Brilliant British Slang

Greetings. I hope by  now you have decided to visit the UK. Please don’t think that just because you speak English you wont have problems with…things. British English is very different from American English. This I know for true. Luckily, I am here to help you. You are welcome, mate. Ok, let’s do this. Here are a few common words and phrases you might want to slip in while speaking to locals. They might even think you are a Brit. Look, there goes a unicorn. But seriously, you should consider using these words and phrases now. Seriously…what are you waiting for?

  1. Wonky. I find this word so funny. It simply means unstable or not right. For example: This table leg is a bit wonky. Sometimes I hear it when someone is referring to a piece of fruit that is not geometrically perfect.
  2. Tosser. This means ‘idiot.’ It is kind of nice way of saying it. ‘He is such a tosser’
  3. Taking the piss. It means you are making fun of someone or someone is doing something incredulous. Confused? Me too. ‘Is she really wearing white before labour day? She is really taking the piss.’
  4. Shattered. It means that you are worn out and exhausted. Really tired.
  5. Rubbish. It means-terrible or crap. I say this word all the time. It makes me feel British. Indeed it does.
  6. Manky. Manky means disgusting. ‘The chicken has gone manky-maybe you should have put it in the fridge. And now smells rank (bad)’
  7. Gutted. It means-devastated. ‘I am so gutted that I didn’t get tickets to see Adele.’
  8. Gammy. It refers to being lame or injured. ‘Since my Gran fell off her horse, her leg has gone all gammy.’ Yikes.
  9. Cock up. It means to make a mess of something. ‘Oh dear, you’ve really cocked up that roast beef-you should have left it in longer.’
  10. A Chin-wag is a short or brief conversation. If you are having a chin wag-you are probably gossiping. Welcome to the club. Feels good…right? We all love a little goss.

So, there you have it. Important slang you will need to know for when you come to the UK. How many of them can you incorporate into your speech today? Go on mate, I dare you.





  1. Fiona · March 10, 2016

    Oh, that made me smile, thank you! Also made me realise how my British heritage has stuck! And what about “bugalugs” and “tifer”? Just two (polite ones) that pop into my head. Beautifully elucidated 🙂

    • samdfb1 · March 10, 2016

      Welcome! Ahh have never heard of the words you mentioned-will have to research them!

      • Fiona · March 10, 2016

        “titfer”- hat

        The spelling for “bubalugs” could vary, but it was used, in our house, affectionately as code for “whatshisname”. Mum was usually referring to my father or the dog. Go figure!

      • samdfb1 · March 10, 2016

        Interesting and pretty ha-larious too!

  2. Laura (PA Pict) · March 10, 2016

    I love the list and your definitions and examples. I would, however, dispute “tosser” being a nice term since it means the same as “wanker”.

    • samdfb1 · March 10, 2016

      Thanks. Noted. #StillLearning 😉

      • Laura (PA Pict) · March 10, 2016

        If it’s any comfort, I’m still befuddled by a lot of American slang terms and idiom. Still learning here too.

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