British Slang Words & Phrases: Well, this is the “Dog’s bollocks”

I am an Indian, studied in London for a year and now I live in America. I have volunteered with people who come from different parts of the world and have their own unique twist to the English language. A lot of people find my english accent heavy and clear. I can never roll my “R”s or eat my vowels, leave alone understanding local idioms.

Throughout my stay abroad or while talking to a foreigner – no one has ever got my name right, barring just a couple of people. Apparently the sound of a “dh” is not a sound at all in the States, so I have often considered changing my name from “Shraddha” to a much simpler “Shrada”.

By now you know how much ‘language’ matters to me, specially when it is so dynamic in different parts of the world. And if you are a traveler – language is your biggest challenge while traveling, but also your biggest learning.

Of all the places I have traveled to, Britain and British english has amused me the most so far. Britain not only has a funny weather that you can talk about for hours, but also has a list of funny slang words and phrases – that vary from being hilarious, rude to even just…interesting.

So this post is about British people and their British ways of saying things. And if you have a British friend who amuses you every time you have a conversation – this post is for you and that friend too. Most of all, this is about acclimatizing you to a different world of British vocabulary before your UK trip.

To begin with, lets hear from some British people and their friends themselves:

  • I’m British and have lived in Australia for four years. People have found the use of the word “muppet” (as an insult) quite funny and the phrase “Do one!” – which is a northern way of saying a polite version of F-off.
  • People are always confused about how British people just say ‘alright?’ – when passing someone they know.
  • I am a Romanian-born British citizen and the first thing that shocked me about Britain was when people kept asking me for a fag. “Do you have a fag?” – Is that even politically correct? Apparently, that’s just a word for cigarettes. You’ve got to love it.
  • I’m from the highlands, we say ‘aye’ for yes. In Aberdeen they’ll say ‘I ken’ instead of ‘I know’ and ‘you mind’ instead of ‘do you remember…’
  • I also love ‘its a dreich day’, as in raining and eerie, which is difficult to explain. I guess it just means – when it’s slightly spooky, sort of.
  • It was quite funny having to explain ‘Dog’s bollocks’ to foreign friends.
  • ‘I’m parched’, ‘I’m peckish’, also all the words that can mean drunk e.g. plastered, hammered, gazeboed, etc! Those are the ones people always comment on. Also when we say stuff like “probably not” to mean like “definitely not, never ever happening” and only other Brits understand us.

By now you know you have a lot to get accustomed to already, but its not over yet! Here are a few more illustrated weird British expressions you got to have an appetite for…dv1-british-expression

Infographic by Skyes Cottages – #SykesBritishSayings