Oh, the Brits. No-one can snark quite like they do, and there are certain turns of phrase that are so utterly delightful, the rest of the world really should sit up and take note. Below are just a few common British phrases that you might like to work into your daily vernacular, as they can pepper any conversation with a little extra something.

  1. Aggro: Aggressive/in someone’s face.
  2. “Are you having a laugh?”: Statement of incredulity, like “you’ve got to be kidding”, and such. “You think I’ll hire your brother after he gets out of prison for armed robbery? Are you having a laugh?”
  3. Argy-bargy: Quarrelsome, arguing.
  4. Arse: One’s backside/buttocks.
  5. Arsed: Bothered. “I can’t be arsed to go to my cousin’s third wedding.”
  6. Balls-up: “Gone wrong”, as in a situation that hasn’t gone according to plan.
  7. Barmy: Crazy, insane.
  8. Bimble: An ambling walk.
  9. Biscuit arsed: Dirty, filthy.
  10. Bog: Toilet/restroom.
  11. Bog roll: Toilet paper.
  12. Bollocks: Nonsense.
  13. Buggered: Worn out, broken, ruined.
  14. Catch flies: To sit with one’s mouth hanging open.
  15. Chav: An ignorant, trashy, lower-class person.
  16. Cheeky: Playfully impertinent. “Did you just whistle at that old lady? You cheeky monkey.”
  17. Chin-wag: A chat or brief conversation.
  18. Chuffed: Pleased, delighted.
  19. Clanger: A mistake.
  20. Cock up: Make a mess of something. “He really cocked up his job interview when he mentioned that he’d shagged the boss’s daughter.”
  21. Collywobbles: Nervousness; butterflies in the stomach.
  22. Crease up: To laugh heartily (so one’s face creases up).
  23. Crumpet: A sexually desirable person.
  24. Dodgy: Suspicious, dubious. “I ate a dodgy curry last night and now my stomach’s off.”
  25. Dogsbody: The person who takes care of most tasks, especially menial ones.
  26. Drop a clanger: To make an obvious mistake or terrible faux-pas.
  27. Dull as dishwater: Exceedingly, horribly boring or plain.
  28. Ear-bashing: A severe reprimand. “He got a right ear-bashing after crashing his dad’s car into that buffalo.”
  29. Fall arse over tit: Take a tumble/head over heels.
  30. Gammy: Injured, lame, or painful. “My gran’s had a gammy leg ever since she fell off a horse.”
  31. “Get stuffed!”: An angry rebuke, similar to “Go f*ck yourself!”
  32. Giddy kipper: An overly excitable person.
  33. Ginger: A red-haired person.
  34. Gobby: Offensively outspoken.
  35. Gobsmacked: Stunned/utterly blown away.
  36. Grotty: Unpleasant/disgusting.
  37. Gutted: Devastated. “She was gutted after her boyfriend left her for her nephew.”
  38. Knackered: Exhausted.
  39. Legless: So drunk, one has difficulty standing.
  40. Liquid lunch: A meal that consists mostly of alcohol, rather than food.
  41. Lost the plot: Lost one’s mind/gone senile. “My great-uncle thinks he’s an admiral with the United Federation of Planets, but of course, he lost the plot years ago.”
  42. Lurgy: The flu, or other illness that makes you feel horrible.
  43. “Mad as a bag of ferrets”: Utterly and completely insane.
  44. Manky: Disgusting. “The chicken you left on the counter for a week has gone manky.”
  45. Miffed: Irked.
  46. Moggy: Cat.
  47. Muck up: Ruin something.
  48. Murder: Devour. “I could murder a sandwich right now.”
  49. Naff: Unfashionable.
  50. Nethers: Euphemism for genitals.
  51. Pants: Rubbish. “She said the film was pants, but I rather liked it.”
  52. Peckish: Slightly hungry.
  53. Peevish: Petulant and sullen.
  54. Plonk: Horrible, cheap wine.
  55. Prat: An idiot.
  56. Rubbish: Terrible, crap. “I’m totally rubbish at math—can’t even add.”
  57. Sad arse: Pathetic person.
  58. Sausage fest: An event that has a disproportionate amount of males to females… like a comic convention.
  59. Shag: Have sex.
  60. Shattered: Worn out, exhausted.
  61. Shufflebutt: A restless, fidgety person.
  62. Slag: A contemptible person; possibly a promiscuous one.
  63. Smarmy: Creepy, sleazy.
  64. Smashing: Brilliant, wonderful.
  65. Snog: To make out/fool around.
  66. Snookered: Defeated/thwarted.
  67. “Sod it.”: “I give up.” Used in a sentence: “I’ll never understand this math problem. Sod it, let’s go down to the pub.”
  68. Sprog: A child/offspring.
  69. Starkers: Naked.
  70. Taking the piss: Making fun of something.
  71. Tosh: Rubbish/nonsense.
  72. Tosser: A contemptible idiot.
  73. Twee: Overly dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint. “Her bunny-themed tea set is so utterly twee.”
  74. Wazzock: Imbecile.
  75. Wonky: Unstable. “The table leg’s a bit wonky; you might want to slide a book under it.”

Now you know the British slangs, what about idioms? Are you familiar with them? If You’ve Never Used These English Idioms, You’re Probably Not a Native English Speaker

Featured photo credit: Underground via Shutterstock

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