The Best of British Slang

Almost exactly a year ago, I published The Best of Canadian Slang and upon reflection, found it to be one of my most enjoyable posts to date. Why then, should I not follow suit with a sample of my favourite British colloquialisms?

We Brits are infamous for our quirky sayings and often eccentric mannerisms but I’m embarrassed to admit that after seven years abroad, I have undoubtedly lost some of my British sparkle.

So here’s to the words that I never want to lose and the phrases I never want to forget:

All right?
– similar to: hello
– an informal greeting
– ‘All right, John? How’s life treating you these days?’

– Cockney rhyming slang (butcher’s hook -> look)
– to direct ones gaze
– ‘What are you looking at? Let’s have a butchers.’ 

– to act with lighthearted, mischievous intentions
– ‘My sister’s taken my t-shirt without asking again, the cheeky sod’

– to be impressed or pleased with oneself
– ‘You must be really cuffed with your marks this term. Well done!’ 

Cushty (pronounced ‘koosh-tee’)
– popularized by Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses
– an affirmation of a comfortable feeling or pleasant situation
– ‘He’s living it up all cushty like’


– state of disappointment
– ‘I couldn’t get any tickets, the show’s already sold out. I’m well gutted!’ 

– similar to: tired, exhausted
– the feeling associated with a lack of sleep
– ‘We shouldn’t have stayed out so late last night. I’m knackered.’ 

– an adolescent or young adult male who engages in stereotypical masculine activities such as drinking and chasing women
– ‘Alright mate, we’re having a lads night out on Friday. You in?’

– Cockney rhyming slang (pork pies -> lies)
– fictitious information
– ‘I don’t believe a word of it. He’s been telling porkies’ 

– similar to: effort, energy
– to actively try harder
– ‘Go on, give it some welly!’



The amount of amusing Britishisms is endless – not forgetting our large collection of hilarious and questionable swear words – and I learn more everyday. You see, I not usually aware that something is specificallyBritish until a poor, unassuming Canadian points out their confusion.

Interesting. Sometimes you learn more with distance.

2 comments to “The Best of British Slang”
  1. I love these sorts of posts! I use welly a lot and people here don’t get it! They even call wellies rubber boots and my phone’s autocorrect always changes it to willies!!

    • Welly is my personal favourite because it was also a childhood nickname of mine, after my last name – Wellstead.

      …and of course, Wellie boots! Who could forget!

      I’ve come to the conclusion that us Brits say a lot of silly things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please Do the Math