Understanding British Slang

We may speak the same language, have the same woman on our currency, and both include ‘u’ in our spellings of colour, flavour and neighbour. But when it comes to slang and idioms, Canadians and Brits might as well be speaking foreign languages.

Before my trip to London, my understanding of British slang was quite minimal. It consisted of “bloody hell”, “bollocks”, and “wanker”, all the classiest of terms for this girl. I even started to use the phrase “havin a laff aint’cha?” after watching Ricky Gervais’ short-lived but highly entertaining television series ‘Extras’. But I was curious to learn more (and maybe ones that would make my mother proud) so one afternoon I was hanging out with my friends Alison, Mitch, and Hayley who schooled me in the art of British slang and idioms.

Muppet – you’ve done something silly or stupid. Can also be used as a term of endearment.

Numpty – like a muppet, but worse

That’s pants – that’s shit

Wanker – a self pleasurer, someone who masturbates, used in a derogatory way; “what a wanker!”

Throwing your toys out of a pram – having a hissy fit

Faffing – messing around

Fill your boots – make the most of it

Crack on – keep going, push on, get on with it

Taking the piss – taking liberties

Doing your head in – someone’s really annoying

‘avin a laff aint’cha? – are you serious/fucking with me?

Brill – it’s brilliant, awesome

You alright? – what’s up? How are you?

Pop round – come over, pop down to the shops

Hey ho – oh well

Ball ache – pain in the ass, annoying

The dog’s bollocks – something is good, they’re the shit (a positive)

A bollocking – getting lectured, criticized, or reprimanded

It’s going a bit pear-shaped – it’s not good, it’s going downhill

Tits up – it’s screwed up

A do – a party

If you liked this post, then check out some of Australia’s best slang.

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