Impress Your British Friends With Some Quick Local Slangs!

Understanding the English language fully can be a struggle, there are so many weird and wonderful ways of saying things without directly saying them..

Understanding the English language fully can be a struggle, there are so many weird and wonderful ways of saying things without directly saying them, making for a truly confusing experience when trying to listen and take part in conversations.

This is taken to a whole new level when factoring in different places around the world that have their own vocabulary of slang to help describe things. Today we will look at a few popular sayings in the UK which might help you understand your British friend or even impress them with your new knowledge!

Cockney Rhyming Slang

Rhyming slang originated in London in the early 19th century, thought to be used to outsmart police. It has since made its way into common vocabulary over the years and some of it is used quite regularly today!

Before we get started, imagine travelling to London and going to an ATM only to be faced with these options.. Can you guess what they mean? Find out at the end of this post. And yes before you ask, there are actual ATM’s in London that offer ‘cockney slang’ as a language!

MakoStars LLC/ Cockney rhyming slang ATM 2 Co Op grocery Hackney Road Hackney London UK

By Cory Doctorow – https://www.flickr.com/photos/doctorow/12254374885/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=103653230


By Cory Doctorow – https://www.flickr.com/photos/doctorow/12254540373/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=103653475

Okay let’s get started and take a look at some of the most useful English slangs to learn first..

Pork Pie


Pork pie means lie, for instance “Mary, are you telling a pork pie?!” As you can see, the word pie rhymes with lie but there are also different ways of saying this “Mary, have you been telling porkies”.

Taking The Mickey


Taking the mick or mickey means to make fun of someone and is a rhyming slang that evolved from another rhyming slang.. I don’t blame you for leaving now haha! In a sentence it sounds like this “Hey Mary, are you taking the mickey out of me!?”

The form it evolved from is used equally as much but is less friendly “taking the piss”, this is often used in more hostile situations, whereas “taking the mickey” is much more common to be used between friends.

Pig’s Ear


Pig’s ear can mean to make a mess of something, for instance “You’re making a right pig’s ear of dinner” can be said if someone is bad at cooking and is ruining dinner, or “You’ve made one hell of a pig’s ear out of painting that room”.

Butchers Hook


To take a look at something, it is said most commonly as just butchers for instance “Hey Mary, let’s have a butchers at your new phone!”.

You can also replace ‘butchers’ with ‘gander’ this has the same meaning but it’s origin comes from the term ‘Goose & Gander’ referring to a female goose, and to take a look at something and move your neck like a goose.

Cream Crackered


Slang for knackered, which means tired, so you could say “Sorry Mary I can’t make it tonight, I’m absolutely cream crackered”

Okay now we’ve got some basic English slangs covered, let’s move onto some even more silly ones, some of these are less commonly used but they really give you an idea just how weird and wonderful the world of British English slangs can be!



Meaning disordered, this one is a great one to say as it sounds like the thing it means and it’s also just fun to say! For instance if your suitcase isn’t organised and you just stuffed everything into it, you could say “your suitcase is all higgledy piggledy”.

Raspberry Tart

Maybe you can guess this one.. It means a fart, again with this one it’s just a simple rhyme with tart but commonly when spoken you only say raspberry for instance “Mary, did you just blow a raspberry?!”.



Meaning very small, famous for its use in the classic kids nursery rhyme ‘the itsy-bitsy spider’. When used in a sentence it could sound like this “I’m starving, I only had a itsy bitsy piece of toast for breakfast”.

Now that you have a few insights into how cockney rhyming slang works, take a look at the pictures of the ATM again and see if you can guess what the options are?

Well, how did you do? Okay here are the answers:

Some moola for ya sky rocket? : Some money for your pocket?

Ya rattle and tank balance? : Your bank balance?

Sausage & mash : Cash

Charlie Sheen : Screen

Dog & bone : Phone

Okay now you’ve learnt some ‘sure to impress’ British slangs,  go out and practice them! If you can master some of these, you will start sounding like a local in no time!

If you haven’t already, check out some English speaking TV shows that will help with your listening skills.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print
On Key

Related Posts



  「留学を成功させたい。」 せっかく留学をするなら、授業も人間関係も実のある留学生活を過ごしたいですよね。 そのために英語の勉強に励む方も多いでしょう。 ところで、どの勉強を優先すべきかご存知でしょうか。 実は留学前に英語勉強するなら「リスニング」が1番大切なんです。 ・なぜ留学前にリスニングの勉強をすべきなのか?・効果的な勉強方法はどんなものか? これらを、10年以上英語の勉強を続けている筆者の留学経験とともにお伝えします。 有意義な留学生活を送りたい方は、ぜひご一読くださいませ。   なぜ留学前にリスニングを勉強すべき?   留学前に1番勉強すべきことは「リスニング」です。 なぜなら留学初日から困ることが多くなるから。 例えば、 ・初日の説明会で学校生活に関する大切な話が理解できない。 ・授業中、何が起きているか分からない。 ・「どうせ聞き取れないから話すのが億劫」という状況になる。 ・銀行口座開設など諸手続きに苦戦する。など。 留学では授業を受けることになりますが、リスニングができないと授業を理解するのが難しくなります。 教科書のどこを話しているのか分からない、クラスメートと話し合う時間も相手の言っていることが分からない、宿題があるのかも分からない。 周りはどんどん進んでいくのに、自分だけ取り残されたかのような感覚です。 せっかく時間とお金を使って留学に来たのに、授業や人間関係にうまく馴染めずタイムロスが起きてしまいます。 この悪循環が続くと、授業に参加するのが嫌になり留学生活自体が楽しくなくなる原因になりかねません。 ではどうやってリスニングを勉強すればいいのでしょうか。