Standpoint – Glossary of British Slang Terms

It’s always struck me as slightly strange that we refer to this language as English when it’s really an amalgamation of many languages that have changed and enriched it over the centuries. Back in the day (the late 80s, in case you were wondering) I spent a year in the US and soon realised that their English and my English were merely cousins. I realized it with a z for one thing, and that z was a zee for another.

A recent Amazon review for Standpoint reminded me how important it is to have common reference points, as well as a common language, when communicating. With that in mind, here’s a glossary of British slang terms in Standpoint for American readers that will appear with the book from now on.

British slang: US equivalent
’andouts: handouts/charity
’scuse: excuse
4 X 4: four wheel drive vehicle/off-roader
arse: ass
bitter (type of drink): ale
blighty: informal/nostalgic term for England / the UK
bollocking: a severe reprimand
bollocks: nonsense (noun)/damn (exclamation)
booze cruise: ferry trip to bring back cheap alcohol
cheers: when not used as a toast can mean thank you
chuffed: pleased/delighted
civil servant: government worker
clogging: filling/blocking
Cockney Sparra: Cockney Sparrow – native Londoner
comprendez: do you understand [French]
craic: an enjoyable time [Irish]
Diwali: Hindu religious festival of lights
dogsbody: servant or underling
downed: drank
dunno: don’t know
durn’t: doesn’t
easy-peasy: trouble free
exocet: type of missile
fat chance: slim chance
Feng Shui: Chinese system of balancing energies
get it down yer: drink this
give them a tug: pull them in for questioning
had a skinful: was drunk
hen party: bachelorette party
industrial estate: industrial park/trading estate
jammy: lucky
Jaysus: Jesus [Irish]
lamped: beat up/punched
landed one on: punched
matey: friendly
might’a: might have
mobile: cellphone
Murphys: common Irish surname
nicked: arrested/busted
nought: zero
o’him: of him
oik: peasant/lowlife
okey dokey: OK
on’t: on the
oppo: work buddy
owt: anything
Oxbridge: Oxford and Cambridge Universities, equivalent to Harvard or Yale
paracetamol: painkiller
plonked: placed something without care
poss: possible
prat: jerk (derogatory)
promo: promotional film
quid: one UK pound (currency)
Rififi: a classic French gangster movie
s’pose: suppose
scrunched: squeezed into a ball
shandy: ale or lager mixed with a soft drink
shiter: crappier
skint: poor
snidey: contemptuous
Sotheby’s: Name of a premier auction house
summat: something
sussing out: weighing up someone’s character or motives
ta: thank you
telly: TV
tenner: ten pound note (currency)
tête à tête: meeting between two people (French)
tha: you
tossers: jerks (derogatory)
tutted: expressed disapproval
walkie-talkie: two-way radio
wi’: with
yer: you
zip-gun: home-made firearm
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