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The 15 Best British Slang Terms & Their Definitions

March 07, 2014
Since I’ve been living abroad, I have picked up some rather humorous colloquialisms popular here across the pond. While many (and I mean many) of them are rather inappropriate, I have collected a list of some of my favorite appropriate(ish) British slang terms.   
  1. BollocksWhile I will not define specificallywhat this colorful slang term means (you most likely already know the definition), it is very similar to another popular British term, rubbish. Essentially it means, in the most G-rated way, “shoot!” The great thing about bollocks is that it is highly versatile. You just missed the train? Bollocks! You don’t have any tea? Bollocks! It’s a Sunday night and you need to run to the store but everywhere is closed (it’s a European thing…)? BOLLOCKS! (I think you get it by now…)  
  2. Cheeky: To be cheeky is to be flippant or somewhat of a smart arse. Considering British humor, I’d say most people here are a bit cheeky.  
  3. Cheers: Over here, cheers is more than just a thing you say while making a toast; it’s a way to greet people or to say “thank you.” Cheers for reading, everybody (mom and dad)! 
  4. Chuffed: For me, being chuffed sounds like a negative thing, but here it is a common way to say that you are pleased.  
  5. Wingardium Leviosa:Whoops-that’s a Harry Potter term. (If you’re wondering if Harry Potter affected my decision to study abroad in London, the answer is yes).  
  6. Crusty Dragon:Because when you think of a booger, you think of a dragon…
  7. Diddle: What a silly term to use if you’re being ripped off, Britain. You can’t say diddle and not crack a smile – I promise.
  8. Dishy: I am assuming this relates to the beauty of a well-cooked dish because there is no other reason to associate “good-looking” with dishy. It’s your turn for rebuttal, Britain.     
  9. Drop a clanger: This is the British version of putting one’s foot in one’s mouth but it sure sounds sillier.  
  10. Gobsmacked: That was awesome? Try that was gobsmacked
  11. Loo: This quintessential British term has a much better ring to it than the American equivalent, “bathroom.” (It also makes me think of the movie, What a Girl Wants, in case you were wondering). 
  12. Hover: This is the British way of saying vacuuming. I heard a student use this term in class and it made me laugh, so I thought I’d share it with you all. 
  13. Queue: Fun fact – “are you in the queue?” was one of the first things someone said to me in England. A queue is simply a line, but it much more fun to say that than “line.” 
  14. Mate/chum/bloke/chap: All of these refer to a member of the male gender, but somehow they all seem more fun. 
  15. Peanuts: I honestly have no idea how this term happened, but apparently if it’s peanuts, it’s cheap. Beats me…
  16. Pip pip: This might be an antiquated term for saying goodbye, but it doesn’t make it any less amazing. If you’re curious as to how many times I’ve used this phrase, the answer is a lot.  
 British puns! 

That concludes my favourite (notice the “u”) British colloquialisms. I hope you feel wiser and more cultured and got a laugh or two in as well. Cheers!






Karly Sandsmark is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in London. She is a junior at Colorado State University.  


Crusty Dragon:
Because when you think of a booger, you think of a dragon…

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