80+ Popular British Slang Words And Phrases
Are you planning to visit or study in the UK? Or maybe you’re a fan of British TV shows and movies? If so, you may want to learn some British slang words to better understand and communicate with locals. British slang is a collection of informal, colorful, and often humorous expressions used in everyday conversation, social media, and pop culture.
What Is A British Slang Term?
British slang refers to words, phrases, and idioms that are commonly used in informal speech in the United Kingdom. These expressions are often used in place of more formal or standard English, and they may be specific to certain regions or social groups. British slang can also be influenced by pop culture, including music, movies, and television shows. Understanding British slang can be important for effective communication in social settings and for interpreting British media.
Why to Use Slang Words?
Slang words are a form of language that is commonly used among certain groups of people, especially in informal situations. There are several reasons why people use slang words:
- To create a sense of community: When people use slang words, they are signaling that they are part of a particular group or culture. Using slang can create a sense of belonging and solidarity among group members.
- To express identity: Slang words can be used to express one’s identity and personality. It can help people differentiate themselves from others and convey a sense of uniqueness.
- To be creative: Slang words can be playful and creative, often involving wordplay and humor. Using slang can be a way to add a personal touch to language and make it more interesting.
- To communicate more efficiently: In some cases, slang words can be used to communicate more efficiently. They can convey complex ideas or emotions in a concise and understandable way.
- To keep up with trends: Slang words often emerge as part of cultural trends and can be a way to stay current and connected with popular culture.
However, it’s important to be mindful of the context in which slang words are used. In certain situations, such as in formal settings or with people who may not be familiar with the slang, it may be more appropriate to use standard language.
Popular British slang words and phrases
Here are some of the most popular British slang words and phrases, arranged in alphabetical order:
Ace – Excellent or very good.
All mouth and no trousers – someone who talks big but fails to deliver
Arse – buttocks or backside
Blimey – An expression of surprise, shock or astonishment.
Bloke – A man or guy.
Bob’s your uncle – An expression meaning “there you have it” or “it’s done.”
Bollocks – rubbish or nonsense; also used to refer to testicles
Bonnet – The hood of a car.
Boot – The trunk of a car.
Brilliant – fantastic or amazing
Brolly – An umbrella.
Chav – a derogatory term for a lower-class person who is seen as uncultured, aggressive, or poorly educated
Cheeky – impudent or playful
Cheers – a way to say thank you, goodbye, or celebrate
Chips – French fries.
Chuffed – Pleased or delighted or proud.
Cracking – superb or excellent
Crisps – Potato chips.
Dodgy – Suspicious or questionable.
Faff – to waste time or fuss about something
Fit – attractive or sexy
Fiver – A five-pound note.
Gents – Men’s restroom.
Gobsmacked – surprised or astonished
Gutted – disappointed or devastated
Hunky-dory – everything is fine or going well
Jolly – very or extremely
Knackered – Exhausted or tired.
Knickers – Women’s underwear.
Loo – Bathroom or toilet.
Lorry – A truck.
Lurgy – a minor illness or cold
Mate – Friend or buddy.
Mates rates – a discount given to friends or acquaintances
Minger – an unattractive or unpleasant person
Minging – Disgusting or gross.
Mum’s the word – An expression meaning to keep quiet or keep a secret.
Naff – tacky or unfashionable
Nick – to steal or borrow without permission
Peckish – Slightly hungry.
Pint – A large glass of beer.
Pissed – drunk or angry
Plonk – Cheap or low-quality wine.
Poppycock – nonsense or rubbish
Posh – High-class or upscale.
Queue – A line of people.
Quid – A pound sterling.
Reckon – to think or suppose
Rubbish – Garbage or trash.
Sarnie – A sandwich.
Shag – to have sex
Skint – Broke or without money.
Skive – to avoid work or responsibility
Snog – To kiss passionately.
Snookered – in a difficult or hopeless situation
Sod off – An expression meaning to go away or leave.
Sorted – organized or resolved
Sussed – understood or figured out
Ta – Thank you.
Taking the mickey – An expression meaning to make fun of or tease someone.
Telly – television or TV
Titchy – very small or tiny
Toff – a posh or upper-class person
Tosh – Nonsense or rubbish.
Tosser – an idiot or fool
Totty – Attractive women.
Trolley – A shopping cart.
Twat – a derogatory term for a person
Uni – University.
Wanker – A derogatory term for someone who is unpleasant or unlikable.
Wanker – a derogatory term for a man
Welly – energy, enthusiasm, or effort
Whinge – To complain or whine.
Whingeing Pom – A derogatory term for a complaining English person.
Wind up – to tease or annoy someone
Wonky – Unstable or crooked.
Yob – a hooligan or troublemaker
Yonks – A long time.
Zebra crossing – A crosswalk for pedestrians.
Zed – The letter “Z” in the British alphabet.
Zonked – exhausted or asleep
Remember, British slang words can vary by region, social group, or context, so use them with caution and respect. Some words may also be considered offensive or vulgar in certain situations, so be mindful of your audience and surroundings. Learning British slang can be a fun and rewarding way to immerse yourself in British culture and language. Good luck and cheers!