Ready to learn some British slang? You may be visiting the UK and want to be able to keep up with the local dialect. Or you’re from there and want to explore the vocabulary of another region. In both cases, there are always awesome new British slang terms to pick up.
Slang in the UK is dynamic, creative, and vibrant! And without websites like “Urban Dictionary” it would be hard to keep track of the fluid definitions.
For a small country there’s a whole lot of variation when it comes to language across the nation. The British slang terms listed below should absolutely be added to your vocabulary as soon as possible and get chuffed.
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This is not a British slang term that trips off the tongue, and it’s probably one of the least romantic sounding words ever! However, it does mean kiss, also known as French kissing or making out.
That is a positive British slang term that can be used to describe something that is totally great, excellent or beautiful. For example, blinding play or blinding dress.
You’ll soon learn that in the UK everyone is a ‘mate.’ You could be offering a builder a cup of tea, thanking a bus driver for a ticket, or asking for directions, and the only appropriate British slang term is ‘mate.’ It can also indicate your actual friends, but in reality it’s used more widely.
Not something you spread on toast, this is a term from the South of England to describe someone very unattractive.
When you’re in the North of England, ‘Butters’ becomes ‘Minger,' also used to describe someone unattractive when it come to British slang.
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When you’re upset about something, devastated, or heartbroken, then you are probably gutted. This can be used to describe any and all feelings of sadness.
When you’re tired after a long day, emotionally or physically exhausted, then you can describe yourself as knackered. In cockney rhyming slang, you would be ‘cream-crackered.’ But that's a whole different ball game.
8. Hair of the Dog
It’s well known that British people love to have a drink. Unfortunately this often leads to a hangover, which many people treat with ‘hair of the dog.’ This means having another alcoholic drink in the morning, and some believe it reduces the hangover. And often leads to day-long drinking, something the Brits do best.
When you’re really happy or proud of something, the perfect word in British slang to describe your emotions is chuffed.
When something is so shocking and surprising – for good reasons or bad, then it can leave you feeling absolutely gobsmacked.
When something should be simple, but then ends up being overly complicated, it’s a bit of a faff. Alternatively, when someone is wasting time or messing around with something unimportant, they’re faffing around.
12. Lose the Plot
When someone gets so angry that they enter an uncontrollable rage, they have lost the plot. They’re furious.
While cheers might be known to toast drinks, it can also mean thanks, hello, and goodbye.
This British slang term tends to mean lucky, but in a sort of resentful way. It can imply you don’t deserve the good luck.
When something is off-centre, for example a shelf that’s tilting, a British person would only describe it as wonky.
16. All to Pot
When your plans go awry, chaos ensues, or basically everything just goes wrong, then it has gone all to pot.
17. On Your Bike
This British slang term does not describe a method of transport, and instead if someone says this to you, they are telling you to get lost. It’s an angry way of asking you to leave or get out.
This is a British slang term most often used by working or middle class people to describe someone posh. Aristocracy and the upper classes would all be included in the definition of a toff.
When you’re skiving, you’re shirking your duties. Skipping classes or faking being sick to get off work are all excellent examples of skiving, and appropriately so.
Cockney rhyming slang turned ‘lies’ into ‘porky pies.’ The rest of the country adopted the world, and ‘porkies’ is now understood to mean lies or falsehoods.
Cheers to British Slang Terms
Even a native English speaker can get lost in British slang. The next time you pay a visit to the UK, remember that dropping the above terms into conversation can help make people believe you were born and bred in the British Isles. Or openly laugh at you, depending on your delivery. So stop faffing around and start using British slang today, mate! You’ll be chuffed you did. What's your favorite British slang term?
Sharon Conwell has been a content manager and ghost writer at over 20 online projects, now she is a part-time educator and an editor at assignment writing service. She specializes in content creation and optimization. She loves coffee, tulips and her Shih Tzu named Bobby.