London 05.2011
slang / England Slang

related: language, england
flickrgroup: Ecotourism Europe
worksheet: England slang
editing: England

Translating expressions and vocabulary from British to American English

At sixes and sevens = In a state of confusion (Wikipedia)
Beer and skittles = Fun times
Bivvy = Small tent or shelter
Blag = To obtain by wheedling or lying
Blimey = Darnit
Bloody = Very very
Bob's your uncle = There you have it or The task is easily achieved
Bollocks = Nonsense
Brolly = Umbrella
Bugbear = Pet peeve
Bugger's muddle = Disorderly group
Bunk off = To play truant
Chalk and cheese = Very different
Chinwag = To converse
Chippy = Arrogant
Chuffed = Pleased, to emphasize the point 'dead chuffed' and 'well chuffed'
Chock-a-block = Crammed so tightly together as to prevent movement.
Codswallop = Nonsense ('That is a load of codswallop.')
Damp squib = Event which people think will be exciting but which is disappointing when it happens
Derby = An open cost offering a prize for the winner
Dog's Breakfast = Confused mess
Duffer = Incompetent, harmless player
Elevenses = Mid-morning tea or coffee break
Fair crack of the whip! = asking for a fair chance
Footfall = Number of people who go into a business during a particular time
Ginger group = A group seeking to inspire the rest with its own enthusiasm and activity.
Gobsmacked = Astounded, surprised (flickr collection)
Grasp the nettle = To attempt something with boldness and courage (Nettles are plants with fine hairs on their leaves that sting you if you just brush up against them, but do not sting if you grasp them tight and boldly. So the expression means to be bold and not afraid, or to get on with something unpleasant, without hesitation.)
Grey = Gray
Have a butcher's = Have a look
Having kittens = Nervous
Higgledy-piggledy = In disarray
He's got the hump = He's annoyed
Horses for courses = Different things suit different people
Hose pipe = Garden hose
I need to spend a penny = I need to go to the toilet
Knees up = A lively party
Let = To rent
Lido = Outdoor pool
Maths = Math
Mug Punter = A person that consistently gambles more than they can afford
Mutt's nuts (or cat's whiskers) = Excellent. 'The Mutt's' is short for "The Mutt's nuts" which is another way of saying the "Dog's Bollocks"
Naff = Uncool
Pavement = Sidewalk
Penny dropped = To understand
Pull = To attract (sexually)
Put a spanner in the works = Deliberately causing mayhem
Shambolic = Chaotic
Shrapnel = Loose change
Something for the weekend = Condoms
Spiky = Easily annoyed
Squeaky-bum time = At the edge of your seat, the tense final stages of a competition
Stag-do = Bachelor party
Swag = Stolen goods
Swings and roundabouts = Gains and losses that offset each other
To get the wrong end of the stick = To misunderstand
Tool = Idiot (as in 'not the sharpest tool in the box')
Trousers = Pants
Whinge = To complain, whine ('The whinger complained that 'whine' was spelled wrong)

You pay peanuts and you get monkeys.
Teach your grandmother to suck eggs
Don't be telling me porky pies! - Don't tell me lies!

It's not cricket - It's not fair
Instantly be given an out -
Give it a crack - Give it a go
Pulling up stumps - Moving house, changing address
He had a good innings - He had a good life





Bubble and squeak

Elsewhere on the Web

UK Slang
English Slang
The Best of British - The American’s guide to speaking British
Phrase Finder -
What the British say ... and what they mean


Oxford English Dictionary online, relaunched