24 Unique British Slang Terms You May Not Have Heard of

The English language is easily one of the most interesting languages in the world. By far one of the most complicated languages to learn thanks to the infamous silent letters, uncertain rules and funny phrases, it’s still one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

However, travel to the UK itself, England in particular, and you may find you discover a whole new language that you’ve never heard before. This even happens to individuals who live in the UK and travel to another part of it!

I’m talking about British slang. But, British slang is easily one of the most humorous, funny and witty languages in the world and no matter what area you live in or are travelling too, it’s worth brushing up on your slang so you can use it with the locals.

To help you get started, here are 24 of the most common, awesome and downright hilarious slang terms that you need to learn today!

On Your Bike

A comical way of telling someone to leave the room, situation or area. This refers to the mode of transportation where you would be physically telling someone to get on a bicycle and leave. Usually used in an irritated or annoyed way.

‘I’ve had enough of you, on your bike.’

The Fuzz

A term that can be used in placement of ‘the police’, usually by individuals who are criminals talking informally. Can also be used comically.

‘The fuzz is coming to arrest these people.’

Hair Of The Dog

A term used to describe a drink (alcoholic), usually in the morning after a night out drinking that is used to cure a hangover. The term is based on the premise of you can make something better by consuming more of the cause.

‘How are you feeling today? Big night last night.’

‘Not great. There are a few beers in the fridge. Hair of the dog?’

Blinding

A positive term that is used to describe something happening that was incredible, amazing and unspeakable excellent.

‘The football team’s performance was blinding.’

Kerfuffle

A messy situation in which nobody really knows what is going on and there’s a huge amount of misunderstanding between individuals. Used to describe the air of confusion.

Mate

A term used when speaking to someone informally that is either a friend or someone you’re on good terms with.

‘Alright mate, how are you doing?’

Snog

Directly translated, a ‘snog’ refers to a French kiss that occurs in Britain. However, this isn’t typically used in a romantic sense; it’s more commonly used to refer to ‘making out’ and is used very informally.

‘Go on, just go and give him a snog!’

Fortnight

Another way of saying ‘two weeks’, referring to the length of time that happens over the course of two weeks.

‘I have a doctor’s appointment booked in a fortnight.’

Butters

‘Butters’ is a term used most commonly in the southern areas of Britain and is the name given to someone in an offensive way which is extremely unattractive. The individual in question may not be present at the time, for example;

‘Wow, that girl over there is butters.’

Know One’s Onions

A phrase used to describe an individual who is very knowledgeable about a certain subject, usually in a casual or comically way.

‘He’ll pass the test. He knows his onions when it comes to science.’

Minger

Similar to ‘butters’, this is a term that can be used to describe both male and female individuals who are physically and emotionally unattractive, have poor personalities and is best avoided at all costs.

Rodney Jones, a Huffingtonpost writer and Language Researcher at Ukwritings comments: “However, the term is now commonly used by chavs (individuals who live in Council Houses and are Violent) to describe anything that is a little bit disgusting or unpleasant, usually in the form of minging”.

‘I can’t believe you’re going out with Sarah. I’ve told you before, and I’ll say it again, she’s a minger.’

Gutted

Imagine you’ve just been physically punched in the gut and how winded, upset and negative you’ll feel. Gutted can be used to describe this feeling of being let down in any situation.

‘The football match was cancelled, and I’m absolutely gutted.’

Chuffed

A way to describe an individual who is very pleased with themselves and very happy about something they have done or something that has happened. This term can also be used to describe feelings of being ecstatic, over the moon, overjoyed and excited.

‘I managed to win £500 on the lottery; I’m so chuffed!’

Gobsmacked

The stereotypical way to envision this is by picturing someone who is so shocked at something happening, or they’ve been told that they physically smack their hands to their cheeks while their mouth makes an ‘o’ shape, literally smacking your gob (mouth).

‘I can’t believe he said that to his mum, I was gobsmacked.’

Faff

A term used to describe an individual who is wasting time doing nothing but making it look as though they’re doing something. “Usually, this term is used when leaving the house to go somewhere but going to be late or when something urgent is happening, and the individual is wasting time when the more urgent matter should be attended to”, – says Rosie Holloway, a Tutor and writer at Bestbritishessays.

‘Sorry we’re late for dinner, I was faffing about in the house.’

Lose the Plot

A negative term used to describe an individual who has usually become angry or acts irrationally. These actions are not scripted and usually considered to be too much, considering the situation. You’ll find this term is most commonly used in a past tense (lost the plot) when describing how someone behaved in a past situation.

‘My mum lost the plot when she saw the mess in the house.’

Cheers

This British slang word has two very common meanings. Originally, it was used when toasting with drinks, specifically champagne, when you chink the glasses, cups or bottles of another drink together to toast good fortune to those in your company.

Alternatively, it can also be used to say thank you, usually among friends and informal situations. These are also, most commonly, situations where something is given or received.

‘Cheers for the slice of pizza!’

Jammy

Used to describe someone that has just received or witnessed an extremely amount of good fortune but may not deserve it or got lucky in receiving it. The good fortune received is usually far too good to be true, especially when the initial effort involved was minimal.

‘Mark scored an unbelievable goal in football. You should have seen it; it was so jammy.’

Wonky

A term for describing people or objects, usually technology-based products, that stops working for no reason whatsoever or acts weird and not as it should when it comes to operating.

‘Your computer is so wonky’. You can also use the term ‘wonk’ on its own in a phrase such as ‘I’ve only just touched the mouse, and the screen has turned off, I think your computer is on the wonk.’

All to Pot

A British phrase that is used to describe a situation that has not panned out as it was intended to and has in some way gone wrong or has messed up, unlike the original plan. In some parts of Britain, the ‘all’ can be removed and just ‘to pot’ can be used.

‘We were supposed to move to a new house on Saturday, and now everything has gone all to pot.’

Toff

A term used to describe somebody who is a very wealthy but has been born into their wealth, rather than earning it themselves. This kind of person has a particular kind of personality that can be considered posh, arrogant and self-absorbed.

‘Charlie’s Dad paid for him to go to private school and even brought him a new car and a house. He’s such a toff.’

Hard Cheese

Another way of saying the phrase ‘tough luck’. This is when something happens that isn’t very good or positive, but there’s nothing you can do about it, and you’re stuck having just to accept that the situation is what it is, meaning you’ll have to move on.

‘I lost the bet that I placed on the football match. That’s hard cheese.’

Skive

If you’re supposed to be attending a social meeting, going to work another event or situation that you’re supposed to be in, and you deceitfully make your way out of attending, this is you skiving off. “Some ways to skive off include calling in sick when you’re not or in other ways many untruthful excuses as to why you can’t attend. Usually, you’ll be making the excuses to go to a more favourable option”, – explains Bernard Wynn, a Language Tutor at Uktopwriters.

‘I’m going to skive off work tonight by saying I’m ill, so I can go to the party!’

Porkies

Telling ‘porkies’ is just another simple term that refers to lies or someone who is lying. You could also use the term in a sentence such as ‘telling pork pies’ or ‘telling porkies’.

‘I don’t believe what you’re saying. I think you’re telling porkies.’

Biography

Freddie Tubbs is a language researcher at Boomessays. He is writing an Academized blog for students and writers, and regularly contributes articles to Omniglot and Oxessays blog.