sevile row, the street in London for bespoke clothing. see the post on marble2 on bespoke for more details.

blow

So surprised you could knock me over by blowing. not the same thing it would mean in the us, where it refers to a *******.

bob's your uncle

that's all folks, a matter of fact conclusion to something like a description, recipe or story.

bollocks

testicles. balls. that is the literal translation, but this is a complex slang word. "dog's bollocks" actually refers to something at peak performance, or "that's bollocks" means that it's rubbish, or someone who is "talking bollocks" is generally talking rubbish. if you hear "the dog's" then it refers to the dogs bollocks, which is something good, not like the rest of the bollocks, which would be rubbish.

bonk

screw. have sex.

bum

butt. ass. "get off your bum" "stop touching my bum". you get the picture. you'll hear this word a lot.

bugger

camp - drag/gay/effeminate. camp it up means to dress in drag.

bung

throw it, as in "bung me my keys, mate."

centre

center. almost ever opportunity for something that ends in "er" in US English becomes "re" in British English. just to keep you on your toes.

cheerio

- sayanora. goodbye. chinese whispers

cheers

- thank you, goodbye, and a toast all work for this complicated multi-faceted British word. cheeky

cheesed off

pissed

chin wag

chat. a sit-down conversation between close friends.

chips

french fries. as in "fish & chips" this particular type of cuisine is surprisingly quite popular still.

chav

this one requires it's own hotspot. suffice it to say that a chav wears fake and discounted burberry, gold chains and other bling and enjoys all things tasteless. chav hotspot n. (British) lower class, section of the population with a low socio-economic status, lowest social stratum

chick peas

garbonzo beans. used interchangeably in the US, uttering "garbonzo" might get you weird look from your British counterpart.

chinese whispers

a passed along story that morphs and changes from person to person. by the time it goes around all your mates it's completely different than the original.

chuffed

pleased, happy. "she was chuffed when we met"

cockney rhyming slang

born of east london, this is a deep slang pseudo-language used to allow people to talk about anything, legal or illegal, in front of the police. this slang system allowed them to avoid problems when discussing semi-legal things in public. "septic tank" is cockney for "yank" which is a North American.

cock up

is a mistake you've made, not referring to any male body parts.

colour

color. color in US English just doesn't quite cover the full range of colour available in the UK. generally speaking, your "or" endings will become "our" in British English, for words like colour and flavour.

corgette

zucchini.

coriander

cilantro. very popular with UK cooking, which tends to be a mixture of ethinicities.

cracking

stunning.

**** (pronounced "coont")

when curled off the edge of the tongue in British English, it doesn't share quite the same horror it does when used in the United States. it's very commonly heard and used.

dickhead

tosser (see below). this one is used so often by the British that the scales of ownership between the US and the UK English for ownership of dickhead lean towards the British. regardless it sounds more sophisticated when the British say it.

do

party. "go to a do" means go to a party in London.

dodgy

sketchy. this is a personal favorite, referring to a "dodgy character" something "dodgy in the fridge, or even something that is stolen (nicked in the UK).

drop a clanger

**** a brick. something that is enormously embarrassing that you did would lead you to drop a clanger.

engaged

busy, not committed to marriage. a busy line on a mobile would lead you to believe someone was engaged.

***

cigarette. not like the American version which is a gay person, and not very frequently used for a bundle of wood, it's a cigarette and used by gay and straight people alike to refer to one. "can i have a **?" a complex word, you could also so "i can't be *ged" which means "i can't be bothered." "**ging" is the process similar to hazing (tradition of subjecting newcomers to humiliating initiation rites ) where kids new to a boarding school have to do undesirable things for the older kids.

fanny

****/***. go figure.

fit

good looking. becoming more popular due to the band the streets and more frequent usage, fit can be applied to a bird (girl, remember from austin powers) or a bloke (which refers to a male).

fizzy

soda. cola. could be just a fizzy, or a fizzy drink.

flavour

flavor. as in flavour flav. see the "colour" rule above.

flog

sell. not beat, but when you flog the dvd player you sold it to one of your mates.

full monty

the whole thing. all the way. from the movie, it's easy to conclude that it means to take all your clothes off. not true, but to strip full monty would be to strip all the way.

get stuffed

get lost.

getting off

another way to say "snog" or make out or "hanky panky"

glamour

glamor.

globalise

globalize. a topic near and dear to our hear. globalize in US english, and most instances of a "z" in this particular context, becomes and "s" in British English. go figure.

globalisation

globalize. same as above.

have

it's worth pointing out that most americans would say "can i get a sandwich" or "get a beer," seemingly referring to themselves getting up from the table to go get it themselves. the more polite british approach that will work better for you in a pub is to say "can i have a pint?"

her majesty's pleasure

put in prison. nothing to do with, ah, pleasing the queen, it just means you've been put behind bars.

humour

humor. things that make you laugh.

jammy

really lucky, as if a major fluke(a stroke of luck) happened.

jimmy riddle

piddle. pee. take a pee. you see, jimmy riddle, rhymes with piddle. so if you are at a bar with one of your mates (see below) and they say to you "jimmy riddle" it means they are politely excusing themselves to visit the loo. "jimmy" for short.

John Thomas

willy. dick.

jumper

sweater. a pully.

keep your pecker up

keep you chin up.

kip

nap. short sleep.

knees up

dancing. a dance party, you are going dancing.

knock up

wake someone up. there used to be a human version of this, or it can mean to make something out of random parts - as in knock up a skateboard ramp from the wood behind the house. in the US knock up would mean to make someone pregnant.

knockers

breasts. yes, that's where this one came from.

loo

bathroom. restroom. the place where you relieve yourself.

mates

friends. generally male skewed (xuyên tạc). the British love their mates, and talk about them all the time. "there I was with my mates...."

momentarily

for a moment. not "soon" like it would be in the US. so when they say the plane will be landing momentarily, all the British globalites will laugh to themselves wondering if they will have time to get off of the plane.

mug

gullible, block headed type.

mutt's nuts

yes, this one is the dog's balls, which remember strangely is a good thing. generally my first thought is not a good thing, at all, but alas, I'm not British either.

nice one

good job. good one.

nick

steal. pilfer. filch is also another popular word. "knock off" works too.

nut

give someone a headbutt. like zidane did in the world cup match.

organisation

organization. a company, business entity with that "s" not "zed" twist to it.

organise

organize.

orrible

horrible. as in "that's horrible." you really need the british accent on this one.

pants

blows. as in "that blows." pants, as in a dog that is panting, this one could be used to describe a person, a bar, some lame clothing or a chav car. total crap.

pass

i don't know. i know, it means "i don't know" from an old British TV show called Mastermind.

pissed

drunk.

piss poor

low quality crap.

piss up

a vulgar(tho tuc) word for drinking session, not quite a bender(A drunken spree - binge, period of unrestrained self-indulgence (drinking, shopping, etc.); fun social activity).

posh

luxury. "posh" spice is both a thorn in the side of the british and representative of the term posh because she blows a lot of cash and is married to Beckham.

pub-crawl

the British like to drink, heavily. a pub crawl is a multi-stop tour that starts at a brisk pace and slows to a crawl as you get further into the night. to the British, drinking is a sport, when played well it produces outstanding outcomes.

pull

scouting for birds. trying to meet girls.

pulling

getting some action. could include everything between "having it off" or just a snog.

pullover

sweater. to keep you warm. for a chav, this would be last year's Burberry, or even a fake Burberry print.

pully

pullover. an even more favorite term. "don't forget your pully, your **** before running out to meet your mates"

radiator hooch/cheap booze

cheap-ass drinks. cheap booze (n. alcoholic beverage, hard liquor; immoderate drinking, intoxication ). the lowest of low.

quid

pound. which is is more than $2. a fiver or a tenner is something you hear a lot referring to the 5 and ten pound note.

roger

screw, copulate, have sex. it's a little more complex though, in you would say something like "to roger" and it might mean to have "a bit off of the other." British people were hysterical when the cartoon "Roger the Rabbit" came out as it had some interesting connotations.

rubbish

trash. as in to talk trash. british people place trash in the "bin", but this word is used quite a bit when something is trashy or nonsense.

screw it

as in forget the details, let's move forward.. this one could be argued either US or UK English, but Sir Richard Branson's famous quote "screw it, let's do it" plants this one squarely in the UK camp. richard branson hotspot

shag

screw. sex. have sexual intercourse (British Slang); yes, austin powers put the global spotlight on this and it is still used in modern British English.

shite

****. the polite version

smashing

terrific - adj. terrifying; extreme, intense; excellent; tremendous

snog

making out. kissing, heavily. maybe some petting involved.

tab

cigarette. "i smoked my tab to the nob" can be used interchangeably with *** of course.

taking the piss

making fun of someone. if you haven't already guessed it, the British adore irony, sarcasm and "taking the piss" or making fun of people and themselves.

tossing off

***********. masturbating.

tosser

one who jacks off (masturbate). a great and frequently used insult. a dickhead (insulting terms of address for people who are stupid or irritating or ridiculous (synonym) ******, bastard, ********, **, mother **er, mother**er, prick, whoreson, son of a ****, SOB).

up-market

swanky. posh. luxury. pricey.

wank

dick. can refer to either self-manipulation of one's own wank, or simply to one's wank in general.

wanker

one who wanks.

willy

dick. a man's, er, organ. also known as a "knob"

zed

this is shared across many other languages. not "zed's dead, zed's dead baby" from pulp fiction, but just the letter "z" is referred to as zed in British English.

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